Large-Leaf Italian basil is regarded as the essential variety for true Neapolitan cuisine, especially pesto. Expect this Genovese-type basil to grow 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 15 inches wide. The dark green, shiny leaves grow up to 3 inches long on a tall, erect plant that is slow to bolt.
Genovese basil is a variety of sweet basil that originated in Italy. Its vigorous, large leaves have a sweet, slightly spicy flavor. Genovese basil produces bright green, slightly crinkled leaves that can grow up to 3 inches (7.6 cm.) long. They are excellent for pesto, caprise salad and other dishes that require large, fresh basil leaves.
Red Rubin The stunning dark leaves of 'Red Rubin' make this one of the most ornamental varieties of Basil available! Mix this delightful herb throughout annual beds or mixed container plantings, or pot up by itself and place around decks or patios to enjoy its sweet fragrance. The finely flavored leaves can be added to tomato dishes, eggs, vegetables, or herb oils and vinegars. Try sprinkling fresh leave on salads to add color.
Sweet The leaves of this popular annual herb are prized for both the delightful aroma they emit and the smooth, rich flavor they add to culinary creations. Mix plants throughout the landscape, or grow it in a pot placed in a sunny window sill. Try adding fresh leaves to homemade pizza or caprese salad. Super easy to grow and so delicious!
Light requirements Full sun is ideal, but plants can grow in part shade.
Planting Space 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.)
Soil requirements Plants grow best in rich, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Work organic matter into soil before planting to add fertility and improve moisture retention. In containers, use premium quality potting soil.
Water requirements Keep soil consistently moist through the growing season. Add a mulch layer to slow water evaporation from soil. In containers, water whenever the top inch of soil is dry.
Frost-fighting plan Basil is very frost-tender and damaged by temperatures below 4º C. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the fall growing season.
Common issues Pinch flower buds to keep plants from bolting. Once flowers form, leaf flavor changes. Pests to watch out for: aphids, slugs, Japanese beetles, and earwigs. Fungal diseases sometimes occur in humid climates, and root rot is common in poorly drained soil.
Growing tips Pinch or prune basil plants as they grow to promote branching and bushiness. Never cut into the woody parts of a stem; plants won’t re-sprout.
Harvesting Pick leaves at any point in the growing season. Choose individual leaves, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire.
Storage Cut basil stems and place in water like a fresh bouquet. They’ll last for weeks, provided you remove any leaves below the water line and change water regularly. Never place basil in the refrigerator; the cold air damages leaves. Preserve basil by freezing or in herbal vinegars.