45 Basil Plant Types: How To Grow Basil Indoors, Growing Zones, Care, Benefits

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 1, 2024

Man looking at basil plant types for his pasta after learning how to grow basil plants indoors and outdoors, basil varieties, growing tips and how to plant basil in containers.

The Basil Plant is grown in various planting zones across the United States and it is one of the most popular herbs added to dishes to elevate the flavor in millions of kitchens.

It’s incredibly diverse, is packed with nutritional benefits that are invaluable to vegetarians, vegans, and those adopting a healthier lifestyle, and has been an ingredient in food recipes for over 5,000 years.

There are between 50 to 150 varieties to choose from, each type with its own distinct, unique flavor.

If you’re curious but not sure where to start, here are 45 varieties of Basil plant to consider for your pasta sauce or salad that will add a little something special to your recipe, and they are all easy to grow both indoors and out.

Types of Basil Plants

How many different kinds of Basil are there in the world?

There have been about 60 recorded species with about another 100 uncategorized. Almost every one of them is grown for one of many culinary applications, for what unique flavors they can bring to the plate.

Graphic of the types of Basil plant showing images of Boxwood Basil, Persian Basil, Napoletano Basil, Green Ruffles Basil, Osmin Purple Basil, and Mammoth Basilin a round frame.
Some of the plants are better suited for decorating your latest culinary masterpiece, while others are better for making a refreshing cup of tea.

While most people associate Basil with the sweet Basil variety commonly incorporated into Italian cookery, several other forms of Basil are also widely utilized in Asian and African cuisine.

Even under conditions that are less than ideal, Basil Plants can be successfully cultivated time and time again, as long as you select the right type for your planting zone and for its intended purpose.

1. Greek Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum var. minimum ‘Greek’)

Overhead view of a Greek Basil plant with vibrant green leaves on a concrete surface.

(Image: knackeredhack30)

The average height of a Greek Basil Plant is less than eight inches. Small, spherical bunches of leaves that are a pale green with a slight point are produced by the compact plants.

It’s a great plant for the front of the border or herb garden and thrives in pots. The small leaves look great in a salad or as a garnish for any light summer cuisine.

2. Holy Basil

(Ocimum tenuiflorum)

Holy Basil has a unique reputation in that it has a host of medicinal uses and this is just one aspect that has made it stand out among the different forms of Basil.

It’s not easy to tell apart from regular Basil at first appearance, but there are a few key differences.

For starters, the size and form of holy Basil’s fresh leaves and stems,15 as well as its aroma, are a few ways to distinguish it from other varieties of Basil.

The leaves themselves are a pale green and sharply pointed. On rare occasions, and in certain environments, this type of Basil Plant can have purple leaves which have their own unique taste and smell.

The plant has very hairy stems and may grow to a height of between 12 to 24 inches, depending on the variety and the flowers, despite the fact that they are not attached to the plant for very long, make a welcome impression in your backyard for as long as they are.

3. Thai Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum var. thyrsiflora)

Thai Basil or Licorice Basil, with its contrasting green and purple leaves, is a superb addition to any home garden because of its powerful aroma and ornamental nature. As its name suggests, this kind of Basil has licorice and anise undertones when consumed and can can quickly become a firm favorite if you prefer something a little different.

Thai Basil, another hardy form of Basil, is often nicknamed “Holy Basil” because of its similarity to the Indian variety.

However, holy Basil and Thai Basil are very different and are similar in name only with Thai Basil having a distinct flavor that has a combination of anise and licorice.

The tiny leaves have saw-like edges and look similar to holy Basil and even when they fully mature, they typically measure no more than about 2 inches in length.

A very distinguishing feature of this particular Basil is the purple-tipped pink stems that make it an interesting indoor plant, especially when the deep purple flowers make a brief appearance.

4. Sweet Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum)

Sweet Basil is an ingredient that can be found in millions of kitchens in the United States and all around the globe because of its many culinary and medicinal purposes.

All members of the sweet Basil family – Romanesco, Napoletano, and Medinette – can attain a maximum height of 18 inches and have a mild, agreeable flavor.

Each of the three types of Basil has its own unique flavor and leaf form with Napoletano Basil, for instance, sporting enormous, multi-lobed leaves that are a shiny glossy green.

The colors of the flowers range from white to deep purple and are worth snipping them off early to preserve the intense flavors of the leaves and use them as cut flowers in a vase or bouquet.

5. Lemon Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum citriodorum)

When compared to other types of Basil, the lemon Basil stands out due to its smaller leaves and pungent lemony and anise aroma, and has been a popular plant in many parts of the world for centuries.

This species has been an indispensable seasoning staple in kitchens across Asia where it is used to enhance the flavor of a wide variety of steamed, grilled, and braised vegetables, meats, and fish.

It has long, narrow, green leaves that grow in pairs that are slightly serrated at the edges and the plant itself may grow up to 20 inches tall.5

During its blossoming phase, Lemon Basil displays a beautiful white blossom.

6. Italian Large Leaf Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Italian Large Leaf’)

Close-up shot of Italian Large Leaf Basil in a rectangular clay pot.

(Image: daryl_mitchell31)

Sweeter aromas and flavors may be found in this uncommon kind of Basil. Choose this Basil if you want to add a touch of sweetness to your favorite Basil-based dishes.

7. Christmas Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Christmas’)

The Christmas Basil features huge, purple flowers that stand out against dark green leaves. It has a pleasant, delicious scent that will complement the other fragrances in your garden and when used in cooking it will leave a mouth-watering aroma wafting through the halls.

This plant is actually a hybrid created from the Thai and Genovese Basil and apart from the rich burgundy leaves, it grows delicate white and pink flowers in the summer.

The average height is between 16 – 20 inches and it is such a versatile plant that it may be grown in both gardens and outdoor pots and indoor containers.

What’s even better, is that it is a hybrid of Genovese Basil and Thai Sweet Basil so is ideal for use in both savory and sweet applications.

8. Purple Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum L.)

This plant is a unique spin on the more common Sweet Basil with deep purple leaves that have a powerful, distinctive scent not dissimilar to cloves. As it matures, the plant develops even more regal-looking leaves and is often used as a decorative topping in Thai and Italian cooking to give them that finishing touch.

If you enjoy cooking Thai and Indian dishes, this striking addition is a must.

Being quite delicate and sensitive to cold, they should be cultivated in containers indoors when the temperature drops and the white flowers removed to encourage further leaf growth.

9. Cinnamon Basil or Mexican Cinnamon Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Cinnamon’ or Ocimum Basilicum ‘Mexican Cinnamon’)

Thinner and with somewhat more serrated edges than regular sweet Basil leaves, cinnamon leaves are dark green and offer a unique, aromatic aroma. They are lustrous and lengthy, measuring an average of 5 – 7 cm in length with a lanceolate, somewhat tapering form.

Plants in a well-prepared bed of well-draining soil may reach a height of 18 inches and a width of the same.21 The leaves are about half the size of those of the Genovese variety, but the peppery cinnamon flavor is an undeniably remarkable specimen.

Tall it may not be, but this Basil can easily become the focal point and the star of every home cook’s garden.

In the summer, dark fibrous purple stems, support lovely spikes of petite, tubular flowers with white or pink overtones and leaves range in color from dark green to light green with a purple-red tinge.

Overall, the Cinnamon Basil is a perennial plant with extremely attractive, and fragrant, and gives off the sweet scent of a spice-infused perfume.

Another versatile cooking addition for marinades, and mixing into fried rice and noodle dishes Asian cuisines.

10. Lettuce Leaf Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Lettuce Leaved’)

The popular name comes from the resemblance of the crinkly, bright green leaves to those of a lettuce.19

Plants in this height range have tightly spaced leaves and grow to a maximum height of 18-24 inches. However, the extra-large leaves more than make up for the lack of strong Basil flavor and scent which is a lot less overpowering than Genovese.

The Lettuce Leaf Basil is popular for making pesto, aromatic salads, stuffing, and stacking in lasagna as well as tasty wraps thanks to its massive 6-inch leaves.

11. American Basil

(Ocimum americanum)

Close-up view of an American Basil displaying green leaves and distinctive purple blooms and stems.

(Image: Thaweewatboy32)

This particular kind of Basil is a perennial herb that is aromatic and may be used in numerous culinary endeavors.18 It is prized for its bright green, pointed leaves, deep purple stems, and consistently sized, fragrant purple blooms, all of which contribute to its reputation as being an exceptional variety among an exceptional species.

12. Amethyst Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Amethyst’)

This Basil’s deep purple color will add visual appeal to your dishes. The flavor is somewhat sweet with a hint of licorice, quite close to that of traditional sweet Basil.

So, if you’re looking to sweeten and color your dishes, this Basil is worth a try.

13. Cardinal Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Cardinal’)

Israel is the birthplace of the cultivar known as “cardinal Basil” where they are held in high esteem. This very ornamental variety lends a dramatic touch to the outdoor herb garden with its splash of colorful blooms.

They have a powerful aroma, and an outstanding appearance and are often used in oil and herb vinegar for flavoring.

14. Queen Of Sheba Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Queen Of Sheba Basil’)

This fragrant and beautiful Basil is an excellent decorative herb for use in garden flower beds.

Its subtle taste makes it a perfect complement to several pesto sauce variations and other delicate Italian fare. It will also work well with other herbs to produce a new and interesting flavor profile.

15. Blue Spice Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Blue Spice’)

This Basil, with its spicy vanilla undertones, is wonderful in fruit salads and other sweet and savory recipes. Light purple blooms are the most distinctive characteristic of this plant.

These blooms will make a beautiful addition to any garden, whether potted or not.

16. Dark Opal Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Dark Opal’)

Close-up shot of Dark Opal Basil showcasing its leaves transitioning from green to purple.

(Image: Quinn Dombrowski33)

Dark Opal Basil is a fragrant and spicy Basil that may be used like any other Basil; however, its stunning color makes it a spectacular plant that you can use in your herb garden, as a cut flower, and of course, on the dinner table in a salad.

Dark Opal Basil is a hybrid that was developed in the United States, and the tallest it can get is 20 inches, a height which is significantly less than other kinds of Basil.

17. Queenette Basil

(Ocimum bascilicum ‘Thai Basil Queenette’)

The leaves of Queenette Basil have a tropical appearance and, combined with the strikingly purple-colored stems, add a decorative flair as well as a delicate, sweet spicey flavor with traces of clove and mint.17 Beautiful on its own, this herb is much better when combined with genuine Thai flavors and components, and has the added bonus of having a unique and enticing aroma.

18. Fino Verde Basil

(Ocimum bascilicum ‘Fino Verde Basil’)

Fino Verde Basil has a clean, sweet flavor with a hint of heat to tantalize the taste buds, making it a fantastic addition to salads. This Basil is great for the backyard or flower beds because of its diminutive small-leafed shrub appearance, stunning white blossoms, and brilliant green leaves that shimmer in the sun.

19. Napoletano Basil

(Ocimum basiclium ‘Neopolitan’)

This somewhat famous Basil may be found all across Europe, although it was first cultivated in Naples, Italy where it is renowned for its inclusion in the very popular Caprese salad because of its huge, ruffled, dark green leaves.28

The Napoletano is suffused with a powerfully intense flavor in its exceptionally huge leaves and because it takes longer to bolt than regular Basil, this variation may be grown for a longer period of time which further increases its availability and popularity.

20. Serata Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Serata’)

Growing up to 2 feet tall, the flavor of this Basil is a unique as the ruffled leaves fluttering in the breeze. It leaves a strong and peppery taste in the mouth, which may be too harsh for some and very appealing to others.

If you appreciate the unusual taste, the difference it can make to your cooking will surprise you.

21. Purple Ruffles Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum var. Purpurascens ‘Purple Ruffles’)

Close-up view of a Purple Ruffles Basil highlighting its leaf with distinctive ruffled edges.

(Image: David J. Stang34)

Not to be confused with the Dark Opal Basil as they both look somewhat similar. This particular type differentiates itself by the ruffled edges of the leaves.

It is one of the best Basils for garnishing and for adding color to the platter.

22. Persian Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Persian’)

Another sweet Basil variety, Persian Basil has a subtle, peppery flavor that cooks delight in mixing into soups, stews, and other types of cuisine. Tomato sauce is a particularly popular choice as it can be sampled and used sparingly if it proves to be too hot to handle.

Persian Basil is not only a culinary herb, but also a beautiful decorative plant with leaves that are broad, flat, and delicate.

The purple flowers that blossom towards the end of summer are very impressive, but their presence will slowly affect the leaves, giving them a harsh aftertaste. If you want to utilize the leaves of this plant as a seasoning, you should pick off the blooms as soon as they emerge.

23. Mammoth

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Sweet Mammoth’)

Extremely ornamental and attractive, the large and crinkled light green leaves of the Mammoth Basil look great in the garden and even better in a carefully prepared Italian pizza.

A subtle aroma wafts from the leaves and the flowers when they emerge so growing them indoors is a pleasant experience to freshen interior spaces. The leaves are nice and sweet and are often used in seasonings to sprinkle onto pastas or salads, and as an ingredient to liven up pestos.

24. Boxwood

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Boxwood’)

Not exactly a towering behemoth, the Boxwood has little leaves that gradually merge together to form a beautiful shrub in the summer. It doesn’t grow much over a foot tall but spreads out to about 16 inches to make up for what it loses in height.

The strong flavor is great for shaking up the normal pesto taste with a little buzz, and the plant itself is very ornamental even when they are potted in containers placed along borders, or looking out into the world from a window ledge.

25. Osmin Purple Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Osmin Purple Basil’)

This Swiss-cultivated kind of purple Basil is distinguished from other varieties by its rapid development and deep red color. This attractive and fragrant decorative plant is a culinary powerhouse and is frequently used to formulate irresistible vinaigrettes that benefit from its bright and savory flavor to make it something that should be drizzled on every salad.2

26. Siam Queen Thai Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Siam Queen’)

Multiple Siam Queen Thai Basil plants showcasing their purple flowers, stems, and green foliage.

(Image: Forest and Kim Starr35)

The Siam Queen is called that for a reason as works amazingly with coconut milk in Thai cookery because of its subtle anise flavor. The plant can reach a height of 18 inches with a bushy width of 18 to 20 inches across the crown.

It looks and acts like Mexican Basil, except it has more leaves per plant waiting to be picked and enjoyed.

27. Spicy Saber

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Spicy Saber’)

This Basil has saber-like, decorative serrated leaves, as the name implies. Many Asian gourmets find that only a handful of leaves is all they need to give a spicy flavor to improve the flavor of their culinary delights.

This Basil keeps producing even as the season winds down, so you can count on it.

28. Green Ruffles Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Green Ruffles’)

You would have difficulty recognizing this as Basil; it looks much more like curly lettuce with its serrated, ruffled edges. It has a lighter sweet Basil taste with cinnamon, citrus, and licorice hints spread throughout.

This hybrid was the brainchild of Ted Torrey, an herb breeder from Burpee in the U.S., who cultivated this variety to make it better, bigger, and more eye-catching.

Not content with just developing green ruffled Basil, he went on to create purple ruffled Basil by crossing green ruffle types with the Dark Opal Basil.

29. Magical Michael

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Magical Michael Basil’)

This annual plant excels as a food source, yet it may also be used decoratively. Ovate-shaped green leaves and spikes of white and purple flowers are the hallmarks of the magical Michael Basil Plant.

This herb thrives in a variety of settings, including annual beds, herb gardens, and terracotta pots. Place them strategically in your yard and the subtle impact may well surprise you.

30. French Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Marseilles’)

Marseilles Basil is another name for French Basil. It is a small plant with somewhat bigger leaves than regular Basil Plants.

It is an heirloom variety infused with an aroma that is powerful and tantalizing. It is a key ingredient in the French sauce pistou, which has similarities with the Italian pesto but just with a French flair.

31. Pistou Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘pistou’)

Close-up view of a young Pistou Basil displaying its vibrant green leaves in a clay pot.

(Image: missellyrh36)

Pistou sauce, which is prepared with Basil, garlic, and olive oil, is called after one of the smallest Basil kinds. Its little, uniform leaves carry a lot of flavor and may be used as a garnish during food presentation due to its miniature stature.3

32. Ararat

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Ararat’)

This kind of Basil is excellent for culinary use. It’s also lovely whether used decoratively on a plate or ornamentally in a vase of flowers.

But it’s more than just eye candy, a sweet flavor with a faint scent of licorice drawing your attention no matter where the pot is seated. If you like the sound of all that, then you should try this kind of Basil in your next recipe and make space for it on your window ledge.

33. Round Midnight Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Round Midnight’)

It is more accurate to describe the deep coloring of the leaves as burgundy rather than purple. They make a dramatic impression with matching stems and when placed in the garden next to light green Basil Plants, the entire landscape is transformed by the stark contrast.

The leaves are large and taper to a point, yet the plant itself isn’t much over 1 foot tall.

No matter where or how you use it, no matter whether you grow it indoors or outdoors, the Round Midnight Basil is absolutely stunning.

34. Spicy Bush Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Spicy Bush’)

This bushy-growing Basil cultivar is as little as its name indicates. The leaves have a strong flavor, so cooking with them adds depth to broths and sauces.

35. Lime Basil

(Ocimum x africanum ‘Lime’)

The Lime Basil herb is a close relative of lemon Basil with small bright green leaves that are known for having a tangy flavor and quite a pleasant citrus scent. White flowers blossom at the height of summer and will remain present until the fall unless manually detached.

Its leaves are often eaten whole in baguettes while other parts of the leaf structure are used in cocktails to create interesting mixtures.

This Basil variety is often grown indoors more than in an outdoor setting due to its protective ability to repel annoying insects and mosquitos.

36. Red Rubin Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Red Rubin’)

Close-up shot of a Red Rubin Basil showcasing its deep red-hued leaves.

(Image: Forest and Kim Starr37)

The bright reds and deep violets of this Basil will look lovely in your yard. Red Rubin Basil is a beautiful addition to any kitchen, but it also has many practical uses.

37. Aromatto Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Aromatto’)

This particular type has been cultivated to grow long, robust purple stems, making it suitable for use as an impressive cut flower in addition to its wide array of culinary applications.

The cinnamon aroma, dark purple flowers, and lighter purple and green variegated leaves make an attractive addition to a bouquet or a floral display. as well as a plate of fine foods.

If you’re after a Basil that will increase the flavor of your cuisine, then look no further than the Aromatto as its leaves and blooms are valued for their spicy and sugary flavors.

38. Nufar Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Nufar’)

For a delicious alternative to traditional Basil flavoring, try using Nufar Basil. You can’t go wrong serving it with pesto, tomato-based recipes, or fresh salads.

The health advantages of this Basil include protection against a wide range of illnesses as well as alleviating the symptoms of other conditions, and, just as importantly for the health of the plant, it is resistant to a disease called fusarium wilt.24

39. Everleaf Emerald Towers

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Everleaf Emerald Towers’)

The ‘Emerald Towers’ variety of Genovese is a very tall, multi-branched columnar plant that yields superb quality leaves that smell and taste strongly of cloves and licorice.

The dark green leaves are small and grow in a slightly cupped formation that is unusual yet striking at the same time.

When inserting this specimen into your backyard, allow lots of room for these plants to stretch out and develop to their full height and width of between 24-36 inches.

40. Summerlong Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Summerlong’)

This dwarf Basil variety reaches maturity significantly faster than regular Basil and takes longer to bolt. It needs about 60-90 days after planting to start producing while it grows to its huge height of just 10 inches.

The green tapered leaves are not very big yet are full of flavor and this small cultivar is a popular herb that grows nicely in pots indoors so a leaf or two can be on hand and ready to be plucked and popped into a pot at no notice whatsoever.

41. Spicy Globe Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Spicy Globe’)

Close-up view of a Spicy Globe Basil showcasing its vivid green foliage.

(Image: Serres Fortier38)

This herb also goes by the name spicy bush Basil. It’s a little spicy Basil kind that likely originated in Asia or India.

The tiny leaves cluster together and shoot out to create a little sphere. It may be used raw in salads and other recipes or snippetted for garnish.

42. Dolce Fresca Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Dolce Fresca’)

At first sight, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this Mediterranean variety from sweet Basil, but when you slowly breathe in its heady scent of mint with a hint of anise,26 your first thought will be whether to cook it with your fish dish, allow it to cook gradually in your stew, or chop and mix it into your tomato sauce.

Let it grow in full sunshine and rich, well-drained soil which are the ideal growing conditions, and this plant will constantly surprise and amaze you.

43. Red Freddy Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum ‘Red Freddy’)

This high-performing Genovese Basil cultivar will add a splash of the color purple to your garden, and the more you plant the better they look. The huge, plentiful, and visually stunning leaves make this brash Basil an excellent choice as a freshly picked or slow-dried addition to your culinary creations.

When ground down to make vinegar, it will not only improve the flavor but also turn the liquid a delightful red.

44. African Blue Basil

(Ocimum kilimandscharicum × Basilicum ‘Dark Opal’)

The black opal Basil and camphor Basil are thought to have mated to create this vibrant plant and, because it grows well in warm climates, it may be cultivated as a perennial where it will ascend to heights of around 4 feet.

Originating from camphor Basil, it has a rich flavor with an aroma that has hints of camphor with clove and mint that easily attracts busy bee pollinators, notably honeybees.

If you wish to attract helpful pollinators to your yard, make sure you include these outstanding plants into your flower bed or use them in a fresh flower arrangement. But they are not only great to look at, they are quite delicious in salads or as an ingredient in your daily dishes.

45. Minette Basil

(Ocimum Basilicum var. minimum ‘Minette’)

Close up of a Minette Basil plant with its green leaves.

(Image: David J. Stang39)

Dwarf Minette Basil, with its tiny, succulent leaves is a small-leaved Greek cultivar with a mounding habit. It is particularly charming when used as a border plant, in pots, or in border flower beds.

This type has a sweet anise flavor and a clove-like aroma, and it produces a lovely spherical shape at maturity despite only reaching a height of 10 inches.

In addition, the strong scent it gives off helps deter a number of plant pests.

Types of Basil Leaves

The leaves of Basil are glossy and oval, with either smooth or slightly serrated edges, growing in pairs along the stems. The size and shape vary across the species, as do the color and their culinary applications.

Knowing your Basil leaf will help you identify whether it can be made into a pesto paste, into a garnish, or ground up into your recipe.

  • The leaves of common sweet Basil, also known as Genovese Basil, are glossy and bright green, resembling mint leaves. They have an oblong oval form, tapering to a point at the end farthest from the stem and puckering somewhat as they approach the ground.
  • The leaves of sweet Basil may reach a length of 4 inches (10 cm), and they can be either smooth or somewhat rough to the touch, with shallow groves along the veins.
  • There are some varieties such as the Napoletano, Mammoth, and Tuscany, that have broad, crinkled leaves similar to lettuces, and reaching up to lengths of around 6 inches.
  • The Persian Basil has dull leaves with almost silver overtones to the green color, and some even have purple veins, a sharp contrast compared to the glossy leaves of sweet Basil.
  • Some of the leaves on a Dark Opal Basil Plant are green with mottling, while others are dark purple.
  • The leaves of lemon Basil are flatter and more yellowish-green than those of sweet Basil.
  • Some varieties of ruffled Basil, including purple ruffles, have leaves that are more similar to rockets in form and color than they are to those of regular Basil.

The wide variations in appearance also extend to the different flavors and aromas each type of Basil will imbue into your favorite foods.

There are many additional varieties of Basil to try that have aromas of lemon, lime, cinnamon, licorice, or anise that may be found emanating from their leaves.12

Dwarf varieties like ‘Spicy Globe’ are lovely as aesthetic accents in pots and around the edges of flower beds. Some, like ‘Holy Basil’ and ‘African Blue’ Basil, aren’t used in cooking but have very pleasant aromas.

Some types are more suitable for making pesto, like the Genovese, while others are more sought after because of their fragrant flowers.


(Ocimum basilicum)

Basil plant in an oval frame in a green background.
  • Family: Lamiaceae
  • Genus: Ocimum
  • Leaf: Normally a pale green, there are also reddish and purple variants and they all taper to a point.
  • Seed: The seeds are small, black, and have a nutty flavor when cooked.
  • Blossoms: The plant blossoms from June until the winter frost encroaches.
  • Native Habitat: The plant requires fertile, moist, and well-draining soil.
  • Height: 1 to 2 feet
  • Canopy: The plants can grow as wide as 2 feet.
  • Type: Typically grown as an annual but some gardeners grow them in temperate climates as perennials with a shorter lifespan.
  • Native Growing Zone: From Central Africa, India, and Southeast Asia, and USDA Hardiness Zones 4 to 10.

Image Credit: Jan Haerer (leoleobobeo)41

Tips on How To Grow Basil Successfully

With just a few top tips, it’s possible to have Basil Plants of all types growing in and around your home for as long as you want.

Following a few guidelines will make it easier and even more rewarding:

  1. Protect them from the cold: Basil Plants are sensitive to temperature changes, so keep that in mind if you live somewhere cold and are experiencing trouble growing the herb. Basil seedlings are sensitive to frost and should not be planted until the danger has passed.
    If you’ve planted your Basil in pots and the temperature is expected to drop at night, bring them inside.
  2. Don’t forget drainage: Growing Basil successfully calls for soil with good drainage, or choose a pot with multiple drainage holes. If you are doubtful that they may not be enough, drill a few more.
    You can also add a layer of pebbles no more than a few inches thick at the base of the container to ensure the soil will not hold on to too much water.
  3. Don’t let the soil dry out, but don’t keep it sodden: It can be a delicate balance to keep them moist without drowning them as Basil Plants need to be watered often. If you overwater, the stems may become mildewed and decay, which will adversely impact the health of the plant.
    Ideally, once a week, give your plants a thorough soaking and let the excess water drain away in the soil. Bear in mind that any container-grown Basil will need more frequent watering Basil because the soil in pots dries out more quickly.
  4. Do not drench the leaves, water the soil: When watering, only soak the soil around the plant’s roots, and avoid wetting the leaves that should remain dry. The most effective strategy is a long, gradual soak, or the task can be undertaken by drip irrigation which is another viable option.
    Herbs and vegetables grown in pots outdoors can be watered with a watering can.
  5. Give it enough sun exposure: As Basil Plants require a lot of direct sunlight, they have to be placed where they can bask in the sun for 6 to 8 hours a day and be protected from the wind when outside. Indoors, the containers should be on a windowsill with plenty of daily sunlight.
  6. Add fertilizer regularly: Feed your Basil with a decent organic fertilizer once every 4 to 6 weeks for indoor plants and once every 2 to 3 weeks for outdoor plants.10 This will encourage more leaf growth.
  7. Use organic mulch: Mulching the area surrounding your plants is a great way to save water and prevent weeds from taking over.
  8. Harvest often: The process of harvesting Basil is similar to that of trimming. But while it’s tempting to strip the entire Basil Plant at once when the leaves are ready, it’s better to pick no more than 20% at any one time.
    One of the reasons for this is that by keeping a sufficient number of leaves on your plant, will promote fresh new leaves to regrow quickly. Early in the season is the best time to harvest and then fairly often throughout the growing season.

How To Grow Basil Indoors

Getting started with a good seed packet and a bag of organic soil couldn’t be easier,13 and the good news is that you can grow a large quantity of Basil from a single package of Basil seeds.

The container required can be the standard size of 4-6 inches as the plants do not ascend to astronomical heights and are easy to manage.

Close-up view of a Basil plant in a plastic pot, displaying its damp green leaves.

(Image: tookapic40)

An organic starter mix should be used and some growers prefer to use self-watering planters to ensure the soil remains moist and doesn’t dry out but that is a personal preference.

Remember that Basil Plants love the sun and do best in a south-facing window where they can get direct sunlight for most of the day. If you don’t have access to a sunny window, a grow lamp can do the trick.

You won’t need to add any additional fertilizer to our starting mix for at least six weeks as Basils are known for being low-maintenance plants.

Growing a Basil Plant From a Seed Indoors

It is not a big challenge to at all to start the growing process from a seed with just a fresh potting mix required to be lightly dampened down and packed into your pots.

  1. It all starts with a few seeds. All you need to do is gather a few together and scatter them over the top of the soil so they are evenly spaced.
  2. After that, sprinkle a thin layer of soil over the seeds and gently press down to compact the soil around them, but not too tightly.
  3. Using a spray bottle or can, softly water or spray the plants.
  4. It’s important to choose a sunny, south-facing window so the plant will be exposed to a sufficient level of heat.
  5. Now even if the location receives a lot of sunlight make sure that the temperature doesn’t suddenly plummet at night, and that the spot isn’t particularly draughty.
  6. It’s possible that your plant can grow awkwardly if not taken care of. To prevent them from slanting towards the sun, as they grow you should rotate their containers regularly so they grow straight and erect.
  7. The recommended time for grow lights to be on is 14 hours each day so make sure that the lighting fixture is just over the seedlings for maximum benefit for the entire plant, not just a section of it.

Best Growing Conditions for Basil Plants

Soil composition plays a significant role in the health of a Basil Plant, as does the surrounding ecosystem and sunlight exposure.

The soil needs to have the ability to drain away water if too much is applied, yet still able to retain a high degree of moisture. A solution to ground that becomes easily waterlogged is to keep the plants in pots.

The advantage is that you can create the perfect draining substrate within the containers and position them wherever is best to receive the most sunlight, and if the weather turns nasty the containers can be sheltered in an indoor environment.

Germination Time for Basil

Growing Basil is easy, whether you’re starting with seeds, starter plants, or even cuttings. When the danger of frost has vanished at the start of spring, plant seeds or transplant seedlings.

Sunlight, heat, and moisture are essential for the growth of Basil as well as a high nutrient content in the soil that has good drainage.

When growing Basil from seed, it takes about 10-14 days when the composted and fertilized soil is between 75-85°F.

Under these conditions, within 2 weeks you can look forward to the next stage and adding another Basil Plant to your crop.

How Much Sunlight Does Basil Plant Need Each Day

Are you wondering how much light or shade your Basil Plant needs to thrive in the garden?

Well, if you want your Basil Plant to grow up to be the best and bushiest it can be, direct sunshine is essential.

Basil plant with its smooth green leaves.

(Image: fabersam40)

While full sun, 6 to 8 hours a day, is a priority requirement for these plants,16 even partial sun of 3 to 6 is acceptable for some types.

In fact, in extremely hot and dry climates, being partially shaded throughout the day may be preferable.

At the end of the day, so to speak, if the zone where you live makes it difficult for your Basil Plants to get the maximum sun exposure times, all may not be lost.

The plant may end up not being as vibrant or as bushy, but if it can be exposed to at least a good hour of direct sunlight a day it will survive and grow.

Basil Plant Care: How To Take Care of Basils

Even though Basil is used in popular dishes like pesto and caprese salad, the plants are not as tolerant of freezing temperatures as some other herbs.

Basil is typically grown as an annual, but with some gardening know-how, though, you can keep fresh Basil on hand all year and use it in any of your favorite Basil-based dishes all day long if you wish.

Just follow these few simple steps and the aroma and extra flavor that you will be able to squeeze out of the leaves will blow you away:

  1. To maintain the health of your Basil Plant, be careful not to let the soil dry out completely.
  2. As the plants expand and grow, you can use a pair of sharp scissors to trim them out if necessary.
  3. Alter the height of the grow lamps as plants get taller. Any leggy plants can be remedied by bringing the grow lights in closer.22 However, if the lamps are too close they may cause white dots to appear on the leaves and will need to be adjusted.
  4. Basil’s pleasant fragrance can be experienced one month after planting simply by passing your hands over the tiny leaves that will release the scent slightly.
  5. If the foliage begins to look yellowish, or off-color, you should begin feeding it liquid fertilizer at the rate specified on the bottle.
  6. Just about two months after starting, you might have enough Basil leaves for your first batch of homemade pesto.
  7. The best way to guarantee that you will have a continuous supply is by planting new seeds at regular intervals so you never run out.

Disease Prevention (How To Stop Basil Plant Disease)

During the warm, humid summers, it is very easy for downy mildew to spread quickly throughout your Basil crop. If its spores are left to run wild the damage will be so severe that the infected plants will have to be dug up and disposed of.

The key to effective cultural control is drying off the leaves and increasing ventilation around the plants. The use of drip irrigation or soaker hoses is the most efficient method of watering Basil Plants without getting the leaves wet.

Also, planting Basil in a spot that gets a lot of direct sunlight will keep the leaves dry after a brief shower.

7 Basil Growing and Planting Tips

Aromatic, tasty, and a complementary addition to recipes, Basil is a warm-season annual herb that can be found in the gardens of nearly every summer resident who likes to cook.

Graphic of Basil Plant growth chart indicating an initial height of 1-3 inches during weeks 1-2 and progressing to 12-24 inches by week 9 and beyond.

It is a fast-grower, yet has a tendency to get lanky and sparse if not pruned regularly which can affect the quality of the leaves. With proper care from the very beginning and consistent monitoring, Basils can provide an inexhaustible harvest throughout the year.

  1. Best soil for Basil seedlings: Before inserting your freshly grown seedlings into the ground, check the temperature. For successful germination, you ideally want it to be between 75 to 85°.
  2. Growing zone: Even though a Basil Plant can tolerate a fair amount of shade, the same cannot be said if the roots are constantly standing in water. To that end, if your garden soil is a water trap, building a mound for your plants out of well-draining soil is a quick and easy solution.
  3. How to speed up the growth rate: All plants benefit from fertilization. A good organic fertilizer can bring invaluable nutrients that can promote the growth of larger flowers and leaves as well as further nourish the plant.
    No doubt, Basil Plants can benefit from this and develop more rapidly. If you’re growing Basil indoors, you should fertilize every month or within 6 weeks.
    Outside, because of their greater nutritional demand, outdoor plants may require fertilizing more frequently than their indoor counterparts.14
  4. Watering needs: Morning is the best time to water your plants so they have a full day for absorption. It is imperative, though, to water the soil only and not the leaves to avoid any risk of mold. Provide enough water, yet avoid drowning the roots.
    If for whatever reason you forget to water in the morning, wait until the following morning to do so.
  5. Mulching: Mulching around trees or Basil Plants can help prevent weed growth and retain soil moisture during dry spells as well as maintain a steady temperature for the roots. Organic mulch is best and can be homemade from compostable components or dried leaves, but should still be kept away from resting against the stems to prevent rot.
  6. When to harvest: Harvesting can occur 50-60 days after it has been planted, and when there are 6 to 8 leaves on a branch. Harvesting leaves on a regular basis helps maintain plants healthy and prevent them from blossoming, therefore pinching is recommended.
  7. Harvesting Basil leaves: To start, pick the middle and outer leaves and discard the first set. This will stimulate expansion as the plant grows.
    When picking leaves, a top tip to remember is that the morning is the best time because that’s when the leaves are at their peak flavor.
    Take care when picking the leaves so that they are not crushed or damaged in the process. Be gentle.

Growing a Basil From a Cutting

This is the third option for growing Basils apart from by seed or by seedlings, and it is even faster and easier.

For starters, it saves on the 6-8 weeks seed growing phase and then the further 8 weeks as the plant matures from a seedling. That waiting time is drastically cut in half by growing from a cutting.

Close-up view of a Basil Plant featuring its vibrant green leaves in a rectangular container.

(Image: khushboo2140)

Admittedly, It may take a few weeks for the plants to start rooting, but once they do, they’ll put forth a lot of new growth very quickly.

Rooting either in water or potting soil are two methods of growing Basil from a cutting. Both are straightforward and require alcohol-cleaned herb snips or scissors to prevent any risk of contaminating the host plant.

  • To start, cut a stem that is 4-6 inches long from the Basil Plant. In order to maximize surface area for water intake, cut it at an angle right below a leaf node.
  • Take off all the leaves from the lowest third of the plant’s stem. If you’re planning to root the cuttings in water,11 this is especially crucial, since you don’t want any leaves to become wet and rot.

1. Rooting in Water

Here’s a guide to successfully root Basil Plants in water:

  • It is advisable to use filtered water to minimize the risk of any impurities. You can use tap water if you prefer but just let it sit out for 24 hours so the chlorine can dissipate if necessary.
    After the water has been prepared, pour it into a jar or a small glass jug and place the leafless cuttings inside.
  • Put the glass container where the cuttings will receive indirect yet bright light. It’s important to replace the water on day 2 at the latest to avoid the growth of bacteria and algae.
  • Every day, spray a fine mist of water over the cuttings and in 10 to 14 days, you should notice the first little roots.
  • As soon as you notice that the roots are an inch or two long, you can take the cuttings out of the water and place them in a pot that has wet potting soil already prepared.

2. Growing Basil in Pots With a Potting Mix

Preparation is the key when growing directly into a potting mix with a stem cutting. The last thing that you’ll want is for the tip of your fresh cutting to dry out before you have time to plant it.

So, to this end, fill your pot even before you have harvested the cuttings so as soon as they are cut they can be firmly pushed into the soil.

  • Just as with rooting in water, place the pot in a spot that will get lots of indirect sunlight.
  • To increase the humidity around your plants, you can simply drape a clear plastic bag over the top of each one. Alternatively, a plastic plant dome can be placed over the tray the pots are sitting in to retain moisture which will increase this growing phase.
  • Every morning, pull back the plastic drapes and give it a gentle spray of water.
  • Also, check the soil’s moisture levels regularly, and add water directly to the soil if it is dry to the touch.
  • When a couple of weeks have gone by, give a gentle tug to verify if the roots have taken hold.
  • You will know when it’s time to transplant it into the garden or to a larger container when there is a strong resistance when pulled,20 a clear sign that the roots have anchored themselves firmly in place.

Pruning Growing Basil Plants

If you want your Basil Plant to develop into a full bush, you must prune it. Pruning your Basil Plant is crucial to its development, even though it seems counterintuitive to do so when your goal is for the plant to expand and grow as bushy as possible.

Before you begin, make sure that your plants are at least 6 inches in height. The use of specific herb shears or small scissors will work well for this purpose.

First, do not start snipping and trimming at random. If you want your Basil Plant to thrive, prune its leaves but resist the urge to trim the huge, dark green leaves at the plant’s base.

Look at that area as the forbidden zone that shouldn’t be touched or entered.

These are your plant’s photosynthesis engines, designed by nature to soak up the maximum amount of sunlight and transport nutrients throughout the plant.

Instead, choose the more manageable ones near the top, the tiny new leaves that are growing on the branch. And then carefully cut the stem slightly above them, taking care not to damage any of the young leaves.

When you cut back the foliage at the top of your plant in this pruning process, two new branches will sprout from that node, each one with its own set of leaves.

This double-replication will continue to occur after every pruning which will make your Basil leaves denser over time.

Planting zones play a factor in cultivating healthy Basil Plants, but proper pruning techniques are also crucial details that should never be overlooked or underestimated.

Common Pests and Natural Pest Control for Basil Plants

The fact that Basil isn’t as easily damaged by pests is one of the plant’s many great attributes.

Its strong fragrance also makes it an effective organic pesticide and is exactly that pungent fragrance that keeps a large number of pests away from other plants.

Close-up shot of a Japanese Beetle feasting on a leaf.

(Image: mdherren40)

This makes Basil a handy companion to have around for other species but still does not make it 100 percent bad-insect-proof.

There are just some pests that can’t resist a bite of a Basil.

One of the most common insect problems for Basil and other early spring and summer plants is aphids.7

1. Aphids

It’s not a big concern if your Basil Plants get a few aphids as just a hefty spray from a high-pressure water hose will shake them off. However, aphids, as tiny as they are, can become a major problem if left to proliferate at will and unmolested.

As a marauding horde, they cause small yellow spots to form on the underside of Basil leaves, which will eventually curl inwards and become deformed. This is one of the most obvious indicators of an aphid infestation, as is the sticky material that they secrete.

Aphids can be effectively controlled with neem oil and insecticidal soaps if a heavy spray of water proves insufficient.

2. The Japanese Beetle

Basil Plants are easy prey for Japanese beetles, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun is still out and shining but the temperature is somewhat reduced and bearable.

They are a major pest of Basil Plants, preying on developing leaves and flowers to such an extent that only the bare stems are left behind in their wake. That level of decimation will adversely affect the health of the plant.

Using dish soap and water or horticulture oil will serve to suffocate them.

3. Grasshoppers

Not really considered as pests that attack your common garden plants, they feed hungrily and non-stop on Basil leaves. As they mature into adults, the damage is even more noticeable with the prevalence of half-chewed leaves hanging sadly from what remains of your once-healthy Basil Plant.

Companion planting with marigolds, for instance, will attract bird species that will eat them for lunch and save you the hassle of trying to get rid of them.

Other pests to look out for are:

  • Slugs
  • Nematodes
  • White-flying Midges
  • Whiteflies
  • Spider Mites
  • Caterpillars and Cutworms
  • Leafminers

A mixture of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice forms an effective home treatment for many of these infestations, as can regularly dusting off your plants with a powdered blend of cinnamon and cayenne pepper.

To prevent a gathering of bugs such as these, frequently rotating your vegetables and regular inspections will catch them in the act before they can do more harm.1

Companion Plants for Growing Basils

No matter which part of nature you visit on any given day, whether in a forest or an open field, you will notice that different species of flora and fauna grow in harmony together.

Plants rarely grow alone in the environment, isolated from other types that are similar to them or completely opposite. And, in fact, most plants are constantly surrounded by a variety of other species, each one taking something from the local ecosystem but giving something back in return.

Close-up view of a Basil plant in a pot, showcasing its purple stems and flowers with green leaves, nestled among other herbs and plants.

(Image: congerdesign40)

Companion planting mimics nature by putting together or clustering plants that work well together by some enhancing soil quality, others providing essential nutrients, and still others drawing in pollinators, and warding off pests.

Some common Basil interplanting options are listed below:

  1. The Tomato Plant: Growing tomatoes alongside Basil Plants is a classic pairing, the actual taste of both plants is said to improve when they are grown together,
  2. Peppers: Tomatoes and peppers both thrive in warm, sunny locations during the summer and share similar soil preferences. The Basil Plant helps protect the tomato plant from a wide variety of bug pests so it bears more fruits, while the tomato plant returns the favor by providing much needed shade.
  3. Oregano and Chives: Interplanting the right plants together takes practice, patience, and understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the plants in your hardiness zone. Pairing Basil with herbs like oregano, chives, or parsley is a smart move.
    The time and effort spent interplanting and caring for these plants will result in less time required to care for them in the long term as each tends to improve the quality and the health of the other.
  4. Marigolds: Pairing the marigold flower with Basil is a no-brainer, both experts at repelling different pests that frequently assault the other. Even more importantly, when planted together they deter nematodes and the dangerous asparagus beetle from decimating your tomato plants.

Companion planting should be practiced no matter how big or small your garden is.4 It will save you time and reduce the possibility of any type of insect infestations or disease infections.

Basil Facts and Benefits

Are the aromatic leaves and the different types of white flowers all that the Basil Plant has to offer?

Absolutely not.

It has a slew of beneficial properties apart from the extra flavoring it can bring to your favorite dishes.

Here are just 8 of them:

  1. Consuming the leaves can help in the reduction of inflammation.
  2. The plant contains vitamins A, C, and K.
  3. The essential oils derived from the leaves have been known to lower high blood pressure when consumed regularly.
  4. Clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of Basil leaves in relieving the symptoms of asthma.
  5.  Freshly brewed tea from Basil leaves is used as a common, tasty cough remedy.
  6. Cancer treatments have been helped by the consumption of essential oils made from the leaves.
  7. The essential oils produced from the Basil Plant are used to combat urinary, skin, and respiratory infections.
  8. Native Americans traditionally employed the leaves to fight snakebites.

How To Identify: What Does Basil Look Like?

Aromatic and delicious, Basil is used in a wide range of culinary applications, and is also aesthetically pleasing in just as varied a selection of cut flower floral arrangements.

Yes, Basil Plants do grow flowers, white or purple, that are quite fragrant. They are a nice feature when they blossom unexpectedly the first time, but they should be removed early for the protection of the leaves.

Graphic of the Basil Plant Identification featuring images of Holy Basil leaf, Basil Flower, and Basil fruit and seeds, along with a color-coded US map indicating its temperature growing zones.

Among the distinguishing features of the Basil herb plant is its taproot.23 It is visually striking because it is very thick, grows almost vertically, and is the plant’s primary root from which all the other roots radiate.

This central root helps to deliver water and nutrients to ensure the health of the plant as well as anchor it firmly in place.

With such a wide range of cultivars, several types of Basil Plants stand out from their herb brothers and sisters by the different colors of their stems. For example, common sweet Basil always has green stems that match the leaves, but Thai Basil and Dark Opal Basil can have purple ones that contrast dramatically against the green foliage.

Despite this, all the stems are generally square and slightly hairy.

Basil Flower

Basil Plants are not particularly thought of as a species that grows colorful flowers, yet when they bloom they range in colors from purple to scarlet to white to a rosy lavender, depending on the variety.

Just like the leaves, the flowers are edible and are often used as garnishes but should be tested for bitterness before ingesting so as not to leave a not-so-nice aftertaste in your mouth.

Unfortunately, once a Basil Plant bears flowers the leaves may lose their pleasant flavor quickly and can become very bitter. This bitterness may be so distasteful that unintentionally adding it to a recipe could render a delicious-looking plate of food inedible.

But why does this happen?

When the flowers bloom the plant has to divert resources away from nourishing all the other parts. They absorb too much water and essential nutrients that the leaves require for optimal growth.

For this reason, many gardeners remove the blooms as soon as they appear to prevent the plant from blooming too early and losing their culinary appeal.

Here is a list of the main Basil Plants and their colorful flowers and leaves.

Basil Seeds: Growing Zones

Since Basil is a blooming plant, its flowers will produce seeds that may be saved and planted the following year to grow your very next crop of Basil Plants.

The herb is tolerant of shade but does well in full sun exposure positions where the soil is nutrient-rich, retains moisture, and drains well.

The seeds are black, and oval, and are gaining popularity outside of India and Southeast Asia, where they are often used in sweets and beverages.

Preliminary studies show the seeds may help prevent illnesses including cardiovascular disease and some malignancies, improve gastrointestinal health, and aid with weight control, and have long been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicines.

Carbon Footprint of Vegan Diets

Unlike vegetarians who refrain from consuming any meat products whatsoever but can eat eggs and foods made from dairy, vegans only tend to eat foods that are exclusively plant-based.

Vegans avoid any and all by-products derived from animals which include honey and any type of seafood and as a result, are sometimes deficient in some nutrients and a sufficient level of protein.

Close-up shot of a plate filled with sliced tomatoes and Basil leaves on a white table, with whole tomatoes and additional Basil leaves nearby.

(Image: lisa87040)

Lack of vitamin B12 is often a concern and occasional supplementation is required to offset nutritional deficiencies in iron, calcium, protein, zinc, and even omega-3 which is an essential form of healthy fats derived from eating fish.8

Experienced vegans make up for these nutritional shortfalls by eating more leafy greens such as Basil and broccoli, dried fruits and nuts, and sesame seeds, and drinking soy milk for vitamin D.

And they swear that they are healthier for undertaking a strict meat-free diet.

Studies have revealed that the consumption of meat and processed food is responsible for exacerbating ailments such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, where a vegan diet has been proven to reduce the risk of contracting any of them.

Opting for a healthier lifestyle has encouraged millions to adopt this format of alternative eating, but many vegetarians and vegans also have an ulterior reason for foregoing meat – saving the planet.

The Greenhouse gas produced from commercial livestock farming around the globe contribute to nearly a conservatively estimated 15% of worldwide emissions.

This is an unsustainable level of pollution that is causing irreparable harm to the planet in the form of methane, nitrous oxide, and carbon dioxide emissions.

Climate-conscious individuals have reached the conclusion that if less meat was consumed then less meat would need to be produced, and less harm would be done to planet Earth.

There is no denying that meat and dairy production methods have a disproportionately negative effect on the environment. Not only because best farming practices are not being adhered to such an extent that farmers are actually compounding the problems in the form of land erosion and deforestation.

The most exhaustive study recently conducted found that switching to a vegan diet drastically minimizes environmental damage caused by livestock food production.

The study found that compared to diets including more than 100g of meat per day, the carbon footprint of vegan diet resulted in 75% less climate-heating emissions, water pollution, and land utilization.

The study also found that water use was reduced by 54% and the killing of wildlife by 66% when people adopted vegan diets.

Carbon Footprints

Measured over the course of a day, it was calculated that those who consumed more than 3.5 ounces of meat contributed 22.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions towards global warming in the atmosphere.6

The rearing of cattle and the land utilized to grow animal feed were factored into the results. And for those who ate less meat, roughly 11.8 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions were attributed to them.

Those who primarily ate fish but weren’t vegetarians emitted 10.4 pounds of CO2 per day, while vegetarians created 9 pounds of CO2 per day.

Not surprisingly, vegans created a significantly lower carbon footprint by producing the fewest gas emissions at just 5.4 pounds of CO2.

Partly due to climate change and the desire for a healthier way of living, the popularity of vegetarianism and veganism is on the rise.

In recent years, this increase has been boosted by a wider variation in foodstuffs that are nutrient-dense, more readably available, and contain sufficient levels of protein and vitamins, that missing the taste of meat was no longer a concern.

By simply converting from a meat-eating individual into a vegan has the ability to cut your personal carbon footprint by up to 75%.

Although the vegan lifestyle may not be for everyone, making small dietary adjustments to the levels of meat consumption can have a big impact on the worldwide stage from the many negative effects caused by carbon emissions.

How To Harvest Basil Without Killing the Plant

The ability to conveniently grow Basil in a small corner of your back garden or in a sunkist area in your home provides a steady supply of leaves whenever you need them. As long as you pick them correctly.

Pinch the leaves where they connect to the stem if you only need a few. Getting more leaves from a plant requires harvesting from higher up, not lower at the base.

If you prune it from the bottom up, it will look lanky and scraggly.

Basil plants flourishing with vibrant green leaves inside a greenhouse.

(Image: thetravelnook40)

Basil can be harvested in bulk by cutting off entire stems from the plant’s crown if needed. If the stems are particularly thick, you can use your fingers or a pair of tiny scissors to cut them off.

To do it properly without causing any damage, remove the top quarter of an inch of the stem just above where the leaves are branching off from the herbs.9

In an effort to promote even branching, prune no more than a third of the plant’s height at any one time and from a variety of different locations. Maintain the same method of pruning for as long as new growth appears on your Basil, and a long and healthy harvest is guaranteed for years.

How To Store Your Basil

There are several methods that can be employed to preserve the freshness of your Basil depending on the length of time you wish to keep it.

Harvesting the leaves and packing them in the back of the refrigerator where it’s coldest won’t help in the preservation process.

The first problem is that those beautifully vibrant green leaves can swiftly turn dark and mushy when exposed to cold storage conditions.

To keep them fresh for a couple of weeks, follow these steps

  1. Cut the leaf free from the plant with no part of the stem attached.
  2. Fully submerge it in a jar or a vase filled with water.
  3. Place a plastic covering over the top but do not fasten it tightly.
  4. Keep the container at room temperature.
  5. Every couple of days change the water.
  6. When you’re ready to use one for cooking, take it out, rinse, dry, and enjoy.

There will be occasions when you have too much of a good thing and want to preserve the freshness of your Basil leaves or other produce for longer than just 2 weeks.25 One method will give you a grace period of 3 months, and the other will allow you to store them for up to 1 year.

How To Freeze

You already know that throwing the leaves to the back of the freezer will not work, but there is a way to use the freezing temperatures to your advantage.

  1. Pick the leaves that are ready to be harvested and wash them thoroughly.
  2. Bring a pan of water to the boil and plunge the leaves under for a total of 10 seconds.
  3. Immediately drop them into a bowl of cold water then wipe them completely dry.
  4. All stems should be removed, placed into a food processor with some olive oil, and made into a paste.
  5. Now they can be frozen. Pour the pesto into trays and freeze.

Basil that has been frozen can be used for up to 3 months in either hot or cold recipes at your leisure by just being added from frozen.

Dry Storage Method

This method is probably the best and cheapest and starts with washing and drying the selected leaves.

  1. Once completely dried, carefully remove all the stems.
  2. Turn your oven to 200 degrees.
  3. Spread a baking sheet onto a tray and lay your leaves on it.
  4. Leave inside for between 2 to 4 hours until the leaves are dried and crumbly to the touch.
  5. Remove and allow them to cool down.
  6. Crumble them carefully and store them in a container that is 100% airtight.

In this fashion, you can have an inexhaustible supply of your favorite herb on hand ready to be made into a classic Basil pesto or sprinkled onto your pizza.27

And the good news? Your well-tended Basil Plant will stay fresh for up to a whole year. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Basil Plant

How Long Does It Take Growing a Basil From a Seedling?

After the seedlings have been hardened off indoors, they are planted in the garden where it will take around 8 weeks for the plants to be large enough to be trimmed.

How Far Apart To Plant Basils?

For healthy root development, plant your Basil Plant at a depth of about 8 inches, and maintain a distance of 12-16 inches between multiple plants to give them plenty of room to thrive in the sun and fresh air.

When To Plant Basil for the Best Yield?

The best time is when the last of the frost has thawed from the ground in spring in the middle of May.

Growing Zones for Basils: Where To Grow for the Best Results?

USDA Hardiness Zones is an accurate way to gauge a plant’s susceptibility to high or low temperatures. Basil Plants will flourish best in zones 4 to 10 where the temperatures are between 60 to 70°F.

How Long Does It Take for Basil To Grow? How Long It Takes To Grow Basil Plant?

After the germination period has elapsed, it will take about 4 weeks before any leaves are mature enough to be harvested.

Deep Roots, Harvest, and Does Basil Need Full Sun?

A Basil Plant takes about 4 weeks for the roots to be properly established and for some leaves to be ready to be harvested. During that period it will need 6 to 8 hours of full sunshine a day, and your houseplant will need a regular watering schedule.29


1Alston, D., & Mull, A. (2018, July). Leafminers of Vegetable Crops. Utah State University Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.usu.edu/pests/research/leafminers-vegetables>

2Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. (2017, May 16). 4 Ideas For Mixing A Better Vinaigrette. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/culinary-arts/4-ideas-for-mixing-a-better-vinaigrette/>

3Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. (2022, March 7). The Art of Food Presentation. Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.escoffier.edu/blog/culinary-arts/the-art-of-food-presentation/>

4Cornell University. (1999, May). Companion Planting. Cornell Cooperative Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.unl.edu/statewide/lincolnmcpherson/Cornell%20Guide%20to%20Companion%20Planting.pdf>

5Elmer, N. L. (2020, November 18). Botany Basics: Understanding Leaves. The University of Texas at Austin Biodiversity Center. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://biodiversity.utexas.edu/news/entry/leaves>

6Fecht, S. (2021, February 25). How Exactly Does Carbon Dioxide Cause Global Warming? Columbia Climate School State of the Planet. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/02/25/carbon-dioxide-cause-global-warming/>

7Hahn, J., & Wold-Burkness, S. (2019). Aphids in home yards and gardens. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-insects/aphids>

8Harvard University. (2023). Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/fats-and-cholesterol/types-of-fat/omega-3-fats/>

9Iowa State University. (2023). When should I harvest herbs? ISU Extension and Outreach. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/faq/when-should-i-harvest-herbs>

10Koenig, R., & Johnson, M. (2011, December). Selecting and Using Organic Fertilizers. Utah State University Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.usu.edu/yardandgarden/research/selecting-and-using-organic-fertilizers>

11Lerner, R., & Welch-Keesey, M. (2023). New Plants From Cuttings. Purdue University. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.purdue.edu/hla/sites/yardandgarden/extpub/new-plants-from-cuttings-text-only/>

12Nelson, R. C. (2012). The Description of Leaves. University of Rochester Department of Computer Science. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.cs.rochester.edu/users/faculty/nelson/wildflowers/glossaries/leaves/index.html>

13North Dakota State University. (2023). Organic Matter & Soil. North Dakota State University. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.ndsu.edu/agriculture/ag-hub/ag-topics/crop-production/soil-health/organic-matter-soil>

14OpenStaxCollege. (2012). Nutritional Requirements of Plants. The University of Hawaiʻi Pressbooks. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://pressbooks-dev.oer.hawaii.edu/biology/chapter/nutritional-requirements-of-plants/>

15OpenStaxCollege. (2012, August 22). Stems. The University of Hawaiʻi Pressbooks. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://pressbooks-dev.oer.hawaii.edu/biology/chapter/stems/>

16Patton, D. (2023, July 11). Defining Sun Requirements for Plants. Kansas State University Research and Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.johnson.k-state.edu/lawn-garden/agent-articles/miscellaneous/defining-sun-requirements-for-plants.html>

17Princeton University Library. (2010). Cloves. Princeton University Library. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://lib-dbserver.princeton.edu/visual_materials/maps/websites/pacific/spice-islands/cloves.html>

18Russ, K., Polomski, R. F., & Williamson, J. (2019, September 11). Growing Perennials. Clemson Extension Home & Garden Information Center. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/growing-perennials/>

19Sanders, D. (2019, September 18). Lettuce. NC State Extension Publications. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/lettuce>

20Sellmer, J., & Kelley, K. (2023, March 14). Transplanting Annuals into the Garden. Pennsylvania State University Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.psu.edu/transplanting-annuals-into-the-garden>

21Smith, K., Majumdar, A., Mitchell, C., Everest, J., Sikora, E., Kemble, J., & Ward, R. (2019, February 26). A Well-Drained Soil. Alabama Cooperative Extension System. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.aces.edu/blog/topics/lawn-garden/well-drained-soil/>

22Talabac, M. (2021, November 29). An introduction to gardening under lights. Maryland Grows Blog. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://marylandgrows.umd.edu/2021/11/29/an-introduction-to-gardening-under-lights/>

23University of Arkansas. (2023). Plant of the Week: Taproots. University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://www.uaex.uada.edu/yard-garden/resource-library/plant-week/Taproots-01-17-2020.aspx>

24University of California. (2020, November). Fusarium Wilt. UC IPM. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/floriculture-and-ornamental-nurseries/fusarium-wilt/>

25University of Connecticut. (2023). Storing Fresh Garden Produce. University of Connecticut Food Safety. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://foodsafety.uconn.edu/storing-fresh-garden-produce/>

26University of Maryland. (2023, February 20). Anise (Pimpinella anisum). University of Maryland Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.umd.edu/resource/anise>

27University of Michigan. (2023). Classic Basil Pesto. University of Michigan Human Resources. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://hr.umich.edu/benefits-wellness/health/mhealthy/physical-well-being/nutrition/mhealthy-recipes/classic-basil-pesto>

28University of Nebraska–Lincoln. (2023). Easy Caprese Salad. College of Education and Human Sciences. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://cehs.unl.edu/CYAF/EAT/videoassets/CapreseSalad.pdf>

29Weisenhorn, J. (2022, November 30). Watering houseplants. University of Minnesota Extension. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from <https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-news/watering-houseplants>

30knackeredhack. CC BY 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/8969412@N08/2485239055/>

31daryl_mitchell. CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format.Flickr. Retrieved from <https://flickr.com/photos/49169223@N00/7399952806>

32Thaweewatboy. CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:JKOrVZIC63.jpg>

33Quinn Dombrowski. CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/quinnanya/4781686495/>

34David J. Stang. CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ocimum_basilicum_Purple_Ruffles_1zz.jpg>

35Forest and Kim Starr. CC BY 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/24865906586/>

36missellyrh. CC BY 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/missellyrh/8681725723/>

37Forest and Kim Starr. CC BY 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/starr-environmental/24596734830>

38Serres Fortier. CC BY 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved from <https://www.flickr.com/photos/lesserresfortier/8874088758/>

39David J. Stang. CC BY-SA 4.0 Deed. Resized and Changed Format. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ocimum_basilicum_Minette_2zz.jpg>

40Photos by tookapic, fabersam, khushboo21, mdherren, congerdesign, lisa870, and thetravelnook. Pixabay. Retrieved from <https://pixabay.com/>

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