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A picture of a Purple Basil

Purple Basil

Ocimum basilicum 'Dark Opal'

Dark opal basil by Quinn Dombrowski (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering


RHS hardiness


Minimum temperature

Expected size









  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has a strong fragrance

Purple Basil Overview

Ocimum basilicum 'Dark Opal' is also commonly known as Purple Basil. Purple Basil is an aromatic sweet basil, grown mostly for its culinary uses as well its insect deterring properties. With its easy-to-grow, large edible purple leaves and its strong spicy flavour, Purple Basil is a must-have for every windowsill and every herb garden. This plant has ornamental appeal due to the striking reddish-purple leave, the dark coloured foliage and pink flowers make it an attractive addition to the herb, vegetable and fruit garden.

Common problems with Purple Basil

Slugs and snails may eat the leaves and the stems of seedlings. Once plants are larger it is less problematic. Deter with eggshells crushed around the plant or catch with beer traps. Chickens and birds love the purple basil too!

Purple Basil Companion Plants

How to harvest Purple Basil

Pick leaves and flowers all through the growing season as needed. Make pesto, dry or freeze for later use.

How to propagate Purple Basil


Sow in situ in early summer or into trays at when above 13 degrees Celcius.


Make 10-15cm cuttings and remove leaves from the bottom halve. Root in moist soil and keep wet or place in a glass of water until roots start to grow.

Special features of Purple Basil

Repels harmful insects

Good insect repellent, especially aphids, flies, whitefly, mosquitoes and scale insects.

Attracts useful insects

Bees and butterflies

Indoor plant

Can be grown indoors in a sunny position

Pot plant

Often grown in containers, ensure potting mix is light and drains well.

Crop rotation

Grow basil in last rotation before legumes.

Attractive leaves

Other uses of Purple Basil


Use as sweet basil with the added benefit of the purple color in salads, sandwiches or pestos.


Prevent a headache, sooth an ear infection or reduce blood sugar with basil!