Basil: a brief introduction

potted Basil

You may not see it at first glance, but basil (Ocimum basilicum) is related to marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. It belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae).

In the shops it is mostly offered in this form:

Genovese Basil
Genovese Basil

These are plants grown up quickly in a greenhouse and often have their shoots hanging the same day they are purchased.

Anyone who has a garden or balcony, should take the time and grow basil there. Not only does it taste better, its flowers attract many bees, bumblebees and even butterflies.

From Ocimum basilicum many cultivated forms are available. In addition to Genovese basil, these include: thai basil, lemon basil, and bush basil.

Bush Basil
Bush basil in the garden.

However, growing basil is worthwhile not only for its good aroma. It looks chic, there are variegated varieties and some with serrated leaves in addition to the green ones. In addition, its flowers are extremely popular with bees and other insects.

How to propagate basil

Growing basil from cuttings is not difficult. They can show their first roots after only 5 days. However, I cannot confirm at this time if a new plant will form from the leaf cutting shown below.

Basil leaf cutting
A rooted leaf cutting of Genovese Basil.

Basil as a bee pasture

The flowers of basil are gladly approached by honey bees and wild bees. It can be well over-summered in a container on the balcony and is even on high floors well found by the insects.

A bee pollinates Genovese basil
A bee pollinates the flowers of Genovese Basil.