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'Purple Ruffles' Basil

The year before last I tried to grow 'Purple Ruffles' basil from Burpee seeds which unfortunately didn't come true. The seeds did produce basil plants-they were just some genetic green basil. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Last spring I managed to find 'Purple Ruffles' seedlings at a community garden's plant sale and purchased a few.

'Purple Ruffles' basil

If you're a lover of black plants I recommend growing Ocimum basilicum 'Purple Ruffles.' The dark coloring of the fringed leaves make it perfect candidate for a Gothic garden. Normally I'd recommend growing basil from seed because it's so easy, but if you have your heart set on growing a particular cultivar I'd advise you to seek out seedlings or plants.
Basil 'Purple Ruffles'
How to Grow 'Purple Ruffles' Basil 

Would you believe this is the same basil plant as the one pictured above? This basil photograph was taken in the middle of the growing season when I started to run out of room and moved 'Purple Ruffles' to a spot that was shaded by my Smart Pots container garden. After a few weeks in the shade the leaves started to lose their purple coloring and flatten out. The effect looks like my basil plant has a disease, doesn't it? When I finally noticed what was happening with my basil plant I moved it back into full sun and the leaves started to darken and ruffle by the end of the growing season when I took the top photograph. If you're growing 'Purple Ruffles' keep it in full sun and don't forget to water regularly.

'Purple Ruffles' Flavor 

The flavor profile of the basil is rich and spicy. If you don't like the taste of anise or black licorice then you probably won't like the flavor of 'Purple Ruffles' either. When I decided to grow it the first time I wanted to make an oil infusion, but that never panned out. Instead I would wrap cherry tomatoes in the purple leaves and sprinkle other herbs and pop the whole "taco" in my mouth when hanging out in the garden. Provided you can buy a 'Purple Ruffles' seedling or propagate it through cutting I would recommend it for any gardener. Don't bother trying to grow 'Purple Ruffles' from seed as you can rely on them coming true. If I can find seedlings or cutting I'll be growing this basil again this year. I'm also going to star some dark opal basil from seeds. Any other dark herbs you'd recommend?


  1. What a gorgeous plant. Mitchell loves dark leaves, so I may have to search out one of those just for him!

  2. So pretty! As for dark herbs, I've only grown some purple basils. I think there might be a purple-ish sage out there? I like letting chives blossom and have some lavender for extra color in the garden.

  3. What a shame about the Burpee! I bought Burpee's "herb garden" seeds for this summer, and one of the varieties is Purple Ruffles. I hope it grows true for me>

  4. Anonymous12:06 AM

    I have grown it from seed for several years, and there are always green, variegated and smooth-edged seedlings in the bunch. You kinda have to keep an eye on them and see what their true leaves look like.

  5. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Thanks for bringing it up.
    I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts.
    Purchase heirloom seed

  6. I sort of had a basil fit a few years ago and grew 6 or 8 varieties from seed. I have to say that Genovese is my favorite not for it's appearance but for making large batches of pesto.
    That purple ruffles is gorgeous and I'll look for the plants this summer.

  7. Very pretty! That would be nice as an edible companion in an annual flower planter, too.

  8. So lack of sunlight causes plant to revert?

  9. So lack of sunlight causes plant to revert?

  10. Anonymous1:10 PM

    I've been growing purple ruffles basil in containers for a few years from seed. Most of the plants have stayed purple. Perhaps it's a difference in growing conditions.



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