The shrub basil ‘Magic Blue’ is a visual and culinary highlight and also offers a lot for our sense of smell. The conspicuously veined leaves and the strong violet-colored flowers add color to the balcony or patio, and planted out in the garden, this plant is hard to miss. Insects also love the plants and populate them in large numbers. Except for overwintering, care is easy. Problems with the winter place can be avoided by taking cuttings in the fall and then caring for them. Read what you need to know about shrub basil in the following text.


  • Used as a culinary spice or herb and in aromatherapy
  • Basil Hybrid
  • Cross between the African camphor basil and a red-leaved variety of “Mediterranean basil”
  • lamiaceae
  • Grows shrubby and well branched
  • periwinkle
  • stems lignify
  • Growth height about 80 cm
  • The fragrance of the plant is remarkable
  • Green leaves with dark red to purple veining – stated as red leaved but is not
  • Particularly aromatic
  • Bright violet flowers with high ornamental value from June until September
  • Loved by bees, bumblebees and butterflies
  • Does not form seeds
  • Harvest time – April to August
  • Magically attracts insects

Caring for shrub basil ‘Magic Blue’

Shrub basil is easier to care for than other types of basil, which are often very sensitive. ‘Magic Blue’ is no exception. In addition, this basil is extremely delicate and goes well with light salads and many Mediterranean dishes. The flowers can also be eaten. The aromatic, Far Eastern smell and taste is incomparable and brings that certain something to food.

It is ideal to cultivate this basil as a pot or tub plant. So hibernation is not a problem. Planted specimens have almost no chance of surviving the winter.

The plants can live for many years and bring a good harvest every year. The site should be warm, sunny and sheltered from the wind in summer and cool and very bright in winter. When planting substrate, it is important to ensure that it is permeable, humus and rich in nutrients. Plastic containers are best. It is important to water regularly, especially in pot culture. The soil should not dry out completely. Additional nutrients must also be provided. Hibernation should take place at 10 to 12°C. A lot of light is required, for which additional lights can also be used. A cut is not absolutely necessary. It is advisable to harvest shoot tips, as this encourages branching. The ‘Magic Blue’ shrub basil can be propagated by cuttings. Diseases are very rare unless the plants suffer from “wet feet”. Aphids, snails and whiteflies are the pests.


The location must be rather sunny, warm and absolutely sheltered from the wind. Too little sun affects the aroma of the plants. A place that is too cold is badly tolerated. The plants don’t like drafts either. Otherwise they are quite adaptable and not mimosas like other basil plants.

  • Sheltered from the wind and warm
  • Full sun – best color and aroma
  • Requires at least more than half of the day sun
  • Heat tolerant
  • If possible, south-facing windows in the house
  • It is good to protect the plants from rain and, of course, from drafts
  • Do not display until temperatures exceed 12°C, including at night
  • Get used to the sun slowly
  • Grant in good time if temperatures drop below

plant substrate

Shrub basil likes well-drained, humus-rich and sandy soil. It should also be nutritious, but not too much. Too much nitrogen in the soil causes the plants to shoot up, but the shoots are weak and do not lignify or only slowly. They often bend down.

  • Humorous and permeable
  • Nutritious, but not too much
  • Warm, in cold soil the plants do not feel well
  • Loose, preferably with plenty of sand
  • Be sure to make substrates that are too heavy looser and more permeable


It is best to plant shrub basil in a planter. In this way, the plants can be overwintered better. Group planting of 3 to 5 shrub basil works best in the bed. The most important thing when planting is drainage so that excess water can drain off well. Wet feet are the number 1 killer.

  • Planting distance 40 x 40 cm
  • Drainage in the vessel is important to allow excess water to drain away
  • Works beautifully in groups of 3 to 5 plants
Tip: Terracotta pots draw a lot of water from the soil. Plastic containers are therefore more sensible. They must not be too small, because then the soil will dry out too quickly. Planters with an irrigation system are ideal. Then the plants can always take as much water as they need and do not have to be watered as often.

watering and fertilizing

Watering the shrub basil in containers is very important. The little soil dries out quickly and although the plants like it warm, they only tolerate prolonged drought moderately. The bed does not have to be watered as often. If you want to water less, you should use the containers with a water reservoir.

  • Water regularly, especially in pot culture
  • It is best to keep the substrate slightly moist evenly
  • No waterlogging
  • Not too nutritious, at the expense of the aroma
  • Fertilize every 4 to 6 weeks
  • Use organic fertilizer or herbal fertilizer
  • Often only one application of fertilizer at the beginning of spring is recommended.
Note: Do not water when it is very hot, as this is not good for the plants. It is much better to provide water replenishment in the morning and in the evening, this is better for the health of the plants.

To cut

A regular cut is not necessary. However, with the pruning you ensure that the shoots branch out and the bush becomes bushier and bushier. The more shoots there are, the more can be harvested. If the shoots are too lignified, severe pruning can ensure that new and soft shoots appear again.

  • Can be raised as a standard
  • Leave a woody shoot as a stem
  • Remove all side shoots
  • When the right height is reached, cut off the tip and encourage branching.
  • Again and again all shoots pinch off a crown
  • Then carry on as normal


Shrub basil is not hardy, although the plants are not quite as sensitive as other basil varieties. Nevertheless, frost is not tolerated. Overwintering is the biggest problem when cultivating shrub basil. Many plants do not survive the winter.

  • Light and frost-proof, but cool, with temperatures that are not too high
  • If there is too little light, the plants often die.
  • Temperatures around 10°C, i.e. from 8 to 12°C, are ideal
  • The temperatures can still be favorable up to 18°C
  • Thrives well under artificial light
  • Too warm hibernation is not favorable.
  • The plants weaken, diseases and pests spread
  • No draft
  • Keep watering regularly
  • Keep the substrate slightly moist all the time, slightly less than in summer


Hybrids do not form seeds. The shrub basil ‘Magic Blue’ is no exception. So there is no sowing. However, the plants can easily be propagated by cuttings. These take root in the glass of water after just a few days.

  • cuttings
  • Root well in a glass of water
  • Use shoots without flowers
  • The shoots, of which only the upper leaves should be preserved, can also be planted in potting soil.
  • Keep substrate moist but not wet
  • It is best to put a bag over the container
  • Ventilate regularly

diseases and pests

Diseases are quite rare and are often due to poor care or too wet and cool weather. Pests appear more often. This is especially important when hibernating. Young shoots are often eaten by snails, sometimes completely bald. Otherwise there are aphids and whiteflies.

  • Whitefly – Identified by white spots on the undersides of leaves. When touching the plants, numerous small bright insects fly away. The leaves become mottled and yellow and fall off. Yellow stickers and soft soapy water help against these insects. However, it is important to catch the leaves from below when spraying. Alternatively, insecticides are suitable, but the less dangerous ones based on fatty acids or pyrethrum.
  • Aphids – usually sit on the tips of the shoots and are most easily recognized by their sticky excretions (honeydew). Rinsing the plant with a sharp jet of water often helps. Alternatively, the infested shoot tips and lice can be cut off and disposed of. Only use insecticides based on rapeseed oil or potash soap, which protect beneficial insects.
  • Snails – like to attack the fresh shoots. When keeping pots, simply raising the pots or attaching a snail ring is often sufficient. In the bed it is more difficult. Slug pellets aren’t that great for the environment, but there aren’t many alternatives. Agents based on iron-III-phosphate are less toxic than slug pellets. Snail traps are the best. So you can lay out wet cloths or sacks under which the animals gather. They then only have to be collected and disposed of.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can shrub basil be planted in mixed beds?
Yes, if you take it out of the ground in the fall and overwinter in the container. Mixed cultivation is good because basil in general attracts bees and repels flies, carrot flies, mosquitoes, cabbage whites, lily beetles and other insect pests. It can also kill bacteria and ward off powdery mildew, especially on cucumber plants. In the case of fennel, tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, fruit set is also promoted.

What can be used to secure or accelerate rooting of cuttings?
There’s an interesting thing I read about while doing my research. If you put the cuttings in the glass of water together with a few willow branches, the whole rooting process goes quickly and almost every cutting takes root. “To blame” for this is a special root hormone of the willow, which is released in the water. This also helps other plants to form roots.

Which leaves are best used for harvesting?
The tips of the shoots are ideal because they are very tender. However, a shoot can be cut out further down, this creates air again and the plants branch out well. It is important not to pluck off the leaves individually, but always cut off just above a pair of leaves with the stem.

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