Christmas Basil Plant Profile

Christmas Basil

Annual / Perennial [1]
Genus: Ocimum Species: basilicum
Variety: Christmas
Open Pollinated / Hybrid / Determinate
Full Sun
Soil pH 5.5 to 6.5
Hardiness zones 3 to 9 as Annual 10+ as a perennial
Days to Germination: 6 to 10 days [2]
Days to Maturity: 55 to 65 days [2]
Foliage Color: Glossy Green
Bloom Color: Reddish Purple
Plant Height: Avg. 16 to 20 inches
Most Cold Hardy of all Basil

A delightful hybrid basil variety created by cross-breeding Thai and Genovese. It has a fruity flavor, some say like wine coupled with a hint of pine. It is long lasting and will survive till seasons end, Christmas in some regions.

Despite its stark differences with medditerranean style basil, it does actually work well in Pesto and sauces as well as salads and herbal dishes. Its visually appealing red purple flowers makes this basil an ornamental treasure as well as culinary asset.


1. Basil can be grown as a perennial only in USDA hardiness zones 10 and higher, Elsewhere, it is a tender annual that will die off with the first cool weather if not transported indoors.
2. Some variation among specific cultivars. Maturity refers to full maturity, Basil leaves can be harvested from young plants.

Basic Care of Basil

Water – Basil requires ample and persistent water. Mulch to retain moisture in warm weather is advisable.

Delicate flowers on Basil are attractive however they are a sign your plant is going to seed and production will decline at this point. If you are not looking to harvest seeds, you should pinch off any flower stems as they appear.

Temperature – Basil thrives in warm temperatures and heat. It will turn black and die off in temperatures approaching the mid 30s F. Temperatures should be at the very least in the 70s around the clock.

Optimal Growth Temperature 65 to 85°F
Germination Temperature 70 to 75°F
Pests and Disease


Basil has some enemies, Beetles, particularly Japanese Beetles, love Basil as much as people do and have been known to completely skeletonize whole plants. Aphids are also a problem at times. Most varieties are also subject to various plant diseases such as black spot, gray mold and fusarium wilt.