Please explain different basils

marlingardenerFebruary 1, 2009

I have sweet basil, basil Italiano Classico, and Basil Genovese started. Since we expanded our herb garden this year, I have lots of space for basil, which we use a lot. However, I am confused as to the difference in the taste of the three types. Could you explain it to me, please?

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francescod(6b/7a VA)

All are considered sweet basils. Basically, any of the non "flavored" basils are considered sweet. Sweet in this case doesn't mean sweet like sugar. There are lots of "Genovese" types. It depends on the seed source as to what they call them so it isn't possible to accurately tell you what each one will taste like-you'll find out once you grow them. Generally, there are subtle differences in flavor, leaf size, and even overall plant height. Some are comparatively tasteless. Some have a noticeable clove-like flavor. Johnny's Select Seed catalog says their "Genovese" type has the more clove-like flavor.
Your basil will appreciate long warm days. You may need to provide supplemental light even though you are further south. 14 hours a day and temperatures above 55 (70 or above would be ideal).

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 4:36PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

There are many more that 3 types of basil, as well as leaf sizes, colors, and tastes.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2009 at 8:10PM
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mjha

The basil flavors change with growing conditions as well as soil types. The richer the soil, the hotter the temp, the longer the day lenth, the better the moisutre control, the fewer the florets... the better and more true is the flavor.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2009 at 10:13AM
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rj_hythloday(8A VA)

Richters has great descriptions of the different basil's that they sell. This year I'll be growing sacred, nufar f1, superbo, greek bush, mr.s Burns lemon, Lesbos, and Envigor.

Here is a link that might be useful: Richters basil

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 1:25PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Don't forget thai basil. It has a different flavor than "regular" basil and is great for Asian dishes. I made chicken pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) last night and while the dried isn't as good as fresh, the thai basil I picked and dried last summer was a great and needed addition to make the pho taste like pho!

By the way, the thai basils are beautiful plants as well with lime colored leaves and reddish/purple stems. Skip your standard foliage plants in your flower gardens and add some beauties like thai basil and the variegated pepper variety "Fish". Pretty and tasty!

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 3:17PM
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marlingardener

Thanks, all! Judging from the number of seedlings we have, I am going to become well acquainted with the taste and growing habits of several basils.
I'd like to try a Thai basil, and will probably order it (and maybe more kinds) from Richter's.
Sure do appreciate the advice from y'all.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2009 at 5:07PM
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takadi(7)

When's the best time to transfer to a potting medium when rooting cuttings in water?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2009 at 10:10PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

According to some books I've read, there are anywhere from 30 to 150 basil varieties. I've been growing them here in the summer and most do very well. For more information, here are a couple of websites to check out:

http://growingtaste.com/herbs/basil.shtml

http://www.theherbcottage.com/bsilvar.html

http://www.debaggioherbs.com/basil.html

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 4:56AM
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takadi(7)

"The basil flavors change with growing conditions as well as soil types. The richer the soil, the hotter the temp, the longer the day lenth, the better the moisutre control, the fewer the florets... the better and more true is the flavor."

mjha, your claim about richer soil contradicts with ltcollins's link here

http://growingtaste.com/herbs/basil.shtml

    Bookmark   February 13, 2009 at 7:58PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

I have found that many herbs do not like to be pampered with special soils and fertilizers. I might occasionally use a fish/seaweed emulsion on my herbs.

What I have found is that you need to put them in the right spot to grow which can include well-drained soils, lots of sun to little sun, and watering needs. Make sure they are well mulched to protect the roots.

It's a lot about just learning what works best for you.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 5:43PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

Also, herb growing here in Texas is unlike growing them in the north. Often it is suggested to plant in full sun, but if planted in full sun it Texas, it probably won't grow. And living on the coast with the combined high heat and high humidity, the plant will often just steam to death.

I don't know what part of Texas you are in, but you might want to check out two good books that I recommend for herb growing in Texas which are: Southern Herb Growing by Madalene Hill & Gwen Barclay and Herbs for Texas by Howard Garrett. Both of these are the best books that you can get for Texas herb growing. I have lots of herb books that I enjoy, but for Texas get both of these or at least one of these.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2009 at 5:51PM
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marlingardener

ltcollins,
I have the Barclay/Hill book, and yes, it is invaluable! You have been very helpful on previous herb questions I've posted, as well as others. Thanks for sharing your expertise. Like you, I don't fertilize herbs, and my herb beds get late afternoon shade. I find that here a little stress adds to the flavor. I have three herbs types growing now, and will be swapping with a gardening friend for Thai basil and something she has forgotten the name of!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 12:19PM
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ltcollins1949(9a TX)

You are welcome.

And like I said, I don't know where you live in Texas, but you might be interested in attending the Herbal Forum at Round Top. If you haven't been there, take the time to go. It is great.

And if you are in or around Rockport, check out our upcoming Fifth Annual Rockport Herb Festival. It should be fun. Not as big as Round Top, but then Rockport is a great place to visit!

I've met several of my gardening neighbors from being on this forum and the Texas Gardening Forum. Maybe we can meet one day!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 1:11PM
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marlingardener

ltcollins,
We are about 20 miles southeast of Waco, in Central Texas with mostly blackland prairie soil. We have a tiny farm, and since we have been here for only about two years, I am still establishing gardens.
One of my goals in life is to attend the Round Top Herbal Forum, and another is to get to Rockport for the herb festival. You posted that you were taking flats of your herbs to the festival last year, and I nearly cried that I couldn't attend and scoop up all those wonderful herbs! Ah, perhaps next year . . . .
Have a great herb festival there in Rockport, and let us know how it all turns out.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2009 at 8:24PM
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takadi(7)

I am rooting some cuttings in some water and some root hairs are growing up. Does anyone know an appropriate time to transfer them to soil is?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2009 at 11:11PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

About an inch long or so. Be sure to use sterile soil so there is no diseases present that can kill newly rooted plants.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 12:54AM
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marlingardener

Takadi,
Be very gentle when transferring your water-rooted herbs to soil. Usually roots formed in water are more fragile than those formed in soil or a potting mix.
One method is to put a layer of mix in a pot, hold the seedling by a leaf with its lowest roots just resting on the soil, and gently spoon soil around the plant to an appropriate depth, then water from the bottom.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2009 at 8:17AM
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takadi(7)

How would I go about watering from the bottom?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:06AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Pots have drain holes on the bottom? Sit the pot in a dish of water a half inch deep for a couple of minutes to soak up some. Then remove the pot. After a couple of waterings that way, you can water from the top, and also add a small amount of a good seedling fertilizer that contains a little bone meal or other phosphorous source. This helps build strong roots.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 1:20AM
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kenny_j

I do love the thai basils. I liken the flavor to anise seed or fennel seed, kind of licorice-like but not as strong as the seeds. My preferred basil since I found it.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 12:20AM
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