These purple basil leaves have a beautiful, coppery glow and clove-like, slightly spicy flavor. Use them in salads or preserved in oils and vinegars. A pot of purple basil provides surprisingly, striking color in the garden. Basil is easy to grow, but it only grows outdoors in the summer—and only once the soil has warmed up nicely—so plan accordingly.
Companion Planting for Purple Basil
Basil grows extremely well with tomato as it improves the tomato flavor.
Growing Purple Basil
Planting: Grows best with 6-8 hours sun, but partial sun location works well also. Seeds germinate slowly, but will germinate faster when heated from below. Basil works great in containers or raised beds, as these allow for better drainage.
Watering: Keep well water in the summer months. Basil needs well-drained soil.
Fertilizer: Plant in a well-drained soil enriched with compost, aged manure, or other organic materials. Fertilize after seedlings are about 4 inches.
Days to Maturity: Can harvest leaves around 60-90 days. Seedlings emerge in 14-21 days.
Size: Purple Basil can grow to about 24″‘ tall. Plant can become very bushy and spread.
- Do not harvest too much of the basil at once or the loss of leaves will weaken the plant.
- Flowers are also edible. Beautiful as a garnish. Also add flowers to cool summer drinks.
- To dry basil, cut whole stems on a dry morning. Tie stems loosely together in small bunches and hang in a dry, airy location out of the sun. Basil may also be dried on a cheesecloth or a window screen. When thoroughly dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location.
Tips: After about 6 weeks, pinch off the center shoot to prevent early flowering. If flowers do grow, just cut them off to encourage additional leaf growth. But flowers are beautiful and attract bees and butterflies. Once temperatures hit 80°F, basil will really start leafing out.
Enjoy the Basil: Basil has a lovely fragrance. Pick from the stems and put in water for a few days as you would with cut flowers!