The basil is now one of the best-selling culinary herbs. We will show you the great variety of varieties there is for your own garden.
Many know the basil ( Ocimum basilicum ) only as a light green plant with large, curved leaves, which are often offered in supermarkets. But the variety of basil is enormous. Representatives are available in a wide variety of leaf colors. In addition to the classic green, there are also varieties such as red basil or black basil, in which the veins of the leaves are colored dark red or green-white to green-purple.
The differences in smell and taste between the different types are due to the individual compositions of the essential oils. Not even the supposed wisdom that basil is always annual is not true. Some varieties of basil are even persistent when wintered in frost-free conditions. In the basil ( Ocimum ) genus, in addition to the culinary herb that is popular with us, there are other species and crosses between species that are cultivated – for example, the Indian basil ( Ocimum tenuiflorum ).
Popular varieties of basil
In the following we will introduce you to some popular varieties of basil with their special properties:
- ‘Albahaca’: This aromatic basil variety with purple leaves grows up to 90 cm high.
- ‘Chianti’: ‘Chianti’ is a very aromatic variety. It grows up to 50 cm high and impresses with its intensely red-colored leaves.
- ‘Cino’: The gentle cinnamon note has given this variant the nickname “basil cinnamon”. Basil of this variety grows up to 30 cm high and is noticeable on the outside with its reddish-purple stems.
- ‘Italian Star’: ‘Italy Star’ captivates with its peppery aroma. The variety has particularly large leaves and is vigorous.
- ‘Neapolitan Basil’: The ‘Neapolitan Basil’ is considered to be one of the best varieties. The large green leaves are strongly curled and have a peppery aroma.
- ‘Pesto Perpetuo’: This variety is a real exotic because of its white variegated foliage. The basil grows up to 70 cm high and is even perennial if wintered correctly.
- ‘Lemon basil’: ‘Lemon basil’ has a characteristic lemon aroma. The leaves are flat and smaller than those of traditional basil.
- ‘Thai basil’: ‘Thai basil’ is a variation of basil with an aniseed taste and smell. This variety is particularly popular in Asian cuisine.
For your basil to thrive and give you a plentiful harvest, it is not just the variety that is crucial, but also the right substrate. Special herbal soils such as our organic herb and sowing soil from Gardender provide your basil with the best starting conditions.
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Small basil varieties
Are you looking for low basil or are you short on space on your windowsill? Then a small, compact basil plant is just right for you:
- ‘Aristotle’: This basil variety impresses with its compact and cushion-shaped growth. It is only about 20 cm tall and gives off an intense scent of cloves. The leaves are fine and densely branched.
- ‘Piccolino’: The variety lives up to its name because it grows very compactly and has small leaves. It reaches a maximum height of 30 cm.
Perennial shrub basil varieties
Basil doesn’t have to be annual. Many shrub basil varieties are persistent in frost-free wintering. As the name suggests, shrub basil grows in a very bushy shape. Some of the varieties are crosses of different species from the genus of basil ( Ocimum ):
- Ocimum basilicum subsp. minimum ‘Corfu’: This Greek shrub basil is characterized by its compact and weak growth. It rarely blooms – and when it does, very late in the year. This ensures you a long harvest. In addition, this variety is very robust and can even be grown as a small tree.
- Ocimum basilicum ‘Mammut’: As the name suggests, this variety is very strong and has large leaves. It tolerates light frosts.
- Ocimum canum x basilicum ‘Wildes Purpur’: This basil variety is a real eye-catcher. The shrub-like growth and the intense purple-colored foliage are something very special. This variety of basil grows up to 60 cm high.
- Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum purpurascens ‘African Blue’: This variety is robust and persistent. It stands out for its red-veined leaves and is up to 100 cm high.
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