Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Dark Opal Basil
Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurascens'

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)
Species: basilicum (bass-IL-ee-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Purpurascens
Additional cultivar information: (aka Dark Opal)

6 vendors have this plant for sale.

24 members have or want this plant for trade.


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Mid Summer
Late Summer/Early Fall


Other details:
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:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
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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By mystic
Thumbnail #1 of Ocimum basilicum by mystic

By TuttiFrutti
Thumbnail #2 of Ocimum basilicum by TuttiFrutti

By jadewolf
Thumbnail #3 of Ocimum basilicum by jadewolf

By TuttiFrutti
Thumbnail #4 of Ocimum basilicum by TuttiFrutti

By ocimum_nate
Thumbnail #5 of Ocimum basilicum by ocimum_nate

By kyle_and_erika
Thumbnail #6 of Ocimum basilicum by kyle_and_erika

By green76thumb
Thumbnail #7 of Ocimum basilicum by green76thumb

There are a total of 12 photos.
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4 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Ian01 On Sep 24, 2009, Ian01 from Rio de Janeiro
Brazil wrote:

Best color in cool growing conditions. Above 77F (25C) it stays much more green than purple (like the photo posted by jadewolf). A little disappointing in hot climates if you expect a showy solid purple basil.

Positive kyle_and_erika On Jun 10, 2006, kyle_and_erika from Batesville, AR wrote:

This year is the first time that either one of us had grown purple basil. We have been very pleased with it so far. As mentioned above, it brings an ornamental touch to the garden - it would even look good used as a landscape plant. This one will be put on our "keeper" list.

We are growing two other varieties, Italian Large Leaf and Genovese. Having done side by side taste tests, we have found the 'purple opal' to have an unmistakable strong licorice taste that lingers after eating. We've yet to cook with it, but this unique aspect might work well for certain dishes.

I might also add that it is enduring hot, humid conditions very well.

I never thought I would, or even could, get excited about basil but I enjoy looking at it and monitoring its progress. This has added to my already high level of shame, but I am coming out of the closet. I am a basil lover and proud of it !!

Positive TuttiFrutti On Jul 11, 2005, TuttiFrutti from Spokane Valley, WA (Zone 5b) wrote:

While flavorful and wonderfully aromatic, this also provides an interesting color contrast to the deep green foliage in my tomato row. And as with other basils, it's a wonderful companion for tomatoes in both the garden and in culinary use.

Positive lmh54 On Jul 13, 2003, lmh54 from Bethesda, MD wrote:

This plant is grown in all my borders. If left it reseeds beautifully. I have been very successful in transplanting after rain spring through late fall. This plant grows vigorously in any soil though best when mulched in hot sunny areas to retain moisture. I have added it to beds of coneflower and bee balm and the dark foliage is a beautiful addition with the added benefit of discouraging weed growth. Fails in shade.

Positive lupinelover On Jan 27, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

'Dark Opal' keeps its leaf color all during the season, so adds an ornamental touch to the garden. Besides, vinegar made with this variety is a beautiful shade of purple.

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

Has red-purple leaves and pink flowers.To harvest, remove growth whenever four sets of true leaves can be left on the plant. This encourages bushier growth and increased yield. For best foliage flavor, cut before flowering. Leaf flavor changes after flowers open. After cutting, wash and pat leaves dry. Use immediately or store in perforated plastic bags in the refrigerator. When drying the leaves, harvest early in the day but after dew has dried.


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

Batesville, Arkansas
Emerald Lake Hills, California
Los Angeles, California
Merced, California
Bartow, Florida
Kissimmee, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Miami, Florida
Umatilla, Florida
Hinsdale, Illinois
Anderson, Indiana
Benton, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Mount Sterling, Kentucky
Bethesda, Maryland
Hamilton, Ohio
Vinton, Ohio
Clarksville, Tennessee
Desoto, Texas
Radford, Virginia
Spokane, Washington

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