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A picture of a Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil

Ocimum basilicum

Also known as

Wild Basil, Basil, Red-Leaved Basil, Bush basil, Dark opal basil, Common basil

Photo by CandideUK (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a mild fragrance

More images of Sweet Basil

A photo of Sweet Basil
A photo of Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil Overview

Ocimum basilicum is known as Sweet Basil, it is an aromatic annual or biennial herb with a strong flavour that is used heavily in Italian cuisine. This is a great choice for baking due to its sweet taste. Easy to grow, maintain and can be grown in a container indoors. Sweet Basil can also be grown as an ornamental, it produces pretty, small white-pink flowers, with some cultivars producing more showy blooms. An infusion is used as a homoeopathic medicine to soothe a cough or treat cramping.

Common problems with Sweet Basil

Japanese beetles, and earwigs.

Sweet Basil Companion Plants

How to harvest Sweet Basil

Start harvesting the leaves when the plant is about 20 cm in height, pinch off flowers to lengthen the harvesting period. Leaves can be dried or preserved in olive oil.

How to propagate Sweet Basil


Sow seeds shallowly indoors in winter or outside from Springtime. Germination takes 7-14 days.


Take a 10 cm stem cutting from just below a leaf node from a stem that hasn't flowered. Remove the leaves 5 cm from the bottom end. Plant 5 cm deep. Keep moist or keep in a glass of water until well-rooted!

Special features of Sweet Basil

Crop rotation

Basil is a medium feeder and needs a moderate amount of nutrients.

Pot plant

Can be grown in a container provided it is large enough.

Indoor plant

Can be grown in a container indoors provided it receives a minimum of 6 hours of light and a moderate amount of water.

Attractive leaves

Edible leaves

Attracts bees

Attracts butterflies

Other uses of Sweet Basil

Culinary, fragrance, conservatory


Sweet Basil can be used for various culinary dishes, including salads, vinaigrette, and pizzas. It is a popular ingredient of pesto.

Insect repellant

Strong scent deters mosquitoes and flies.


A basil infusion is also used to soothe a cough or treat cramping.

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