This Genovese-style basil is a new introduction and has taken the gardening, culinary and ornamental world by storm by winning an AAS award in 2015. The dark green, glossy leaves are sweet and fragrant for delicious pesto or caprese. Dolce Fresca’s compact plants reach 10–14 inches tall, 10–12 inches wide, and the stems resist stretching, which means more foliage in a handsome, mounding form. Reluctant to flower, the plants spend their energy producing leaves for continuous harvest until very late in the season.
Dolce Fresca Basil
Transplant when plants have 2 sets of true leaves, spacing the plants 12 to 15 inches apart in the garden, or in your best containers.
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.