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Ocimum basilicum


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Key information

Plant type

Half-hardy annual

Flower colour



Flowers, Aromatic foliage



Skill level


Ocimum basilicum

Plant details

Basil is an essential Mediterranean annual with a uniquely warm flavour that complements tomato dishes. This is the basic kind, easily raised from seed and kept productive by frequently pinching out of shoot tips for use in the kitchen. There are many other kinds of basil, often with subtly different and compulsive aromas, and all make fine pot plants for a warm sheltered spot. Outdoors they need protection from wind and frost. Always water with care, ideally before midday, and try to avoid splashing the leaves to keep them in good condition.

Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Ocimum

Species: basilicum

Plant type: Half-hardy annual

Flower colour: White

Foliage colour: Mid-green

Feature: Flowers, Aromatic foliage

Sun exposure: Full sun

Soil: Well-drained/light

Hardiness: Tender

Skill level: Beginner

Height: 50cm

Spread: 30cm

Time to plant seeds: March to May

Reader reviews


My Basil always seem to die after a month or two at the most. I do always pinch shoots off for cooking leaving the newer sprouts intact and always leave a few big leaves to keep it ticking over. Could I be over or under watering it as I have heard that is can be quite sensitive about when it's watered? Will it always die off even indoors? The taste is great and there really is nothing like fresh Pesto!


I never had luck with basil as I used to always grow it indoors. The key is to grow it outdoors! My basil this year is full and growing happily. I've used coffee grounds around the edge of the pot to keep out slugs and water it in the morning and it seems to be doing well *for now!*

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