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Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum

Common Name(s):

Description

African blue basil is a sterile, hybrid, edible herb in the Lamiaceae (mint) family. As noted in its scientific name, it is a cross between Ocimum kilimandscharicum, a camphor basil native to East Africa, and a cultivar of basilicum, 'Dark Opal', also native to Africa and to Southern Asia. The camphor parent gives this basil a taste different from most basils, and although it is fully edible, some may prefer it as a plant to attract pollinators.

This plant is a perennial tropical at zone 10 and higher; however, it can be grown as an annual in colder climates with warm summers. Plant it in full sun and in moist, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Once established the plant can tolerate drier soils, but it is by no means a drought-tolerant plant. Some partial shade is tolerated in the afternoons in hot climates. This plant is more heat tolerant than other basils. It has an upright habit that over time rounds out. As the rapidly growing plant matures, its stems may become woody and heavy, sometimes flopping over. Trim unwanted branches back, and new growth will appear out of old stems. Because it does not produce seed, its flowers do not need to be pinched back to keep the plant growing like other basils. It can be propagated from cuttings or bought as a transplant.  

African blue basil grows well in indoor settings more than many other herbs. In the landscape, plant it in a container or a culinary herb, sensory, or pollinator garden. It is known for its showy leaves and beautiful flowers, which easily attract pollinators.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dark Opal'
'Dark Opal'
Tags:
#vigorous#heat tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#interesting leaves#fast growing#herb garden culinary#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#sensory garden#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant early fall#bee friendly#stormwater demo garden orange co#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Dark Opal'
'Dark Opal'
Tags:
#vigorous#heat tolerant#wildlife plant#fragrant leaves#interesting leaves#fast growing#herb garden culinary#hairy leaves#pollinator plant#sensory garden#nectar plant early summer#nectar plant mid-summer#nectar plant early fall#bee friendly#stormwater demo garden orange co#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ocimum
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Perennial
    Wildlife Value:
    Flowers are attractive to bees.
    Edibility:
    It has a stronger flavor than other basils. The leaves and flowers eaten fresh or pureed with olive oil and dried in ice cube trays. Use in salads, pasta, drinks, or for garnishes. This herb does not dry well.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 10 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Herb
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Description:
    Clulusters of tubular flowers. Caylx is dark purple with pink flowers. Flowering stems are longer than other basil plants and they bloom until frost.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    Green and purple leaves are simple, opposite, ovate with pointed tips. They are hairy and smell of camphor.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Square
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Fuzzy purple green square stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Garden for the Blind
    Pollinator Garden
    Rain Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Heat