Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum
Climate: Warm, temperate, cold
Plant Description: Sweet basil is one of the wide variety of basil. Its taste is slightly different from Thai basil, lemon basil or holy basil. Sweet basil is an aromatic, 20-50 cm tall annual plant with erect, branching stems. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, oval or spearhead shaped with a slightly serrated edge. The flowers are white or pink white, gathered in axillary corymbs, consisting of 5 to 6 flowers per whorl. They are found at the top of the stem or at the ends of the branches. Las flores florecen en verano. The fruit is a dry fruit that contains 4 smooth oval seeds, whose color varies from brown to black.
It is native to tropical regions from central Africa to Southeast Asia.
Cultivation: Basil grows well in fertile, moist, permeable, light textured soils; located in areas with good air circulation and good sun exposure. It prefers warm weather and does not withstand temperatures below 5 °C.
It is cultivated by seeds and cuttings, which can be sown in seed beds or pots in a greenhouse in early or mid-spring (between February and April). The seeds should be sown at a depth of 2 cm. The ideal way to plant basil is to keep it in seedbeds at around 20ºC and lightly moisten the soil with a sprayer every day until they germinate. When they germinate, after 15 days or so, it is advisable to provide them with more light. When the seedlings have reached a certain development (6 true leaves approx.), they are transplanted to the chosen site in the previously fertilized soil.
Propagation by cuttings - Take a 10 cm basil cutting right below a leaf node. Remove the leaves off the basil cutting about 5 cm from the end. Make sure the basil cutting is a piece that has not yet flowered. Place it in a glass of water on the windowsill where it can get good sunlight. Change the water every few days until you see root growth, then leave your basil propagation roots to grow to 5 cm. or so. This can take two to four weeks. Once the roots on your basil cutting are 5 cm or longer, you can plant the cutting in a pot indoors or outside. Put the plant in a place where the plant will get direct sunlight.
It is watered abundantly throughout its cultivation as it has a high risk of dehydrating with heat if it does not have enough water. Fertilize every 2-3 weeks.
To maintain the vitality of the plant, it is recommended to trim the stems, by cutting the tip of the upper stems to encourage more stems to sprout and the plant to become more leafy. Start looking at 2 large leaves. Where the base of each leaf meets the stem, a small set of leaves or small green buttons should be seen. Cut the center stem directly over the set of small leaves, leaving at least 1 cm of stem if possible. Now the small leaves will grow instead of the cut stem between them. Depending on the weather and how fast the plants are growing, prune the plants over the top two pairs of leaves again about every four weeks, or sooner if they show any signs of flowering.
Basil leaves can be harvested as needed at any time; in fact, harvesting encourages the plant to produce more leaves. Morning is the best time of day to collect, but can be collected whenever needed. For best results harvest in small quantities - choose a few leaves from each plant, rather than cutting an entire stem.
Basil is an annual plant, that is, it dries and dies once it has flowered at the end of a cycle. To delay this time and to allow the basil to continue producing more time, cut the flower buds at the end of the stems (they usually appear about a month or a month and a half after planting).
Uses: Basil has several uses. It is used to flavor food, make infusions, tinctures, syrups, and balms. It is great in salads, soups, and pizzas.
Thanks to the high content of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, it can provide health benefits using it in the diet, as herbal medicine and as essential oil. It is used to combat exhaustion, depression, and insomnia. Basil leaf extract helps reduce high sugar in the blood. Basil oil can help treat various diseases involving inflammation resulting from oxidative stress. It is still unclear whether eating basil could have the same effect. Basil oil is active against intestinal parasites of Escherichia coli. It is also used to fight acne and has analgesic, antiseptic and healing properties.
It is sawn next to the plants as it helps keeping insects and pests away. Above all, it favors tomatoes, since it protects them from parasite attacks and increases their flavor.
Pests and Diseases: Thrips - are flying insects that leave white spots with black dots on the leaves. Remedy: combined application of the neem extract and potassium soap.
Whitefly - control by spraying the underside of the leaves with 1% potassium soap with rain or distilled water.
Leaf miner - the leafminer lives inside the leaves in their larval stage. Apply neem extract to combat adults and Bacillus thuringiensis for larvae.
Basil is susceptible to fungi, molds, and root mildew.Fungi (Pythium, Phytophthora) - remove affected areas. Use as prevention decoction of Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense)
Fusarium wilt - is among the most common basil diseases. Symptoms of fusarium wilt include: stunted growth wilted and yellowing leaves brown spots or streaks on the stem severely twisted stems leaf drop Fusarium wilt is caused by a fungus that can be carried by either the soil that affected basil plants have been growing in or by seeds from infected basil plants. There is no remedy for fusarium wilt. Destroy infected plants and don’t plant basil or other mint plants in that area for two to three years. Even if a basil or mint plant cannot be hurt by fusarium wilt, they can carry the disease and infect other plants.
Inflorescencia formada por un eje alargado del que parten los ejes secundarios, siendo estos más largos cuanto más abajo están insertados, de forma que las flores quedan todas casi a la misma altura.
En español: Albahaca