Basil-Siam Queen

  • Plant Type: Warm season annual
  • Sun: Full sun
  • Plant Size: 2 feet tall and wide
  • Culinary Use: Fresh leaves in Thai, Asian, Middle Eastern cuisine

An All America Selections winner in 1997, Siam Queen is one of the most beautiful and tasty of all basils for herb gardens, flowerbeds, or containers. The licorice flavor characteristic of Asian basil is very pronounced in its smooth, rich green leaves. It also differs from other basils by making pretty pink, white, or lavender flowers in a cluster (rather than long spikes). Enjoy these in a small vase.

Plant Spacing: 1 foot. Plants Per Person: 1 to 2.

Secrets to Success »

Basil is very sensitive to cold. Plant in spring after all danger of frost has passed. When flowers appear in mid to late summer, cut them often to keep the flavorful leaves coming and to keep the plant compact and full. (Blooming stops new leaf growth.) Fertilize with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food to fuel new growth.

Harvest and Use »

To harvest, pinch off lower leaves at first, then pinch the tips of the growing stems as the plant gets bigger. For a lot of leaves, clip off the top third of stems, cutting often to encourage new growth. Be careful not to cut the woody part of the stem (it's brown instead of green) or the stem won't re-grow.

Don't keep fresh basil in a refrigerator; it turns brown. Keep leaves handy by putting cut stems in a vase or glass of water on your countertop. Your kitchen will smell great. Add fresh leaves to Thai, Asian, and Middle Eastern recipes.

Before frost kills the plant in fall, freeze leaves in freezer bags, in ice trays with water, or chopped in your favorite oil for the taste of fresh basil all winter.

Try these garden companions »

  • Hot peppers—Chili Red and Thai Hot
  • Red and Green Bell sweet peppers
  • Japanese or other cucumbers
  • Ichiban or Chinese eggplants

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