Ah, the name says it all: sweet, fresh basil for your garden, patio, and kitchen windowsill! This award-winning variety combines intensity of scent and flavor with a super-compact, vigorous habit. The result is a bushy large-leafed plant less than 2 feet high and rarin' to set new leaves all season long!
Dolce Fresca won a 2015 All-America Selection award for its compact habit, strong scent and flavor, and vigorous growth. It's easy to see why this is becoming America's go-to basil: no matter how little space you have, what a challenging climate you live in, or how important ornamental beauty is to your garden design, Dolce Fresca fills the bill!
Just 10 to 20 inches high and not more than a foot wide, it flowers very late, so you don't spend all summer pinching off new buds. Dolce Fresca is a Genovese type, setting large, flat leaves simply packed with delicious flavor. And it makes such a bushy, well-branched ball of foliage that it looks like an ornamental addition to the garden or patio, instead of the workhorse herb it really is!
And if you're designing a parterre, knot garden, or simply using herbs to edge or fill in among ornamental plants, Dolce Fresca is going to become the star of the garden! Its fresh green foliage always looks bright and full. Cut all you like for pesto (it makes heavenly pesto!), Italian cuisine, soups, and more -- Dolce Fresca sets new leaves all season. Or harvest the whole plant for its essential oils.
Begin the seeds either indoors in late winter or direct-sow in spring. To start indoors, sow about 6 to 8 weeks before last scheduled frost. The seeds will germinate in 5 to 10 days. Transplant when they have 2 sets of true leaves, spacing the plants 12 to 15 inches apart in the garden, or in your best containers. If you are direct-sowing, wait until the soil has thoroughly warmed up in spring. Then cover the seeds with about ¼-inch of soil, and thin the young plants to 12 to 15 inches apart when they are about 2 inches tall.
As your basil plants grow, pinch off the central stem when they are about 6 weeks old, and prune back each stem when it has more than 8 sets of leaves. (Cut it back to the first or second set of leaves, harvesting the rest.) If you keep your plants well pinched and pruned, you should be able to harvest half a cup of fresh leaves every week during the growing season!
Basil loves hot weather and plenty of sunshine, but it needs consistently moist, rich soil. Mulch the plants to retain moisture, and water heavily during dry spells.
Harvest the plant before the cold weather sets in, as this will affect the leaves' texture and flavor. Freeze entire stems, with the leaves still attached, for best flavor retention, or dry the leaves for seasoning. You will love this award winner!
Perfect for pesto because of its concentrated flavor
Medium-large leaves have a fine, sweet fragrance
Spicy, edible flowers accent a salad
Loves the sun
Immediate shipping in 3" pot