Perhaps the most popular and widely used culinary herb. It is a tender annual, aromatic plant with a spicy odor and flavor. It grows 12-18 inches tall and foliage color can range from green to purple. Foliage size can vary from large lettuce-like leaves to very small leaves, half inch in size.
Basil is easily grown from seed or from tip cuttings of overwintered plants. Because basil is sensitive to cold temperatures, seeds germinate and grow best when the media temperature is at least 70 degrees. Seeds will germinate in about 5-7 days. If sowing seed indoors to grow transplants for later use out in the garden, allow about 3-4 weeks to produce transplants suitable for transplanting well after the frost free date and when soil temperatures are at least 60 degrees and above. Cold soil and air temperatures can stunt basil growth and can even cause damage and blackened leaves at 50 degrees. Basil prefers a sunny location, and a soil that is well supplied with organic matter and is fertile. Basil also likes to be kept well-watered. Poorly prepared soils that are low in nutrients result in slow growing basil that is not very flavorful. Basil is excellent as a decorative/culinary herb in patio or balcony containers or in the garden.