Alphabetical Plant Listing

Ocimum basilicum (Basil)

Sweet Basil, Genovese Basil, Thai Basil, Purple Basil, Lemon Basil, Holy Basil, Italian Large Leaf Basil, Napoletano Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Spicy Globe Basil, Lettuce Basil (Ocimum basilicum)


Widely cultivated worldwide, Basil is one of the easiest herbs to grow. The leaves are used fresh or dried to flavor meats, fish, salads, and sauces. Its sweet aroma and strong flavor make it popular in a variety of cuisines.

All you need to know about Basil

  • Basil (Ocimum basilicum) belongs to the mint family (Lamiaceae), along with oregano, thyme, and rosemary. Native to the tropical regions of Asia, it has been introduced in the Mediterranean basin by the Greeks and Romans and later diffused in the rest of Europe and the Americas. Dozens of cultivars and varieties of basil are available, offering a rich array of flavors, leaf colors, and textures, from sweet Italian varieties to spicy Thai basils.
     
  • Most Basil varieties are short-lived tender perennials that thrive in warmer climates, such as the Mediterranean region and Africa. In cooler climates, they are usually grown as aromatic annuals or biennials. Adaptable to the heat, Basil is a warm-season herb that is frost sensitive and does not survive a light frost.
     
  • Basil is ready to harvest 60 to 90 days after planting, depending on the varieties. It is regarded as one of the easiest plants to grow.
     
  • Basil grows extremely well both indoors and outdoors. It requires a sheltered, warm, sunny site with a well-drained soil.

Basil Benefits and Uses

  • Basil is one of the most popular and widely used culinary herbs in the world. Sweet Basil is the quintessential Italian culinary herb, most famous for its use in pesto. It is also used for flavoring salads, tomato sauces, soups, vegetables, chicken, egg, and fish dishes. Citrus-scented and spice-flavored Basil varieties work well in Asian recipes. Young leaves have the best flavor, while old ones have a coarser, stronger taste.
     
  • Although Basil naturally repels mosquitoes and flies, it attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects to the garden.
     
  • Basil is a valuable addition to the vegetable garden and an excellent companion plant for tomatoes, peppers, parsley, lettuce, asparagus, beans, beets, cabbage, eggplant, marigolds, potatoes, or oregano. Avoid planting Basil near Rue (Ruta graveolens) and Sage (Salvia officinalis).
     
  • While Basil makes a colorful and flavorful addition to many dishes, it can also provide some health benefits. Basil contains many vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants and essential oils. However, all these great compounds disappear during the process of drying, so opt for fresh basil whenever possible to enjoy the most benefits. Basil can help reduce inflammation in the body, lower blood pressure, fight free radicals, and reduce high blood sugar levels. Basil has antibacterial properties. Popular in Ayurvedic medicine, Tulsi provides many benefits, including improving mental health, reducing anxiety and depression, and lowering the risk for age-related memory loss.
     
  • Basil is low-maintenance. Just pinch off the flowers as they arrive to send the growing energy into the leaves, which is the reason most people grow basil.
     
  • Basil has no serious pest or disease issues. It is no favorite of deer and rabbits.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 - 11
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Annuals, Herbs, Perennials
Plant Family Ocimum - Basil
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 8" - 3' (20cm - 90cm)
Spread 8" - 2' (20cm - 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden

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While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Hardiness 2 - 11
Climate Zones 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A, 3B, A1, A2, A3
Plant Type Annuals, Herbs, Perennials
Plant Family Ocimum - Basil
Exposure Full Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Height 8" - 3' (20cm - 90cm)
Spread 8" - 2' (20cm - 60cm)
Water Needs Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Fragrant, Showy
Tolerance Deer, Rabbit
Attracts Butterflies
Landscaping Ideas Beds and Borders, Patio and Containers
Garden Styles City and Courtyard, Informal and Cottage, Mediterranean Garden
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