Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants / Ocimum Basilicum For Northeast Florida Origins:
Basil plants originate in tropical areas of Asia, Australia, and Africa. There are currently 35 species of basil with lots of cultivars being developed within those species. All basil is prized for it’s highly aromatic foliage and most have a spicy scent and taste.
Dwarf Purple basil is a compact cultivar bred for it’s tight growth habit and beautiful purple new growth. This Basil is highly decorative and really adds color to the herb or flower garden, but don’t count out it’s culinary uses. Dwarf Purple basil has great flavor and not only makes a pretty pesto, but it’s little purple leaves add beautiful color to a salad dish or antipasto. It’s purple foliage will also turn herb vinegars and oils a lovely shade of purple!
Growing Season for Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants:
A warm season annual or short lived – perennial, dwarf purple basil is very cold sensitive. It can suffer foliage damage with temperatures as warm as 50 degrees. That puts these plants on the late spring and summer growing list even here in our subtropical Northeast Florida.
Sun Exposure for Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants in Northeast Florida:
Plant Dwarf Purple Basil in areas where it will receive morning sun and afternoon shade for best results in Jacksonville and St. Augustine area gardens. Full sun locations can be a bit overpowering on basil plants during the heat of the summer. Filtered light under taller canopy trees will work nicely as well. ( Rule of thumb: if grass will grow in your amount of shade, then so will basil plants. Heavy shade that would cause grass to thin out or die isn’t recommended.)
When planting Basil on a porch, patio, or as an indoor house plant, place them in a location to receive at least 4-6 hours of light each day.
Soil Preference for Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants / Ocimum Basilicum:
Moist, but well draining soils. Root rot will be problematic in continuously water logged soils.
When planting Dwarf Purple Basil into the ground, amend the soil generously with compost. It acts as a sponge and helps to keep the soil moist and well drained. Dwarf Purple Basil planted into the ground during the summer months will suffer root rot during the rainy season if the soil is not well drained. (Planting under root thirsty trees will alleviate this problem, but you will have to remember to water well when it’s not raining, just as you would with potted herbs).
Amend your planting site generously with compost when installing your new Basil plants.
Dwarf Purple Basil makes a great container plant as well. It’s compact habit makes it compatible with mixed herb containers, both the root and foliage of dwarf purple basils require little space.
Water and Fertilizer Requirements of Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants:
Newly planted seeds will require watering every day until the set of mature leaves emerges, then taper back watering to three times a week, then twice a week for in-ground plants, water three to four times a week for potted containers.
In General, Herbs need little fertilizer. To much fertilizer can lead to lush green growth with low volitale oils in the plant, less oils equals less flavor and aroma for your herbs. However, when planting into Floridas sandy soils you may find your plants in need of a boost. If so, try fertilizing with a mixture of organic fish emulsions and seaweed at one ounce of each per gallon of water. Put into a sprayer and water every other week or as needed with the mixed solution. If your leaves still look a bit lackluster consider a bit of blood meal fertilizer.
Or, if you find your plant struggling at any point, make up a batch of compost tea and water generously. Repeat as needed weekly or biweekly.
Size of Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants When Mature:
Dwarf purple basil plants are a compact cultivar selection, growing only 8-12 inches high and 10-12 inches wide!
Sowing Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants Seeds into Northeast Florida Soils:
Basil seeds germinate easily and can be directly sown right into their final destination in the garden or planted into pots indoors during late winter and transplanted into the garden after all danger of frost has passed.
Sow your seeds 1/4 th of an inch below the soil surface and remember to thin them to at least one plant every six inches in a row, parsley dislikes being cramped and will grow much more vigorously given some room.
Expect basil seeds to sprout from 3-10 days after planting.
Harvesting Dwarf Purple Basil Herb Plants in the Northeast Florida Landscape:
Basil needs to be pinched frequently in order to make them branch out and fill in. Harvesting should be done throughout the growing season.
Harvesting your basil often keeps it growing and producing those prized leaves. Simply pinch or cut the stem tips anywhere they are still green. Pruning or pinching past the soft green stems and into the hardened off, or brown stems, will cause growth to cease. I recommend removing the top 1/3 of the growth when harvesting.
If you have allowed your basil to form flowers prune as soon as possible to remove all flower stalks, so that the plant keeps putting it’s energy into putting out new leaves, not forming seeds. Allow seed heads to form at the end of the season for next year’s basil crop.
Blooms and Seeds of Basil Herbs for Northeast Florida Landscape:
Basil flowers may seem attractive, in fact the delicate upright flower bracts really are quite showy. But allowing those flowers to form, will only lead to seed production. And seed production will stop your basil’s growth in it’s tracks! Remove the top 1/3 of the plants growth when flowers form.
Basil seeds are tiny, round and black in color, when your plants flowers fade, allow seeds to form and collect for next years basil crop. Basil can also be propagated vegetatively. Pinch a stem and stick it into a pot with moist soil, cover with plastic and allow roots to form. Once roots have formed, plant your new basil out in the garden and enjoy!