Lawn and Garden

Basil (Sweet) (Ocimum basilicum)

Adapted from Pub. NE 208 published by the Cooperative Extension Services of the Northeast States


basil Basil is an attractive annual, about 18 inches tall with light-green, fairly broad leaves. The flowers are small, white, and appear in spikes. There are several species of cultivated basil, one having purple leaves.


Basil grows easily from seed planted after all danger of frost has passed. Pinch stems to promote bushy, compact growth. Avoid lush growth as it may reduce the flavor.


Green leaves can be picked about 6 weeks following planting. It is best to cut leaves for drying just before flowers open.


Spicy-scented basil leaves are one of the most popular of all herbs used in cooking. Cooks favor basil for tomato dishes in either fresh or dried form.