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African basil

Ocimum gratissimum

African basil is a larger than average basil variety, hence the nickname, “Tree basil.” It is very aromatic, the oils in the leaves give off an intense clove aroma with the occasional notes of thyme. Mature plants develop edible, white flowers that have a slightly feathery appearance and are bitter compared to the sweet and spicy leaves.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer
Fruiting time
Autumn

Harvesting

Whole plants are cut just before flowering begins and dried or distilled for oil. Leaves are picked during the growing season, harvest mature leaves and flower spikes for fresh use at any time. To dry the leaves, cut bushes at the base and hang out of direct light, then store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seed in situ in spring when frosts have passed and the soil has warmed up, or into trays indoors. Plant out when the temperatures warm up.
Cuttings
Take soft wood cuttings in spring, root with rooting hormone and bottom heat. Or place in a glass of water until rooted.

Special features

Attractive flowers
White flowers
Attractive leaves
Edible sweet leaves
Pot plant
Popular potplant

Geography

Origin
Africa, Madagascar, Southern Asia, Bismarck Archipelago
Natural climate
Tropical

Environment

Light
Full Sun, Partial Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Personality

Family
Lamiaceae
Flower colour
White
Scent
Strong

Problems

Generally problem free.

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