As a rule, I always keep my sweet Genovese basil from flowering. Any summer day, you’ll find me strolling through the kitchen garden pinching and clipping to keep the plants squat and full. You might say, obsessively pinching and cultivating the precious pesto basils so I can use them well into the late summer before they stretch out, get lanky and finally flower in spite of my best intentions.
There are other culinary basils that I let flower, in fact, I grow them for their flowers and the beauty they bring to the garden. Lemon basil reseeds for me and I transplant it where I want it. I might use the lemony leaves in salads and with fish or I might not. Lemon basil flowers make a great filler plant in flower arrangements. I use Thai basil in the same way and chop up the leaves with flowers and all for stir fries and curries. Thai basil flowers are beautiful in the garden or in the vase. I grow African Blue basil strictly for ornamental use. It’s a great summer annual to fill in the perennial border.