Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Ornamental Basil
Ocimum 'African Blue'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)
Cultivar: African Blue
Additional cultivar information: (aka Kasar)

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

9 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall
Mid Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Flowers are fragrant
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

Click thumbnail
to view:

By herbin
Thumbnail #1 of Ocimum  by herbin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #2 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #3 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #4 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #5 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #6 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

By GD_Rankin
Thumbnail #7 of Ocimum  by GD_Rankin

There are a total of 23 photos.
Click here to view them all!


7 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive suntanbeachman On Jul 17, 2014, suntanbeachman from Rockledge, FL wrote:

This is the one basil to grow in Florida because it is so resistant to heat, humidity, drought, and deluge that it is hard to go wrong. The leaves are not as soft and succulent and tender as the traditional Italian style basil, because they are a bit leathery and dry in comparison. All that means that if you are going to eat the leaves raw in a salad, you should be sure to cut the leaves into the finest thinnest chiffonade possible. Cooking the leaves in a sauce will tenderize the leaves and add an amazing dimension of flavor if you simmer it and soften it long enough.
The flowers will steal the show. Amazing flavor, and an amazing garnish. Strip the flowers off the stem, discard the stem, and sprinkle the flowers on top of a salad, or garnish on top of a spaghetti red sauce or any dish that goes nicely with some basil for a culinary event.,,,or...simply mince the flowers finely along with the stem they came with and sprinkle same as above.
I was able to have one plant survive for four years on an east facing wall that was sheltered from the coldest winds from the northwest. Temps got into the low 20's, but the cement block house and concrete driveway absorbed the daytime sun and created a more forgiving microclimate. The "trunk" was almost 2" thick, and the whole thing grew 6' across and waist high.
It was very rewarding to snip the flower stalks and include in a care package for my northern visitors to take home and enjoy out of the freezer a little at a time.
Propagate these cuttings after rooting in a glass of water. I gave out dozens of them in little 3" pots while at work, and used these easy to grow plants as a confidence builder for co-workers who were learning to garden.

Positive sherigoodwin On Sep 18, 2013, sherigoodwin from Guyton, GA wrote:

I raise 7 types of basil. African Blue is one of the easier ones here in South Georgia. I love the flavor, I makes boat loads of pesto for friends and family. I use a blend of basil but this is the predominant basil in the blend. It holds up well, flavor does not diminish with freezing for up to 12 months.

Positive Texas_Mochi On Oct 6, 2011, Texas_Mochi from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

I love this plant. We have three in a bed, and it not only survived it's first year in the South Central drought this year, but it thrived. Gorgeous - fragrant - and the bees adore it. I am moving to Corpus Christi in January, and I'll be taking cuttings with me. I love this plant!!!

Positive alphzoup On Mar 23, 2011, alphzoup from Kissimmee, FL wrote:

I purchased a small plant in a 4" pot several years ago from Whole Foods (in New Orleans), and that one plant is the parent of so many other plants now! They are super easy to grow (in the South), the bees love them, and the huge bushes are beautiful. The one drawback is that they should not be used as foundation plants, as they will need to be replaced every season or two. Even the central Florida (where I live now) winters will kill this plant, but as long as you take cuttings (root them in water) before the freeze, it will live on! Even if it not killed by frost, it will likely need to be replaced often; it is an herb after all. Pruning it almost down to the ground may allow you to keep the same plant from one year to the next...and don't forget to make new plants from what you pruned off for friends and family! New plants will be big bushes in no time! I like to plant them almost as a hedge, spaced 12-18" apart. Another interesting thing about this plant is the woody stems. A mature plant will form a very strong stem that almost resembles small pieces of driftwood with exfoliating bark. The stems and roots can be used as decoration inside and in the garden. I don't care much for its taste as a basil though...

Positive harleysmom On Apr 2, 2010, harleysmom from Sunnyvale, CA wrote:

The good news is - honeybees LOVE this plant! The bad news - not frost-tolerant; needs to be covered in winter. My 5 plants got toasted this past winter so I need to get more. Last summer we had 30 to 40 honeybees every day in our garden. The black bees ( the shiny ones & the furry black ones with 1 or 2 yellow stripes) also like these OK, but they prefer the salvias & borage.

Positive GD_Rankin On Aug 19, 2006, GD_Rankin from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

A very nice aromatic Basil that can handle the south Texas sun for several hours a day. The blooms are plentiful and start when the plant is still fairly young.

This is a fast grower in my region and starts very easy from cuttings. The butterflies love the blooms and will cover the entire plant at times. I noticed there was only one photo on file, at the time of this posting, so I'll add a few more to help others that would like to see more of this plant in full bloom. They were taken in mid August on a very warm summer afternoon.

Positive dakotaroser On Mar 2, 2005, dakotaroser from Kingston, NH wrote:

First time growing this basil, I love growing so many basil varieties and give them
all a try. This was a rapid grower and I enjoyed this basil
in salads especially. I will be getting a small plant to start
again, this time I will overwinter it in the basement with
plant lights, its one of my two or three favorites! I love the Thai Basil
but it was so pickey about moisture and cooler early
summer weather in southeast New Hampshire, that I
ended up loosing most plants. Some basil, the stems
get a fungus and perish( pathogenic fusarium wilt fungus),within a day so its trail and error
with some basils. One of my favorite herbs to grow in a
sunny garden spot.

Neutral herbin On Aug 18, 2001, herbin from Park Hill, OK (Zone 5b) wrote:

Tender Perennial. Purplish-blue cast, strong growth habit. Leaf veins, flower spikes and stems are purple while the rest is green. The A hint of sweet camphor makes for an unusual flavor. Hybrid between dark opal and camphor basils.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Phoenix, Arizona
Castro Valley, California
National City, California
San Diego, California
San Pedro, California
Sunnyvale, California
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Palm Bay, Florida
Riverview, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Saint Petersburg, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Winter Springs, Florida
Guyton, Georgia
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Derwood, Maryland
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Averill Park, New York
Beaumont, Texas
Belton, Texas
New Braunfels, Texas
San Antonio, Texas

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