Basil on the Balcony

Basil is one of the most versatile herbs, with different varieties that each offer unique properties and uses. Not only is Basil a useful herb, but it is beautiful too. Some varieties have broad leaves, while others have petite leaves. Add this incredible herb to your balcony garden for a fresh, lush look, or grow it as a handy, ready-to-reach-for, addition to your cooking. Here are a few species that are easy to grow and offer an incredible range of different textures and scents.  

Aristotle Basil

Aristotle Basil

This species of basil offers a great number of uses, first and foremost in the kitchen. It gives a delightful flavour to fresh salads, Greek and Italian cooking, while the small leaves make it an attractive and aromatic plant for the balcony. It is a dense, compact bush that grows to around 25cm in height. You can grow it in its own planter, or add it to mixed planters.

You can harvest leaves fairly regularly provided you do it in a balanced method. Try to pick leaves in such a way that it is not noticeable. Give them lots of light, shelter from the wind, and they will reward you with a nutritious addition to recipes, being jam-packed with vitamin K, vitamin A, copper, iron, and manganese.  

 

Dark Opal Basil

This beautiful purple variety of basil is a great ornamental plant. Their leaves are larger, around 2-3cm at full size, with variegated green elements. These aromatic leaves are also fantastic in pasta, stews, and vegetable dishes. Companion them with cherry tomatoes on your balcony for a power team, because they naturally repel tomato hornworms, aphids, and mites.

They enjoy a sterile soil that is kept moist, especially for the first 2 or 3 weeks if you are growing them from seed, to facilitate their germination process.  They like small pots in sunny places with rich, well-drained soil. They can share a planter with others but need a gap of about 45 centimetres to prevent cramping. Transplant the seedlings at 6 weeks, and give them a hole in the soil that can comfortably house the entire root system.  To encourage a fuller bush, flower buds can be pinched off.  

 

Dolce Fresca

Dolce Fresca Basil

This medium-sized plant delivers a lot of usable leaves and is the ideal variety of basil to grow in planters on the balcony. Plant seeds around 30cm apart. Dolce Fresca stays neat, compact and controlled, where other varieties become lengthy and messy, so this is a fantastic choice for aesthetic purposes. Expect your Dolce Fresca to grow to around 30-35cm in height.

Red Rubin Basil

Red Rubin and other varieties

Another interesting and decorative species of basil is the Red Rubin. It has large, dark red leaves with elements of purple. It has a sweet, aromatic scent and grows fairly tall, reaching around 60cm in height.

Thai-Siam Queen, Ajaka, Dark Lady, Green Ball, Harlekin, Red Ball and Wild Magic are other fantastic varieties of basil to grow on your balcony, involve in your decor, and add to your cooking.

Whichever type of basil you decide to grow, they’re all fantastic in cooking. Each has a different flavour and can be used to add a special touch to pesto, pasta dishes, salads, and a variety of other dishes. There’s nothing better than the flavour of fresh homegrown basil in home cooking!

That’s balcony gardening with basil in a nutshell! The only thing left to do now is try not to make the neighbours jealous with the lovely fragrance….

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