Basil – Sweet Basil – Genovese basil

Basil – Sweet Basil – Genovese basil – plant care guide

Basil – Sweet Basil – Genovese basil

Sweet Basil, also called Great Basil, is a culinary herb from the family Lamiaceae, native to tropical regions of Central Africa & Southeast Asia. The plant foliage is tender, flavourful, and used in many cuisines worldwide. Technically known as Ocimum basilicum they belong to the mint family. Basil is a popular edible herb, which can be grown both indoors as well as outdoors. The leaves are extremely aromatic, and the flavors vary from lemony-mint of sweet basil to cinnamon, spicy or licorice and the colour may vary from bright, dark green to deep purple, with smooth or wrinkled leaves.

Basil is a quick growing edible herb, and the aromatic leaves are commonly used in Italian and Mediterranean dishes. The seed is popular in Thai cuisine. Although famous with Italian cooking, they are known to have originated from India.

Basil plant needs a good 6-8 hours of bright sunlight and grows best in warm, sunny weather. They can also be grown indoors using growth lights or hydroponically under LED or CFL lamps.

Watering should be deeply done to promote healthy root growth. A nutrient-rich, well-draining soil works best, using organic compost adds more flavors. Basil loves evenly moist soil and leaves start to droop if there isn’t enough water. It’s important to pinch the growing tips of the plant as soon as a few sets of true leaves come as it promotes bushy growth.

One of the beauties about growing basil at home is there’s no fixed harvest time, pluck as and when needed. The more it is harvested, the more fresh leaves will come, and helps maintain the shape. It’s very important to avoid bolting or “going to seed,” by pinching off flowering stems 1 inch below the flower as leaves often develop a bitter flavor once flowering starts.

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