PlantsBasils→Sweet Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Sweet Basil
Give a thumbs up Common Basil
Give a thumbs up Basil

Botanical names:
Ocimum basilicum Accepted
Ocimum thyrsiflorum Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Annual
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Leaves: Fragrant
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Bloom Size: Under 1"
Flower Time: Summer
Uses: Culinary Herb
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Pollinators: Bees
Containers: Suitable in 1 gallon

Close up bee face

Summer Stars of My 'Dog Days' GardenSummer Stars of My 'Dog Days' Garden
By SongofJoy on August 31, 2011

The move from California to Tennessee brought with it a change in plant selections and gardening techniques. What grows well there frequently does not grow here at all. The most prominent plant diseases and pests in the two locations can also differ quite markedly. Starting over has been a real challenge.

(Full article28 comments)
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Photo gallery:
Location: My Cincinnati Ohio gardenDate: 2014-11-06Sweet basil seed pods maturing
By kqcrna
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Location: Hudson FloridaDate: 2018-04-104 small basil plants looking very healthy
By Jendoop
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Location: Indiana  Zone 5Date: 2012-10-23
By gardengus
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Location: Palos Verdes CADate: April 1st 2020Light and Texture study
By ChrisCrop
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Location: My garden,  Willow Valley Communities Lakes Campus, Willow Street, Pennsylvania USADate: 2020-06-11
By csandt
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Location: Temple, TexasDate: 2021-04-04New plants to replace last year's.
By Peggy8b
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Location: Middle TennesseeDate: Aug 10, 2011 11:19 AM
By SongofJoy
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Location: My Cincinnati Ohio gardenDate: May 19, 2014Sweet basil seedlings
By kqcrna
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Location: Herb garden - full sunDate: 2014-08-12Growing far better in the soil than in an elevated herb basked. L
By pirl
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Location: Herb garden - full sunDate: 2014-08-12
By pirl
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Location: Herb garden - full sunDate: 2014-08-12
By pirl
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Location: Work areaDate: 2014-0525My personal favorite of all basils.
By pirl
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Location: Work areaDate: 2014-0525
By pirl
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Location: Windsor/DetroitDate: 2016-12-31Just where basil belongs!  Fresh, dipped in olive oil and place o
By Ambrose
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Location: my garden Date: 2017-02-18
By piksihk
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Courtesy Annie's Heirloom Seeds
By vic
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 Photo Courtesy of Select Seeds. Used with permission.
By Joy
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This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by BookerC1 (Mackinaw, IL - Zone 5a) on Aug 23, 2014 6:52 PM

If I had to grow only one herb each year, it would be sweet basil. I've developed a bit of an obsession for it, and I plant a couple of dozen plants each year. I plant some among my tomato plants, as I've read that they are ideal as companion planting partners. I haven't noticed whether growing basil near the tomatoes affects the number of whiteflies or hornworms. I also plant half a dozen plants just outside my kitchen door, so I can easily pinch off a bunch as I'm cooking, and I pinch them back frequently to encourage a bushy plant.

At the end of the summer, when I see that they are desperately trying to blossom and set seed, despite my efforts to pinch off the flower buds as quickly as they form, I surrender to the inevitable. I harvest about 2/3 of the plants, and chop the fresh leaves. I put them in a designated set of ice cube trays, packing as much as I can into each cell, and then cover with water or olive oil. My family knows never to make ice cubes in the blue trays, unless they want basil flavored ice! Once they are frozen, I pop them out and seal them in a ziplock freezer bag, removing as much air as possible. They are ready to drop into a pan of tomato sauce or stew, or to thaw and sprinkle over a homemade pizza.

The remaining third of the plants I allow to set seed. If I'm particularly attentive, I even remember to go collect the seed, so I can use my own seed to start next year's crop.

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Posted by robertduval14 (Mason, New Hampshire - Zone 5b) on Mar 4, 2013 5:17 PM

The herb garden standard. Wonderful flavor. It is no accident that the placement of my grill is not very far from where I grow my herbs.

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Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Jun 1, 2013 8:57 AM

Basil is native to India.
This sweet basil is the one most often used in Italian cooking.
It is easy to start from seed and prefers warm soil, so don't start too early, or you can choose to start indoors and then transplant out after all frost is over. It is very sensitive to frost and is damaged easily.
Keep it harvested (picked) to keep it from flowering . The flavor is best (sweetest) before flowers start.

A good companion plant for tomatoes, repels several insects, and is ''said'' to enhance the flavor of the tomatoes (not so sure about the flavor thing unless you pick and cook the basil with the tomatoes)

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Posted by Marilyn (Kentucky - Zone 6a) on Jan 3, 2014 11:38 PM

For a few years I've grown Basil in a container on the patio. I always bought them as small starts and grew them organically. I've always loved the way the leaves and plant are shaped. Nice green color too. When I'd touch and rub the leaves, I'd get a wonderful smell that I've always enjoyed.

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Posted by krobra (Woodbridge , Va - Zone 7a) on May 17, 2015 10:02 PM

This is a must have every year. It is easy to grow and I love the scent. Bees and hummingbirds love the flowers in summer, goldfinches love eating the seeds out of the buds in fall, and adding dried deadheaded buds to my smoker's firebox adds a nice flavor to my smoked meats.

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Plant Events from our members
Pegleg84 On April 18, 2016 Seeds sown
winter sown
aspenhill On May 4, 2020 Obtained plant
Black Creek Greenhouse - qty 3
aspenhill On May 26, 2012 Obtained plant
Home Depot - qty 3
piksihk On February 18, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
Setting seeds; this self-sowed in one of my pots
piksihk On March 28, 2015 Obtained plant
thomas On February 21, 2016 Transplanted
Transplanted some of the seedlings into the ground.
thomas From February 17, 2016 to February 21, 2016 Seeds germinated
thomas On February 6, 2016 Seeds sown
in container
gwenmason On September 3, 2016 Transplanted
lovesblooms On March 6, 2020 Seeds sown
winter sow
lovesblooms On January 15, 2017 Seeds sown
LizDTM On May 13, 2017 Harvested
Made 2 pints of pesto
LizDTM On March 26, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
Topped one of the hydroponic plants.
LizDTM On March 4, 2017 Obtained plant
Planted the cuttings out front along south side of garage/front walkway.
LizDTM On February 19, 2017 Miscellaneous Event
Topped the 4 plants and am propagating the tops.
NikkiGerena On June 21, 2017 Plant emerged
NikkiGerena On June 12, 2017 Seeds sown
NikkiGerena On June 1, 2017 Plant Ended (Removed, Died, Discarded, etc)
Wildlife again...😭
NikkiGerena On May 19, 2017 Plant emerged
NikkiGerena On April 30, 2017 Seeds sown
3AmigosGarden On September 1, 2017 Seeds sown
3AmigosGarden On August 30, 2017 Obtained plant
Pima County Seed Library
thepurplebug On June 10, 2019 Seeds germinated
thepurplebug On June 3, 2019 Seeds sown
Seeds planted in a container in front of the house.
WKGarden On June 22, 2019 Harvested
WKGarden On June 16, 2019 Miscellaneous Event
Fungus growing on the soil and blight on the leaves due to the excessive rain. Removed the affected leaves.
WKGarden On June 10, 2019 Maintenance performed
Sprinkled Epson salt on the soil.
WKGarden On June 10, 2019 Miscellaneous Event
Noticed markings on the leaf that may be due to birds. Still investigating.
The thread "What's eating my basil?" in Herbs forum
WKGarden On June 9, 2019 Harvested
Harvested a lot of the leaves. My mother-in-law cooked delicious eggplants with the pickings.
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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
What to do with my Basil plants by JT2 Jan 26, 2021 1:38 PM 7
help me plan an herb garden by pedrorf Feb 13, 2021 11:39 AM 5
Pest Borer - Pest bore hole in Purple basil stem by WKGarden Jun 27, 2019 1:30 PM 0
Is Magic Mountain Basil sterile? by Berkobien Aug 21, 2017 10:17 PM 5
What is this? by Tmisty Oct 24, 2016 8:25 AM 2
What is this plant by 55ihsan55 Aug 23, 2016 3:51 PM 4
2016 Northeast Veggie Gardens by robertduval14 Dec 6, 2016 6:01 PM 1,036
Who is saving seeds this fall? by mom2goldens Oct 21, 2014 12:53 PM 100
Nectar plants for butterflies and hummingbirds by purpleinopp Apr 14, 2021 5:35 PM 38

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