Large Italian Basil is a staple of many Italian recipes including pesto and Neapolitan pizza. This aromatic herb is rich in oils and can be used fresh or dried. This variety is has a sweeter taste and aroma than the Genovese variety. Plants produce extra large leaves that are 3-4″ long. Healthy plants can grow to 18-24″ tall and will have foliage that is 12-15″ wide. Large Italian Basil can be harvested multiple times throughout the spring and fall growing seasons. It will bolt and flower once temperatures warm in summer. Be sure to harvest only one-third of the leaves on a plant at one time. This will ensure that the plant has plenty of leaves remaining for continued production. Basil grows best when it has consistently moist soil without any prolonged periods of drought. The aroma from basil leaves can also serve as a pest deterrent in the garden, repelling common garden pests like aphids and hornworms.
Italian Basil may be direct-seeded or transplanted, although we recommend transplanting. If direct seeding, use a walk-behind seeder and plant densely along the row. We suggest using a modified #1 or #2 plate for direct seeding basil. As always, seed plate holes should be modified to fit the size of seed being used. For large, full-sized plants, thin to one plant every 4″ along the row. Transplanting is our preferred method of planting basil. We recommend starting transplants 3-4 weeks before the desired outdoor planting date. Basil transplants grow great in our heavy-duty seed starting trays, where they develop a solid root ball with roots that are trained to grow downward. Plants are ready to go in the ground when they can be easily pulled from the cells in the seed starting tray.
Large Italian Basil Planting Information
Planting Method: direct seed or transplant
When to Plant: early spring and fall
Planting Depth: 1/4″
Seed Spacing: 4″
Row Spacing: 18″
Days to Maturity: 70
Disease Tolerance: None