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Siam Queen Basil Info: Learn About Basil ‘Siam Queen’ Care

Siam Queen Basil Info: Learn About Basil ‘Siam Queen’ Care


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By: Teo Spengler

Basilis a popular spice plant for herb gardens, used for flavoring in a variety ofcuisines. If you are a serious cook, you’ll need to use differenttypes of basil depending on the type of food you are making. ForThai food, you’ll want to consider basil ‘Siam Queen.’ This type of basil has astrong anise flavor and the fragrance of clove. Read on for more Siam Queenbasil information, including tips on growing Siam Queen basil plants.

What is Siam Queen Basil?

The Siam Queen basil is such a lovely plant that it doublesas an ornamental. In fact, some gardeners start growing Siam Queen basil inflower beds for the large emerald leaves and brilliant purple flowers.

According to Siam Queen basil information, this plant growsleaves that are 4 inches (10 cm.) long and 2 inches (5 cm.) wide. It alsoproduces intensely colored deep purple flowers. If you are growing Siam Queenbasil to use in cooking, you should pinch off the buds before they flower.

Many types of basil are sweet, including those used inItalian cuisine. However, do not expect the same sweet, rounded taste from SiamQueen. The leaves of this basil taste like licorice. They offer a spicy bite ofstrong anise flavor mixed in with the familiar basil taste. Even the smell ofthe pungent leaves is spicy and really perfumes the air of your summer garden.

Growing Siam Queen Basil

Siam Queen basil plants, like all basil plants, require lotsof sunshine to grow and thrive. They also need well-draining soil with a highorganic content. It should be consistently moist.

It is easy to start growing Siam Queen basil from seed. Youcan sow the seeds indoors in late winter, about 8 weeks before the finalscheduled frost. Transplant them after they have two sets of true leaves.

Alternatively, you can sow the basil Siam Queen seeds in thegarden bed in spring once the soil is warm. Just scatter the seeds, then coverthem with about ¼ inch (.6 cm) of soil. Thin the plants to 12 inches (30 cm.)apart.

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Every spring we plant about a dozen different varieties of basil but I’m told there are over 150 species to choose from! So many basils, so little thyme! Here are some types of basil that I’m crazy about.

  • ‘Genovese’ is my all-time favorite because it makes an awesome pesto and has lots of real Italian basil flavor.
  • ‘Classico’ is another Genovese-type that we grow. The seeds are from Italy but since they do not come from Genoa they can’t be called Genovese. Those Italians are so strict when it comes to food. The flavor is the same so it is a good substitute.
  • I love citrus basils so we grow both ‘Lime’ and lemon flavored ‘Sweet Dani’. We have tried other lemon basils such as ‘Mrs. Burns’ but ‘Sweet Dani’ is such a strong growing plant it leaves the others in the dust and the flavor is plenty lemony.

  • We have tried many purple basils over the years but ‘Violetto’, another one from Italy, has the best flavor and the strongest growth. It is reliably colored purple. Many older purple varieties such as ‘Dark Opal’ produced as many green plants or two-toned ones as it did purple from a package of seeds.
  • ‘Fine Nano’ is a sweet little mouse-ear basil that has good flavor and is perfect for growing in containers indoors or out.
  • There are many Thai basils to choose from.

Some have purple or red stems and most have purple flowers. ‘Siam Queen’ was an All-America Selections winner years ago and it has stood the test of time. All the Thai basils we have tried have a strong licorice flavor.

  • ‘Toscano’ is a lettuce-leaf basil that has large ruffled leaves. The flavor is a little milder than ‘Genovese’ and they are a great addition to sandwiches or salads. Some people use them to wrap sushi.


What Is Siam Queen Basil – Tips For Growing A Siam Basil Queen Plant - garden

Other Names: Thai Basil, Asian Basil, Oriental Basil

A very ornamental variety with purple flower spikes in mid summer large, dark green leaves have a licorice flavor great for mixed containers, herb gardens, and annual beds

Siam Queen Basil is an annual herb that is commonly grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant pointy dark green leaves are usually harvested from early summer to early fall. The leaves have a spicy taste.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Fresh Eating
  • Cooking
  • Seasoning

Siam Queen Basil will grow to be about 16 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year.

This plant is quite ornamental as well as edible, and is as much at home in a landscape or flower garden as it is in a designated herb garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by cuttings however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Siam Queen Basil is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. It is often used as a 'filler' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination, providing a mass of flowers against which the larger thriller plants stand out. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.


Basil-Walnut Pesto Recipe

For a delicious use of fresh basil, please consider this basil-walnut pesto recipe.

Pesto ingredients:

2 peeled, medium-sized garlic cloves

4 cups packed basil leaves

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

In a food processor, briefly mince two garlic cloves. Add ½ cup walnuts and process until thoroughly ground. Add 1 cup Parmesan cheese and briefly mix with garlic and walnuts. Add 2 cups basil leaves and half of the ⅓ cup olive oil. Pulse the food processor until leaves are ground. Add the remaining 2 cups of basil leaves and remaining olive oil. Again, pulse leaves until ground. Cook ½ pound pasta and drain well. Return the drained pasta to the cooking pot. Add half of pesto, and mix thoroughly with the pasta. Pesto tends to adhere best to either angel hair or rotini pasta. Serve hot.

Scrape the remaining half of pesto from the food processor into a quart-size freezer bag, label and date, and immediately freeze. Pesto freezes well without loss of flavor or color. To use frozen pesto, thaw in refrigerator or defrost in microwave. Don’t allow pesto to overheat in microwave, as it should not cook. Once pesto is warm, spoon onto hot pasta, mix thoroughly and serve.

The leftover pesto should be dated and immediately refrigerated. It is best to use pesto within 3 days. Pesto, or other herbs in oil, should not be canned because of the risk of botulism (please see HGIC 3051, Most Frequently Asked Canning Questions).

If this document didn’t answer your questions, please contact HGIC at [email protected] or 1-888-656-9988.

Author(s)

Joey Williamson, PhD, HGIC Horticulture Extension Agent, Clemson University

This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement of brand names or registered trademarks by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied, nor is any discrimination intended by the exclusion of products or manufacturers not named. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.


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