Hybrid. Is there a more quintessential summer taste than fresh tomatoes paired with basil? Whether you prefer caprese salad or bruschetta, you’ll love the aromatic, classic sweet flavor of Presto Pesto Basil. With the subtle, peppery flavor of Genovese, this compact variety provides big taste in small spaces. Grow it in a container near your kitchen for convenient additions to your favorite Italian recipes. Or, add several plants in the garden to make large batches of pesto, preserving a bit for a taste of summer during chilly winter days!
Part of our Foodie Fresh line, available only at Lowe’s!
Type Warm season annual
Planting time After last spring frost
Features Compact plant size excellent for containers. Flavor and leaf size similar to Genovese
Light Full sun
Soil Fertile, well-drained but moist
Spacing 10 to 12 inches apart
Plant size 13 to 14 inches tall
Garden use Containers, herb beds, flower beds, companion plant
Culinary use Italian and Asian dishes
Some Bonnie Plants varieties may not be available in your local area, due to different variables in certain regions. Also, if any variety is a limited, regional variety it will be noted on the pertinent variety page.
Light requirements: Full sun is ideal, but plants can grow in part shade.
Planting: Space 8 to 18 inches apart, depending on type. (Read the stick tag that comes with the plant for specific spacing recommendations.)
Soil requirements: Plants grow best in rich, moist but well-drained soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. Work organic matter into soil before planting to add fertility and improve moisture retention. In containers, use premium quality potting soil.
Water requirements: Keep soil consistently moist through the growing season. Add a mulch layer to slow water evaporation from soil. In containers, water whenever the top inch of soil is dry.
Frost-fighting plan: Basil is very frost-tender and damaged by temperatures below 40º F. Use a frost blanket to protect newly planted seedlings from late spring frosts or prolong the fall growing season.
Common issues: Pinch flower buds to keep plants from bolting. Once flowers form, leaf flavor changes. Pests to watch out for: aphids, slugs, Japanese beetles, and earwigs. Fungal diseases sometimes occur in humid climates, and root rot is common in poorly drained soil.
Growing tips: Pinch or prune basil plants as they grow to promote branching and bushiness. Never cut into the woody parts of a stem; plants won’t resprout.
Harvesting: Pick leaves at any point in the growing season. Choose individual leaves, or snip leafy stems to the length you desire.
Storage: Cut basil stems and place in water like a fresh bouquet. They’ll last for weeks, provided you remove any leaves below the water line and change water regularly. Never place basil in the refrigerator; the cold air damages leaves. Preserve basil by freezing or in herbal vinegars.
For more information, visit the Basil page in our How to Grow section.
- Calories: 1
- Carbohydrates: 0g
- Dietary fiber: 0g
- Sugars: 0g
- Protein: 0g
- Vitamin A: 3% DV
- Vitamin C: 1%
- Vitamin K: 13%
- Vitamin B6: 0%
- Folate: 0%
- Potassium: 0%
- Manganese: 1%
Packed with Vitamin K, fresh basil helps with blood clotting and aids in bone strength. Used medicinally for its antioxidants and antibacterial properties, basil oil provides an immune system boost and combats aging and skin ailments. A member of the mint family, basil is native to India, Asia, and Africa, and its sweet aroma often infuses Mediterranean dishes. To maintain flavor and color when cooking with fresh basil, mix in the bright green leaves during the last few minutes. You can also crush the leaves with a mortar and pestle to maximize the herb’s hearty flavor. Basil freezes well; just wash and dry thoroughly before tightly sealing in freezer bags.
A stronger-flavored basil than sweet basil, Thai Basil also has a hint of licorice flavor. The leaves, which are about...
If you like the aromatic flavor of salsa served in Mexican restaurants, you’ll like cilantro. The leaves have an instantly...
Monarda, or bee balm, is a member of the mint family with a delicate beauty but rugged longevity. The whorled...
Savor classic Italian cuisine with the flavorful leaves of this oregano. An easy-growing plant for the garden or container, Italian...
This sage is equally appreciated for its red flowers and the sweet pineapple scent of the foliage — this herb...
Curled parsley has beautiful, dark green leaves well known as the classic garnish for deviled eggs and an ingredient in...
Boxwood basil is named for its shape — like a little boxwood. It originated in France for making pesto, but...
Spearmint has strong flavor and fragrance that is released with simple bruising. It’s the best mint variety for hot and...
This is the classic Italian basil, and the crucial ingredient for pesto! Large, dark green leaves are tender, delicious, and...
Also called sweetleaf for the very sweet taste of its leaves. An herb member of the chrysanthemum family that is...
Culantro is an herb native to Mexico, Central, and South America which has a strong, aromatic scent that fills the...
Lemon balm, a member of the mint family, is a lovely mild herb named for the lemony scent of its...
Related recipes and articles
Fresh Basil Pesto
Fresh basil, high quality olive oil, and delicious pine nuts are the basis for a…Read more
Basil Pesto with Peanuts
This pesto recipe uses peanuts instead of the traditional pine nuts, adding a unique toasty…Read more
Tomato Soup with Basil Pesto
Fresh Basil Pesto with Angel Hair Pasta
Pesto is an easy and delicious way to enjoy fresh basil. Toss this fragrant, flavorful…Read more
Berry Basil Fruit Salad
Basil may seem like an unlikely accompaniment to fruit, but it adds a surprising depth…Read more
Pesto and Summer Vegetable Tart
Also called a galette, this Pesto and Summer Vegetable Tart is fast and easy, but…Read more
These Caprese Burgers are a surprising, delicious twist on a classic. Serve them with watermelon…Read more
Tomato-Basil Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette