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OCIMUM x citriodorum

Image of Ocimum x citriodorum

Jesse Saylor

Family

Lamiaceae

Botanical Name

OCIMUM x citriodorum

Plant Common Name

Lemon Basil

General Description

Lemon basil is a natural hybrid, which is a cross between sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) and hoary basil (Ocimum canum). The foliage of this warm season annual herb, or tender evergreen perennial, has a strong lemony basil fragrance and flavor. It is great for flavoring poultry, salad dressings and fish.

The moderately-sized plants have slightly hairy stems and smooth, oval leaves that are green to gray-green. Spikes of white, two-lipped flowers appear as summer temperatures heat up. These are attractive to bees and butterflies. After flowering, plants put fewer resources towards foliage production and more towards flowers and seeds. This results in smaller, stronger, more acrid tasting leaves. So, it is best to pick off buds as they appear to keep plants from blooming.

Satisfyingly easy to grow, basil requires full sun and fertile to average, well-drained soil. Grow it as a spring and summer annual in cooler zones and a year-round perennial in warmer locations. Water regularly for good growth and harvest the leaves often to encourage the continued growth of tender shoots and leaves. Lemon basil is a fragrant choice for kitchen gardens, containers and flower borders. It is also the perfect companion plant for tomatoes, so plant a few at the base of their cages or trellises.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    9 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Herb

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Width

    12"-18" / 30.5cm - 45.7cm

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Hybrid Origin

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Clump-Forming

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Mixed Border

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes