African Blue Basil Ocimum 'African Blue'

👤 Non-toxic to humans
🐾 Non-toxic to pets
🌸 Blooming
🍪 Edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
African blue basil


The African Blue basil is a perennial herb with a striking appearance, known for its vibrant and lush foliage intermingled with floral hues. The leaves of this plant are green but come with a purplish tinge on the undersides and sometimes on the edges, giving it an ornamental contrast that is both eye-catching and unique. It's the interplay of purple and green that really sets this basil apart, often reflecting a gradient of colors that enhance its decorative appeal. Tiny veins may appear more pronounced on the purple sections, adding to the textured look of the leaves. The plant also features flowers; these blossoms are a shade of lavender-pink, adding a spritz of color that stands out against the green and purple leaves. The flowers are arranged in spikes, which emerge from the central stem, lending a vertical aspect to the plant's shape. This contrast of colors not only caters to the aesthetic sense but also attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies, which find the flowers irresistible. African Blue basil leaves are slightly serrated on the edges, with a soft and somewhat delicate touch. However, despite the delicate look, the plant itself is robust and hearty, with stems that are slightly woody at the base, reflecting the plant's perennial nature. These stems contribute to the sturdy structure of the plant and are characterized by their square shape, which is typical of basils. The fragrance of this basil is an aromatic blend of traditional basil scent with a hint of mint and other herbaceous notes making it a delight in the garden.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      African Blue Basil

    • Common names

      Ocimum 'African Blue'

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      The African Blue Basil is generally not considered toxic to humans. As a variant of basil, it is often used in cooking and has no known toxic effects when consumed in normal food quantities. However, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or gastrointestinal discomfort if they have a sensitivity to herbs in the Lamiaceae family. Ingesting large amounts of the plant is not common and generally not recommended, as it could potentially cause digestive issues due to the high concentration of essential oils, but there is no well-documented evidence of severe toxicity from consumption of African Blue Basil.

    • To pets

      The African Blue Basil is not typically toxic to pets. Being a type of basil, it is considered non-toxic to dogs, cats, and horses by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Although it is not poisonous, pets may have an adverse reaction if they consume large amounts of the plant, possibly resulting in mild gastrointestinal upset. Some pets can also be sensitive or allergic to plants in the Lamiaceae family, so monitoring your pet for signs of distress after ingestion, such as vomiting or diarrhea, would be prudent. However, such reactions are uncommon, and the plant is generally regarded as safe for pets in small amounts.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

    • Spread

      1-2 feet (30-60 cm)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Aesthetic Appeal: 'African Blue' basil plants have beautiful purple and green foliage that can add color and texture to gardens and indoor spaces.
    • Culinary Uses: The leaves of 'African Blue' basil are edible and can be used in a variety of dishes, adding a unique flavor profile to culinary creations.
    • Pollinator Attraction: This variety of basil is known to attract bees and other beneficial pollinators to the garden, enhancing plant biodiversity and health.
    • Easy to Grow: 'African Blue' basil is considered easy to cultivate, making it a good choice for novice gardeners and those with limited gardening experience.
    • Continuous Harvest: The plant produces leaves throughout the growing season, allowing for a continuous harvest of fresh basil leaves.
    • Aromatherapy: The aromatic leaves of the 'African Blue' basil can be used for their pleasing scent, which can create a relaxing atmosphere in the home or garden.
    • Cooking Enhanced: Fresh 'African Blue' basil can enhance the flavor of pestos, salads, and other dishes, elevating everyday cooking.
    • Versatile Planting: The plant can be grown both in-ground and in containers, making it suitable for various garden settings and living spaces.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Antioxidant: Contains compounds that can neutralize free radicals, potentially preventing oxidative stress and related diseases.
    • Antimicrobial: Exhibits properties that can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
    • Anti-inflammatory: May help reduce inflammation and associated pain in various conditions.
    • Analgesic: Can be used to alleviate pain, such as headaches or joint pain.
    • Antipyretic: May help in reducing fever and aid in the management of flu-like symptoms.
    • Stress Relief: Used in aromatherapy, it may have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety.
    • Digestive Aid: Often used as a home remedy to soothe stomachaches and aid digestion.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Aromatic oil extraction: 'African Blue' basil leaves can be steam-distilled to extract essential oils used in perfumery and aromatherapy.
    • Natural pest repellent: The strong scent of 'African Blue' basil works as a deterrent to common garden pests when planted around the perimeter of vegetable gardens.
    • Companion planting: This plant is often grown alongside tomatoes and peppers as it is believed to enhance their flavor and growth.
    • Dye production: 'African Blue' basil can be used in the natural dyeing process, providing varying shades of green and yellow depending on the mordant used.
    • Culinary decoration: The purple-veined leaves of 'African Blue' basil add a decorative touch when used as a garnish on dishes.
    • Flavoring agent: While not unusual in culinary contexts, the leaves can be used to infuse vinegars and oils with a distinctive, herbal flavor.
    • Botanical illustration: Due to its beautiful foliage, 'African Blue' basil is a popular subject for botanical artists and illustrators.
    • Religious ceremonies: In some cultures, basil is used for its spiritual significance in various religious rituals and ceremonies.
    • Education: 'African Blue' basil is sometimes used in schools for educational projects about plant propagation and hybrid plants.
    • Bath product ingredient: The essential oil and the aromatic quality of 'African Blue' basil leaves can be used in homemade bath bombs, salts, and soaps.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The African Blue Basil is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The African Blue Basil is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Healing: African Blue Basil is often associated with healing due to its medicinal properties, which include providing relief from inflammation, respiratory issues, and stress.
    • Protection: In various cultures, basil is used in rituals to protect the home and individuals from negative energies and spirits, making African Blue Basil a symbol of safeguarding.
    • Love: Basil in general is considered a love herb in some folklore, with African Blue Basil sometimes included in love charms and spells to attract romance or ensure a happy relationship.
    • Prosperity: This plant is linked to wealth and success in some belief systems, where it is thought to attract financial prosperity and good fortune.
    • Purity: Due to its clean, strong scent and its use in purifying sacred spaces, African Blue Basil can represent purity and the cleansing of one's soul or environment.

Every 1-2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring-Early Summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    The African Blue Basil needs consistent moisture but does not like to sit in waterlogged soil. Therefore, it's important to water this plant when the top inch of the soil feels dry to the touch. An ideal watering schedule would be approximately once a week with about one to two gallons of water, depending on the size of the plant and environmental conditions. During hot or windy weather, the plant might require more frequent watering. It is best to water this basil early in the morning, at the base of the plant, to ensure the foliage does not remain wet overnight, which can promote disease.

  • sunLight

    African Blue Basil thrives in full sun, which means it should receive at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day. The best spot for this plant is an area with ample morning sunlight and some afternoon shade in hot climates to prevent scorching. Placing African Blue Basil in a south-facing garden or window where it will receive plenty of light is ideal for vigorous growth.

  • thermometerTemperature

    African Blue Basil prefers warm temperatures and will thrive best when maintained between 50°F and 80°F. It's important to protect the plant from temperatures that drop below 50°F, as it is not frost hardy. Ideally, keep the African Blue Basil in an area where the nighttime temperatures do not fall below the 50°F mark to ensure it continues to grow and produce.

  • scissorsPruning

    Pruning African Blue Basil promotes bushier growth and prevents it from getting leggy. It is advisable to pinch off the growing tips and flower buds to encourage the plant to branch out and to focus its energy on growing leaves rather than flowers. Prune or harvest the leaves regularly, especially in the early morning when the essential oils are strongest. The best time for heavy pruning is in the spring or early summer when the plant is in its active growing phase.

  • broomCleaning

    As needed

  • bambooSoil

    African Blue basil thrives in well-draining, fertile soil with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5. A mix of two parts potting soil, one part perlite or coarse sand, and a generous amount of compost is ideal. Regularly adding organic matter can enhance soil fertility and structure.

  • plantRepotting

    African Blue basil should be repotted every 1-2 years or when the plant seems root-bound. Spring is the best time for repotting, just before the growing season begins, to provide fresh nutrients and room for growth.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    African Blue basil prefers moderate to high humidity levels, ideally between 40-60%. If the air is too dry, the leaves may wilt or develop brown edges, so maintaining proper humidity is important for its health.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Place in bright, indirect light and keep soil moist.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun, use well-draining soil, water regularly.

    • Hardiness zone

      9-11 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    The life cycle of the African Blue Basil (Ocimum 'African Blue') begins with seed germination, which is triggered by warm temperatures and moist conditions. Once the seeds sprout, the young seedlings establish themselves with a set of true leaves, after which they transition into a phase of vigorous vegetative growth, developing stems and more complex leaf structures. During the vegetative stage, African Blue Basil can be propagated through cuttings, which root easily and create genetic clones of the parent plant. As it matures, the plant enters the flowering stage, producing tall spikes of small, attractive purple flowers that are highly attractive to pollinators. After pollination, the flowers set seeds that will mature, dry, and eventually disperse to begin a new cycle. While African Blue Basil is a perennial plant in warm climates, it is often treated as an annual in temperate regions, as it does not tolerate frost.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring-Early Summer

    • The most popular method of propagating the African Blue Basil is by taking stem cuttings. This is ideally done in the warmer months of spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing. To propagate, you would cut a 4 to 6-inch (10-15 cm) long stem from a healthy parent plant, making sure the cutting includes at least a couple of leaf nodes. Strip off the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, and then place the stem in a glass of water or moist soil. Roots should begin to develop within a week or two. Once the roots are a few inches long, the cutting can be transplanted into a pot or the ground. This method is effective because it maintains the genetic consistency of the plant, ensuring that the new plants are true to the parent's characteristics.