perennial basil

jan_cornelissenJanuary 8, 2004


i just bought some perennial basil (!?) does anyone know anything about this plant and whether it really tastes like basil?

cheers, Jan

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Ihave two "perennial basil"s, but can't find the botanical names. They smell/taste more like the basils used in South-East Asian cooking, i.e. more camphor-like, and are a bit too rough to be used in uncooked dishes. They go great in stews/curries etc.
Dead-head before the plant seeds itself or it will cark it.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 5:52AM
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I have a couple of perennial basil plants. Its botanical name is Ocimum gratissimum and is also known as tree basil. Mine, unlike Andy's, do not have that camphor-like smell/flavour. To me they just smell and taste like a milder version of sweet basil. I use them in exactly the same way, including fresh in salads but chopped finely as they are indeed a little rough. Also mine do not die off after flowering, or at least they haven't yet. So far they are behaving as perennials. They grow quite large, mine are about 1m x 1m and still growing though I think pruning could keep them more manageable. Probably better to prune regularly anyway as it's the young leaves with all the flavour.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2004 at 5:30PM
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cheers guys,

seeing you're from the (even) warmer regions of Oz you probably don't have any problems getting the plant through winter, the label said it couldn't handle night frost so i guess i have to cover it up with hay in winter.


    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 12:44AM
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I have perrenial Basil. It flowers and survives the experience quite well but it can't take the cold at all. I take heaps of cuttings in the spring so that I can keep a few plants going somewhere warm during winter. My present plant is 2 yrs old, I had 4 in a bunch and 3 died, the lucky survivour sheltered in their protection throughout the winter and then merrily shot off again in spring. The taste is fine, the leaves aren't as large and moist as the sweet basil but it seems to taste much the same. It flowers like a champion but as yet I have never had any seedlings pop up (hence the frantic cutting propagation)

    Bookmark   January 10, 2004 at 7:59PM
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cheers for that how would i take cuttings (never had a garden before) just cut off a bit and put in a pot or in some water??

cheers, Jan

    Bookmark   January 12, 2004 at 2:58AM
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Snip off some tips, no more than 5cm long, strip away most of the leaves, leaving the top 2 or 3. Dip the cut end into rooting hormone if you have any (they grow pretty easily so you might be okay without hormone) and push them into some good potting mix in a pot. Keep moist and you should get roots popping out the base and new growth on the tips in a few months time. You are starting out on the most exciting and rewarding (and sometimes heart breaking) part of gardening! Enjoy and Goodluck!

1 Like    Bookmark   January 12, 2004 at 5:17AM
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I have had the same perennial basil plant for about 3 years, but I have just let it go, because I prefer the taste of the other basils. It is handy in emergencies though when your desperate for a herb and dont want to go to the shops. Very easy to propagate and grow. I will just use my oregano for now until I get something else growing. Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2004 at 6:03PM
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I dip my cuttings in honey. Its not a root promoting agent but it is a fungicide. Anyway, works for me, though with perennial basil it's probably not necessary. Take several cuttings. Mine have worked but I found it very slow to produce roots so it's quite important to remove any excess leaves. I used softwood cuttings, not tips, only because I have a tendency to overwater my cuttings and tips are too sensitive. I've also had no problem germinating the seed.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2004 at 1:28AM
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I have a perennial basil which spent its first year in a pot and then was planted out to become a very large tree/shrub with a lovely gnarled trunk. I use regular basil for my flavoring and pesto's but leave the perennial to flower and draw in the honey bees to do my pollinating. It is a mass of bees all the time it flowers so when it is finished I hard prune and use the dried leaves to put in my sachets for the linen closet. No pests seem to bother the basil or any plants in its vicinity.I have started plants for friends by rooting in water first and then potting up.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 5:03PM
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I take cuttings the same way nancyjane does, stick em in a jar with water and wait for the roots to grow! the only basils I've had trouble getting to strike using that method are the lemon and lime basils, it'd be interesting to know if theres a reason for that .... after a bit of research I found that what I was sold as perennial basil is actually Greek columnar basil although I guess up here in sunny qld most basils will grow perennially, so far I've got Thai, Greek columnar, sweet, common, lemon, lime, red, and cinnamon basils, trying to get my hands on some anise basil and now I guess you've given me another one to look out for :) love my herbs.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 5:22PM
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    Bookmark   June 3, 2011 at 12:03AM
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Old post I know but just came across it while googling 'perennial basil'.
Up on the Central Coast I had a beautiful perrennial basil.
Would love one here but we can get some severe frosts.
Might have to do as kolanda says and keep some in pots........

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 2:16AM
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