Basil is a popular herb that many gardeners, as well as beginners, choose to grow in their garden. Basil is also an ideal choice for getting fresh basil from indoor gardening. However, you may be concerned with the height of the basil plant. What if it grows too tall!

So how tall does basil grow?

Basil usually grows around 12 to 20 inches tall. Some varieties can even grow up to 16 to 24 inches or more than that. There are two types of basil. One is purple leaf basil that usually grows 20 inches in length and another one is dwarf leaf basil that usually grows 12 inches tall.

Well, so now you may have nothing to worry about the height of the basil plant. You can grow both varieties as per your space and wish. Let’s dig deeper and know more about these basil varieties. 

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Short-sized basil that you can grow indoors

There are many varieties of this annual herb. Some varieties are short, some are tall. However, it is convenient to choose a short size for the little space inside your house. 

So, let’s know more about the short-sized basils that you can grow indoors. 

Basil plants for smaller indoor space

There are so many people who only grow some herbs in the kitchen near a sunny window or in a hanging pot. Those who don’t have enough space to grow medium size plants can easily grow the short basil in containers. Here I am attaching a chart of basils that grows between 8 and 16 inches only.

Range of the Height

Varieties name

8 to 10 inches

Greek basil, Pistou basil, Spicy Globe Basil, Summerlong

8 to 12 inches

Minette Dwarf Basil, Spicy Bush basil, Boxwood basil

12 to 16 inches

Thai basil, Holy basil, Mammoth

So, these are the varieties of basil that you can grow without having large spaces. Let’s know more about these varieties.

Greek basil: This basil is also known as Dwarf Greek basil. Greek basil plant has tiny leaves and white flowers. The round shape of the greek basil plant makes it suitable for small container gardens. It has a strong spicy flavor. This small plant can grow up to 8 to 10 inches tall only.

Spicy Globe basil: This small variety of variety can grow up to 8 to 10 inches and so it can be a suitable one for your mini garden. The leaves have a mild taste and you can add them easily to your soup or pasta.

Minette Dwarf basil: This is a variety of dwarf basil with dense and smaller leaves. The leaves have a scent of cloves and a flavor of sweet anise. The plant can grow to a spherical shape with a height of 10 inches only.

Spicy Bush Basil: It is a variety with a height of between 8 and 12 inches. This has small shiny green leaves with amazing fragrance and a spicy taste.

Boxwood Basil: This basil is called boxwood, probably for its figure like boxwood plant. This basil can grow up to 12 inches in height. The leaves are small and its perfect shrub-like form makes it suitable for small spaces.

Thai Basil: This basil has a taste of licorice with strong flavors. The purple stems and flowers make this plant attractive. Thai basil usually has a height of 12 to 16 inches. 

Mammoth: This basil is mainly a variety of lettuce leaf that has wrinkled leaves with ruffled edges. This variety can grow up to 16 inches with a width of the same range as height. The taste of the leaves might taste similar to Genovese basil but has a strong flavor.

Basil plants for bigger indoor space

If you have a large veranda or a bigger room with open space, then you can easily grow some medium size basil in a larger container. Here I have mentioned a chart in which you can see the varieties. 

Range of the Height

Varieties name

14 to 20 inches

Dark Opal basil, Christmas basil, Lemon basil, Spicy Saber

16 to 18 inches

Genovese basil, Pesto Perpetuo, Ararat

16 to 24 inches

Lime basil, Purple Ruffle basil, Siam Queen Thai Basil

18 to 24 inches

Sweet basil, Napoletano basil, Cinnamon basil

Dark Opal Basil: This purple basil can add some vibrant color to your herb garden. It has a mixed flavor of anise and ginger. This variety can grow up to 14 to 20 inches at its maturity period.

Christmas Basil: With glossy green foliage and purple flower this basil plant can grow up to 14 to 20 inches tall. This basil can add fruity flavor to your recipes.

Lemon Basil: With beautiful white basil flower spikes, it can attract the attention of people. The plant has sweet-tart flavored leaves that also have a fresh lemon scent. The plant can grow up to 14 to 20 inches. It is the main ingredient of many Indonesian dishes.

Genovese Basil: With the sight of flatter, large, and pointer leaves, you can identify the Genovese basil plant. The aromatic leaves have a clove fragrance and the spicy anise flavor of this variety makes it suitable for Italian dishes. Genovese basil plants can grow up to 16 to 18 inches tall.

Pesto Perpetuo: This is a non-bolting variety with light green and fresh cream leaves. This variety has a columnar habit and you can get lots of leaves because of its non-bolting feature. This variety can grow up to 16 to 18 inches tall.

Sweet Basil: The most common variety of basil is sweet basil. These basil leaves are almost rounded and cup-shaped. This basil can grow up to 18 to 24 inches tall.  The spicy clove flavor of this basil is everyone’s favorite.

Napoletano Basil: This plant has larger leaves than any other basil plant. That’s why this plant’s tasty leaves are used for wrapping sushi, fish, or cheese. The leaves are spicier and the plant can grow up to 18 to 24 inches.

Cinnamon Basil: This basil is also known as Mexican basil. The shiny green leaves are smaller than the leaves of sweet basil and the purple stems and flowers make this plant attractive. This basil can grow up to 18 24 inches tall in the proper environment.

Basils that are too tall to grow indoors

There are some basil varieties that are too tall to grow indoors. These basil varieties can usually grow up to 24 inches or taller than that, probably up to 3 or 4 feet. That’s why it is better to grow them in the ground garden or garden beds. Some varieties of these giant basils are Lettuce Leaf Basil, Cardinal Basil, Green Ruffles, African Blue basil, Italian Large leaf basil, Clove basil, Emerald Towers, and Licorice basil.

How to make the basil bushier without making it large

Basil will grow into a thick and bushy plant if you keep the plant short in size. Most of the time it is noticed that the plant is only getting taller and taller with a few leaves on it. But you surely don’t want that to happen to your basil plant, right? I have mentioned the average size of different basil varieties. But you can definitely keep the plant shorter and bushier by pruning or harvesting them often. 

For pruning or harvesting the basil, you have to cut the stem of the basil when it reaches a height of 6 to 8 inches. Cut the stem from 1/4 inch above nodes or sets of leaves. It is better to use scissors for cutting.

Besides that, leave 2 or 3 sets of true leaves on the plant so that new stems can come out from them as well as they will fulfill the need for food. Moreover, you can cut individual leaves from the stem to maintain a bushy shape. You should prune or harvest the leaves at least once after every two or three weeks. As a result, you will notice that the plants are getting bushier. Also, this will keep the flowers away from the plant.

However, if you notice the flower buds coming on the plants, you must not wait for the stem. Pinch the flowers immediately off the plant. It is necessary as allowing flowers on the plant will discourage the leafy growth of the plant. 

Along with pruning, you need to make sure that your basil is getting enough nutrition and a proper environment for growth. Like plenty of direct sunlight, well-drained soil for better drainage, the right amount of watering to keep the soil moist, hot weather with high temperature, and providing nutrition with liquid fertilizer.

Few last words for you

I hope you found this information quite helpful. There are some varieties of basil that are perfect for indoors, some are perfect for outdoors. So select your favorite one among them to plant basil indoors or outdoors according to your space. I hope you will get a bountiful harvest of fresh basil. Happy Gardening!