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Annual BiennialHerbs - Culinary

Ocimum basilicum

sweet basil

An aromatic tender annual or short-lived perennial, 30-60cm tall and 30cm wide, with bright green, elliptic leaves approximately 5cm long and 2-3cm wide. Many different cultivars available, varying in size and colour. Small, tubular white or pink-tinged flowers emerge in terminal, slightly hairy spikes in late summer

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

Grow as an annual, indoors, in moist but well drained soil in a sheltered position in full sun. Can move outdoors in summer. Best grown in a container. See basil cultivation for more information

Propagation

Propagate by seed in gentle heat in spring under glass or indoors, or sow in-situ in summer. See sowing seeds indoors for further advice

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Mediterranean climate plants
  • Patio and container plants
  • Conservatory and greenhouse
Pruning

Pinch out flowerheads as they appear to promote further leaf growth

Pests

May be susceptible to aphids, slugs, snails and sage leafhopper

Diseases

May be susceptible to powdery mildews

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