Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants
Herbs - CulinaryAnnual Biennial

Ocimum basilicum

sweet basil

O. basilicum is an aromatic annual or biennial with bright green, elliptic leaves and small, tubular white or pink-tinged flowers 1cm in length, in spikes in late summer

Other common names
common basil
Greek royal
see morekiss-me-Nicholas
lemon basil
Synonyms
Ocimum album
Ocimum thyrsiflorum

Unlimited days out

Individual RHS membership from £47.25

Complete now
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
0.1–0.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1–2 years
Ultimate spread
0.1–0.5 metres
Growing conditions
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Pink White Green
Autumn Green
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H1C
Botanical details
Family
Lamiaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Genus

Ocimum can be aromatic annuals, evergreen perennials or shrubs with opposite, linear to broadly-ovate leaves and small tubular white or pinkish flowers in whorls forming a spike

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Treat as an annual and grow in a light, well-drained, fertile soil in a sheltered position in full sun. Best grown containerised. May be grown as a short-lived sub-shrub if over-wintered under glass. Water freely in summer

Propagation

Propagate by seed sown in gentle heat in early spring or sown in-situ in summer

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Patio and container plants
Pruning

Pinch out flowerheads as they appear to ensure continued leaf growth. Cut back after flowering

Pests

Can get leafhoppers and aphids; slugs and snails may also be problematic

Diseases

May be affected by powdery mildews

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.