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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



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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.


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.


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 t... read more


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.