Herb Series: African Basil

Have you ever heard of African Blue Basil? I heard that name and thought Sign. Me. Up! For us here in zone 5a where it is sunny this herb just takes off and for my friends in the PNW or the Bay - be encouraged because unlike other basil varieties, this one grows very well in cooler more foggy climates. Some feel that it has a stronger camphor flavor than other types of basil, but I haven’t found that to be true. In fact, in pesto I want that clear basil flavor which I get from this variety. It is a sterile and must be propagated (rather than grown from seed), which is a good method for those of us living in zone 5a who would like to prolong its use indoors, once the seasons change. It is a perennial in warmer parts of the country. African Basil can be grown in containers, but remember it can get big so choose a container large enough to accommodate it. It is pretty drought tolerant and if you let it bloom then they form beautiful dark purple buds which open into light purple/lilac colored flowers which act as huge pollinator magnets! (The blooms in this photo are lavender) I am looking to these and the columnar basil to supply most of my basil needs this summer (okay yes there will also be purple Thai basil and Genovese…I mean can you have too much?)