Ocimum, Greek Column Basil 'Lesbos'

Ocimum basilicum

Family: Lamiaceae (lay-mee-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ocimum (OSS-ih-mum) (Info)
Species: basilicum (bass-IL-ee-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Lesbos
Additional cultivar information:(aka Aussie Sweet, Greek Columnar)



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage





Foliage Color:



12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:


Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Littleton, Colorado

Gainesville, Florida

Plant City, Florida

Tampa, Florida

Evergreen Park, Illinois

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Bryan, Texas

Canyon Lake, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Mar 28, 2017, writergurl from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

This is an excellent plant for containers. It didn't get as large as some are saying. Only about 18 inches, but then I was harvesting a lot. Even in the high desert, it took the 100-plus heat and even withstood colder temperatures well into November, far longer than my other basils.
I originally found it at Kroger in Albuquerque, of all places. I had no idea how hard it would be to find again, or I would have rooted one indoors over the winter.
It roots in water on the windowsill in a matter of days from woody cuttings. I cut some for cooking and stuck the leftover stalks in a jar of water until I could use the rest. 2 days later I saw roots! I was potting it up and giving it away to everyone I know. Unfortunately, none of us brought it inside for the winter!
So full ... read more


On Sep 6, 2015, ozzyozzie from Evergreen Park, IL wrote:

It's not a plant, it's a shrub!

Growing one using one of those cheap-o tomato cages for support. Plant has completely outgrown the cage and is now a little over 40 inches tall.

I took a cutting last fall from a neighbor's plant and easily grew it indoors and from that plant took cutting to create three more plants to give away. The one neighbor growing it in a pot has a much smaller plant of course that seems to be doing okay with no support.

2017 update. Plant is flowering which is a first for me. I assume the seeds will be sterile but I will try and collect some and see if any will sprout.


On Jul 24, 2010, bellashere from Tampa, FL wrote:

pot it,place it in the sun . water about every third day.

most importantly.....Leave it alone!!! The heat doesn't bother it even here in Tampa.


On Jan 10, 2010, KanapahaLEW from Alachua, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

This basil is a mainstay every year in the Herb Garden at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens. It has good basil flavor and produces abundant foliage on tall columnar plants. I take cuttings before first frost each year and easily root them in sterile potting mix in the greenhouse. By spring I have good-sized gallon plants to put back in the garden for the warm seasons. If I could have only ONE type of basil (and I normally grow around ten different types) this would be it.


On Oct 14, 2003, TerriFlorida from Plant City, FL wrote:

I bought this from farther north as O. b. "Greek Columnar" last spring. I bought five, but I didn't need to. This plant here grows nearly 3' tall and is strictly columnar until the branches get too heavy. They break and flop over, I cut them away and hang them upside down to dry or stick them in the ground where they root very readily here.

If you love to cook with basil, this is your plant. You don't have to cut off flowers. You have to cut the plant back. It is accepting of pot culture, so would be easy to protect where not hardy. It is ridiculously easy to get more of. It is highly aromatic, stronger than annual basils (I've grown many kinds) and more complicated. I don't cook, but luckily I know lots of people who do! :-)


On Jan 9, 2003, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

If you want a basil to grow year round this would be it. This basil does not flower or produce seed. Needs warm temperatures to do well.


On Aug 14, 2001, herbin from Park Hill, OK (Zone 5b) wrote:

A tender perennial basil that does not bloom. Small green leaves with purple veins. Propagated by cuttings. An unusual scented basil. The fragrance is spicy, of cinnamon, allspice and cloves,and even citrusy. Columnar growth habit.