Sweet Basil

Ocimum basilicum

The most flavorful basil for culinary use. The key herb used for pesto, pasta dishes and delicious with tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Basil loves growing alongside tomato plants in a sunny garden or in containers on patio or balcony. A warm season annual; can develop as a woody perennial in frost-free climates.
There are very few rules in gardening, but perhaps the most important one is to work within your zone. Choosing plants that grow and thrive in your particular climate is the very first step toward having a beautiful garden . Learn More
10-11: Perennial
Grow as Annual in all zones

Good to Grow...for one season:


Full sun

Water regularly to maintain evenly moist soil - weekly, or more often.

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Botanical PronunciationOSS-ih-mum bass-IL-ee-kum
LoreOcimum, a genus of highly aromatic plants, is rooted in the Greek word ozo, which means "to smell". The French often refer to basil as "Herbe Royale", intimating its highly-regarded role in French cuisine. It has been theorized that the species name was derived from the Greek word basileus, meaning king. Oft referred to as "the king of herbs", basil's affiliation with the crown may be in part due to its historical use in regal medicine; among its multiple uses, it was considered a cure for venomous bites. Greeks and Romans believed the most potent basil could be grown only if one sowed the seed while ranting and swearing, as evidenced in the French expression "semer le basilica" (sowing basil) which means "to rant". In modern day Greece, basil remains a symbol of fertility in some religious rituals. Throughout the world, it is used as a savory culinary herb, and is the base of traditional Italian pesto sauce. It can also be found in perfumes, soaps and liqueurs.
Average Size at MaturityQuickly reaches 12 to 24 in. tall, 12 to 15 in wide.
Bloom TimePrized for foliage.
Flower AttributeShowy Flowers
Flower ColorWhite
Foliage ColorGreen
Garden StyleCottage, Mediterranean
Growth RateFast
Landscape UseBorder, Container, Kitchen Garden
Light NeedsFull sun
Special FeatureEasy Care, Edible, Gift Plant, Fast Growing, Pet Friendly
Water NeedsModerate
Watering NeedsWater regularly to maintain evenly moist soil - weekly, or more often.
Companion PlantsSweet Bay (Laurus); Lavender (Lavandula); Rosemary (Rosmarinus); Olea (Olive); Pomegranate (Punica)

Provide average, organically rich, moist, well-drained soil. Apply a slow-release fertilizer in spring. Harvest leaves when young for best flavor. Pinch off newest set of leaves on stem ends regularly to encourage dense new growth and prevent flowering. In cooler regions, can be enjoyed outdoors in summer; move indoors before the threat of frost.

This Plant's Growing Zones: ALL

Your USDA Cold Hardiness Zone:

Grow As Annual in All Zones