Sweet High Oil
Organic Basil Seeds

The Sweet High Oil Basil has beautiful leaves that have a wonderful sweet flavor, making it perfect for pestos, sauces and salads!

Large Leaf
Organic Basil Seeds

The Large Leaf's shiny dark green leaves can grow up to 4 inches long and is perfect for a home garden or in a windowsill container!

Sweet Genovese
Organic Basil Seeds

The Sweet Genovese Basil is a popular Italian variety that is prized for its large leaves, wonderful aroma and spicy flavor.

Learning Download: How to Grow Basil

From Seed to Harvest: A beginner’s guide to growing Basil.

Herbs not only enhance food’s taste but can also have many nutritional benefits, with basil being a good example. Basil is often incorporated into Italian dishes and is one of the main ingredients in pesto, but in addition to its delicious taste, basil is an anti-inflammatory, rich in magnesium and has antibacterial characteristics. Herbs grow quickly and are easy to grow in pots on a porch if there is limited garden space. Basil comes in many different options with flavors from sweet to spicy.

To plant:

Basil grows best in warm weather, and basil seeds should be planted after all dangers of frost have passed. Plant seeds 1/4 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Seeds can be started indoors to get a head start on growing the herb. Plant indoors six weeks before the last frost date and place in a sunny windowsill. Plant in moist soil that is well-drained. If planting in a container, use a larger pot to prevent plants from drying out in the summer heat.

To grow:

Basil needs six to eight hours of sun per day. Water the plants freely during dry periods and once flowering begins, pinch off the flower heads to encourage the leaves to continue to grow. Basil does best in soil with a pH of 6 to 7. Since basil likes moisture, place mulch in the pot or around the plants to help retain moisture. Basil should be pruned once the plant has six to eight leaves. After the basil plant is six weeks old, pinch off the center shoot to keep flowering at bay. Basil grows well if planted near tomatoes in the garden.

The biggest threat to a basil plant is root rot from poor drainage, so ensure the planting site has adequate drainage. Also, watch out for pests such as aphids, slugs or Japanese beetles.

To harvest:

Basil leaves can begin to be harvested once the plant is is 6 to 8 inches tall, typically 60 to 90 days after planting the seeds. Picking leaves regularly encourages more growth. Harvest the leaves by pinching them off of the stem, and always harvest from the top of the plant. Basil can be frozen to preserve its flavor, used fresh or dried.

What basil craves:

Since basil is a very fast-growing and leafy plant, it requires fertilizer. Upon planting, add organic nutrients to the soil such as compost, blood meal or cottonseed meal.

Feed with liquid plant food every few weeks to encourage growth, but be sure to not use fertilizers that leave a harmful residue since you will be consuming the leaves.

Where to buy basil seeds:

You can find many kinds of basil seeds ranging from traditional green sweet basil to purple basil at Urban Farmer.

Learning Download: Basil Comparison Chart

Basil Comparison Chart

Variety Days Color Cut Flower Organic Planting Disease Resistance
Ararat 60 purple green leaves yes container
Aroma 2 70 green leaves yes container, garden, greenhouse yes
Cinnamon 64 green leaves with lavender flowers yes container
Dark Opal 80 dark purple leaves yes container
Genovese** 35 green leaves container
Green Ruffles 70 green leaves container
Large Leaf Italian** 74 light green leaves container
Large Leaf** 70-80 green leaves yes container
Lemon 90 light green leaves container
Lettuce Leaf 65 green leaves garden
Lime 60 green leaves yes container
Mrs. Burns 60 green leaves with pink flowers yes garden
Pistou** 60 green leaves container
Red Rubin 35 dark red leaves yes container
Siam Queen 75 light green leaves container
Spicy Bush 70 green leaves container
Sweet Genovese** 35 dark green leaves container
Sweet High Oil** 60-70 green leaves yes container
Valentino 80 light green leaves garden

*All American Selection Winner
***AAS Winner/Heirloom