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Care of the plant Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil.

Care of the plant Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil

The genus Ocimum, family Lamiaceae, includes about 35 species of herbaceous plants and shrubs native to Asia, Europe and Africa. Some species are: Ocimum basilicum, Ocimum americanum, Ocimum gratissimum, Ocimum tenuiflorum.

Common names: Sweet Basil, Common Basil, Genovese basil, Thai Basil, Great basil, Tropical Basil or Saint Joseph's Wort. This species is native to India.

They are annual aromatic herbaceous plants (perennials in tropical regions) that reach 50 cm in height. The leaves are glossy green ovate. There are large-leaved, small-leaved, and purple varieties. The small white flowers appear in terminal spikes. They bloom in summer.

They are used in borders, in gardens of aromatic plants and in pots for balconies, windows, patios and greenhouses. It has stimulating and spasmodic medicinal properties. Prepare infusions with fresh leaves, not dried. With the leaves, sauce like pesto is prepared. Basil consumption is not recommended for pregnant women.

Fresh leaves can be collected from mid spring to late summer. The leaves dry out in autumn so that you can enjoy their aroma during winter. To do this, the bush is cut and hung upside down in a dark place with good ventilation.

Ocimum basilicum needs full sun exposure and a warm climate. In frost-free regions they can be grown as perennials; the stem is lignifying at the base.

The soil can be normal, well-drained garden soil with coarse sand and containing abundant organic matter.

Water frequently so that the substrate always remains moist. They do not resist drought.

In order to produce more leaves, it is convenient to prune the tips of the branches to eliminate the flower spikes; do not do it if you want to obtain seeds.

Sometimes they are attacked by caterpillars that eat the leaves.

They are propagated from seeds sown in late winter in the greenhouse or early spring in their final location.

Images of the plant Ocimum basilicum or Sweet Basil

Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum basilicum
Ocimum basilicum
 

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