Name: Ocimum × citriodorum (aka Ocimum x africanum or Ocimum citriodorum) ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ aka variegated basil
Type of Plant: No matter what you call it, this is an annual herb that is both tasty and beautiful.
Why I love this plant: This basil grows tall (18 inches to 2 feet) and thin. It doesn’t flower and the pale green leaves that are edged in white are very ornamental. It is also as basil-flavor-filled as the green Italian basil, so it is perfect for cooking and garnishes. I have found that ‘Pesto Perpetuo’ isn’t very susceptible to basil downy mildew…it’s not impervious, mind you, but the plants are among the last to fall and make it through the entire summer for me, lasting longer than lemon or spice basil. Use this plant in containers or gardens…it can be used as a central, upright element in containers and in gardens looks best when massed.
A Word to the Wise: Like other basil plants, this one loves the heat. Don’t plant it outside too early in the spring…wait until the temperatures overnight are reliably above 50 degrees. Try not to get the foliage wet when the plants are watered. If you use overhead watering, don’t sprinkle the foliage too frequently.