Ocimum Basilicum - Genovese Basil
India, Africa, and Asia
Ocimum Basilicum is commonly known as Sweet basil and is widely used as a culinary herb. It is a tender annual, aromatic plant with a spicy odor and flavor. It grows 12-18 inches tall and foliage color can range from green to purple. Foliage size can vary from large lettuce-like leaves to very small leaves, half an inch in size. Basil is easily grown as a window sill herb for fall, winter and early spring harvest. The plant is also less likely to bolt, meaning it is less likely to flower quickly in hot weather. Flowering stops the vegetative growth of the basil plant. "Genovese" has a reputation for making the best pesto, as well as the best "Insalata Caprese," which is a dish consisting of tomato slices topped with mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves. Leaves are large, bright green and crinkled.
Ocimum basilicum prefers full sunlight and it can easily grow in poor, well-drained soil. It performs poorly in heavy clay soil. It is drought tolerant once established. Regular pruning is not required. It requires low to medium watering.
It is used as a culinary herb for gardens and containers. It is excellent for flavoring a variety of dishes.