Lime Basil - 50 seeds
Lime Basil - 50 seeds
Lime basil (Ocimum americanum - Hoary basil - American basil) has bright lighter green leaves that are ovoid with gently scalloped margins and deep veins. They are arranged opposite on square stems. The flowers arise at the tops of the branches in large spikes of small white flowers from July onwards. Plants can grow up to three feet in height and about 18" wide. Flower spikes can reach higher under the right conditions.
All basils are very easy to grow from seed. Lime basil seeds are slightly different from other basils in that they produce a gelatinous outer coating which appears when the seeds are wet. For this reason it is essential that the seeds be kept moist but not wet as the coating is susceptible to molds. Keep compost slightly dry at all times but do not let it dry out entirely. Pot on when seedlings are large enough to handle and plant out after hardening off.
Lime Basil can easily be grown indoors in pots all year around to ensure fresh herb for the kitchen. Starting seeds in early spring ready for outdoor planting will help increase the season length. Seeds can then either be sown throughout the year in pots if desired or sown directly in the ground once all danger of frost has passed.
Germination usually takes about 14-20 days depending on temperature.
Lime Basil is easy to grow from seed but takes a little more care than some other herbs. It likes full sun, but in very warm sunny areas partial shade is advisable. It prefers a soil with good organic material for the best lush growth of leaves.
It also likes a pretty rich soil and grows best with a good mulching. The more organic material and fertilizer it gets the richer the leaf growth is. Lush leaves are usually what is required on a Lime basil plant unless its grown as an ornamental. For leaf harvest lots of fertilizer and nitrogen will increase leaf growth and reduce it the likelihood of flowering. If cared for it will produce a multitude of leaves that can be constantly picked for use in the kitchen.
Flowers should be pinched off as soon as they begin to appear if the plant is begin grown for leaves. No basil produces a good crop of leaves after it begins to flower so this must be discouraged. Flowering signals the end of the lifespan so the longer it can be kept from flowering the longer the plant will live. However it is an annual and will rarely live longer than six months in the ground and as little as 3-4 in a pot.
Lime Basil needs more water than many other herbs. Lime Basil is a lush plant and will not tolerate any drought. Daily watering is essential for good productive plants. In times of drought and high heat water more frequently.
When watering try to get all the water at the soil level and not on the leaves. Water droplets on the leaves can act as little lenses and burn the leaves. Avoid splashing the water and soil up on the leaves as this can promote fungal molds. An ideal way to water basil in the ground is by using a soaker hose. This allows water to reach the roots without getting any on the leaves and its easier for the gardener so all you need to do is turn on the hose once a day. Or you can get a timer and let it be watered automatically.
Lime Basil is a tender plant and will not tolerate frost. As soon as the weather turns cold the leaves begin to turn black. In areas where there is not frost the plants can live for two or more years. Basils can tolerate slightly acidic soils. If the pH is lower than 6.5, add a dressing of lime when preparing the soil.
Lime Basil is a great addition to any flower bedas the bright green leaves and exotic look of the plant add interest and can be a very nice backdrop for other flowering plants. To keep basil at it's best for leaf production pinch off the flower stalks as they arise. This may be an ongoing process if the plant is happy as it will want to flower. However flowering will reduce leaf production and pinching encourages the plant to branch and produce even more leaves.