The Wonders of Basil

We believe that basil is one of the most under-appreciated plants that everyone seems to know about, but rarely raise themselves. Basil is one of the easiest plants to grow, and requires very little attention. It is a care free garden plant, or it can be grown very easily inside in containers, or outside on the patio, where brushing against the leaves will release fragrance and make the biting bugs disappear. It makes great potpourri material, and will add fragrance to any bouquet.

Basil is a well-known culinary herb that's popular in many Italian dishes. But did you know that there are many other uses of this herb, including its use as a tonic to aid in digestion? It is thought to have a calming effect on the stomach and 1/2 teaspoon of dried or fresh basil leaf in water can often help sooth indigestion and alleviate feelings of fullness.

The most common use of basil is for cooking, such as in tomato sauce, pesto, or vinegars. But it also can be sprinkled over salads and sliced tomatoes, either whole or chopped. Leaves of the basil can be dried and stored until needed, meaning you should always have basil available!

To make oil for salads, pound the fresh leaves and mix with a good salad or vegetable oil. If freezing the leaves, coat them with olive oil first.

Check out the many wonderful Medicinal Benefits of Basil

In the landscape, don't merely relegate basil to the herb or vegetable garden. Consider planting it in scented gardens, or use it as edging along a bed or path that you'll brush past and release the aroma.

Or try mass plantings of basil in a border, plant in decorative outdoor containers, or grow in pots indoors, if you have lots of light. In ancient times, pots of basil on the windowsill were used to deter flies.

Other uses of basil include the cosmetic. Basil leaves add zest to a potpourri blend. Put fresh leaves in a hot bath as an infusion, for example. As a tonic, steep a few leaves in wine for several hours. Or steep in water as a tea to aid digestion. A drop of basil oil on shirtsleeves will help counteract mental fatigue.

Jim's Starting/Growing Notes
Growing Inside: You can start basil seed inside any time of the year provided the seeds are in a constantly warm environment, they do not like cold soil temperatures at night when germinating. For a 4 inch pot, sow about 5 seeds a quarter inch deep in moist potting mix.
Once the seedlings have emerged, keep them in a lighted place but out of direct sunlight, then once the second set of leaves have fully formed, they can be moved to their final position, presumably a sunny part of the kitchen. Once the seedlings have reached a height of around 3 or 4 inches, pinch out the top most leaves as this will encourage the basil plant to produce lateral shoots, helping it to bush out.
As the plants continue to grow, remove any flower buds as they arise as this will signal a change in the flavour of the basil, making the leaves bitter and even unpalatable for some people. Flowering will also cause a significant reduction in the growth of new foliage, reducing the amount which can be used for cooking.

Growing Outside: Personally, I think all basil seeds should be started inside for best results, starting seeds about 6-8 weeks before the last frost. But, if you must start them outside directly in the soil, then sow the seeds in the garden after all danger of frost has passed and soil has warmed. Cover seeds about 1/4" deep and in a row, Grow in a rich, well-drained, soil and in full sun. Pinch the tip from the center shoot of Basil after it has grown for 6 weeks to force side growth and prevent early flowering. If flower stalks develop, simply snip them off.

Harvest the basil often. The trick to growing basil that is large and abundant is to harvest often. The more you harvest, the more the plant will grow. When harvesting, pinch off the stem right above where a pair of leaves are growing. After you harvest, two more stems will start to grow, which means twice the leaves next time you harvest! Remove flowers. Once a basil plant flowers, the leaves start to lose their good flavor. If you remove any flowers, the leaves will get their good flavor back in just a day or so.

Basil Seed ( Annual )
TPF232 Simply Try Basil( Multi-seed pellets )
New! The easiest way to grow basil, each pellet contains a mix of Genovese, Serrated Leaf, and Red Basil strains in one pellet, semi-dwarf, perfect in 5-6" pot.
Provides just the right amount of seed for plugs or pots, an easy and economical way to grow this popular herb! Each multi-seed herb pellet produces three varieties of basil, Genovese, serrated and dark red. Just one pellet fills a 5-6 inch pot fast, with no seed broadcasting or scoops across the soil.
  10 multi-seed pellets $2.95
FB122 Amethyst Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Darkest purple, almost black, turned down leaf like Genovese, 60 days.
  75mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.50
JB001 Anise Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Anise scented, small olive-green leaf, purple stem, violet flowers, used in curry and spicy dishes.
 20mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB002 Ararat Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Bicolor, mottled purple and green leaf, use as garnish, fresh bouquet, or in garden, 60 days.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
FB121 Aristotle Basil Ocimum basilicum
A wonderful herb that you can grow for it's beautiful appearance and for it's delightful basil flavor. Forms perfect basketball-size mound, small green leaf, for large patio pot or basket. Use in any recipe you would normally use green basil. Annual.
  25mg pack $2.50
JB003 Aroma 2 Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
F1 Genovese type, 3" glossy dark green leaf, strong flavor, fusarium wilt resistant, slow bolting.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
JB004 Aromatto Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
3" purple-green leaf and flower, slightly spicy aroma and flavor.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB051 Blue Spice Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
F1 Interspecies cross, lemony vanilla scent, violet flowers, purple bracts, fuzzy leaf, great for salad or poultry garnish, or bouquet.
 10mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB005 Boxwood Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Boxwood basil is named for its shape, like a little boxwood. It originated in France for making pesto, but unlike the large-leaved basils, Boxwood has tiny leaves and a tight, fine-textured form.
Like other basils, it likes warm weather and is easy to grow. Just clip stems as needed, trimming more before flowering if you need a lot of leaves at one time. Never remove all the leaves or cut back to the woody stems or you'll end up with a skeleton. The little leaves of this variety make it easy to sprinkle the fresh flavor of basil on just about anything.
 15mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB052 British Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Tolerates cool, damp weather, season extender, bright green leaf, rich flavor. 55 days.
  35mg pack ( about 25-30 seeds ) $2.50
JB006 Bush Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
This is a dwarf plant with tiny fine, glossy leaves. Very compact and sturdy, bush basil has an almost bonsai-like appearance and it's aroma has hints of cinnamon, clove and anise. It is the preferred variety of basil to use when making pesto, especially in Liguria and Ligurians almost make a religion of their devotion to pesto sauce and its main ingredient, fresh basil.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
JB007 Caesar Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Large 2-1/2" green leaves turn down, aromatic, well branched, slow bolting.
 50mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB008 Christmas Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Huge glossy green leaf, dark purple flowers, for kitchen, garden, or bouquet, fruity aroma, 55 days, grows about 16" tall.
 25mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
HR330 Cinnamon ( Ocimum basilicum crispum )
Spicy, cinnamon sweet fragrance. Makes a comforting tea and adds spice to recipes.
  Package of 50 seeds $1.95
JB009 Cinnamon Bouquet Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
For cutflower use, strong violet stems and veining, lavender flowers, great scent for bouquets, 64 days.
 60mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB010 Corsican Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Heirloom Mediterranean, leaves mottled green-purple, mildly sweet, for great garnish or ornamental use.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
2921 Dark Opal Ornamental Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
The perfect plant for borders and mass plantings, and is great for adding color to salads. Has attractive, dark purplish-bronze foliage growing to 15 inches with spikes of lavender-white flowers.
 100mg Package ( about 80 seeds ) $1.95
IP208 Dolly Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Genovese, broad leaf, bushy, slightly savoyed inner leaf, low temperature tolerance, super for greenhouse production, fusarium resistant. Grows 12" tall.
  28mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.50
2922 Dwarf Fine Bush Minette ( Ocimum basilicum )
Compact, small rounded leaf, grows 12" tall.
  Package of 25 seeds, $1.95
JB053 Dwarf Greek ( Ocimum basilicum )
An excellent basil for flavor and show, sweetly fragrant tiny leaves, tight compact bushes with uniform growth. Plants form an almost perfect ball, very stylish in containers.
Excellent as a garnish or seasoning for poultry, beef, stews, and soups. This variety is preferred by most chefs. Grows about 10" tall.
 28mg pack ( about 20-25 seeds ) $2.25
JB011 Fino Verde ( Ocimum basilicum )
Greek mouse ears gourmet type, midsize upright habit, slightly hot and spicy. Fino Verde Basil has a spicy and sweet flavor and very small leaves on a medium sized plant, yet it produces astonishingly high yields for its size! Fino Verde is perfect with fresh or cooked tomato dishes, also makes a lovely garnish.
 30mg pack ( about 20-25 seeds ) $2.25
JB012 Floral Spires Lavender ( Ocimum basilicum )
Upright spikes, soft violet, attractive compact bushy plant, anise scented, well flavored green leaf, excellent pot or window plant, only grows about 10" tall.
 10 seeds per pack $2.25
JB014 Floral Spires White ( Ocimum basilicum )
Upright spikes, soft violet, attractive compact bushy plant, anise scented, well flavored green leaf, excellent pot or window plant, only grows about 10" tall.
 10 seeds per pack $2.25
JB015 Genovese ( Ocimum basilicum )
This classic basil has a concentrated flavor and fine sweet fragrance. It is uniform, slow to bolt, and is fantastic for seasonings, salads, garnishes and pesto. 70 days to mature, grows about 21" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
JB016 Genovese Compact Improved ( Ocimum basilicum )
Similar to Genovese but more compact plant, 74 days, grows about 15" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB017 Genovese Red Freddy ( Ocimum basilicum )
Marvelous dark red leaved Genovese, smooth broad leaf, same wonderful flavor as green, a real culinary eye catcher, grows about 21" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.75
IP209 Gecofure Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Compact green genovese type with fusarium resistance.
 28mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.25
JB018 Goddess ( Ocimum basilicum )
Small bright green leaf, very compact plant, slow bolting, very spicy gourmet flavor, grows about 12" tall.
 10mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.25
TRM805 Greek Yevani Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Small leaf, globe shaped plant, spicy flavor, widely used in Mediterranean dishes.
 45mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB020 Green Ruffles ( Ocimum basilicum )
Rich large green leaf, serrated, cut and quilted, great flavor with tomato-based dishes, grows about 12" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
HR360 Holy Basil ( Ocimum sanctum )
Annual garden herb. Has a deep spicy clove scent. Good for salads and for making potpourri.
  20mg package ( about 50 seeds ) $1.95
2918 Holy Green ( Ocimum sanctum )
A basil for gourmet cooks with a strong scent, green leaf, grows 12" tall.
 48mg Package ( about 75 seeds ) $1.95
TRM804 Holy Nicobar Basil ( Ocimum tenuiflorum )
Green leaf, purple stem, Asian origin, clove scent, use for shellfish/meat flavoring, uniquely tasty.
 45mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB021 Holy Red-Green ( Ocimum tenuiflorum )
A gourmet mix of green (Sri) and red (Krishna) leaves, wonderfully flavored, grows about 12" tall.
 10mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
HR320 Large Sweet Italian Basil( Ocimum basilicum )
Annual garden herb. Excellent for tomato sauces and salads. Adds zest to everything. Very fragrant flowers and leaves. Good potpourri addition.
  Package of 50-100 seeds $1.95
IP211 Italiano Classico Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Italian heirloom, the Original Genovese strain, large green leaf, use for pesto, sauces, etc, wonderful old fashioned flavor.
 18mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.25
IP210 Jolina Basil ( Ocimum basilicum )
Shiny green small leaf, compact plant, short internodes create great fullness, uniform, excellent flavor.
 24mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
HR350 Lemon Basil ( Ocimum americanum )
Annual Plant. Has a strong lemon scent. Excellent for potpourris. Also makes attractive garden plant.
 125mg Package ( about 50 seeds ) $1.95
H804 Licorice ( Ocimum basilicum )
Wonderfully scented like licorice candy, purple-green leaf, purple flower, grows about 12" tall.
 20mg Package ( about 20 or more seeds ) $2.25
JB023 Lime ( Ocimum basilicum citriodora )
Sweet lime scent and flavor, pink flowers, larger plant than lemon basil, grows about 12" tall.
 70mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB024 Mammoth ( Ocimum basilicum )
Huge, palm size crinkled light green leaf, excellent for culinary use, grows about 15" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB025 Marseilles ( Ocimum basilicum )
Compact Genovese, large puckered leaf, very aromatic, grows about 18" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB026 Martina ( Ocimum basilicum )
Mid height bushy Genovese leaf, intense flavor, long shelf life, 70 days, grows about 14" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB028 Mrs Burns ( Ocimum basilicum )
Sweet, tangy, lemon-lime scent, bright green 2-1/2" long leaf, pinky white blooms, long vase life, 60 days, grows about 20" tall.
JB030 Nufar ( Ocimum basilicum )
Large leaf, sweetly flavored, fusarium wilt resistant, 77 days, grows about 24" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
TRN061 Basil, Oriental Breeze ( Ocimum basilicum )
Bred for container/cutflower use, very fragrant 6" long flower heads, white with purple bracts, grows 12" tall.
 18mg pack ( about 20-25 seeds ) $2.25
JB031 Piccolino ( Ocimum basilicum )
Very aromatic, tiny dark green leaf, compact bush, well branched, super in small pots, grows about 9" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB032 Pistou ( Ocimum basilicum )
Petite plant with rounded shape, uniform mid-size green leaf, perfect for small pots, Spicy taste, 30 days, grows about 6" tall.
 15mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB033 Pluto ( Ocimum basilicum )
Compact globe shape, 8" round, strongly branched, tiny deep green leaf, excellent taste, great for pots, grows about 8" tall.
 10 seeds $2.25
JB034 Poppy Joes ( Ocimum basilicum )
Genovese type, high fusarium resistance, green leaf, aromatic, grows about 12" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB035 Purple Osmin ( Ocimum basilicum )
Glossy dark purple 2" slightly ruffled leaf, sweet fruity taste, lilac blooms, 5 percent of plants will be green, 80 days, grows about 15" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
JB036 Purple Ruffles ( Ocimum basilicum )
AAS Winner, fringed purple leaves. Very pretty, less fragrant than Dark Opal, grows about 12" tall.
 25mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.25
JB037 Purple Stem ( Ocimum basilicum )
AAS Winner, fringed purple leaves. Very pretty, less fragrant than Dark Opal, grows about 12" tall.
 15mg pack ( about 20 seeds ) $2.25
JB038 Queenette ( Ocimum basilicum )
Highly aromatic Thai type, olive green/purplish leaf, red stem, purple flowers, for spicy foods or ornamental, 59 days, grows about 14" tall.
 25mg pack ( about 30 seeds ) $2.25
JB039 Red Osmin ( Ocimum basilicum )
Bright purplish red leaf, sweet taste, excellent salad addition, grows about 12" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
2920 Red Rubin ( Ocimum basilicum )
Reliably dark red leaf, fine flavor and aroma, grows 12" tall.
 25mg Package ( about 20-25 seeds ) $2.25
JB040 Red Ruby ( Ocimum basilicum )
Vigorous, flat 3" purple leaf, high yield, great flavor, or ornamental or for bouquet, grows about 18" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB041 Sacred ( Ocimum sanctum )
This basil is a common sight in Indian temple gardens. The sacred plant has a sweet aroma which conjours up a distant memory of cloves. In Uruguay it is used as a fertility control. Best variety adapted to cool weather, resists spring frosts, grows about 12" tall.
 25mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB042 Serata ( Ocimum basilicum )
Ruffled green leaf, great flavor, some fusarium resistance, 65 days, grows about 12" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 50 seeds ) $2.25
2923 Spicy Globe ( Ocimum basilicum )
Mid-size rounded oval slightly toothed 3/4" green leaf, very compact, strong scent, white flowers, grows about 12" tall.
 25mg Package ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB044 Super Sweet Chen ( Ocimum basilicum )
Large wrinkled leaf, excellent bolt resistance, one of the best tasting types, strong bolt resistance, grows about 12" tall.
 70mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB045 Superbo ( Ocimum basilicum )
Highly uniform Italian genovese strain, thick green downturned leaf, 68 days, grows about 16" tall.
 75mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
2924 Sweet Dani ( Ocimum basilicum )
AAS, powerful lemon scent, large olive green leaf, great for culinary use, grows about 26" tall.
 20mg Package ( about 15 seeds ) $2.25
JB047 Thai Magic ( Ocimum basilicum )
Very unusual glossy 4" long leaf, very aromatic, 60 days, grows about 16" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 40 seeds ) $2.25
JB049 Thai Sweet Queen ( Ocimum basilicum )
2" green leaf, spice clove-anise flavor, 59 days, grows about 14" tall.
 30mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25
JB050 Valentino ( Ocimum basilicum )
Genovese, dark green 3" long lettuce leaf, pink flowers, perfect for Italian cooking, 80 days, grows about 10" tall.
 50mg pack ( about 25 seeds ) $2.25