About Siam Queen Basil: Siam Queen Basil has tender, intensely clove/licorice flavored leaves that are a favorite in Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, especially in Vietnamese pho. This excellent variety of basil was developed to have the traits preferred in Asian cuisine, such as an intense flavor that is stable even under high temperatures; Siam Queen is currently the most popular variety of Thai basil, and home and professional chefs alike regard it practically as a vegetable in southeastern Asia. Siam Queen Basil won the prestigious AAS Award in 1997.
Siam Queen Basil Germination: Since basil thrives in warm weather, it grows best when the soil has warmed and there is no chance of frost. Gardeners with short growing seasons may want to start their seeds indoors 3-4 weeks before the last frost date, sowing them thinly in flats and providing heat to speed germination. Transplant 15-18" apart. To direct sow, plant the seeds 1/4" deep in rich soil and full sun, thinning to 15-18" apart when the seedlings develop. Basil also grows well indoors or as a container plant.
Growing Siam Queen Basil Seeds: Basil thrives in soil that drains well, yet needs water often. If the weather drops below 50 degrees, provide protection. As the plant grows, pruning it helps it to develop into a bushy, healthy plant; pruning is also important because once the plant flowers, it will begin to wilt and die. To prune the plant, remove the top several sets of leaves on each stem, taking care to leave at least three sets of leaves on the lower part.
Harvesting Siam Queen Basil: Basil leaves can be harvested as soon as they reach a height of 6-8". The best time to harvest the leaves is in the morning after the dew dries. After the plant is established, harvesting often actually improves production; once the flowers develop, however, the leaves grow bitter to the taste. Remove single leaves or parts of a stem as needed, taking care to leave at least three sets of leaves on the length of the stem for healthy growth. When harvesting, pinch off the stem directly above the next set of leaves. Fresh basil will keep for several days at room temperature, with the stems in a glass of water; if refrigerated, it tends to wilt and turn brown. Basil also freezes and dries well. Since the water content of basil is very high and it can mold easily, the best method for drying is a dehydrator, an oven, or a similar dry, warm location.
Saving Siam Queen Basil Seeds: After the flowers have finished blooming, the seeds will begin to develop. Harvest the clusters of pods when they turn brown, and spread them out to dry in a protected location away from direct sunlight. Thresh the heads to remove the seed, and clean out as much of the chaff as possible. Store the seeds in a cool, dry place.
Detailed Siam Queen Basil Info: Ocimum thyrsiflora. Also known as Thai Basil, Ornamental Basil "Siam Queen." Annual. 80 days. Zone 1-11. 22,700 seeds per oz. 18-36" height. 12-15" spacing. Produces clove/licorice scented, pointed green leaves with clusters of dark red purple flowers.