Dark Opal Basil Info: Tips On Dark Opal Purple Basil Care
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By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden
Maybe you’re already familiar with this herb, or perhaps youare left wondering exactly what is Dark Opal basil? Either way, read on formore details on growing Dark Opal basil and a few of its many uses.
Dark Opal Basil Info
There are scores of basilvarieties, many are a traditional green color, but some are aneye-catching purple. Purple basils are unusual and attractive growing incontainers in both indoor and outdoor herb gardens. Some purple basil plants,such as Dark Opal purple basil, are intensely aromatic.
Plant Dark Opal basil where you can enjoy the fragrance asyou enter your yard or along walkways as you stroll through the garden. Pinkflowers add to the beauty of the dark purple, almost black leaves of thisspecimen. Growing a little more slowly than many other basilplants, the blooms of this plant appear in the flowerbed in mid tolate summer. Keep flowers pinched back while using the leaves for culinary ormedicinal purposes.
Growing Dark Opal Basil Plants
Start seeds indoors or plant outside when temperatures are 65degrees F. (18 C.) or warmer. Plant seeds of this basil in a light,well-draining soil that’s amended with well-composted materials. Allow 3 to 14days for germination. Move into a partially sunny spot as leaves develop.
Keep the soil consistently moist while germinating, but notwet, as young plants may dampoff and fail. Move gradually into a full sun spot as plants mature.
You may also propagate from cuttings. As this plant growsmore slowly than other basils, begin pruning when it has taken on a few inchesin upright shape with several leaves. Prune or pinch top leaves first toencourage new side branches to develop.
Harvest often to encourage growth and a more attractive DarkOpal basil plant. When you’re ready for blooms on the plant, stop using theleaves, as they may become bitter during flowering.
How to Use Dark Opal Purple Basil
Use those trimmings in pasta or pesto or brew them for atherapeutic tea. Basil is said to calm the digestive tract, among othermedicinal uses. Dark Opal basil info says this plant is “described as having avariety of medicinal and health benefits, and …a general restorative andwarming effect, with a mild sedative action.” It is used to calm muscle spasms.Chewing the leaves improves nausea and even flatulence.
Dark Opal basil leaves provide an antibacterial agent that clears up acne and treats stinging insect bites. The leaves may be torn or pounded for inclusion into your homemade bug repellent spray.
Grow this basil along with tomato plants, as it encouragesgrowth and repels pests of the tomato. Grow it in containers on the deck or nearoutdoor seating areas to help keep mosquitoes and stinging insects at bay.
Store leaves, fresh or dried, for use during the time yourplants no longer grow. Freeze them whole or preserve in layers of sea salt. Youmay also chop basil and combine with other herbs and oil to freeze in ice cubetrays and save in freezer bags once frozen. This attractive purple color standsout in many dishes.
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What is Red Basil?
Also known as rubin basil, its scientific name is Ocimum Basilicum. It belongs to the family of Lamiaceae, which is the family of mint. It comes from the group of purple basil, specifically from Dark Opal. Unlike most of its counterparts, it is relatively new as it was developed only in 1992 in Denmark. Dark Opal basil, meanwhile, was developed in 1950 in the University of Connecticut. The larger category, which is opal basil, first appeared in 1830 when it was discovered by George Bentham.
Red Basil was introduced after winning the All America Selections in 1992. The latter is an organization that is committed to the promotion and introduction of new varieties of seeds and plants. Plant breeders submit their entries and they are judged by a panel. When red basil won, it signaled the start of its popularity in the world of decorative culinary herbs.
An annual herb, red rubin basil normally grows at a height of three feet. Its leaves, meanwhile, usually has a length of three inches. Aside from having a stronger flavor and aroma, another thing that differentiates it from normal basil is the purplish color of the leaves. Because of its appearance, it is often added in salads to make it look appetizing and to add a hint of color.
Basil - Dark Opal Basil
This is how we pack and send your Herb Plants to all states except TAS & WA
You will receive
- 1 Dark Opal Basil Herb Plant in a 50 X 75mm tube - General growing instructions
All of our Herb Plants are grown organically with certified organic potting mixes and fertilizers
Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurascens'
Dark opal basil has cerise pink flowers, held on stalks and set against shiny, deep purple leaves. These varieties often have 10-20% green leaves, dotted amongst the purple. When combined with the green and metallic undertones of the leaf colour, the result is a striking and useful garden plant. This basil variety grows to about 45cm high and 25 cm wide, depending on conditions.
It is slower growing and slower to flower than other basil varieties. The 5cm leaves hold well, giving a longer season. Like all basils, pinching out the leaves keeps growth more compact and pinching the flowers heads also helps extend the harvesting period. You may note that the leaves at the top of each branch or stem are the deepest purple, with a slow movement to the lighter green tinged leaves at the base of the plant.
Dark opal basil was developed during the 1950’s by continual crossing within the research plants until the desired consistency was achieved. Although it is marketed under the ‘purpurascens’ label, the true purple basil first named purpurascens was developed in 1830. Many purple basil plants are given this name, so it is wise to check the common name of the variety to be sure. The purple colour is derived from the presence of anthocyanins, which have potential for creation of red pigments.
The culinary uses of dark opal basil are similar to other basils. However, given the beautiful colour this variety is striking when used in dressings and vinegars, salads and desserts to add colour and flavour. It has a lovely scent and a strong flavour. This basil is good for drying, so the colourful leaves can be saved and used later. This variety is the parent plant for a number of ornamental basils, including the sterile African Blue Basil.
Dark opal basil is described as having a variety of medicinal and health benefits including having a general restorative and warming effect, with a mild sedative action. Like other basils, this herb has other health benefits, such as improvement of digestive function, relaxant for muscle spasms and cramps, improvement of nausea, an antibacterial effect on infections, and treatment for acne and insect bites.
Each basil variety has distinctive features, however, the general properties and growing conditions are very similar and details can be found in our Basil entry.
All information provided on this website is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.