Ocimum, Purple Basil, Sweet Basil 'Purpurascens'

Ocimum basilicum

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)



Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:



18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Batesville, Arkansas

Emerald Lake Hills, California

Los Angeles, California

Merced, California

Woodside, 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

Norfolk, Virginia

Radford, Virginia

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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.


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 monit... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.