Bolloso Napoletano Basil

Another winner from Franchi, Italy’s oldest seed company: Bolloso Napoletano basil. It has been slow to go to flower, pest resistant, prodigious and flavorful. The huge leaves are the size of iPhones but make much better pesto (iPesto?).

As usual, I can’t find much information on this variety in English. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but I believe the name translates roughly as “blistered Neapolitan” a reference, most likely, to the wrinkled leaves. Bolloso Napoletano will be the official Root Simple compound basil from now on out.

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  1. iPesto – LOVE IT!! Nothing better than making pesto and freezing, then thawing out a few cubes during a January snowstorm – instant summer in a bowl!!

  2. You don’t need to be in zone 10 to grow great basil, though. The only trick is that it likes warm weather. We always plant ours a little later in the spring than our other summer crops, when the nights start to warm up. If we plant it any sooner, it just sits there.

  3. @Holly House – In zone 7 I transplant basil once the soil temp has reached 70F *and* we are safely past any temps below 50. (I don’t have much luck direct seeding basil.) I would think you’d be able to grow it in zone 5 with no problems.

  4. We had a very respectable basil harvest this year from some regular sweet basil, yours looks AMAZING though! Actually it was more or less the only herb I COULD get to grow this year! I want to start making our own pesto and this looks soo yummy. I’m sure I could coax it into growing here, off to the provided link I go!

  5. I was curious about the name, too…I asked my friend, sister of the mayor of Bergamo, from whence these seeds came…she says: “literally it means:
    bolloso = with bubbles (i guess the leaves are roundish, like bubbles, more curvy than others)
    napoletano = from naples”

  6. What’s your secret with basil? I have tried and tried to grow it, but with little success. This year, I decided that the few survivors I have can go to seed. Maybe they just want to self-propagate.

    And if not, I can’t do much with 7 plants anyway.

  7. Sarah, Don’t know if I have a secret. I’ve had problems in the past with basil. But starting with making sure your soil is healthy is always a good start. Get the UMass soil test.

  8. @Sarah: I’d add that all I’ve figured out is that basil loves heat. Warm nights, warm soil. Start it too early and it fails. And it loves very consistent moisture. It really doesn’t do well with wet/dry cycles. I think this batch did particularly well this year because a) Mr. H put that bed on an auto drip and b) the basil is planted so close together, and surrounded close by other herbs, so the soil beneath the leaves is always nice and moist. This is really important here, because our summers are so dry and harsh. If you live in Seattle, this is not going to apply so much.

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