Name: Thai basil, oriental basil, Asian basil, licorice basil (Ocimum basilicum, var. thyrsiflora)
Plant type: annual herb
Climate: prefers tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate climates, but can be grown during the warmer months in arid/semi-arid and cold temperate climates, when frost is unlikely.
Soil: plant in a soil enriched with compost and decomposed manure.
Position: full sun, and also part shade in tropical and sub-tropical climates.
Flowering and fruiting: N/A
Feeding: regular applications of a seaweed solution help to keep plants healthy and productive.
Watering: water regularly, especially during hot dry weather.
Appearance and characteristics of Thai basil
Closely related to sweet basil, Thai basil has slightly smaller foliage, striking purple stems and matching decorative flower heads. More intense in flavour than sweet basil but with a hint of licorice, Thai basil is a powerful addition to summer salads, as well as an attractive addition to the herb or kitchen garden.
Uses for Thai basil
Thai basil is a highly decorative herb that’s equally suited to the ornamental garden or the vegie patch. The purple stems and flower heads make an attractive addition to the summer garden. An annual herb, Thai basil is best harvested regularly and used fresh in salads, soups and rice paper rolls.
Caring for Thai basil
Although regular watering is essential, once established, Thai basil is easy to grow. Harvest regularly to extend your harvest and to help delay your basil from running to seed.
Thai basil prefers a moist soil, so enrich with compost and manure, water regularly, and mulch to reduce water loss through evaporation. Always water the soil and not the foliage, especially in hot weather.
Pruning and harvesting Thai basil
Harvest regularly to promote compact growth and to prevent your Thai basil running to seed. An annual herb, plants should be cut down at the end of the growing season. The leaves can be dried for use throughout the year.
Diseases and pests
Snails and slugs can attack young plants. Protect with organic snail pellets or by using a snail and slug trap. Avoid overhead watering, especially during the day. If aphids become a problem, spray with Neem or Eco-Oil to prevent further damage.
If you like this then try
Vietnamese mint: a moisture-loving Asian spreading herb that’s at its peak during the warm months.
Lemongrass: popular in Asian and Indian cuisine, this strappy herb loves moist soils.
Coriander: a delicious annual herb perfect to grow from seed this summer.
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