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African Blue Basil

Ocimum ‘African Blue’

                        H 3 – 4’                       S  2 – 3’                         

Ocimum 'Dark Opal' x O. kilimandscharicum hybridized to form Ocimum 'African Blue,' an annual that Peter Borchard, owner of Companion Plants in Ohio, found growing in a seed bed adjoining his dark opal and camphor basil beds in 1982. It seems to be a cross between these two basils. The whole plant has a warm, sweet, camphor scent. It is a large, bushy, energetic plant that will grow to 3' and as wide as it is tall in a season, a stunning ornamental. New leaves are heavily brushed with purple, which fades in time to a deep bright green with purple veining. The undersides are a reddish purple. Stems are slightly hairy and suffused with violet. It produces purple blushed flower spikes. Its continuous growth and flower production creates an aura of unguarded splendor in the garden. It makes an eye-catching display next to my red orach.

Harvest and Use: African Blue is a favorite for flower arrangements as the blooms last 3 to 4 weeks, if water is changed regularly. Why not plant this one just for display and arrangements and save the better tasting basils for culinary purposes?

Cultivation: As it is a hybrid, it cannot be grown from seed, but that is no matter, as stem cuttings root out readily when placed in water and grow easily.

Pests: see Genovese Basil.