What is lime basil? A close cousin to the more common lemon basil, lime basil herb has a zesty flavor and a sweet, citrusy aroma. Lime basil is used in a variety of dishes, including chicken, fish, sauces, fruit salad and Thai dishes. It also makes delicious, refreshing iced tea. Growing lime basil isn’t difficult, and the herbs can be planted in the garden or grown in containers. You can even grow lime basil plants indoors on a bright, sunny windowsill. Read on to learn more about this citrus basil variety.
How to Grow Lime Basil
Lime basil plants are commonly grown as annuals. However, the plant is perennial in USDA plant hardiness zones 9 through 11. Place the plant where it receives at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Lime basil herb requires well-drained soil. If drainage is poor, dig in a little compost before planting. If you’re growing lime basil herb in a container, use a good quality commercial potting mix.
You can start lime basil seeds indoors in late winter, about six to eight weeks ahead of the last frost in your climate. However, most gardeners prefer to buy starter plants at a nursery or garden center.
Allow 12 to 16 inches (25-35 cm.) between plants. Lime basil prefers good air circulation and doesn’t do well in a crowded bed.
Check potted basil plants daily during hot weather as conditions dry out quickly. Keep the foliage as dry as possible to prevent disease. Avoid sprinklers and, instead, use a hose to water basil plants at the base.
Feed lime basil plants every four to six weeks during spring and summer using a water-soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength. Avoid over feeding, which will weaken the citrusy flavor.
Snip leaves and stems and use them in the kitchen as often as you like. The tangy flavor is most pronounced when the plant is harvested before blooming. Cut lime basil back if the plant begins to look spindly. Regular trimming will keep the plant bushy and compact.