I Love Rutgers Devotion and Rutgers Obsession Basil

Aug 7, 2020 | Love This!

Name:  Rutgers Obsession DMR and Rutgers Devotion DMR Basil

Type of Plant:  Basil plants that have been bred (no, not GMO!) to grow prolifically and be resistant to downy mildew.
Rutgers Devotion: Genovese type with a compact, but highly productive plant habit. Leaves are large, cupped, and medium green.
Rutgers Obsession: Good compact growth with dark green, large leaves and great basil flavor.

Why I Love/Hate this plant
For the past five years we’ve battled Basil downy mildew in our garden. It’s been a race to harvest enough basil for pesto before the plants go yellow from the disease. So this year I was thrilled to see that Johnny’s Seeds offered two of the disease-resistant varieties that have been developed by the researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

I ordered seeds for Rutgers Obsession and Rutgers Devotion and started some inside this spring. They grew well, and we not only planted those early starts in our gardens, but we also direct-sowed the rest of the seeds in the garden.

All I can say is WOW! No sign of downy mildew, even into August.  We’ve harvested twice already and the plants keep coming back with new, strong growth.

A Word to the Wise:  So far I haven’t seen these varieties in the garden centers, but this herb is really easy to grow from seed. If you’ve had problems with downy mildew on your basil in the past, be sure to order seeds for the Rutgers varieties.

Our Rutgers basil plants are as clean and disease free as they were in early June.

We’ve harvested the top 6 to 8 inches off these plants and they’ve grown back already, a mere two weeks later.

Here is some of the basil we made into pesto. We freeze patties of pesto every year so that we can have that fresh basil flavor for pasta or to add to any sauce etc through the winter. In the past, when the plants got infected with downy mildew, over half of what we picked wouldn’t be useable. This year all but the stems went into the pesto, with no waste or yellowed leaves! Thanks, Rutgers! 

12 Comments

  1. Jason Leong

    Hi there
    Where’s the best place to order these seeds? Will the plant be able to produce seeds ?

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      High Mowing has them, and Johnny’s Seeds had them earlier….not sure if these sources still have them. No, I don’t believe you can save seeds and get the same plant back as these are hybrids. Worth buying a new pack of seeds every year.

      Reply
  2. Christina Wenger

    Neither Devotion or Obsession are hybrids—they are both open pollinated varieties so you could save true to type seed. However, they are both likely patented so it might be illegal to do so.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Thanks for this correction, Christina!

      Reply
    • Jason

      Thank you both!
      Ordered some and waiting for them to arrive!

      Reply
  3. Jean

    Do they taste better than the old stuff (the basil normally in groceries)?

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Any garden grown basil is better than old basil from a grocery store!

      Reply
      • Jean

        lol, I meant in your opinion do they taste better than what is usually available at grocery stores such as holy basil, thai, sweet, etc or are they on par?

        Reply
        • CL Fornari

          Holly basil and Thai basil are different types of basil. You can’t compare them. This is a typical Italian, sweet basil flavor, but disease resistant.

          Reply
  4. Jason Leong

    Hi CL, I planted the Devotion and Obsession today. Can’t wait for the first harvest. What’s the recommended interval time for harvest and how many harvests did you get before the plant needs to be replaced? Thanks! BTW, I also ordered Rutgers Passion -not sure if this will taste different from other two.

    Reply
    • CL Fornari

      Jason – we harvest the top half of the plants once they get to be about 16 to 18 inches high…how long that takes will depend on the weather. Then afterwards, they will produce new growth from the half that remains in the garden. You wait until that’s large enough to use (we make pesto) and harvest it then.

      Reply
      • Jason

        Thank you!

        Reply

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