Basil Italian Pesto
- Type: Annual Herb
- Family: Lamiaceae
- Zone: 2 – 8
- Height: 12 – 18 Inches
- Spread: 6 – 12 Inches
- Harvest Time: Early to Late Summer
- Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
- Water: Medium
- Maintenance: Low
- Suggested Use: Cusine, Ornamental
- Bloom: White
The fragrant, flavorful, large glossy leaves of Basil Italian Pesto are the very favorites of the culinary world. And this basil is the true Genovese basil, rich in oils and so aromatic you will smell it long before you see it in the garden! Whether you use it for pesto, spaghetti sauce, or simply as a companion to your tomato plants (basil is a superb pest repellent), choose Basil Italian Pesto as your “go-to” mainstay basil for big, satisfying harvests all summer long. Pinch off growing tips when plants are 6 to 8 inches tall to encourage branching. Harvest sprays of leaves by cutting stems just above two new sprouting lateral branches to get lush regrowth. Keep flower buds pinched off to extend harvesting and feed regularly to promote new growth.
Ocimum basilicum, commonly called basil, is a native of Africa and Asia. Basils are loaded with volatile oils, responsible for the heady aroma and strong flavor so essential to cooking. Large-Leaf Italian basil is regarded as the essential variety for true Neapolitan cuisine, especially pesto. Expect this Genovese-type basil to grow 18 to 24 inches high and 12 to 15 inches wide. The dark green, shiny leaves grow up to 3 inches long on a tall, erect plant that is slow to bolt. Small terminal bunches of pink flowers will bud out in summer; pinch the new buds away if you want to harvest more of the leaves! Basil loves hot weather and plenty of sunshine, but it needs consistently moist, rich soil. Mulch the plants to retain moisture, and water heavily during dry spells.
No serious insect or disease problems. Basil loves hot weather and plenty of sunshine, but it needs consistently moist, rich soil. Mulch the plants to retain moisture, and water heavily during dry spells.
Harvest the plant before the cold weather sets in, as this will affect the leaves’ texture and flavor. Freeze entire stems, with the leaves still attached, for best flavor retention, or dry the leaves for seasoning.