|Scientific Name:||Ocimum basilicum|
|Plant Type||Herb, Foliage|
This post will cover the basics of the plant as well as how to care for it:
Here is a list of popular basil varieties:
Sweet basil is the most popular variety and is used in many Italian dishes. You can find both the plants and the produce at most supermarkets where herbs are sold.
Thai Basil has a slightly different flavor (more anise-like). It is a common ingredient in many dishes from Southeast Asia.
Cinnamon basil has a slight cinnamon-like scent and flavor. It is commonly used in stir-frys. The variety is native to Mexico.
Lettuce also has an anise-like flavor and is typically used in salads. the plant grows large leaves that mix well with tomatoes and other greens.
Green Basil (also known as Bush Basil) is often used instead of sweet basil. It grows well in a planter and produces small leaves.
How to Care for Indoor Basil
Basil is fairly easy to care for so long as it is placed in the right container and environment. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
Common Problems with Basil
Companion Plants to a Basil
Not only do the following plants grow well when planted near basil, but they also work well with the plant when cooking. Here are some plants that can be companion plants:
Tomatoes are fairly easy to grow and are a very popular addition to many dishes. There are many varieties that come in a range of sizes and tastes and will have a different harvesting schedule to each other. The two main types of tomatoes are “determinate tomatoes” and “indeterminate tomatoes.” Determinate tomatoes tend to grow to a 2 or 3-foot tall bush. Many canning tomatoes are determinate. Indeterminate tomatoes are “vining” plants that often need to be staked in order to stay upright. Many cherry tomato varieties are indeterminate.
From the same family as onions and leeks, chives are an easy plant to grow to harvest for your kitchen. They are cold-tolerant perennials that do well growing in the spring, allowing you to have a tasty treat in early summer. Growing from bulbs planted underground, the plant produces green, tubular leaves. The plant will also produce spherical clusters of blooms that are also edible. Chives are also known to be a pest deterrent and will chase away many insects such as mosquitoes.
A perennial, asparagus is a plant that will produce stout stalks that can grow to between 40 and 60 inches tall (though most asparagus for culinary use will not reach that size). When eating the plant, you will notice that it has a woody and fibrous texture. The plant has feathery foliage that seems to make a spear shape at the top of each stem. Once your asparagus reaches the point where it can be harvested, it will happily grow for many years, allowing you to take advantage of this delicious vegetable year after year.
Plants that are Similar to Basil
There are several herbs that pair well with and that grow in a similar environment. Here are a few of our favorite herbs:
Oregano is a hardy, perennial herb Today, there are over 100 different species of oregano worldwide that plants similar characteristics including attractive foliage, aromatic leaves, and beautiful rose-purple or white blooms. Oregano prefers full sun and well-drained soil. It will tolerate drought conditions provided its roots remain moist. Like other members of the Lamiaceae family, oregano thrives in hot weather. Oregano is often used in many tomato-centric recipes and is the main ingredient in both pizza and pasta sauce.
Peppermint is a very easy herb to grow. With proper care, the plant can grow to about 3 feet high, producing serrated edged leaves that are often harvested for culinary purposes. Whether used as a tea, a part of a salad, or added to baked goods, peppermint is one of the most popular flavors that come from an herb. When harvesting, it is est to remove the leaves in the morning before the sun reduces the oil content.
Also known as coriander, Cilantro is a popular herb that known for its strong flavor and is often used in Mexican cooking. It is easy to grow, but shouldn’t be transplanted too often. It is said to have come from the Mediterranean region. The cilantro plant is an annual plant. It grows up to 18 to 24 inches high. This green leafy plant has square-shaped stems with small narrow leaves. Its flowers are white in color and are clustered in little umbrella-shaped structures at the end of its branches. It can usually be grown in backyard gardens.
Tarragon is another delicious culinary herb, It has long, slender stems and needle-like leaves (which are what is used for flavor). The plant is a perennial herb native to the Mediterranean. It has a somewhat sweet, spicy flavor that is often compared to anise. It is especially good with chicken, fish, eggs, potatoes, and cream-based sauces. The leaves are small, bright green, and narrow to a point. The leaves grow in opposite pairs along the stem. The flowers are yellow-green and tiny.
Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is an herbaceous biennial plant in the celery family Apiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but has become naturalized in many places and is cultivated for its edible leaves. It is also used as a decorative garnish. The plant is widely used in European, Middle Eastern, and American cooking, and, used as traditional herbal medicine. Parsley can grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall. It bears small clusters of white or pink flowers and pointed leaves. The plant produces delicious leaves the first year and seeds in its second.