18 Types of Basil To Add Flavour to your Garden - Absolute Gardener

18 Types of Basil To Add Flavour to your Garden

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types of basil

Looking to add some fresh herbs to your garden?

Here are 18 types of basil that you can start growing today! 

Basil leaves are not only a beautiful addition to your garden but are also extremely beneficial for adding a fresh spice into your homemade dishes.

Basil is usually grown in warmer temperatures as they do really well at 70 degrees or higher. They are tender plants that are sensitive to the first signs of freezing temperatures.

If you are struggling to choose what herb to add to your garden, basil is a great choice! Although sweet basil is one of the most common of the basil species, there are many other basil varieties to choose from. Varying in taste, color and size there is an abundance of types of basil to begin growing in your garden.

Here are 18 different  types of basil to choose from:

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil is the best basil variety which is most popularly grown and used in cooking dishes such as pesto, hummus, pizza, salads, fried rice, and even mocktails and cocktails.

Sweet Basil is lime green in color and does not take much space to grow. They can be grown directly in the ground or even in pots on your balcony.

Sweet Basil is also known to repel mosquitos which is a useful plant to have in the house. When we find basil in our local grocery store it is usually this variant known as sweet basil. 

Genovese Basil

Genovese Basil is another popularly used herb in culinary dishes such as pestos and Italian cuisines. These types of basil are extra-large and darker green in color. 

This species of basil has a stronger aromatic flavor.

There are also many benefits of consuming fresh Genovese basil such as it is good for digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.

This little herb is easy to grow and they love sunlight

You can grow them from seeds and it will take about 7 to 10 days to germinate.

Thai Sweet Basil

Thai sweet basil may sometimes be called licorice basil. This is because of its anise and licorice-like scent and taste.

Thai sweet basil is sturdy and compact. This plant grows best in warm climates and can be propagated through seeds or cuttings.

These types of basil plants are commonly used in Thai cuisines such as Thai basil chicken.

Purple Basil

Purple basil will be a colorful addition to your garden as its dark burgundy color will stand out among the rest of the green-colored herbs.

The purple basil takes about 80 days to fully mature and grows 18 inches tall.

This plant is easy to grow and requires a space under direct sunlight with moderate watering. You can purchase these seeds and begin growing them immediately. The germinate rate of these seeds is up to 95 percent.

Lemon Basil

Lemon Basil grows up to 12 – 18 inches tall. The leaves on lemon basil plants tend to be narrower with slightly serrated edges. The seeds form on the plant after flowering and dry on the plant.

This plant needs direct sunlight and regular watering to thrive. This herb is easy to grow and care for. You can order your seeds today with free shipping.

Lemon Basil is among the different kinds of basil which adds a unique and flavourful marinade for fish or poultry. It is also relaxing basil used for teas. It is also commonly used in Arabic, Indonesian, Malay and Thai cuisines.

Lime Basil

Lime basil is a sweet and fragrant herb with a mild citrus taste. The leaves are bright lime green and narrow in shape. These plants grow between 16 to 24 inches tall.

This species of basil is a rare and hard-to-find seed variety. However, you can get your lime basil seeds to grow them today.

Some gardeners grow this species of lime basil along with lemon basil as the two make a delightful pair when cooking. This herb is commonly used for dishes such as sauces, dressings, and desserts.

Lettuce Basil

Lettuce basil has a unique appearance with large and wrinkled leaves. This basil strain works best in a variety of salads.

The lettuce basil has a mild flavor. The leaves are large however, the plant is compact. This plant only grows to about a foot in height. This species is slow to flower which means that it lasts longer under direct sunlight before beginning to seed.

This herb makes a great addition to your garden and can even be given as a gift to a gardening lover. You can order your lettuce basil seeds today and enjoy the wonderful process of watching your herb grow.

Green Ruffles

Green ruffles is an intriguing basil plant as it has a unique curved leaf shape that is medium green in colour.

The flavour is mild and delicate, which tastes wonderful in pasta dishes. The ruffled leaves are also a creative and flavourful addition to salads.

The green ruffles basil is larger than the sweet basil as it grows up to 24 inches in height. It has big leaves that are up to four to six inches long and this species can be harvested after 70 days.

Holy Basil

Holy Basil is also known as tulsi (pronounced as tu-la-si) which is commonly used in Indian cuisines such as curries. The holy basil is a sacred plant in Hinduism 

There are a number of medicinal benefits of consuming this herb as well as religious uses for holy basil. Holy basil may be used to treat stomach ailments and promote blood circulation. It is also used to make essential oils and herbal tea.

This species of basil is extremely fragrant and has a spicy and sweet musky scent.

The holy basil has hairy stems with leaves that are green and purple. 

The Holy Basil would be a wonderful addition to your garden and can also be consumed in a variety of ways as it is rich in vitamin C and it acts as a natural immunity booster.

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil is also known as Mexican Basil. This species of basil has dark green leaves with a cinnamon-coloured stem. A must-have ingredient for every spice rack enthusiast.

This herb is spicy and fragrant. The cinnamon basil is another unique plant that stands out in the herb garden with its reddish and purple-colored stems and pink flowers.

The cinnamon basil species requires direct sunlight and well-drained soil. This plant grows best indoors or in containers. This is an easy-to-grow herb and you can get your cinnamon basil seedlings today.

This herb is often used in Asian cuisines. Such as fried rice, noodles, teas, and grilled vegetables.

African Blue Basil

African Blue Basil is a hybrid basil variety that is a mix between camphor basil and dark opal basil. This herb has a strong scent of peppers, cloves, mint, and camphor.

The African blue basil can be propagated only through stem cuttings. 

All parts of this herb are edible from the leaves, stems, and even the flower. They are also great for cuisines such as vegetables, rice, and meat dishes.

This herb grows up to four feet tall and is a beautiful addition to floral arrangements.

Cardinal Basil

The cardinal basil may be one of the most attractive looking among the basil family. 

This herb is easily identified with its elegant and tightly clustered red blooms.

The cardinal basil has an intense spicy scent which makes a great choice for flavouring vinegar and oils.

To plant this herb, start with a packet of cardinal basil seeds. Sprinkle the seeds in your herb garden about six inches apart, then cover with ¼ inches of soil. Pack the soil lightly and keep the soil moist until the seedlings emerge within 7 to 14 days.

Greek Basil

The greek basil is one of the smallest variants of the basil species. This herb has a sweet and aromatic fragrance.

Greek Basil is commonly used to add spice in salads, soups, and meat dishes. A sprig of greek basil can also make an excellent garnish.

This plant is easy to grow in containers and they need direct sunlight to grow well. You can get greek basil seeds to add to your garden today.

Spicy Globe Basil

Spicy globe basil is a dwarf basil variety. This herb has a strong, spicy flavor. 

Spicy globe basil is a wonderful herb to use in soups, salad, and pasta.

This type of basil is a great choice of plant to grow indoors or in containers. Spicy globe basil is a wonderful addition to your herb garden.

Spicy globe basil grows quickly when conditions are right. These plants grow best under direct sunlight and they need adequate water.

Summerlong Basil

The summerlong basil is a perfect container plant as it grows in compact bushes.

This basil species is among the dwarf strains with bright green-colored leaves. This basil plant matures within 30-60 days. 

The taste of summerlong basil is similar to the taste of sweet basil and can be used in pestos, sauces, and marinades.

Dark Opal Basil

Dark Opal Basil is a brightly coloured herb with deep purple leaves. 

This species is often used for its decorative appeal and for its culinary uses.

To grow this species you can propagate from a cutting or begin with dark opal basil seeds. 

Keep the soil consistently moist during germinating, as young plants may damp off and fail. Slowly move the young seedling to a spot in your garden with direct sunlight.

Osmin Purple Basil

Osmin purple basil has smaller darker leaves. It has the darkest leaves among the purple-leaved basil variety. 

The plant averages a height of 20 inches and is grown in sunny or partially sunny environments. 

This basil has a strong clove flavour and is not as sweet as other basil varieties.

Red Rubin Basil

The red Rubin basil is an improved variety of dark opal basil. This basil has unusually reddish-purple leaves.

This basil is aesthetically pleasing in salads and garnishes with its ornamental appeal and intense spicy flavour.

Red Rubin basil performs well in the garden and in patio or balcony containers. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the different types of basil?

  1. Sweet Basil 
  2. Genovese Basil
  3. Napoletano Basil 
  4. Italian Large Leaf Basil
  5. Lettuce Leaf Basil
  6. Dark Opal Basil
  7. Purple Ruffles Basil
  8. Lemon Basil
  9. Lime Basil
  10. Christmas Basil
  11. Holy Basil
  12. Greek Basil
  13. Spicy Globe Basil
  14. Summerlong Basil
  15. Spicy Bush Basil
  16. Cinnamon Basil
  17. Thai Sweet Basil
  18. Green Ruffles
  19. Cardinal Basil
  20. African Blue Basil
  21. Osmin Purple Basil
  22. Red Rubin Basil

What is the most common type of basil?

Sweet Basil is the most common type of basil. These are most commonly found in supermarkets and local grocery stores.

What type of basil is best for cooking?

Here are among the most common types of basil for cooking with:

  1. Sweet Basil
  2. Genovese Basil
  3. Lime Basil
  4. Lemon Basil
  5. Thai Sweet Basil

What is normal basil called?

There is no ‘normal’ basil. However, the most common basil would be Genovese basil which is often referred to as sweet basil.


There are many different types of basil leaves which give gardeners a huge range to explore in their garden. Although there are many types of basil species, each species has its unique qualities, flavours, and ideal conditions for growth. 

Have fun exploring gardening with these various types of basils and experimenting with them when you are cooking!

If you enjoyed this thorough article on the various types of basil available out there, share it with your friends.

Also, you might want to check out some of these related articles to expand your knowledge on plants and gardening:

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