Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens

Purple basil

  • Botanical name: Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens
  • Common name: Purple basil
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Plant Type: Annual, Herb
Flower colour:


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Basil is a popular, half-hardy to tender herb used in a variety of summer dishes, and works particularly well when eaten with tomatoes. It may also be grown with tomatoes, used as a companion plant to deter whitefly.


Native to dry scrub in Africa and Asia, basil requires a lot of heat to thrive, and can be prone to downy mildew. There are many varieties to choose from, however, some of which have been bred to withstand cooler conditions.


Ocimum basicilum var. purpurascens is a purple-leaved basil variety, with a highly perfumed scent and a flavour that complements rice dishes. Sow seed indoors in a greenhouse or on a warm windowsill, and move plants outside in summer. Water plants sparingly, ideally before noon so the roots have time to dry out before temperatures decrease in the evening. Harvest leaves regularly and remove flowers to concentrate the plant’s energy on leaf production.

How to grow Ocimum basilicum

  • Plant size

    45cm height

    30cm spread

  • Aspect

    South facing, west facing

  • Position in border


  • Sun exposure: Full sun
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Soil type: Well drained / light / sandy

Plant calendar

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
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Do not Sow in January

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Do not Sow in December


Do not Plant in January

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Do Plant in May

Do Plant in June

Do Plant in July

Do Plant in August

Do Plant in September

Do not Plant in October

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Collect seeds
Collect seeds

Do not Collect seeds in January

Do not Collect seeds in February

Do not Collect seeds in March

Do not Collect seeds in April

Do not Collect seeds in May

Do not Collect seeds in June

Do not Collect seeds in July

Do Collect seeds in August

Do Collect seeds in September

Do not Collect seeds in October

Do not Collect seeds in November

Do not Collect seeds in December


Do not Harvest in January

Do not Harvest in February

Do not Harvest in March

Do not Harvest in April

Do not Harvest in May

Do Harvest in June

Do Harvest in July

Do Harvest in August

Do Harvest in September

Do Harvest in October

Do not Harvest in November

Do not Harvest in December

Ocimum basilicum and wildlife

Ocimum basilicum has no particular known value to wildlife in the UK.

Is Ocimum basilicum poisonous?

Ocimum basilicum has no toxic effects reported.

No reported toxicity to:

No reported toxicity to Birds

No reported toxicity to Cats

No reported toxicity to Dogs

No reported toxicity to Horses

No reported toxicity to Livestock

No reported toxicity to People

Plants that go well with Ocimum basilicum