15 Different Types Of Basil Plants With Images

Basil is a green herb and a member of the mint family. The herb is used for food seasoning to our meals and also provides health benefits as well in teas and supplements. There are different Basil varieties of Basil herb that exist. That is why in this guide, we will be talking about the different types of Basil plants and additional information of the growing and caring tips of each plant.

Different Types Of Basil Plants

Sweet Basil (Ocimum Basilicum)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining soil
  • Flower: White and Pink
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

It is the most common type of basil plant. It is used mostly in dishes with tomato sauces, pesto, salad, pasta and even in soups too.

Sweet Basil is a bright green color plant. Its foliage varies and depends on the size of the Basil plant but the leaves are mostly rounded or oval shaped and sometimes even puckered.

Flowers with colors white and pink usually blooms in summer time, however it is recommended to remove the flowers as soon as possible to allow the basil plant to focus on its growing leaves.


Posts you might like

If you want Basil plant lifespan to extend, you can pinch the spikes of the flower, this will help enhance the growth of the plant. It thrives full sun and in well-draining soil and make sure to keep the soil moist and maintain its moistness.


Purple Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. Purpurascens ‘Purple Ruffles’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining soil
  • Flower: White and Pink
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

Purple Ruffles Basil is another type of Basil plant with dark burgundy or deep shade of purple glossy foliage. Its leaves have a ruffled texture and the edges are fringed. The flower of Purple Ruffles Basil usually appears during summer time and in colors either pink or white.

Purple Basil plant is different from other common sweet Basil varieties but rather have a more clover taste that tends to be stronger that it can be added in vinegar dishes.

Since it is purple in color, aside from food seasoning it can also be used to add colors to the dish.

Purple Basil thrives well in well-draining soil in full sunlight. Make sure to maintain the moistness of the soil.


Dark Opal Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. Purpureum ‘Dark Opal’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining soil
  • Flower: Pink
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

Although it is another variety, it is still another type of purple basil that was mentioned earlier. It is similar to the purple basil wherein it has a dark coloring leaves. Dark Opal Basil is not only used for food seasoning but can be a great addition to your garden as well.

Dark Opal Basil has dark purple foliage and tends to look like Black when in low light setting. The leaves are different from Purple Ruffles since its leaves are flat. You can also notice a “fine teeth” on the margins of the leaf.

The pink flowers usually appears in summer that usually comes in contrast with its burgundy color leaves.

Dark Opal Basil are mostly used in stews, dishes using fish, salads and pastas. The plant thrives well in well draining soil, in full sunlight but not direct sunlight.


Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Genovese Gigante’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining soil
  • Flower: Pink and White
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

Another variety of Sweet Basil. A popular type of Basil that is used in cooking Italian dishes such as salad, pasta, pesto and dishes with tomato sauce.

Genovese Basil is similar to Sweet basil and more identical but with few distinctions such as a larger leaf and the shape is flatter.

The taste of Genovese Basil is also similar to Sweet Basil but it tends to have an aromatic flavor and a stronger flavor as compared to Sweet Basil.

The plant thrives well in full sun and in well-draining soil. Make sure to water the plant and not to wait until the soil dries up especially during summer.


Dolce Fresca Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Dolce Fresca’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining, fertile soil
  • Flower: Pink and White
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

Another type of Sweet Basil plant. It looks identical with the common sweet basil that its difficult to differentiate, however the taste of each plant is different of mints and anise.

Dolce Fresca Basil is used in dishes such as stews, salads and tomato sauce.

The plant thrives well in fertile, well draining soil and in full sunlight.


Sweet Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum var. thyrsiflorum)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining, fertile soil
  • Flower: Purple-Pink
  • Size (Mature): 1.5 ft. tall

Sweet Thai Basil popular plant that is most used in Vietnamese dishes. The color of the leaves are light to deep green leaves while the stems are purple and squared shape. During summer, Thai Basil blooms purple or pink flowers.

The Thai Basil is mostly used in dishes such as spicy sesame noodles and Chicken.


Cinnamon Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Cinnamon’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining, fertile soil
  • Flower: Pink and White
  • Size (Mature): 3 ft.

Cinnamon Basil is also known as Mexican spice basil. This type of Basil Plant is not similar to sweet basil but still a popular kind. Cinnamon Basil has a sweet yet spicy scent. It is not only good for food but can also be used in home decorations and flower arrangements as well.

The stems of Cinnamon Basil are red while flowers that turns from purple to pink when it matures.

Considered to be the perfect herb used in Asian cooking such as marinades, noodles, salad, fried rice and with grilled vegetables.

The plant thrives in a sheltered environment in a well-draining soil.


Persian Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Persian’)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining, fertile soil
  • Flower: Purple
  • Size (Mature): 1 ft.

Persian Basil is another type of sweet basil with a mild flavor spicy taste. The taste is similar to close and anise. It is used mostly in soups, stews and tomato sauce.

Persian Basil is not only used to add seasoning to foods but is also considered to be an ornamental plant. The leaves of this plant is relatively large but flat. It also has fine and jagged edges as well. Just like most of basil plants, its purple flowers usually appears at the end of summer season.

Although the flowers can be lovely to look at with its purple shade, it tends to make the leaves taste bitter. Therefore, if you are going to use this plant for food seasoning, make sure to remove the flowers as soon as it appears to prevent the leaves from tasting bitter.


Lemon Basil (Ocimum Citriodorum)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining
  • Flower: White
  • Size (Mature): 1 ft.

Lemon Basil plant has a lemon taste but with a hint of Anise (sweet and aromatic taste). It is commonly used in Thai and Indonesian cooking. And mostly used raw in salads.

Lemon Basil plant grows between 12 to 18 inches. The foliage of Thai Basil has smooth edges and the leaves usually measure 2 inches long.

Lemon Basil plant thrives well in full sunlight and moist soil.


Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum / Ocimum Tenuiflorum)

  • Light requirement: Full Sun to partial shade
  • Water Requirement: Moist soil (should be maintained)
  • Soil Requirement: Well draining, fertile soil.
  • Flower: White and Purple
  • Size (Mature): 2 ft.

Holy Basil or also known as Sacred Basil. It has a spicy yet sweet scent. It is used mostly in Indian cooking.

Holy Basil is also known as Tulsi, meaning incomparable one. It is considered to be a sacred plant in Hindu. It is used in treating illnesses and body ailments such as stomach pains and to promote proper blood circulation. It can also help boost the immune system, you can add Holy Basil to your favorite tea.


Christmas Basil

Christmas Basil is mostly to connect with the Christmas holiday. The fruity flavor that you get with this basil variety can be exciting. That is why it is considered to be the perfect choice when making salad or drinks that helps add flavor.

Christmas Basil grows up to 2-inches. Its leaves are glossy green leaves. . The plant also produces purple flowers.


Cardinal basil

Another Basil variety that has a deep burgundy colored stem with bright green leaves that are thick and oval.

Cardinal Basil plant tastes like Anise licorice flavor. It is used mostly in dishes when the leaves are still fresh. This Basil plant can also be used similar how other Basil varieties are used but always keep in mind that Cardinal Basil has a strong flavor than the rest of the the varieties.


Lime Basil

Lime Basil is similar to Lemon Basil however both have different flavor. Wherein instead of tasting lemon flavor, you will tasting lime flavor.

This type of Basil plant is a perfect when making fish dishes and chicken dishes as well. Other than that, you can it to make your tea or margarita more flavorful. Lime Basil taste is sweet and mild but with a slightly citrus flavor.

Though Lime Basil is not that popular as compared to Lemon Basil however there are still gardeners who grows Lime and Basil plant in their herb garden.


African Blue Basil

The African Blue Basil is considered to be the tallest amongst the different varieties of Basil plant since it can grow up to 4 feet tall.

This Basil plant is great for home decoration as in flower arrangements because of how beautifully it appears aside from its culinary usage in dishes such as rice, meat and vegetable.


Greek Basil

If there are tall basil plant, there are also smallest and that is the Greek Basil plant. It can only grow up to 8 inches tall. It features a small, yet pointed leaves.

Greek Basil is used mostly in salads, soup and meat dishes to spice it up a little.


Tips on Growing, Buying and Storing Basil plant

  • Fresh Basil usually have a strong flavor, however dried basil are more convenient and less expensive.
  • If you intend to grow Basil plant, male sure the temperature at night is preferably above 60F because Basil are usually sensitive cold and thrives when exposed to the sun.
  • The proper way to harvest basil leaves is just when you need them and get only the ones that you need.
  • To help the plant grow well, make sure to cut the stem up to the bottom of the plant allowing only at least two or more leaves to be left in the plant.
  • To keep the leaves of the plant stays fresh, you may place the fresh basil stems in a jar of water.