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, except for those in the images of the Greek varieties 'Pluto' and 'Spicy Bush.' We also offer a printable, PDF version of this chart, which includes a side-by-side visual comparison of most of the varieties, for additional reference to their relative size.

Type Variety Description & Recommendation Benefits Disadvantages Common Uses Seed Forms  Offered

Faster-Growing Varieties

Genovese/Pesto Types Container-grown Aroma 2 Basil Plant
'Aroma 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 clamshells or bags
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Genovese Basil Plant
'Genovese'
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 clamshells or bags
  • Conventional seed
  • Conventional seed with conventional pellet
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Dolly Basil Plant
'Dolly'
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 clamshells or bags
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed

Prospera Basil
'Prospera'®
Use during times of high downy mildew pressure. Very similar to 'Aroma 2.' Uniform and fast-growing.
  • Downy mildew resistant
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Fast growing
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Uniform growth
  • 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 clamshells or bags
  • Organic seed
Rutgers Devotion DMR Basil
'Rutgers Devotion DMR'

Use during times of high downy mildew pressure.

Productive plants with less refined leaf shape.

  • Downy mildew resistant
  • Very productive
  • Large leaves
  • Slightly sweet/spicy aroma
  • Leaf type more ruffled and serrated than traditional Genovese type
  • Medium-green
Preferred Uses:
  • Individual leaves, stems, or bunches packaged in clamshells or bags
  • Processing, freezing, drying
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Italian Large Leaf Types Container-grown Nufar Basil Plant
'Nufar'
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 clamshells or bags
  • Good for mechanical harvest
  • Organic seed
  • Organic seed with NOP-compliant pellet
Container-grown Italian Large Leaf Basil Plant
'Italian 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 clamshells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
Newton Basil
'Newton'
Uniform and fast growing. Very similar to 'Nufar,' but with a preferable traditional Italian flavor/aroma.
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Fast growing
  • Uniform growth
  • Large leaves on productive plant
  • 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 clamshells or bags
  • Good for mechanical harvest
  • Conventional seed
Type Variety Description & Recommendation Benefits Disadvantages Common Uses Seed Forms  Offered

Slower-Growing Varieties

Compact Genovese / Pesto Types Container-grown Everleaf Basil Plant
'Everleaf'
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.
  • Low-level 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 clamshells or bags.
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Elidia Basil Plant
'Elidia'
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 clamshells 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 Plant
'Genovese 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 clamshells or bags (a faster-growing standard Genovese is preferable if leaf harvest is primary purpose)
  • Conventional seed
  • Multiseed pellet:
    Conventional seed with conventional pellet
Prospera Compact Basil
'Prospera® Compact'
Use during times of high downy mildew pressure. Compact plants with attractive, cupped leaves are ideal for full, uniform live plants.
  • Downy mildew-resistant
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Classic flavor/aroma profile
  • Uniform growth
  • Large, dark-green, glossy, cupped leaves
  • 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 clamshells or bags (a faster-growing standard Genovese is preferable if leaf harvest is primary purpose)
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Compact Italian Large Leaf Type Rutgers Obsession DMR Basil
'Rutgers Obsession DMR'
Use during times of high downy mildew pressure. Very productive, compact plants.
  • Downy mildew-resistant
  • Fusarium resistant
  • Uniform growth
  • Compact plant with high yields
  • Dark-green, glossy leaves
  • Very slow to bolt
  • Small, pointy leaves not as popular as Genovese types
  • Earthier/spicier flavor/aroma profile than Genovese types
Preferred Uses:
  • Live plant in container or with growing medium attached
  • Processing, freezing, drying
  • Conventional seed
Type Variety Description Seed Forms Offered

Specialty Varieties

Red / Purple Types Container-grown Amethyst Improved Basil Plant
'Amethyst Improved'
Red basil most like Genovese, with shiny cupped leaves
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Red Rubin Basil Plant
'Red Rubin'
Uniform red basil with sturdy, productive plant habit
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Dark Opal Basil Plant
'Dark Opal'
Fast-growing red basil with slightly ruffled leaves
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Purple Ruffles Basil Plant
'Purple Ruffles'
Compact red basil with large, ruffled leaves
  • Conventional seed
Asian / Thai Types Container-grown Sweet Thai Basil Plant
'Sweet Thai'
Popular Thai basil with small, spicy leaves; compact plant
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Cardinal Basil Plant
'Cardinal'
Large leaves; compact plant
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Cinnamon Basil Plant
'Cinnamon'
Large leaves; fast-growing, tall plant
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Aromatto Basil Plant
'Aromatto'
Large leaves; fast-growing, tall plant
  • Organic seed
Citrus Types Container-grown Mrs. Burns's Lemon Basil Plant
'Mrs. Burns' Lemon'
Vigorous, fast growing; medium-sized leaves
  • Conventional seed
Container-grown Lime Basil Plant
'Lime'
Small-sized leaves
  • Conventional seed
  • Organic seed
Container-grown Piccolino Basil Plant
'Piccolino'
6–8" tall plant; spicy flavor
  • Conventional seed
Greek Types Container-grown Spicy Bush Basil Plant
'Spicy Bush'
8–14" tall plant; spicy flavor
  • Conventional seed
Pluto Greek Basil
'Pluto'
6–8" tall plant; spicy flavor
  • Conventional seed
Lettuce Leaf Types Container-grown Tuscany Basil Plant
'Tuscany'
Very large leaves; compact plant
  • Conventional seed