Pistou Basil Info – Learn How To Grow Pistou Basil Plants

Seedling In A Container With Pistou Basil Label
(Image credit: missellyrh)

Basil is the king of herbs because of its unique and delicious aroma and flavor. It’s easy to grow too, but there are a lot of different varieties to choose from, including Pistou. It’s known for a mild flavor and use in pesto-like recipes. Get some more Pistou basil information to decide if it’s the right variety for your herb garden and kitchen.

What is Pistou Basil?

There are many different varieties of basil with different colors, leaf and plant sizes, and even flavors like hints of lime or cinnamon. Pistou has a typical basil flavor, sweet and licorice-like, but is milder than the garden-variety sweet basil.

Pistou is also known for its compact size and small leaves, making it a good choice for container gardening. You can also use it as a short border plant along walkways, around the edge of a bed, or in any smaller garden space. 

As a culinary herb, Pistou basil is named for a cold French sauce of the same name. Pistou is similar to pesto but without the pine nuts; it is a blend of basil, garlic, parmesan and olive oil and is used on pastas and breads. You can also use Pistou basil in any way you would sweet basil: in tomato sauces, in salads, on pizza or in lasagna, and in fruit salad.

How to Grow Pistou Basil

Growing Pistou basil is easy, but it does need warmer temperatures, so either grow it outdoors in summer or indoors in containers. Start with seeds in soil to a depth of about a quarter inch (0.5 cm). Make sure the soil drains well.

Once you get seedlings going, Pistou basil care includes regular watering, making sure it gets adequate sun, and pinching off flowers before they can develop. Removing the flowers will allow you to keep using the leaves.

Start harvesting leaves as needed once the plants are 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm.) tall. Regular harvesting of leaves will give you enough to use in the kitchen but also keeps the plant healthy and growth vigorous.

Mary Ellen Ellis

Mary Ellen Ellis has been gardening for over 20 years. With degrees in Chemistry and Biology, Mary Ellen's specialties are flowers, native plants, and herbs.