All varieties of basil love warm weather and moisture and are perennials in the right climates. In northern or colder climates, basil is an annual due to the shorter growing season, but is truly a perennial. Thai and African Blue basil can be raised year around, even in colder climates by bringing the plants inside for the colder months and providing plenty of light and moisture. By extending the growing season for basil, cooks can delight the palates of their guests or families year around with fresh basil.
Areas with plenty of sunshine enjoy fresh perennial basil such as Thai and African Blue basil year around. Colder climates present some obstacles, but no obstacle that cannot be overcome. By bringing the plants indoors during cold weather and giving the perennial basil plenty of warmth, moisture and light, raising perennial basil becomes a doable project. Basil raised outside in colder climates need to be replanted each year, but under warmer conditions, basil is perennial.
Thai basil is easy to get started from seed. After the seed is sown, baby plants appear in about one to two weeks. The seedlings need to be thinned out to space each little plant about six to twelve inches apart. African Blue basil is a cross breed and the seeds from this cross is sterile. To grow African Blue, starters are taken from a parent plant and raised as individual plants.
Basil of all kinds needs six to eight hours of continual sunlight each day. Warmer climates provide this type of light, while colder climates need some help with the lighting requirements. An artificial light makes the difference for raising Thai and African Blue basil indoors. The light requirement with artificial light is upped to ten to twelve hours a day. In the summer in colder climates, a south facing garden bed or window sill will give plenty of light to keep the basil healthy.
Well drained soil is a must for basil. Letting too much water accumulate will cause the roots to rot and ruin your plant. Container planting requires that a regular watering schedule is kept. Basil likes lots of moisture, but not excessive moisture. Mulching helps retain the proper amount of moisture for Thai and African Blue basil between watering.
Thai and African Blue perennial basil reaches heights of two to three feet. Once full leaves are on the plant, harvesting can begin. Pinching the leaves and removing flowers helps strengthen the plant and retain the flavor of the basil. Regular harvest improves the health of the plant
Giving perennial basil the right amount of light, moisture and balanced pH in the soil is the secret to raising beautiful plants that produce year around. The pH level should be kept at a neutral level for optimum growing conditions. A small amount of liquid organic fertilizer helps the plants stay strong and healthy.
For a culinary delight, Thai and African blue perennial basil is the secret ingredient for great tasting dishes. The beauty of each variety of basil is immeasurable and will add that touch of elegance to any garden or home.