Breakthrough French basil is tasty, prolific and unstoppable, producing all summer long.
Days To Maturity
Container Plant, Fragrant
Direct Sow/Indoor Sow
Plant Shipping Information
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Basil may be grown from seed sown early indoors and transplanted outside after frost, or sown directly in the garden, or planted as a potted plant.
Sowing Seed Indoors:
- Sow basil seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
- Sow seeds ¼ inches deep in seed-starting formula
- Keep the soil moist at 70 degrees F
- Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
- As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
- Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
- If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots.
- Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.
Sowing Directly in the Garden:
- Direct sow in average soil in full sun after all danger of frost when the soil is at least 60 degrees F.
- Remove weeds and work organic matter into the top 6-8 inches of soil; then level and smooth.
- Sow seeds evenly and cover with ¼ inches of fine soil.
- Firm the soil lightly and keep evenly moist.
- Seedlings will emerge in 7-14 days, possibly longer in cooler soils.
Planting in the Garden:
- Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil.
- Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
- Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development.
- Place the top of the root ball even with the level of the surrounding soil. Fill with soil to the top of the root ball. Press soil down firmly with your hand.
- Use the plant tag as a location marker.
- Thoroughly water and apply a light mulch layer on top of the soil (1-2 inches) to conserve water and reduce weeds.
- Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating.
- Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. For herbs, an organic mulch of aged bark or shredded leaves lends a natural look to the bed and will improve the soil as it breaks down in time. Always keep mulches off a plant’s stems to prevent possible rot.
- Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1 inch of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It’s best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated. Basil should not be allowed to dry out.
- Pinch the stems to encourage bushiness. Pinch flowers off to prolong the harvest.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
- Discard plants after they bloom.
- Pinch leaves from the tips of the stems as needed starting 60-90 days after the seedlings have two sets of leaves.
- If fresh, pick early in the morning for highest oil content.
- For drying or freezing, harvest leaves that have their maximum oil content, just before flowering.
- To harvest the leaves, pinch the stems just above a set of leaves as needed from the top. This will also help keep the plants bushy.
- Do not harvest too much of the plant at one time as this may weaken the plant.
- Flowers are also edible and may be used as a garnish.
- To dry, cut whole stems on a dry morning. Tie stems loosely together in small bunches and hang in a dry, airy location out of the sun. Basil may also be dried on a cheesecloth or a window screen in a dry, shady location. When thoroughly dry, store in a tightly sealed glass jar in a dry, dark location.
- Basil may be frozen dry on a cookie sheet and then sealed in zip lock bags, or it can be minced and frozen in an ice cube tray in water or olive oil.
- You can also preserve basil using sea salt. Place a layer of sea salt on the bottom of the container you will use. Place a leaf on top of the salt. Add a layer of salt to cover the leaf so the leaves do not touch each other. Make as many layers are you have room for and seal the container and place in the refrigerator.
SunFull SunDays To Maturity60-90 daysLife CycleAnnualHeight10 inchesSpread4-6 inchesAdditional UsesContainer Plant, FragrantSow MethodDirect Sow/Indoor SowPlanting TimeSpring, SummerThin8 inches
Basil, Summerlong is rated out of 5 by 16.Rated 1 out of 5 by mathchef from Disappointed I purchased "Bam" Basil last year from Burpee and liked it very much. The plants were small but the leaves were a reasonable size and it truly did last all season long without bolting. I couldn't find "Bam" Basil for sale this year and thought that this "Summerlong" Basil was the same thing with a new name. I was wrong. I raised these "Summerlong" Basil plants from seed and the seeds sprouted well. But the plants have such tiny leaves that it is virtually unusable. And it started to bolt before May was even over. I am very disappointed.Date published: 2015-06-07Rated 1 out of 5 by lamgarden from Poor germination Very disappointed with this basil. Maybe a dozen seeds germinated out of the entire pack (supposedly 100 seeds) whereas every other variety of basil I started from seed (at the same time and under identical conditions) germinated perfectly and is now thriving.Date published: 2015-03-21Rated 5 out of 5 by TevaToes from Crazy Full Basil I'm a container gardener. I got this as a small plant, not from seed. From the get go this plant took off. grew nice and full, wonderful fragrance, and very tasty. I found it slow to bolt, good thing too because the plant was so prolific. I prefer using the basil fresh as opposed to dried or frozen. So picking it as I go works best for me. And boy is it true to it's name, "Summerlong" is a fact. Can't say enough good things about this plant. Moving forward, this is going to be a staple in my garden.Date published: 2012-08-01Rated 2 out of 5 by lavacat from Summerlong basil My husband and I planted this basil in our garden last year with high hopes that it would not bolt. Alas, it bolted worse than any other basil we have ever grown. We decided to plant it again this year and give it a second chance. We will see if it does any better, but as far as I am concerned, the other varieties of basil are much better suited for a warm climate.Date published: 2012-05-09Rated 3 out of 5 by zephyr from Decent basil, tiny leaves The flavor of this basil was fine, but the leaves were so tiny, it was kind of a pain to use them for cooking.Date published: 2011-02-12Rated 4 out of 5 by Swanson from Vigorous plants, good flavor I had great germination success with these plants. I planted 4 seeds in little plastic pots indoors a few weeks before transplanting and 3 of the 4 produced healthy looking plants. I have harvested the plants 3 times since late June as they just keep on coming back again and sending new stems and leaves up. I'm very satisfied with both the insect resistance, the amount of the basil I get per harvest and the overall health of the plant. They're one of the healthiest plants in mt garden.Date published: 2010-08-06Rated 3 out of 5 by squirrelgirl from poor germination, but nice plants I started these seeds in seed pots indoors, about a dozen pots, and wound up with only 3 viable plants. Many seeds did not germinate at all, and some that germinated produced weak spindly plants that did not survive. I put my 3 surviving plants into a large clay pot and set it outside, next to my herb garden. I also had store-bought basil plants in the ground. The main reason I wanted to try the Summerlong was because of its claim to be 'bug resistant.' Every year my basil is devoured by insects before I get to use much of it, and I am not inclined to spray any of my vegetables or herbs. Sure enough, my basil plants in the ground this year are already half-eaten, but the Summerlong sitting in a pot right next to it is untouched. Yes, as other reviewers have said, the leaves are very small (no good for chiffonade), but the flavor is good, and the plants are full and bushy, very healthy looking. And no insect damage! I'd give this basil 5 stars if it had germinated better.Date published: 2010-08-04Rated 5 out of 5 by mackeller from A big surprize This basil grew strongly into a three foot by two foot wide bush and produced masses of basil. I made fresh pasta sauces, used it with alternatedly stacked sliced tomatoes , cheese, fresh picked leaves and basalmic vinager for snacks and used it to pep-up commercial pesto by adding the leaves. It lasted until the first total frost.Date published: 2009-01-20