Cinnamon basil (Ocimum basilicum) is similar to regular basil but has a slight taste of cinnamon flavoring. The plant is native to Mexico. The plant has very distinctive purple stems and purple or pink flowers. The herb is commonly used to season desserts, perfumes, potpourris and jellies. Both the foliage and the flowers have a very spicy fragrance that most find pleasing.
Cinnamon basil is a member of the mint (Lamiaceae) family like all other varieties of basil. The plant can easily reach a height of three feet and a spread of three feet. Cinnamon is considered to be a tender annual. It will not tolerate drought conditions. They enjoy having moist soil to thrive in but they do not like water-logged roots.
The cinnamon basil plant is highly susceptible to frost, so the plants or seeds are planted outside after all danger of cold has passed. Seedlings are started inside to give the plants a head-start in the garden during spring transplant. Cinnamon basil is planted in a location that offers full sun and rich soil. The plants prefer a soil pH of 6.5.
To grow cinnamon basil successfully the seeds are sown lightly. Ideally, there are eight to 10 seeds per inch. To plant an acre of land in cinnamon basil six pounds of seeds are required. Seeds germinate in eight to 14 days.
Cinnamon basil are grown from transplants in the spring. Transplants are planted two to three feet apart. The seedlings will need trimming when the plant is approximately six inches tall to encourage a bushy shape. Cinnamon basil enjoys having a three- to four-inch layer of mulch to help keep the soil moist and prevent weed growth.
Cinnamon basil leaves can be harvested when the plant is large enough that four leaves will be left behind after harvest. The plants can be frequently harvested with ease. Cinnamon basil is often grown for its oil production, which is used in potpourri and perfumes. To harvest basil for this purpose the cuttings are taken in the fall when oil production is at its highest and the smell is the most prominent, according to North Carolina State University.