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September 2012
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Dark opal basil is a cultivar of Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil).

Images of Dark Opal Basil at

Dark opal basil is a cultivar of Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil), developed at the University of Connecticut in the 1950s.

Overview of Dark opal basil

• It has deep purple but sometimes mottled leaves.
• It is grown as much for its decorative appeal as for its culinary value.
• Dark opal basil was a 1962 winner of the All-American Selection award.
• It is used exclusively as a home cuisine herb.
• It is a summer annual.
• It bears pink flowers.
• They grow 20 – 60 cm high and can also be used in mixed borders and pots.
• Parts used are leaves of this herb.
• This herb adds color and zest to salads and vegetables.

The plant is scientifically classified as:
• Kingdom : Plantae
• (unranked) : Angiosperms
• (unranked) : Eudicots
• (unranked) : Asterids
• Order : Lamiales
• Family : Lamiaceae
• Genus : Ocimum

Growing and Caring conditions for Dark Opal Basil

• 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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