- Plant Type: Warm season annual
- Sun: Full Sun/Part Shade
- Plant Size: 1 to 2 feet tall and wide
- Culinary Use: Fresh leaves in Asian and Thai dishes
Cooks use Thai basil for its licorice flavor (more subtle than Asian Basil–Siam Queen). Thai basil has smooth, bright green leaves on striking purple stems. The plant and its leaves are about half the size of Sweet basil. Great choice for containers.
Plant Spacing: 12-18 inches apart. 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. Toss handfuls of fresh Thai basil leaves into Thai dishes just before serving. The purple stems also make a nice garnish.
Before frost kills the plant in fall, freeze leaves in freezer bags, in ice trays with water or chopped in your favorite oil for stir fry 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