Basil - African blue

Ocimum basilicum


A tender perennial with large purple aromatic leaves and long spikes of purple flowers, it has the same culinary uses as common basil with the advantage it can be overwintered with enough warmth. 9x9cm pot (8cm depth)
Size:

9x9cm pot (8cm depth)

Price:
Sale price£3.10
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Currently unavailable

Description

  • Very decorative basil
  • Attractive to bumble bees
  • Aromatic leaves for culinary dishes
  • Can be kept year round if the right conditions

Introduced form the East in the sixteenth century, the sweet pungent flavour of basil has been popular ever since as a culinary herb and needs to be used fresh as the dried herb is not comparable in flavour. There are many varieties of basil and his showy purple leaved type grows well in pots and is very slightly more robust than the others.

Plant Care

  • Height: 60 - 100 cm
  • Type: Tender
  • Aspect: Sun
  • Soil: Any/alkaline
  • Flower colour: White
  • Flowering period: June - October

This beautiful aromatic basil sadly, although perennial, is still as tender as all the other varieties. It needs to be kept above about twelve degrees centigrade in order to survive, so the best months outside are between mid-May and the end of August when the night time temperatures are higher. It grows very successfully in a heated conservatory, or if not too large, on a sunny windowsill. When young and small, basil should be watered carefully and drained properly – no sitting in saucers of water. Once established and growing fast in the summer they will guzzle water and like all herbs in pots will need a weekly feed to keep them strong and healthy. Pinch out the tips to eat rather than pull the leaves off the stems, that way the basil will remain bushy.

Usage

The leaves of African blue basil are a little fleshier than more traditional basils, but the flavour is just as good and it can be used in the same way for pestos, pasta sauces, tomato dishes, soups, salads and fruit dishes – especially with strawberries. This particular basil produces masses of purple flowers on long stems which bumble bees particularly find irresistible. Basil oil is used as a commercial flavouring and in the perfume industry.

 

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