You really will want to ‘Try Basil’, a mix of three different basil varieties that come in easy-to-plant pellets. All are dwarf, bushy basils that can be grown in a container. These aromatic herbs have a mild anise flavor with a hint of minty aftertaste.
Aromatic ‘Elidia’ is a sweet, compact basil that’s ideal for growing in pots, although this warm-season herb also flourishes in sunny gardens. It's a type of Genovese basiil that resists turning bitter in slow-cooked dishes. It's also fine for making fresh pesto.
Basil is a warm-weather herb that does best when planted after soil has warmed and there’s no chance of late frost. Following lunar planting schedules, the best time to tuck plants like basil into soil is during the new moon phase.
Plants are bushy and lush, topping out at 2 feet and yielding large leaves packed with rich basil flavor. Flowers form late in the growing season, so you shouldn’t have to spend the summer pinching buds on stems. With regular harvest, expect to pick one-half cup of leaves per week. 'Dolce Fresca' basil is a 2015 All-America Selections winner.
Thai basils are stronger than sweet basils, and this variety, 'Siam Queen', has a licorice flavor. A member of the mint family, fragrant basils are often made into teas thought to sooth upset tummies. For extra flavor, steep a tablespoon of grated lemon peel and two teaspoons of black tea leaves in your basil tea.
Before frost arrives, take cuttings of favorite plants, like coleus, plectranthus, or scented geraniums. Stem tip cuttings from these plants root easily to allow you to overwinter starts for next year’s containers. Also take cuttings of herbs like pineapple sage, Greek basil, mint and basil to root in water and transplant into pots to grow garden fresh flavors on your windowsill.
Mango spacho is a tropical take on traditional gazpacho, featuring garden-fresh flavors of green onion, sweet pepper, tomatillo, basil and cilantro. This bowl of mango spacho features a garnish of flowering cilantro stems loaded with coriander seed.