Name: African Basil
Scientific Name: Ocimum Americanum
Not to be confused with African Blue Basil which can only be propogated by cutting, this African heirloom has been used for centuries as a culinary herb and to make a cooling drink using the fermented seeds. It is known for its inviting strong scent due to the high content of the citral, camphor and methyl cinnamate essential oils. With flavors that are lemony, rosemary like and spicy. It thrives in the heat and drought where other basils suffer and blooms spring through fall masses of white flower spikes that your native pollinators won’t be able to get enough of. Be wary as it self-sows readily so it can be a bit of a nuisance. It is invasive if not kept under control.
Recommended Uses: Culinary, tea, leaves applied to skin conditions. African Basil is a carminative, diaphoretic and stimulant. Burned for mosquito repellant. Makes useful essential oil.
Height: 1/2-2’ tall and 1-4’ wide
Hardiness: zones: warm season annual can be perennial in tropical zones
Flower Color: white
Maturity (if Applicable): flowers at 3 months, harvest seeds at 4-5 months
Other Names: hoary basil, american basil
Start indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. Star indoors in soilless medium in 2” cells. Barely cover seeds, tamp down and keep moist until germination in 1-2 weeks. Light aids germination. Bump up to 4” pot when two sets of true leaves are present. Harden off and transplant to full sun, rich, well draining location after last danger of frost has passed. Keep moist until established. Drought tolerant