Purple Basil vs Green Basil

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Last Updated on October 30, 2022

We have the green basil and there is also the purple basil. But what’s the difference between purple basil vs green basil? Let’s look into this.

Basil plant comes in different varieties and it is an herb that is loved by many growers. It is easy to grow this herb and you will enjoy different benefits from growing this herb.

The nutritious basil herb serves as vitamin seasoning for different dishes. Basil also offers healing properties in many ways.

This article will be focusing on the differences between purple basil vs green basil. So, continue reading to gain some knowledge on these two basil varieties.

What Is Purple Basil?

Most basil we know of is green. But we also have purple basil type. Purple basil is an unusual and attractive type of basil and they are a cultivar of sweet basil. It has this lovely coppery glow. Hence, purple basil can serve as an excellent ornament.

The leaves of the purple basil variety are dark purple. This purple basil is quite attractive and it has won many awards because of its beauty, flavor, and ease of cultivating.

What Is Purple Basil

They can make a wonderful and delightful statement in your garden and they will offer great nutritional advantages. Its lovely color can also be used to decorate various dishes. The highly aromatic purple basil is a delightful and essential spice in Asian and Caucasian cuisine.

Purple basil can be grown successfully in both indoor and outdoor gardens.

Green Basil’s Plant

Almost all basil plant tends to be green. Some of the green basil we have include holy basil, Thai basil, lemon basil, Genovese basil, cinnamon basil, and many more.

They are all flavorful leafy green herb that is in the mint family and originates from Asia and Africa.

The various types of green basil are popularly used in food seasoning. They are highly aromatic and can as well be used in teas or drinks.

They can be used in many ways such as toppings as a whole leave on pizza, blended into the sauce, add to the salad by chopping, puree into soups, and so on.

Purple Basil vs Green Basil

These two basil are great basil varieties. Both varieties are amazing on their own. But what we would like to know is the difference between them. So here they are:

  • Color: The most obvious difference between purple basil vs green basil is their color. Purple basil has this dark purple color. Then green basil on the other hand looks green.

  • Taste: Green basil offers a mild flavor and it can be found in European dishes. This green basil plant has been used to make many desserts. The purple basil on the other hand has this rich spicy taste. Purple basil is suitable for Asian cuisines and Caucasians where the sharpness of the basil flavor is preferred.

Purple Basil vs Green
  • Aroma: the aroma of the green basil is quite delicate. Particularly the lemon variety is known for its pleasing aroma and because of this; it is used in different refreshing drinks. On the other hand, purple is characterized by its pungent aroma. Hence, finding it in the market is an easy thing based on the fragrance it offers.

Is Purple Basil Edible?

Just like every other basil plant, purple basil is also an edible plant. You can make use of the purple basil for pesto or as a garnish. Purple basil also pairs well with many dishes such as pasta, fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, eggplant, and so on.

Purple basil is both an ornamental and edible plant.

What Does The Purple Basil Taste Like?

The taste of purple basil is clove-like with a bit of spicy flavor. However, the taste of purple basil isn’t as great tasting compared to some basil varieties.

Does Purple Basil Taste The Same As Green?

Purple basil is not like the regular green basil. Therefore, it doesn’t taste the same way green basil does. Purple basil is not as sweet compared to other basil varieties. The taste of purple basil is like a strong clove flavor.

Sow Right Seeds – Basil Seed Collection to Plant – Genovese Sweet Basil, Thai Basil, Opal Basil

Why Is Purple Basil Not Purple: Purple Basil Turning Green

You may experience the intense and beautiful color of purple basil fading. So when you experience your purple basil turning green and you begin to wonder why this happens. There are 3 possible reasons for this occurrence and they include:

  • Fading Of Purple Pigment

Your purple basil may change to green due to the absence of the pigment responsible (anthocyanin) for that intense purple color.

The level of the anthocyanin pigment can change due to the absence of light. You can help your purple basil by moving it to a spot that can receive more sunlight. Or you can up the hours your plant spends on growing light. Or you can simply add another light source.

You may notice during seasonal change that your basil herb is losing its purple color during fall or winter.

  • Basil Variety Selected

The basil variety you selected may probably be a green and purple variety. So, when you wish to grow purple basil specifically, ensure you select only the purple basil variety.

  • Genetic Problems

Then lastly, your purple basil may turn green simply because of genetic problems. Purdue University did their study and found out that the gene responsible for the purple coloration is unstable.

Why Is Purple Basil Not Purple: Purple Basil Turning Green

Can Purple Basil’s Color Tone Be Maintained?

You can actually maintain the purple color of basil with adequate care. However, this is possible only when it comes to light situation control. When it comes to pigment inheritance or color hybrid, there is really not much that can be done.

Simple things such as changing the spot of your plant to a more sunny location can do the trick. Also, you can change the intensity of your grow light or increase the light hours.


Does purple basil taste the same as green?

Yes, it is similar to green basil. Purple basil is actually a hybrid of two other types of basil, and it is very easy to grow.

The flowers are pink-purple, but the leaves turn bright purple when they're mature. Purple basil is delicious in any dish that calls for green or regular basil, but it adds a unique depth of flavor.

Purple basil has a stronger flavor and a different appearance than regular basil. You can usually tell when you open the package by looking at the leaves. Purple basil will look like they have been dyed purple and the stems will be dark green.

Is purple a different species?

Purple basil is simply a variety of basil, with the name referring to its color. It is not an entirely different species. It has been cultivated and bred for its specific qualities, but it's still just basil.

Can I substitute purple basil for green basil?

Purple basil is a variety of basil, but it has a much more intense flavor and aroma than green basil. It is the same species as Thai basil, so you can use it interchangeably with green basil.

Why is my basil purple?

It could be that the basil was planted in some sort of potting soil which has been amended with fertilizer, which is known to make plants grow fast and large.

It could be that the basil was planted in a greenhouse with other plants, which might be causing a competition for water.

It could also be that the basil was growing in a greenhouse which had been recently cleaned with bleach.

It could also be that the basil was growing in a greenhouse where the light was too intense (the leaves may have turned purple because they were getting too much light).

Which basil is best for cooking?

Thai basil. It's a large plant, and so much prettier than the little regular basil. The leaves are smaller and have a sweeter flavor, and they stay fresher longer. If you're going to grow it in a pot, make sure you don't overwater it. Basil likes to dry out.

Can you buy purple basil at the store?

Yes, they can be found at grocery stores, as well as specialty markets. They are also commonly sold in plastic bags in the produce section of grocery stores. Purple basil has a distinct flavor that is more similar to oregano than regular basil. It is best to wash and dry them thoroughly before using them, so that they don't get moldy.

Final Say

So, we have seen how purple basil vs green basil differs from each other. These two purple varieties are wonderful herbs on their own, but there are some slight differences between them and we have discussed them in this post.

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