Basil, African Blue

Basil, African Blue – Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum ‘Dark Opal’

Perennial, hardy in zones 5-11

African blue basil is a decorative, edible plant, which, if allowed to bloom, is covered with long flower stems of purple buds that open to lavender flowers. The 1- to 2 1/2-inch long leaves are a slightly grayed green with purple on their undersides. The plant grows 1 1/2 to 2 feet tall when pinched to harvest, but would grow taller unpinched, and is much bushier than regular basil varieties.

African blue basil is an accidental hybrid between an East African basil and a garden variety basil called ‘Dark Opal.’ The African parent is a perennial shrub from forests of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, valued for its camphor scent. African blue basil was first seen in 1983 when Peter Borchard, owner of Companion Plants in Athens, Ohio, noticed it growing in the path between beds of the two presumed parents. The green-leaved East African basil parent grows to 6 feet tall in his garden. ‘Dark Opal’ is a small plant with deep purple leaves and a typical Italian basil flavor. Borchard dug the hybrid and brought it into the greenhouse, hoping to save seed, but the cross between the two species seems to be too far a stretch, because no seed formed. Borchard grew more plants from cuttings, and by cuttings has African blue basil entered the herb market.

Care for your African blue basil is the same as for any Basil, except you don’t have to clip off the flowers. Use is the same as for any Basil, although you may find the flavor somewhat milder than typical sweet basil.

Grow it as a stand-alone small shrub, grow it in the flower border or in the garden. African Blue Basil looks as good as it tastes!

Our African Blue Basil is growing in 4″ pots, with good root systems. We ship all plants bare-root, at the proper planting time in your growing zone.

Buy African Blue Basil HERE!