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Sweet basil

Ocimum basilicum

Genovese basil, Basil (Eng.), Basilie, Basiliekruid (Afr.)

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Sweet basil is an aromatic annual herb with a strong flavour that is used heavily in Italian cuisine. It is easy to grow, maintain and can be grown in a container indoors. Often grown for its culinary uses, basil can also be grown as an ornamental with some cultivars producing attractive blooms. A basil infusion is used as a homoeopathic medicine to soothe a cough or treat cramping.

Planning

Difficulty
Easy
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Start harvesting the leaves when the plant is about 20 cm in height, pinch off flowers to lengthen the harvesting period. Leaves can be dried or preserved in olive oil.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seeds shallowly indoors in winter or outside from Springtime. Germination takes 7-14 days.
Cuttings
Take a 10 cm stem cutting from just below a leaf node from a stem that hasn't flowered. Remove the leaves 5 cm from the bottom end. Plant 5 cm deep. Keep moist or keep in a glass of water until well-rooted!

Special features

Crop rotation
Basil is a medium feeder and needs a moderate amount of nutrients.
Pot plant
Can be grown in a container provided it is large enough.
Indoor plant
Can be grown in a container indoors provided it receives a minimum of 6 hours of light and a moderate amount of water.
Attractive leaves
Edible leaves

Geography

Origin
Central Africa, Southeast Asia

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand, Silt, Compost
Soil PH preference
Neutral, Acid, Alkaline
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Culinary
Sweet Basil can be used for various culinary dishes, including salads, vinaigrette, and pizzas. It is a popular ingredient of pesto.
Insect repellant
Strong scent deters mosquitoes and flies.
Medicinal
A basil infusion is also used to soothe a cough or treat cramping.

Personality

Family
Lamiaceae
Flower colour
, Purples, White
Scent
Mild

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