Ocimum basilicum L.

Sweet Basil




Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Ocimum

Category: Annual

Zones: Perennial in zones 9 to 10

Size: To 2' tall and wide

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun


Very frost tender so grown as an annual in cooler zones. Some cultivars are grown for ornament. Flowers in summer and is attractive to bees and butterflies. Pinching out the centers encourages bushier growth.


Jim Wilson suggests African Blue, Siam Princess, Cinnamon and Dark Opal as being heat and humidity tolerant.


Published in Sp. Pl. 2: 597 in 1753.

Originated perhaps in Africa.

My Experience: 

I received a purple-leafed cultivar which may have been 'Purple Ruffles' at a plant swap in May 2011 and planted it by the conservatory. It took a while to stop wilting in the heat but after a month or so started to grow well and achieved a rounded mound of about 2' tall and 2.5' wide by the end of summer. It bloomed in September, quite late.

Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner