Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil, Ocimum

The sweet, fragrant leaves of fresh basil add a delicious, licorice-like flavor to salads and tomato-based dishes.



Sweet basil grows best in a warm, sheltered location in full sun. The soil should be fertile, moist and well drained.

Plant out or direct sow seed after frost danger has passed in spring. Pinch the tips regularly to encourage bushy growth. Harvest the leaves regularly throughout the growing season.


Although sweet basil grows best in a warm spot outdoors in the garden, it can be grown successfully indoors in a pot by a bright window to provide you with fresh leaves year-round.


O. basilicum is one of the most popular of the culinary herbs. There are dozens of varieties, including ones with large or tiny, green or purple and smooth or ruffled leaves.

Features: fragrant, decorative leaves

Height: 12–24"

Spread: 12–18"

Hardiness: tender annual


The tiny, white flowers are very attractive in the garden, and bees love them. Plant one or two extra plants that you allow to flower as a food source for bees.

Sweet basil is a good companion plant for tomatoes—both like warm, moist growing conditions, and when you pick tomatoes for a salad you’ll also remember to include a few sprigs of basil.

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