Sunday, April 4, 2010

Basil! I needs it! (blue basil)

Along with my penchant for ornamental peppers (well, nearly any chile pepper) and tomatoes I love BASIL.  Who doesn't really?  And I don't mean just regular ol' sweet basil, but all the VARIETIES of basil (like my mint fetish, but not at the same rate of invasiveness).

It's not just the smell/taste that I love about basil, but its cool ability to so easily cross with others in its family (that sounds a little wrong doesn't it) and such simple propagation (cut, add to water, wait for roots)  makes me think of it as a saint among herbs.

So at the Memphis Master Gardener's Spring Fling earlier this year I got really excited when I saw a much coveted African blue basil plant and broke my plant buying moratorium (exotics/helpful perennials are more exempt from my new rule).

African Blue basil is a hybrid between an east African basil and "Dark Opal" basil, so it will unfortunately not produce true seeds (or seeds at all is what I've heard).  Though considered rather ornamental with gorgeous lavender flowers, it is highly fragrant witch a spicy clove-camphor scent.  Descriptions like that make me wish Smell-o-vision was available online!

The basil I bought was greenhouse grown and very nice and full, a great deal at $4 for its size and rarity.  It was already had racemes ready to flower, but as I wanted a large, strong and healthy plant I cut the racemes off so it would put its energy into growth rather than flowering.

I took a few cuttings from the side of the mother plant too and popped them in water  for rooting so it will be part insurance (in case the one outside gets killed) and part easy gift giving for those others who love basil.   Life is good.

Interesting Links:


bridgmanpottery said...

I kept some african blue basil cuttings over the winter and just planted them out- last summer I had hundreds of bees on one plant- up to 15 different varieties of pollinators!

persephone said...

@bridgmanpottery: I'm excited about it taking off this year, though everything's seemed somewhat slow this year on my side and then this freak mid-80 degree weather is confusing the plants and me as to how to react! I love your pottery btw! so glad to learn about you and i'd type more of it if it wasn't for an REM-ing dog sleeping on my other dominant arm now!