- Plant Type: Warm season annual
- Sun: Full sun
- Plant Size: 18 to 24 inches tall, 8 to 12 inches wide
- Culinary Use: Fresh leaves in salads, oils, and vinegars
These purple basil leaves have a beautiful, coppery glow and slightly licorice flavor. Use them in salads or preserved in oils and vinegars.
Plant Spacing: 12 inches. 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 off 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.
Rather than storing basil in a refrigerator, place stems in vase or a glass of water on your countertop for easy access and to perfume your kitchen (leaves turn brown in the fridge.) Use fresh purple basil leaves on salads, in salad dressing, or preserved in oil or vinegar. With its licorice flavor, purple basil makes an interesting pesto—try it for yourself.
Before frost kills the plant in fall, freeze leaves in freezer bags, in ice trays with water, or chopped in your favorite oil, or in pesto.
Try these garden companions »
- A big slicing tomato such as Big Beef, Red Beefsteak, or Pink Brandywine for beautiful caprese salad with mozzarella and purple basil leaves.
- Mint and parsley to add unique flavor in pesto recipes.
- Parsley and oregano for Italian dishes.