Noted for its beauty, flavour and ease of cultivation, Ocimum basilicum var. purpurascens (Purple Basil) is an annual or biennial herb with very large, dark, shiny purple leaves which are ruffled and fringed. It has a sweet basil flavour with more licorice and cinnamon flavour. In summer, attractive spikes of small, small, tubular white or pink-tinged flowers arranged in whorls are borne above the foliage. While most basils are grown just for their leaves and flavour, Purple Basil is also a striking beauty that is very ornamental in the garden. Grows up to 45-60 cm. tall and wide.
Performs best in fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Water freely in summer. Provide a sheltered site. Basil is extremely frost sensitive.
Harvest mature leaves for fresh use at any time. To dry the leaves, hang out of direct light, then store in an airtight container in a cool place.
Keep an eye out for leafhoppers, aphids, slugs, snails and powdery mildews.
Pinch out flower heads to promote bushy plant growth and to extend the plant’s productive life.