Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Holy Basil, Thai Holy Basil
Ocimum sanctum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)
Species: sanctum (SANK-tum) (Info)

Synonym:Ocimum tenuiflorum

7 vendors have this plant for sale.

28 members have or want this plant for trade.


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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun


Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms all year


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)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:
Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry

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By ocimum_nate
Thumbnail #1 of Ocimum sanctum by ocimum_nate

By sagelover
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By beclu727
Thumbnail #3 of Ocimum sanctum by beclu727

By tulasidasi
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By ocimum_nate
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By ocimum_nate
Thumbnail #6 of Ocimum sanctum by ocimum_nate

By Dinu
Thumbnail #7 of Ocimum sanctum by Dinu

There are a total of 13 photos.
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2 positives
3 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral Siirenias On Aug 3, 2013, Siirenias from Oak Park, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Gorgeous green plant, often with reddish stems and much sturdier in appearance than Sweet Basil.

Loves the heat of a California summer, so long as it gets enough water. Very, very frost tender, and will fade consistently with night temperatures that dip too low in winter.

Worth growing as an annual, or as a perennial in, like, Zones 10 and 11.

Neutral mdhingra On Jul 18, 2012, mdhingra from delhi
India wrote:

In our country India, its been considered that a girl having periods cannot water tulsi plant.
Is this true?
is there any technical reason behind this.

Positive pajaritomt On Jul 16, 2007, pajaritomt from Los Alamos, NM (Zone 5a) wrote:

Very nice culinary herb. Easy to grow. Often used in the same dishes as Thai sweet basil for a little different flavor.
I grow it in large pots outdoors right to my Thai sweet basil.

Positive ocimum_nate On Nov 19, 2002, ocimum_nate from American Fork, UT (Zone 5a) wrote:

Holy Basil Ocimum sanctum is indigenous to India and southern Asia. It is used in Thailand for culinary purposes. It is believed to be an incarnation of Tulsi the wife of Vishnu (one of three high gods in Hinduism) and is a symbol of fidelity. It can be found in two different leaf colors: green and purple. It is a somewhat small and compact plant ranging from 12-30" tall and wide. It is grown as a perennial plant in its native tropical environment but can also be grown as an annual in cooler regions. The leaves are simple and opposite in arrangement. They alternate directions at each node of the stem. The leaf is ovate with pinnate venation and has undulating crenate margins. The apex of the leaf is obtuse and the base is rounded. The surface of the leaf is mostly glabrous while the underside is pubescent. The stem is also pubescent and has four distinct yet rounded sides and are green or purple depending on the color of the plant. The bilabiate flowers are lavender or white, perfect and are borne on a raceme. They bloom continuously in their native tropical environment. The root system is fibrous but not very aggressive. Often times Spice Basil Ocimum canum x basilicum is mistakenly labeled as holy basil. The third picture on this page is Spice Basil.

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

It is not as leafy or bushy as most basils, but is appreciated for its fragrance. The small leaves are about 1/2" long and the plant grows 1-1/2 to 2' high.Leaves are small and fuzzy with a sweet, clove-like fragrance. Violet or white flowers. Used in some religious ceremonies. Not highly suited for culinary uses. It can be grown in mixed flower borders or in a pot on a patio.


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

Fremont, California
Richmond, California
San Pedro, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Kailua, Hawaii
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Garber, Oklahoma
Belton, Texas
Houston, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
American Fork, Utah
Logan, Utah

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