Annual. Purple Petra basil has a mild sweet taste that is nice for those of us that love basil's flavor, but shy away from too much herbal spiciness. Its large shiny leaves are dark reddish-purple and grow vigorously to a height of 24". Its excellent sweet taste goes well in a variety of Italian dishes, pesto, pasta, and salads. You can grow it as a companion plant for your tomatoes or in other areas of the garden as an ornamental. In a warm, south-facing window, you can even grow it inside during winter! (Harvest leaves often to keep these 18-24 plants compact and encourage new leaf production.) Used as a backdrop in the flowerbed, Purple Petra's dark reddish-purple leaves will make yellow and apple green colors stand out. This packet plants two 10-foot rows.
When to plant outside: Spring, 1-3 weeks after average last frost date and when soils are warm.
When to start inside: 6-8 weeks before transplanting outside.
Special Germination Instructions: Easy to grow from seed. Must have warm soil temperatures. Wait to plant until nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees.
Sucessive Plantings Recommended. Every 3 or 4 weeks after initial planting.
Harvesting Basil leaves should be harvested before the plant flowers. The young, top leaves taste the best and should be used fresh. The older leaves may be used for vinegar and pesto. To harvest most of the plant, cut the main stem, leaving at least 3 pairs of leaves near the ground plant will regrow and produce additional leaves. (You can prolong the harvest period by pinching off flower buds to maintain flavor.) If there is any chance of temperatures dropping to 32 degrees, harvest crop immediately. The best time to harvest any herb is in the morning, after the dew dries, but before it gets too warm. Alternatively, you could harvest in the early evening.