Here are the best Types of Basil that you can grow and enjoy fresh for their appearance, aroma, culinary and medicinal uses!
If you’re a basil lover, you’ll love to grow these best Types of Basil. All of them are edible and perfect for growing in containers!
Here’s everything you need to know to make basil bushier and lush!
Best Types of Basil
1. Sweet Basil
It is the most used and popular basil variety to grow. Sweet basil is used extensively in cooking for its aromatic foliage. Ranging from green to purple, the herb can attain a height of 12-18 inches.
Use fertile soil that is rich in organic matter. Grow it in a sunny spot and keep it well-watered. It does not tolerate harsh cold weather.
2. Genovese Basil
The characteristic feature of Genovese basil is the flatter and pointier leaves. Also, the more aromatic and spicy flavor makes it a great ingredient in several Italian dishes and pesto recipes.
This variety is a bit cold tolerant and loves 6-8 hours of direct sun. Well-draining soil with neutral soil pH is best for it.
3. Thai Basil
Popular in the cuisines of Southeast Asia — Thai basil has a touch of licorice with a strong flavor. The purplish stems and flowers make it a showy plant. However, with time it loses its aroma if preserved, so use it fresh.
This plant is very susceptible to frost damage, so move it indoors at the first sign of frost. This is also a sun-loving plant and requires moderate watering.
4. Napoletano Basil
Originating from Naples (Itay), its extraordinarily large leaves are used for wrapping poultry, fish, and cheese. Add it to soups, sauces, fish, and meat dishes, as it’s a bit spicier than a few other sweet basil varieties. It can grow up to two feet tall.
It needs full sun to flourish. In the growing season, apply a balanced fertilizer once a month. A loamy potting medium is suitable for planting.
5. Dark Opal Basil
Bored with a similar display of green foliage herbs? This exotic dark purple foliage basil can enhance the beauty of your landscape. Apart from regular culinary uses, you can steep it in vinegar or oil to add color and aroma to the dishes.
Place the pot nearby a sunny windowsill so that it can enjoy in the direct sun. Keep the soil evenly moist in the initial stage when the plant is establishing.
6. Christmas Basil
It’s a mix of Thai and Genovese basil. The fruity aromatic flavor of this basil is somewhat like wine with a tinge of pine. Work it into pesto, sauces, salads, herbal dishes, as well as in drinks and teas.
Ample watering with mulching around the base is what it needs. 65 to 85 Degrees F is the optimum growing temperature.
7. Lemon Basil
It’s not as ornamental as other basil varieties but forms beautiful white spikes that are tall and appealing. Add lemon basil to the ice tea for warm lemon flavor and to make it an invigorating drink.
Add a phosphorus-rich fertilizer in the first week of planting. Water regularly but not so much that the soil remains soggy. Prune it from time to time to improve air circulation. Check out our herb pruning tips to learn more.
8. Lettuce Leaf Basil
The large wrinkled leaves of this basil resemble lettuce and are used broadly in salads and fresh dishes due to the mild and less aromatic flavor. Ideal for a lettuce wrap because the leaves are large, around 3-5 inches in size.
Beware of frost if you plant this basil outdoors. Sow the seeds 0.25 inch deep and space them 10 inches apart. Avoid using a fertilizer with high nitrogen content.
9. Lime Basil
Like the lemon basil, it is also one of the types of basil with a citrus flavor. Although, it is not as common as lemon basil. You can grow a combination of both lemon and lime basils as they make a great pair.
Choose a spot that receives around 4-6 hours of direct sun. Don’t overwater the plant. Install support such as stake if the plant gets too top-heavy.
10. Cinnamon Basil
Mexican spicy basil is another name of this herb. Growing 18-24 inches tall, shiny leaves and small pinkish-lavender and mauve color flowers make it an excellent choice for floral arrangements. Also, its spicy flavor and fragrant aroma go well in fruit salads and garnishes.
Rich, moist, and slightly acidic soil is optimum for planting. Space the plants 6-12 inches apart. Water routinely and avoid the soil from drying out completely.
11. Holy Basil
Also known as Tulsi, it is revered in the Hindu religion for its medicinal and spiritual characteristics. The leaves splashed with purple and green give this plant an appealing look. If that was not enough having it daily in the tea or chai will boost your immune system.
It’s one of the most potent herbs, according to Ayurveda, many scientific studies validate this claim. To learn more about the benefits, click here!
Learn how to grow it here
12. Cardinal Basil
The noticeable feature of cardinal basil is its striking red flowers and spicy scent. That’s why it earns a well-deserved position in ornamental gardens. Admittedly, it looks like celosia but still, you can use it in your kitchen in various recipes.
Avoid planting it too early in the springs. Maintain moisture in the soil during the growing season. It prefers a warm climate and becomes a beautiful container plant.
13. Green Ruffles
This list of the best types of basil can’t end without adding this basil variety. The ruffled and fringed leaves of this basil are very engaging. It bears spikes of large purple flowers, which make it well suited as the border plant. It can be used in salads, noodles, and pasta because of the mild flavor.
It can tolerate a bit shady spot but still need part sun. Water persistently and mulch around the base so that the soil retains moisture.
14. Greek Basil
Growing only up to 8-10 inches, it’s a small bushy variety of basil that is native to Southeast Asia. This type of basil is a nice option for those with a lack of space. The leaves are pointed and can be used in garnishes, salads, meat dishes or soups, and tomato dishes.
Exposure to direct sun or grow light (if growing indoors) is necessary for optimum growth. During the dry spells keep the plant well-watered. In hot climates, keep it in part sun.
15. Pistou Basil
One of the shortest basil varieties is named after a sauce made using basil, garlic, and olive oil known as Pistou sauce. Although small, its evenly shaped leaves are still packed with flavor and are perfect for garnishing.
Water moderately to keep the soil evenly moist. Move outdoors only after the last frost has passed. To encourage branching, pinch terminal shoots.
16. Spicy Saber
As the name suggests, this basil is bestowed with serrated leaves which are saber-like and ornamental. Just a couple of leaves are enough to add a spicy note to many Asian gourmets. You can rely on this basil even late in the season as it remains productive.
Sow the seeds indoors and transplant them after the passage of frost or sow directly in the garden when the temperature is warm enough. Provide plenty of light and water.
17. African Blue Basil
If there is a variety of basil that stands out among other basil varieties, this is the one. It grows up to four feet tall and has a fragrant, spicy aroma.
Propagate it from cuttings. Remove dead stems and foliage and debris after the growing season. Beware of aphids, flea beetles, Japanese beetles, snails, and slugs.
18. Spicy Bush Basil
This is a compact variety of basil that grows in a bushy form as the name suggests. The leaves are intensely flavored, which its addition makes the soups and sauces more flavorful.
Plant in a good quality potting soil. Like other basil varieties, it also needs plenty of sunlight to thrive. To help it flourish you need to pinch it back.
19. Italian Large Leaf Basil
This not-so-common basil smells and tastes a bit sweeter than the other varieties. If you like a hint of sweetness in your recipes that use basil as an ingredient, then this makes for a perfect pick!
Plant it in an area that gets a minimum of 4-6 hours of direct sunlight. Use a good quality potting medium.
20. Purple Ruffles Basil
Not to be confused with the dark opal basil, they both look somewhat similar but are different when it comes to leaves as this one has ruffled foliage. It is one of the best basils for garnishing and adding color to the platter.
Needs full sun exposure to grow well. In the growing season apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month.
21. Spicy Globe Basil
This is a dwarf variety that grows only up to 8-10 inches tall. It tastes mild and is a great addition to soups, salads, and pasta. If you are short on space, grow this one!
Grow it on a sunny windowsill so that it can enjoy in the direct sun.
22. Clove Basil
Also popular as African basil, Tree basil, East Indian basil, and Himalayan basil, it has, like its name, a strong clove-like aroma. It is widely used in soups, stews, and also used as tea.
Rich, moist, and slightly acidic soil is optimum for planting. Make sure the plant gets 3-5 hours of sun.