Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Basil, Sweet Basil
Ocimum basilicum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)
Species: basilicum (bass-IL-ee-kum) (Info)

4 vendors have this plant for sale.

93 members have or want this plant for trade.

View this plant in a garden


12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
5.1 to 5.5 (strongly acidic)
5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)
7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From herbaceous stem cuttings
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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There are a total of 24 photos.
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15 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive dryad57 On Dec 10, 2007, dryad57 from Scottsburg, IN (Zone 6a) wrote:

We keep this in a container on our back deck, alongside the rosemary, and it thrives. The container is molded polystyrene, and I added the water absorbent crystals to help it keep from drooping in the drought this year. The weather did cause it to jump into bloom early and often, so a lot of pinching was required, but then we got some nice seeds from that at the end of the season. It did fine - morning to mid-afternoon sunshine. We like keeping it in that spot as we regularly pick fresh herbs to put on our grilled meat. With it about 2 feet from the grill, it makes for some very tasty hot dogs!

Positive Anitabryk2 On Dec 9, 2007, Anitabryk2 from Long Island, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

Great container plant. Very tolerant of part sun. Cuttings root easily. I take cuttings and grow under lights during the winter. Wintersows well.

Positive HobbitHerbLover On May 28, 2006, HobbitHerbLover from Palmdale, CA wrote:

I planted this herb on the last day of April, 2006, and today is May 28, 2006, and already it is blooming! It is one of the fastest growing herbs in my garden, and with it's fine array of leaves and a tall crown of white blooms, I completely understand why it's name means "princely".

I live in southern California, and we have strong winds here. Unlike it's cousin Cinnamon Basil, it's single stem laden with heavy, enormous leaves bends greatly on a significantly windy day. I prop mine up with Chinese chopsticks and sometimes tie the herb to them with twisty-ties (laughs). And it is doing wonderfully! Of course, you can use a more conventional way of propping them up, if you so choose ; )

I have read that its strong, pepper-like aroma repells insects, and I have noticed that no flies are attracted to this plant (as they are to my other herbs).

It does not seem to bloom as much or as fast as Cinnamon Basil. And the tall stem-like part of the plant that carries the blooms on its head is green like the rest of the plant (unlike the deep purple hue that comes with Cinnamon Basil). The blooms are white, tiny, and dainty, and every so often I find a couple scattered about my garden.

The sweet basil in my garden provides a lovely center piece, and I would recommend using it as such!

Positive raisedbedbob On Feb 1, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

This herb is a must in my garden. I make a bruschetta topping with it that I learned how to make in Sicily. It consists of chopped tomato, olive oil, lots of crushed garlic and lots of chopped basil. Some folks add a few red pepper flakes. Best a day old. Serve on crusty bread brushed with olive oil and grilled.

Positive theinfamousj On Oct 9, 2005, theinfamousj from Chapel Hill, NC (Zone 7a) wrote:

Basil has been about the easiest plant that I've ever grown (aside from Aloe vera). I clip the growing tip to harvest, pull off the leaves I need, root the remaining bit, and then plant it back in the garden or give it away. I find that this keeps my basil plants under control.

Two quick notes about dry leaves:
1. You don't have to dry on the stem. I make a baggie out of tulle and hang it full of the larger basil leaves that I also strip when rooting up a tip cutting. They dry the same as they would on the stem.

2. When using dry leaves and you have to crumble them, grinding them between the heels of your palms does a much better job (or faster) than a mortar and pestle.

Positive Sweetvegan On Jul 5, 2005, Sweetvegan from Freehold, NJ wrote:

Pick off flower spikes early. Harvest before it bolts, otherwise the leaves turn bitter, which I learned the hard way.

Positive julie88 On Sep 19, 2004, julie88 from Muscoda, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I've grown Sweet Basil in my herb pots for years. But until this year, when I picked some for my kitchen - put it in water on my counter and promptly forgot to use it - I didn't realize how easily it rooted. :-) Plain water, no special technique used, and a few days later...NEW plants!

A great way to begin learning about propagation...and tasty, too!


Positive knibblet On Jul 7, 2004, knibblet from lamma island
Hong Kong wrote:

The Chinese name for basil is 'jiu ceng ta', or 'nine-storey pagoda'. It is easy to see how it got this name when the plant is in full flower. It is widespread in Hong Kong gardens, a favourite of both local Chinese and foreign residents, used in many dishes. It is also reputed to be effective as a mosquito repellent, by simply squeezing the leaves and rubbing the juice onto your skin.

A small plant (unconfirmed type -- most likely Thai basil) found growing at the side of a dirt path was transplanted with massive success in our sprawling garden, and has re-seeded itself, with some human intervention (scattering and/or planting some seeds), across large areas, equally successful in the ground, potting compost, growing through cracks in concrete. One of the plants that flourishes throughout the year in Hong Kong's extreme climate (summers up to 37 degrees C, hot drought-like spells, with high humidity, interspersed with heavy tropical rainstorms, cool winters with occasional drops to as low as 3 degrees C).

Positive careyjane On Apr 25, 2004, careyjane from Rabat
Morocco wrote:

Has anyone tried basil and raspberry ice cream..... ? A real delice!
Just one of the other many uses of this useful plant.

Positive foodiesleuth On Apr 24, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:

Not only for insalata Caprice and pesto.... I use it with a mixture of other green herbs as part of salads and fillings for flour tortilla wrap ups.....

I make my pesto with macadamia nuts instead of pine nuts, since they are more readily available to quantities so I can freeze it.

It propragates fast by rooting stems in water. At the moment I have 6 new ones and one so old the main stem is quite woody. Still wonderfully fragrant.

Positive MonkeyArcher On Apr 23, 2004, MonkeyArcher from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

The other two foot basil 'bush' in the front yard. The only bad part was trying to figure out who to give a shopping bag of basil to every two weeks. Lived for years before a frost zapped it.

Positive art_n_garden On Dec 5, 2003, art_n_garden from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Pesto!! One of my all time favorite pasta additions. very easy with your own plant. pine nuts, basil leaves, olive oil, salt, garlic, and a food processor.

Also, I always pick the flowers off of my basil plants-- they arent that pretty and sap the energy right out of the plant. it will grow much faster and bushier if you pluck them off the second they start coming.

Positive PaulRobinson On Jun 17, 2003, PaulRobinson from Torrance, CA wrote:

I find it amusing that the comments regarding this wonderful herb fail to mention its culinary uses. Basil, tomato, mozzaella, and olive oil (Italian "Ensalata Caprice") is a marveleoous example of Basil's wonderful flavor.

Easy to grow in average soil with ample water, full sun. Good as container plant. Very attractive to snails, etc. The foliage is an attractive bright green, making it pleasant to see in any garden. Flowers a very small, white, on short spikes.

Positive smiln32 On Aug 31, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

These plants, as well as oils from them, have received lots of attention for their potential medicinal properties. Of these plants, O. basilicum is the most widely used. It is used in cosmetics, liqueurs, medicines, and perfumes.

Positive mystic On Aug 11, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Most common type grown. White flowers. Bright green, 2 to 3 inch long leaves. Erect habit. Clovelike scent.


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

, (2 reports)
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Sahuarita, Arizona
Scottsdale, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Conway, Arkansas
Solgohachia, Arkansas
Castro Valley, California
Elk Grove, California
Lawndale, California
Los Altos, California
Lucerne Valley, California
Merced, California
Mountain View, California (2 reports)
Oak View, California
Oakland, California
Sacramento, California (2 reports)
Vincent, California
Denver, Colorado
Pueblo, Colorado
New Haven, Connecticut
Ellenton, Florida
Eustis, Florida
Hollywood, Florida (2 reports)
Indialantic, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Loxahatchee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Navarre, Florida
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
Rockledge, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
Tampa, Florida
Venice, Florida
Webster, Florida
Augusta, Georgia
Carrollton, Georgia
Honomu, Hawaii
Chillicothe, Illinois
Morris, Illinois
Georgetown, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Iowa City, Iowa
Kansas City, Kansas
Central City, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Marrero, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana
Litchfield, Maine
Valley Lee, Maryland
Groveland, Massachusetts
Quincy, Michigan
Mathiston, Mississippi
Saucier, Mississippi
Blue Springs, Missouri
Springfield, Missouri
Silver Springs, Nevada
Greenville, New Hampshire
Freehold, New Jersey
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
Parsippany, New Jersey
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Rio Rancho, New Mexico
Bronx, New York
Brooklyn, New York
Deposit, New York
Ronkonkoma, New York
Troy, New York
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Swansboro, North Carolina
Monroe, Ohio
Vinton, Ohio
Hulbert, Oklahoma
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania
Cranberry Twp, Pennsylvania
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Vieques, Puerto Rico
Conway, South Carolina
Greer, South Carolina
Clarksville, Tennessee
Knoxville, Tennessee
Lenoir City, Tennessee
Austin, Texas (2 reports)
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas (4 reports)
Katy, Texas
Kerrville, Texas
Longview, Texas
North Richland Hills, Texas
San Antonio, Texas (2 reports)
Waco, Texas
Castleton, Vermont
Cascade, Virginia
Charlottesville, Virginia
Jonesville, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Palmyra, Virginia
Woodbridge, Virginia
Wytheville, Virginia
Bellevue, Washington
Spokane, Washington (2 reports)
Liberty, West Virginia
Morgantown, West Virginia
Volga, West Virginia
Muscoda, Wisconsin
Racine, Wisconsin

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