How Tall Does Basil Grow? Basil Height & Width Explained

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how tall does basil grow?

If you are wondering how tall basil plants grow, you are in the right gardening section. 

 Are you concerned your basil plant is too tall or too short? Keep reading as we have answers for those questions too. 

How Tall Does Basil Grow?

tall basil plant

Broadleaf Basil plants grow as tall as 24-inches or two feet in height; Dwarf basil may grow only to six inches tall. Regardless of which variety you grow, the total height of basil depends on:

  • The type of basil you grow – broadleaf or narrow leaf (dwarf)
  • The growing conditions of the plant – total hours of sunlight, soil health, soil moisture, etc.
  • Whether it is growing in a container or the ground. 

It is not unexpected to have a mature broadleaf basil plant that range in height from 18 inches to two feet. However, if you grow dwarf variety, they tend to grow to about six inches tall. On occasion, the dwarf basil plants may reach one foot in height. 

Broadleaf basil plants 

Ocimum basilicumor sweet Italian large leaf basil, is an excellent example of a broadleaf basil plant. It is also available in a purple form, which is sweet and makes a lovely and bold color addition to meals. 

Ocimum basilicum ‘Purpurascens – Dark Opal Basil – is simply the purple form of sweet basil. 

These two types of basil are the most commonly planted basil types. 

 Narrow Leaf or dwarf basil plants

Ocimum minimum or bush basil is an excellent example of what a dwarf basil plant is. Dwarf basil tend to grow in the six to eight inch tall range. 

Hybrid Basil Plants

Ocimum kilimandscharicum × basilicum ‘Dark Opal – Blue African Basil, which is a hybrid that can be tall or dwarf. Generally it has narrow leaves that are very potent. 

NOTE: It is essential to understand that narrow-leaf basil, which is often a dwarf variety, generally has very potent leaves compared to broadleaf basil plants. Most recipes refer to broadleaf basil, and you will need to adjust the amount of dwarf basil leaves in your recipe. 

How Wide Does Basil Grow?

basil plant branching out

Broadleaf basil plants can reach two feet in height and spread to 18 inches wide. A dwarf variety of basil may grow six inches tall and about six inches wide. 

Pinching back the plant also means that you will gain a more significant yield each time you prune the plant as the plant matures. If you pinch back the plant regularly, it will force the growth hormones in the plant to produce lateral (side) branches. That process is an excellent way to increase the number of leaves that the plant produces. 

Check out the video below to learn how to pinch basil properly:

Why is my basil growing so tall?

There are three reasons why a basil plant may grow taller than expected. Those reasons are:

  1. Not Enough Sunlight – will cause basil plants to grow thinly and leggy (tall.) Basil plants need 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. 
  2. Not Enough Pruning – can cause basil plants to grow tall and remain tall. As gardeners, we have the final say in how tall a basil plant will grow. It is beneficial to prune basil plants. If you want to get the most basil from a basil plant, regular pruning will help. 
  3. Too Much Fertilizer – will cause the plant to grow faster and bloom quicker. Both conditions decrease the flavor of basil leaves. Indoor plants should be fertilized monthly with a 10-10-10 fertilizer, and the amount is according to the package instructions based on the size of the pot. 

By ensuring basil plants have an optimum growing environment, you will enjoy a lovely basil harvest throughout the growing season. By keeping your basil plants pruned, the plants will be encouraged to produce more leaves. Making sure that your basil plants have plenty of sunshine and just the right amount of fertilizer means the flavor in the leaves will remain excellent. 

What is the average height of a basil plant?

dwarf basil plants

You can expect a broadleaf variety of basil to grow anywhere from one- to two feet in height. Shorter plants likely need more sunlight, water, or a larger container. 

For Dwarf varieties of basil, six inches in height is standard, with a few overachievers hitting the 8-12 inch height range. 

While the height of basil plants is essential, keep in mind that they can grow quite broad. 

In closing, there are two types of basil – dwarf varieties and broadleaf varieties. Dwarf basil plants generally have small, narrow leaves, whereas broadleaf basil plants have large and long leaves. 

Expect a broadleaf basil plant such as Ocimum basilicum to grow to two feet in height and a dwarf variety such as Ocimum minimum to grow to a maximum height of six inches.