“How can I grow basil in South Florida? Every time I try the sun either burns it or I get it in too much shade.” Question from Deborah of Moore Haven, Florida
Answer: If you find that traditional Italian large-leaf basil (Ocimum basilicum) burns and blooms quickly in your Florida heat, there are other basils available that are better adapted to high heat. Here are my top four selections.
Basils Tolerant of High Heat
African Blue Basil (Ocimum ‘African Blue’): Expect a slightly stronger flavor from this darker-leaved, heavy-flowering basil. It’s beautiful, bees love it, it tolerates heat, and tastes good.
Pesto Perpetuo Basil (Ocimum × africanum ‘Pesto Perpetuo’): Here’s another beautiful, flavorful basil that will never disappoint. It has pretty variegated leaves that taste great, and the heat-tolerant plant grows upright and never flowers. It looks good in a flower bed or herb garden.
Lemon Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Mrs. Burns’ Lemon’): The lemony basil leaves taste so good in salads, and the plants take heat.
Siam Queen Thai Basil (Ocimum ‘Siam Queen’): The award-winning ‘Siam Queen’ has delicious, licorice-flavored leaves that complement East Asian dishes. The plants are low-growing and beautiful.
I encourage you to watch the video below for more basil-growing tips.
Black Gold Horticulturist
About Jessie Keith
Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.
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