17 Basil Varieties

Every summer garden should have at least one basil. These 17 are the best varieties we've found for pesto-making, container gardens, even for repelling mosquitoes!

By Ann McCormick

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red rubin basilAfrican Blue
O.basilicum 'Dark Opal' x O. kilimandscharicum
36-48"
Egg shaped with blue-purple veins underneath, lavender flowers on 6" spikes
Sweet with camphor notes Hybrid basil, are at home in scented mixes and floral arrangements than in foods

Ararat
O. basilicum 'Ararat'
18"
Leaves streaked with purple, pink flowers
Sweet with taste of licorice
Heirloom variety, useful in the kitchen and in flower arrangements

Aroma 1, Aroma 2,
F1 hybrids
24"
Glossy, dark green leaves, classic aroma
Classic basil flavor Genovese type basil bred to be
Fusarium wilt resistant.


Aussie Sweet, Greek Columnar
O. basilicum 'Lesbos'
24-36"
Light green leaves, little or no flowers.
Basil flavor with mint overtones
Grows more in a tall, columnar shape than a rounded bush

Dark Opal
O. basilicum x O. forskolei
20"
Deep purple leaves, flowers from white to deep fuchsia Varied flavor
Genetically unstable when grown from seed, plants highly variable

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