Cinnamon Basil
A Spicy Mexican Variety

Cinnamon Basil is a spicy variety that as the name suggests smells like cinnamon. Some folks call it Mexican basil or Mexican spice basil. I want to add it to my herb garden because it adds colour and scent and I want to capture that by drying it and using it as pot pourri.

Well, I got my cinnamon basil seeds as I planned and couldn't wait until spring to plant them. So, I went ahead and germinated them indoors in the water nursery which took just over a week and now the seedlings are transferred to the hydroponic unit and are growing really fast.

I intend to keep them there until they flower just to see the results. Next year I will sow more seeds for planting out, keeping them quite close together to make a statement when they grow and bloom.

What Does Cinnamon Basil Look Like?

Be aware that some varieties are called by the same name but are not the true O. basilicum `Cinnamon`. These are Thai basil (Horapa) and a cultivar of the Thai which differ in smell and taste revealing their true identity. They are a little like anise or licorice. But looks are deceiving as we all know and they both look almost the same as the cinnamon variation in stems, leaves and flowers.

The plant is very attractive that's why I want it in my herb garden. Variations in leaf colour and shade make up for the lack of bold blooms on herbs keeping your patch an eye-catching contrast to the rest of the garden. The flowers are tall with a duo coloured pink and purple bloom and boy don't they look impressive in their numbers!

What Does It Smell and Taste Like?

This is important to all culinary crazy people. In the pot the spicy cinnamon smell will make your mouth water. It tends to be used in baking but hey, who's going to stick just to traditions eh? Experiment people!

The taste of it is like, eh, well cinnamon. What else can I say about that?

Try making a tea with it as the evening draws to a close and snuggle down to reading a romantic novel or listen to some soothing music after a hard day sitting in your very aromatic herb garden.

How To Grow Cinnamon Basil

  1. Propagate in a warm spot indoors under a cover until the shoots appear.
  2. Uncover and plant in separate pots holding them by their leaves.
  3. Plant out when the climate is frost free in a sunny but shaded spot.
  4. Make sure the soil has good drainage properties.
  5.  If you have clay soil prepare it in Autumn ready for spring using composted bark.

I had a dead cherry tree stump in the garden that was reduced to a powder like compost. The wasps, lone bees and centipedes did the work for me using the tree as a hotel and nursery. When I was chopping the tree down, I noticed the core had degraded to a fine compost which I am mixing in with the surface soil taken from levelling a site for my small greenhouse. Perfect bark and wood compost.

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