Thursday, November 7, 2013

Introducing African Blue Basil

  A few summers ago, I bought variety of basil called African Blue Basil.  It was billed as an annual that promised to be more ornamental than culinary.  It smelled wonderful and, although the leaves were similar to basil leaves, they were bluish and much smaller than my Genovese basil.

  This plant grew happily all summer and every so often I cut pieces of it to add to bouquets or to scent a room in the house.  It was a wonderful plant, flowering repeatedly and seemingly impervious to  drought, disease, bugs and neglect. It grew to be about 3 feet tall and perhaps 2 feet wide and it added color to my herb garden.

  This year I bought another African Blue Basil and guess what?  I discovered there is even more to love about it.  I brought in a few sprigs at the end of September, thinking the plant would die soon.  I put them in water to enjoy for a week or so.  I noticed that the bouquet was not wilting, so I kept adding water.  Lo and behold, the cuttings rooted!

 I planted them in a pot and put them in a sunny window on the porch and I'm hoping the plant will winter over.  It will be  so nice to crush a fresh leaf and enjoy the scents of summer when the snow is flying outside!

  This plant performs beautifully in the garden and I plan to use it in my sunny garden to attract bees and butterflies and for some lovely bluish purple flowers all summer long!

  I will still reach for the old fashioned Genovese basil when I'm ready to make pesto, though.  The flavor can't be beat.  And if I want a cup of basil flavored tea, my first choice is an Indian basil called  Holy Basil or tulsi.  It is wonderfully clove- scented,  and is a healing herb widely used in India. I find it a soothing addition to my herbal tea pot when I feel a cold coming.


late autumn-
I vie with the plants
for a square of sunlight




  1. I think I bought this plant thinking that it was holy basil ... both have that purple blueish look. How neat that you discovered its ability to root itself ! Now you have color and 'that scent' through the winter! I brought my upright basil (actually Greek Columnar Basil) in and will try to bring it through the winter ... so far so good in a south window.

  2. I love herbs!! Especially basil--this is lovely, and so is your haiku, it gave me a big smile--thank you :-)


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