I’ve recently realised that I have a whole lot of basil. I’ve never been particularly successful growing the humble, common “sweet basil” into enormous plants that are bushy and over hip high like some of my friend and family have. My most successful basil plant is a perennial basil that I believe is still going strong at our previous home. It is a woodier plant with slightly hairy leaves and a very intense flavour.
I’ve tried to grow it here and the plant shrivelled away. I also planted sweet basil in our current herb garden, in the square foot garden. It did ok but never got more than 30cm high. Interestingly it went to seed and I just left it there. The plant gave me 5 or 6 self sown seedlings which I have left to continue, except 2 which I moved into one of the containers closer to my kitchen. They are all doing fine.
I also have an unidentifiable type in out front garden. Whatever it is, it is formidable. It died down to the ground after unexpected spring frost one evening but has come back and gone to seed. I need to investigate it more closely. It is slightly tough and hairy, but not as much as the perennial type.
However my greatest successes with Basils have been the “special” types, which I’ve been growing in pots. I have Dark Lady Basil that is mostly purple when stressed and has a bit of green. This type smells very strongly of liquorice and has jagged edged leaves. I managed to propagate it successfully via a pair of cuttings in a glass container of water.
I also have Thai basil mint, but that doesn’t really count. I’m growing the Dark Lady & Basil Mint in containers outside and together in a pot on my windowsill in the kitchen. This is because I’m a bit lazy and because these plants add life and beauty to the space. It is wonderful to have them so close at hand while I cook or make my morning glass of lemon water or herbal tea.
My newest one is Thai Siam Queen basil. I’ve never seen anything like her. I bought one that has just the purple buds, but these will later open into a flush of white flowers. It smells like cinnamon and liquorice. Can you just imagine that? I’m going to propagate a cutting to plant outside.