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Cardinal Basil

Ocimum basilicum 'Cardinal'

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Cardinal Basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Cardinal') at Hillermann Nursery

Cardinal Basil flowers

Cardinal Basil flowers

(Photo courtesy of NetPS Plant Finder)

Height:  30 inches

Spacing:  10 inches

Sunlight:  full sun 

Hardiness Zone:  (annual)

Description:

An ornamental herb producing flower spikes adorned with dark red flowers in mid summer; flavorful light green leaves; great for mixed containers, herb gardens, and annual beds

Edible Qualities

Cardinal Basil is an annual herb that is typically grown for its edible qualities, although it does have ornamental merits as well. The fragrant oval light green leaves are usually harvested from early summer to early fall. The leaves have a delicious taste and a pleasant fragrance.

The leaves are most often used in the following ways:

  • Fresh Eating
  • Cooking
  • Seasoning

Planting & Growing

Cardinal Basil will grow to be about 30 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 14 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 10 inches apart. This fast-growing annual will normally live for one full growing season, needing replacement the following year.

This plant is quite ornamental as well as edible, and is as much at home in a landscape or flower garden as it is in a designated edibles garden. It should only be grown in full sunlight. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn't be allowed to dry out. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is somewhat tolerant of urban pollution. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America. It can be propagated by cuttings; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

Cardinal Basil is a good choice for the edible garden, but it is also well-suited for use in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a 'thriller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 
 
Hardiness Zone Plant Height Minimum Sunlight
Characteristics
Massing  Edging  Garden  Herb  Container 
Applications
Flowers  Foliage Color  Bark  Attracts Wildlife 
Ornamental Features