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Is Sweet Basil Same as Basil? (What’s The Difference?)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 04:21 pm

Often you may have thought deeply about the basil plant and probably have wondered what exactly someone is talking about when you hear them call the name basil.

You are not sure what they mean, especially when what you hear them call is “sweet basil.”  As a result, your wondering may have caused you to ask about their differences. So what’s the truth?

Is sweet basil same as basil? Sweet basil is not precisely the same as basil. Instead, it is a variety of basil. However, this is quite controversial as many people will argue that they are the same. But sweet basil is just the most famous variety of basil and can sometimes be used interchangeably with basil.

What’s the Difference Between Basil and Sweet Basil?

Sweet basil is a variety of basil with a lovely aroma and is richly flavored. The two aren’t precisely the same thing as there are many other types of basil out there, and sweet basil is just one.

However, its fame and wide usage make it acceptable to refer to sweet basil as just basil. Well, as long as your listener or audience gets the message.

Are There Other Types of Basil?

Basil is a general name for the plants found under the genus basil. Therefore, there are many types of basils.

There exist many other varieties of basil apart from sweet basil; up to 50 to 150 species exist. That said, some of them include:

1. Lettuce leaf basil:

Characterized by extensive leaves that can be used in salads, its leaves are about 13cm long enough to stand closely with other plants.

They can grow 41cm to 62cm tall. In addition, they look more like lettuce leaves with a mild basil flavor. The lettuce leaf basil has repellant abilities, especially to insects.

Another attractive characteristic of this variety is its slow ability to bolt.

2. Mammoth basil:

It has a delightful flavor, even more than sweet basil. It grows to about 18 inches tall and has purple ruffles with jagged edges. The mammoth basil also has a stronger flavor than sweet basil.

3. Fino Verde basil:

It is almost similar to spicy globe basil. They are characterized by long narrow leaves and grow mainly as a tiny dense bush with small leaves, making it very easy and suitable for cooking as it forms twigs in the process.

The leaves of this variety of basil are also spicier than most others.

3. Boxwood basil:

This refers to a variety of basil with a boxwood shape. Its main aim of cultivation is for ornamental purposes.

They grow to about 20 to 36cm and have an exquisite fragrance. Its benefits are in all body areas, ranging from the cardiovascular system to even the skin.

4. Purple ruffles basil:

This basil variety has won many awards for its beauty, flavor, and straightforward cultivation process. It has ruffles and decorated serrated leaf margins.

5. Magical Michael basil:

This variety is a cultivar of sweet basil and has a similar taste.

They grow 15inches tall and have leaves that are 16 to 17 inches broad. The magical Michael basil is the only variety of basil with a uniform height and width of leaves.

The flowers have purple calyxes and white corollas.

6. Osmin purple basil:

This type of basil is distinguished by its small and dark purple-colored leaves. Its leaves are darkest compared to other basil plants and have an average height of 51cm, basically like a flower.

7. Thai basil:

The Thai basil has small narrow leaves with purple stems and pink-purple flowers and is native to southeastern Asia.

In addition, it takes very high temperatures before it cooks and has an anise-licorice taste with a spicy flavor.

8. Cuban basil:

It tastes similar to sweet basil except for the spicy kick difference in the taste.

Cuban basils have heart-shaped leaves, and they hardly form flowers. However, when they eventually do, the flowers are white.

This variety originates from Cuba and loves full sun during its growth period. Notwithstanding, they can be grown in pots and containers too.

9. Cinnamon basil:

Also called Mexican basil, it contains cinnamate and has cinnamon roots.

It grows when within a temperature range of 27°c to 32°c. Also, it is called cinnamon basil because of its taste.

10. White basil:

This variety is small to medium-sized, characterized by ovate-shaped leaves with jagged edges.

It grows 5-8 cm when matured, developing lavender spikes and white flowers during its maturity period. White basils help with inflammation and antibacterial.

11. Christmas basil:

Characterized by dark pointed green leaves, a deep burgundy flower stem that bears very soft pink and white flowers in Summer.

The Christmas basil is known for its fruity flavor in foods, salad, and drinks. However, it is essential for the body as it provides a wealth of nutrients to the body.

In addition, it is good to know that Christmas basil is grown as a crossbreed of Thai basil and Genovese basil.

12. Dark opal basil:

Otherwise called mottled leaves, this variety is grown mainly to improve the taste as it has a licorice taste.

The dark opal is essential in making repellants. It also helps in improving digestive functions as well as helping out with cramps and acne.

13. Mrs. Burns lemon basil:

This variety of basil has a strong lemon flavor and taste. It is more robust, and the lemon fragrance is very intense, as compared to other types.

Holy basil: This species of basil help in the general well-being of the body. It contains vital nutrients such as,

  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Chlorophyll
  • Vitamin A and C

Holy basil is known as an Adaptogen(a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress.) Thus, it helps one cope with stress and anxiety disorders.

In addition, it is known as an antidepressant because when taken, it relaxes the whole body and makes one focused and concentrates throughout the day.

Holy basil also helps in the essential processes of homeostasis. That said, other uses of holy basil are:

  • It helps with nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • Its oil acts as an ointment that helps for clearing up eczema on the body.
  • It helps in cleaning up the stomach after the consumption of a large amount of alcohol.
  • Holy basil oil is also used for eye disease.

What Basil do I Grow?

Looking at the different varieties of basil, for easy growth and taste, sweet basil is the best variety to grow.

It germinates within 3 to 10 days, and after maturity, it takes about 3 to 4 weeks to be due for harvest. Another interesting fact is its ability to grow on any soil.

Furthermore, the benefits of this basil plant are that it helps with anxiety and depression and helps in inflammation.


It is good to have a vast knowledge of basil plants before engaging in their cultivation. Therefore, we have discussed crucial facts about the varieties of basil and the best type required for you.

Apart from the health benefits basil offers, you now understand that you can use basil to beautify the environment.

Also, almost all the species or varieties of basil are formed from sweet basil, so their taste isn’t significantly different.


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