Basil Mint?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: No Name Given
Posted on: December 30, 1998

I have seen other herb catalogues offer a plant called basil mint. Have you ever heard of this plant? Does it exist? Is there a reason why you don’t carry it? This may sound stupid, but I can’t grow basil for my life, so if this was a real thing, it would be a huge benefit to me!

There no true mint (Mentha) that has the true basil scent and flavour. There is something called "wild basil" which is a hardy perennial with a faint thyme-like odour. See our catalogue at the end of the basil section. This herb might be "basil mint" you are referring to, but it is not a substitute for true basil (Ocimum). Like true basil, it is a member of the mint family which happens to include many herbs such as rosemary, sage, thyme, and, of course, the mints.

Unfortunately, there is no substitute for growing the real McCoy. To grow basil successfully you need to provide lots of light (a concern if you are trying to grow it indoors) and heat (can’t tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees Celsius or 50 degrees Fahrenheit). You also need to use fusarium-free or fusarium-resistant seeds, and take care to avoid damping off of seedlings (by watering early in the day and keeping area well ventilated).

An excellent reference book on basil and how to grow and use it is "Basil: An Herb Lover’s Guide" by Thomas Debaggio and Susan Belsinger. The book is available from Richters.

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