|Posted by critterologist (Frederick, MD - Zone 6b) on Mar 14, 2019 7:43 AM
This new basil knocked my socks off (and I've grown dozens of varieties). It boasts TWO breeding breakthroughs!
It's sterile. It's not just late to bloom -- if it does make a few flowers, it still doesn't set seed. That means the plant never enters that winding-down phase where the leaves and stems become bitter and inedible. Not only can you harvest it all summer long, you can even bring it inside before frost, and it'll keep producing tasty leaves on a sunny windowsill. (Like any basil, when you harvest it, don't just pick off the leaves -- pinch through the stem, leaving 1 or 2 pairs of leaves on the stem, and it will branch to create 2 new stems. Bushier plants = more tasty leaves.)
Downy mildew issues? Not this plant. The area where it was growing with many other varieties was innoculated heavily with downy mildew spores. All the plants became infected from head to toe... but there was one spot of bright green. This variety was simply unaffected. Officially, they say it's DM resistant, but it's pretty close to being DM proof.
But how does it taste? Sterile and downy mildew proof... neither means a thing if the flavor is blah. I was invited to pinch off a tip and see for myself. Delicious!!! The flavor is more intense that garden-variety "sweet basil," with no harshness. There's a slight spice-anise note that's likely due to its Cinnamon Basil genes.
I must must must find this basil for my garden this spring. This is the most exciting plant I've seen in years!
(I'm not affiliated with PW in any way, but I do enjoy their annual exhibit at the Philadelphia Flower Show.)
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