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September 2012
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Lemon Basil, also known as Thai Lemon Basil is a hybrid between basil and African basil.

Images of Lemon Basil at

Lemon basil which is also known as Thai lemon basil or Lao basil (Ocimum × citriodorum) is a hybrid between basil (Ocimum basilicum) and African basil (Ocimum americanum).

Overview of Lemon Basil

• The herb is grown primarily in northeastern Africa and southern Asia.
• It is cultivated for its strong fragrant lemon scent.
• It is used in cooking.
• Lemon basil stems can grow to 20-40 cm tall.
• It has white flowers in late summer to early fall.
• The leaves are similar to basil leaves, but are narrower.
• Seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant.
• Lemon basil is a popular herb in Lao, Arabic, Indonesian, Persian, and Thai cuisine.
• In Laos, Lemon basil is used extensively in Lao curries, stews, and stir-fried dishes.
• Lemon basil is the only basil used much in Indonesian cuisine, where it is called kemangi.
• It is often eaten raw with salad or lalap (raw vegetables) and accompanied by sambal.
• Lemon basil is often used to season certain Indonesian dishes, such as curries, soup, stew and steamed or grilled dishes.
• In Thailand, Lemon basil is called maenglak.
• The leaves are used in certain Thai curries.
• The seeds resemble frog’s eggs after they have been soaked in water.
• Their seeds are used in sweet desserts.

Growing and caring conditions

• Growing Basil is relatively easy if there are suitable light and temperature levels provided to the plant.
• Ensure that adequate drainage is allowed from the base of the pot, if grown in pots.
• Line with coarse gravel if necessary.
• If growing outside, then ensure the soil is well dug over.
• Weed free the soil well before sowing.
• Before sowing ensure that the compost or soil is moist.
• Water generously the day before sowing.
• It is vital that Basil is not exposed to the last spring frosts.
• If sowing outside sow in late March.
• Sow at any time if the plant is always to be kept indoors.
• If sowing inside and planting outside late then sow in late February.
• Sow the seed thinly.
• Cover the seeds with 1/2 cm of compost and firm gently.
• Basil seeds should germinate in about a week.
• Once the seedlings have developed 2 pairs of true leaves then you can thin out.
• Basil should be grown in a position that receives a around 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.
• Position the Basil in a sheltered spot that avoids cold winds.
• Basil likes fertile soil.
• The soil should well dug to allow good soil air circulation.
• Well rotted organic compost or manure into the soil a month or so before sowing will help in growth.
• General purpose compost is a suitable soil solution.
• Water every week.
• Basil can help to discourage the fruit fly.
• Basil is often a target of slugs.

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