English Name: Thai Basil
Latin Name: Ocimum basilicum ‘Siam Queen’.
Thai basil is an attractive plant with pale green leaves with a blush of burgundy and summer flowers that are deep purple. It has a definite aniseed flavour which is stronger than that of sweet basil. Suitable for growing in garden beds or in large pots but must get at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. Will not tolerate frosts. Annual. Height 40cm.
All basils benefit from having their leaves harvested often as this encourages new growth. When the weather cools in early winter, try to find ways to use all of the leaves as they don’t like cold nights and this can cause the leaves to blacken.
Remove the flowers regularly as these cause the plant to stop producing large leaves and if necessary, prune about a third off the stems part way through summer to keep the plant compact. Thai basil is a heavy feeder so keep the soil well nourished and liquid feed every few weeks. The more you harvest a basil, the more you should feed it. Don’t let basil dry out, especially in summer.
Thai basil is great in stir fries or Asian dishes as it copes well with higher temperatures. It is also useful in Indian and Italian recipes where a liquorice flavour is wanted. Include with rice, chicken seafood and vegetable dishes.