Hydroponic & Container Basil Varieties Comparison Chart

Faster-Growing, Slower-Growing & Specialty Varieties

For more information, see our Hydroponic & Container Basil Guide.

Note that the containers shown in the images below are all 4" pots. We also offer a printable, PDF version of this chart, which includes a side-by-side visual comparison of all the varieties, for additional reference to relative size.

Type Variety Description & Recommendation Benefits Disadvantages Common Uses Seed Forms  Offered
Faster-Growing Varieties
Genovese/Pesto Types Container-grown Aroma 2 Basil PlantAroma 2 Popular choice for hydroponic growers because of uniformity and fast growth.
  • Fast growing
  • Uniform growth
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Plants are relatively lanky and sparse, with fewer leaves than more compact types.
  • Leaves are a bit smaller and flatter than standard Genovese.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.

Secondary Uses:
Individual leaf, tip, and bunch harvest, packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Eleonora Basil PlantEleonora Use during times of high downy mildew pressure.

Also, fast growing and uniform.
  • Downy mildew resistant
  • Fast growing
  • Uniform growth
  • Flavor/aroma profile is slightly spicier than traditional Genovese.
  • Leaves are a bit smaller and flatter than standard Genovese.
  • Plants are relatively lanky and sparse, with fewer leaves than more compact types.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.

Secondary Uses:
Individual leaf, tip, and bunch harvest, packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Genovese Basil PlantGenovese Recommended only for harvest of individual leaves, stems, or bunches, due to lack of uniformity in plant height and habit.
  • Fast growing
  • Large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • While fuller than Aroma 2 and Eleonora, plants are still relatively lanky and sparse, with fewer leaves than more compact types.
  • Growth rate and plant habit can be variable, making it difficult to use for a dependable harvest of uniform live plants.
Preferred Uses:
Individual leaves, stems, or bunches packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
  • Conventional seed with conventional pellet
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Dolly Basil PlantDolly Genovese appearance, with Italian Large Leaf-type yields. Performs very well in containers.

While it is used successfully by experienced hydroponic growers, it is not recommended for those new to hydroponic production because of its sensitivity to nutrient imbalances.
  • Fast growing
  • Uniform growth
  • High-yielding plants with very large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Sensitive to nutrient imbalances; often will show zoning/discoloration in leaves more than other varieties, both in hydroponic systems and in the field.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.
Individual leaves, tips, or bunches packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed

Italian Large Leaf Types Container-grown Nufar Basil PlantNufar Popular choice for hydroponic growers because of its uniformity and fast growth.
  • Fast growing
  • Uniform growth
  • Large leaves on productive plants
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Italian Large Leaf types have a sweeter flavor/aroma profile that is not suitable for markets demanding a Genovese flavor/aroma profile.
  • Plant type and flattened, serrated, and rugose leaves are also not as popular as the Genovese type.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.
Individual leaves, tips, or bunches packaged in clam shells or bags. Good for mechanical harvest.
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Italian Large Leaf Basil PlantItalian Large Leaf Recommended only for harvest of individual leaves, stems, or bunches, due to lack of uniformity in plant habit.
  • Fast growing
  • Large leaves
  • Seed is generally inexpensive
  • Italian Large Leaf types have a sweeter flavor/aroma profile that is not suitable for markets demanding a Genovese flavor/aroma profile.
  • Growth rate and plant habit can be variable, making it difficult to use for a dependable harvest of uniform live plants. Plant type and flattened, serrated, and rugose leaves are also not as popular as the Genovese type.
Preferred Uses:
Individual leaves, stems, or bunches packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
Type Variety Description & Recommendation Benefits Disadvantages Common Uses Seed Forms  Offered
Slower-Growing Varieties
Compact Genovese / Pesto Types Container-grown Everleaf Basil PlantEverleaf Disease-resistant, compact plants, ideal for attractive, full, uniform live plants.

NOTE: Because the plant architecture is so dense, a seeding rate of 2–5 seeds per 4" pot is recommended.
  • Intermediate downy mildew resistance
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Very full, compact plants have short internodes
  • Medium-large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Uniform growth
  • Extremely slow to bolt
  • If spray treatment is required, it may be difficult to get good coverage on the extremely dense, compact plants.
  • Dense plants are not ideal for bunch harvest.
  • Slower growth rate than fast-growing varieties noted above.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.
Individual leaves or tips packaged in clam shells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Elidia Basil PlantElidia Compact plants with large leaves are ideal for attractive, full, uniform live plants.
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Full compact plants have short internodes
  • Large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Uniform growth
  • Slow to bolt
  • Slower growth rate than fast-growing varieties noted above.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.

Secondary Uses:
Individual leaves packaged in clam shells or bags (a faster-growing standard Genovese is preferable if leaf harvest is primary purpose).
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Genovese Compact Improved Basil PlantGenovese Compact Improved Full, compact plants with large leaves are ideal for attractive, full, uniform live plants.
  • Uniform growth
  • Full, compact plants have short internodes
  • Large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Slow to bolt
  • Large, cupped leaves
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Slower growth rate than fast-growing varieties noted above.
Preferred Uses:
Live plant in container or with growing medium attached.

Secondary Uses:
Individual leaves packaged in clam shells or bags (a faster-growing standard Genovese is preferable if leaf harvest is primary purpose).
  • Conventional seed
  • Multiseed pellet:
    Conventional seed with conventional pellet
  • Organic seed
Type Variety Description Seed Forms Offered
Specialty Varieties
Red / Purple Types Container-grown Amethyst Improved Basil PlantAmethyst Improved Red basil most like Genovese, with shiny cupped leaves.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Red Rubin Basil PlantRed Rubin Uniform red basil with sturdy, productive plant habit.
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Dark Opal Basil PlantDark Opal Fast-growing red basil with slightly ruffled leaves.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Purple Ruffles Basil PlantPurple Ruffles Compact red basil with large, ruffled leaves.
  • Conventional seed
Asian / Thai Types Container-grown Sweet Thai Basil PlantSweet Thai Popular Thai basil with small, spicy leaves; compact plant.
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Cardinal Basil PlantCardinal Large leaves; compact plant.
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Cinnamon Basil PlantCinnamon Large leaves; fast-growing, tall plant.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Aromatto Basil PlantAromatto Large leaves; fast-growing, tall plant.
  • Organic seed
Citrus Types Container-grown Mrs. Burns's Lemon Basil PlantMrs. Burns' Lemon Vigorous, fast growing; medium-sized leaves.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Lime Basil PlantLime Small-sized leaves.
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Piccolino Basil PlantPiccolino 6–8" tall plant; spicy flavor.
  • Conventional seed
Greek Types Container-grown Spicy Bush Basil PlantSpicy Bush 8–14" tall plant; spicy flavor.
  • Conventional seed
Lettuce Leaf Types Container-grown Tuscany Basil PlantTuscany Very large leaves; compact plant.
  • Conventional seed