One of the most popular herbs is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Often called the ‘king of herbs,’ basil can be grown indoors or out. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste. Sweet basil makes a handsome, bushy small plant, growing to a foot or more indoors. A purple-leafed variety, ‘Dark Opal’ is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. Do not let basil bloom, or it will go to seed. Instead, pinch out the plant tops and they will grow into compact little bushes.
Basil is an annual and grows 12 – 24 inches (30 – 60 cm) as the height varies according to the variety. Cultivation requirements for growing basil: full sun; light, well-drained, nutrient rich, slightly acidic soil; frequent watering (don’t waterlog); will not tolerate cold; pinch off flower stalks for a longer season of leaf production.