How to Grow Spicy Globe Basil (Beginner’s Guide)

Want a unique herb that’s just as delicious to look at as it is to eat?

Introducing Spicy Globe Basil!

This herb can be both a decorative ornamental piece, or it can be used in salads, soups, pesto, and more.

It’s a versatile, easy to grow basil variety that’s perfect for beginner gardeners.

It can even be grown as a perennial, unlike some other basil strains. It’s similar to sweet basil, but grows in a bushy, compact plant.

Let’s learn about how to grow and care for Spicy Globe!

Quick care guide: Spicy Globe Basil

Plant typeAnnual herb (zones 4-10)
Perennial herb (zones 11-12)
OriginIndia, Persia
Scientific nameOcimum basilicum "Spicy Globe"
Other namesGreek Basil
Spicy Basil
Spicy Globe
Soil typeOrganic, rich, loose, loamy, nutrient rich, well draining
Soil pH6.0-7.5 (acidic to alkaline)
Sunlight requirementFull sun, 6-8 hours daily
Partial sun if warmer zone
Bloom seasonNon-blooming
ColorsWhite, lime, green
Max height12 inches
Max width12 inches
Low temperature tolerance50F
High temperature tolerance90F
Ideal temperature range75-85F.
HumidityHigh (50% or higher)
Watering requirementsWater when the top layer is near dry, never overwater
Fertilizer requirementsSupplement throughout growing season, taper off over time
Plant food NPK10-10-10 or 4-4-4
Days until germination7-14 days
Days until harvest60-80 days or when the plant have 6-8 leaves (8" tall)
Bloom timeNon blooming
Speed of growthModerate
Hardiness zonesUSDA hardiness zones 4-10
Plant depthFrom seeds: 0.25 inches
From transplants: Same depth as original plant
Plant spacing6-8 inches
Plant withMarigolds
Root vegetables
Don't plant withPesto
Tomato basil pasta
Avocado toast
Ice cream
Balsamic reduction
Propagation methodTransplants, from seed
Common pestsSnails, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, fungus gnats, spider mites, crickets, aphids, cutworms, leaf miners, leaf beetles, katydids, whiteflies, flea beetles, army worms, grasshoppers, owlet moths, vein miners, underwings, cutworms, slugs.
Common diseasesCercospora leaf spot, Downy mildew, Fusarium wilt, Fusarium, Gray mold, Botrytis cinerea, root rot, fungus.
Indoor plantYes
Outdoor plantYes
Grown in containerYes
Flowering plantNo
Beginner friendlyYes
Care levelMinimal to none (easy)
Best usesSalads, soups, pesto, seafood, sauces, garnish, dried basil, decorative

What’s spicy globe basil?

Spicy globe basil is a little different from traditional basil because of its pungent scent and spicy flavor. It also grows like a spherical globe, rather than the fanned-out leaves like regular basil.

You may even confuse it with cilantro like I always do.

It’s considered to be an annual ornamental. Some people grow it just for a cute little plant they can put as a decorative piece. If you don’t want to eat it, it still makes an excellent void fill plant.

You can even trim it to shape it as a hedge.

Whether you want to get an easy addition to your herb garden or some ornamental greens this is it. it’s edible, functional, and takes care of itself.

Spicy globe is a dwarf basil that can be grown anywhere- outside or indoors. In the dirt or pots. It’s perfect for beginners.

Is it spicy?

Spicy Globe is a spicier variety than other basil varieties. Commonly called Ocimum basilicum “Spicy Globe,” it’s different from boxwood or Genovese basil.

So if you plan to substitute it for Italian large leaves, you can use were leaves for a stronger taste. It should be used fresh. It has a bit of heat compared to Genovese basil or Italian large leaf basil. It also has a bit of zest over your traditional sweet basil.

There are over 60 varieties of basil, but it often gets “out flavored” by its cousins. Sweet basil is probably the most popular IMO.

Why grow it?

Why not? It’s a nice spicy little herb you can easily add to your collection if you’re in zones 4-12. If you make soups, salads, or sauces, it’s a no-brainer.

Easy to grow with plenty of flavors, Spicy Globe is an essential herb right up there with the rest of them.

Is it easy to grow for beginners?

Yes, it’s extremely easy to care for and requires little work.

Other than regular watering, some fertilizer, and pruning, you can commit less than 10 minutes per week to get the tastiest basil possible.

If you already have an herb garden, spicy globe basil is an excellent addition to it. It pairs well with other herbs too.

How to propagate spicy globe basil

Spicy Globe Basil in garden.
Spicy Globe Basil. Notice the leaf shape. (By Serres Fortier, Flickr.)

Basil is very easy to start from seed. If you’re in a rush you can buy a pre-grown transplant at your local garden center. If not, then getting a packet of globe basil seeds is the simplest (and most rewarding) method to plant.

You can often find a pack for less than $3. Organic is a few cents more, but well worth it.

But keep in mind that if you’re going the organic route, you need to use organic soil, fertilizer, and everything else so you don’t waste your money on the seed premium.

But anywho, let’s get this thing started. Here’s how to propagate globe basil! (Don’t worry, it’s easy!)

Starting from seeds

OK, so the most popular method is to start from seed. As an heirloom herb, you can expect true plants from seed. If you have basil already, then you can use your existing plant for the seeds.

You just need to let some go to seed rather than cut them down. Or you can just buy a packet of seeds from the store. Spicy Globe basil is quite popular, so you should have no issue finding it.

Upon getting your seeds, you’ll also need one of those handy seed starter kits. Fill the compartments with potting mix supplemented with some organic compost.

Put 2-3 seeds each, ¼ inch deep. Then water well. Use a humidity dome to cover them (kits usually come with this). Place the tray somewhere the temperatures will remain above 65F with plenty of sunlight.

You can use a lamp for light. Heat mats are also nice to have for those chilly nights. But regular sunlight exposure will be ideal. Spicy Globe germinates within 14 days on the high end. Plant in May-June if you cold winters. Plant in July otherwise.

When they sprout, thin to the strongest seed. Continue watering when it goes near dry. Once they get 2 pairs of true leaves, you can harden them off by exposing them to the outside for a few hours every day over a week.

At this point, you can move them into your garden or individual containers. If you’re in a zone that gets very hot or cold, using pots is more convenient. You can take them indoors whenever to keep them safe. Easy right?

By transplanting

If you find this guy in the nursery, you can buy it as a pre-grown and then just transplant it into your yard. Don’t have the patience to wait for it to sprout from seed? Then buy it!

Sure, you pay a premium, but you save time. Especially if you’re late in the season and you don’t have time to play catch up.

It’s tempting to keep them indoors, but pots generally require more work than soil sowing. The flavor will be influenced by the care it receives. Basil needs plenty of water, full sun exposure, and regular feeding with a quality fertilizer.

Thankfully, translating is easy. Get the soil ready by prepping a 12 x 12 space per plant.

Remember that soil quality matters. If you choose a higher-quality garden mix with plenty of organic matter, you’ll have less work to do later on.

Use well-draining soil with compost for additional nutrients. Dig a hole at the same depth as the original container. Remove the basil from its pot by tilting it sideways and then pulling it out.

Place it in its new home. Firm the soil around it. Water it well to establish water pathways.

Basil doesn’t grow extensive root systems under the soil line. So each plant only needs a few inches apart. 6 inches is the minimum. Anything more will be extra space.

Container growing

If you decide to plant a container plant, you can leave it in the container. Use a 6” pot. This will be enough so you never have to upgrade it to a larger pot later on.

Ensure that it has drainage holes and consider putting a layer of pebbles at the base to prevent clogging.

Growing indoors

If you decide to grow your basil indoors, you’ll need a bright place to keep it. It should be warm, sunny, and humid. The average humidity should float around 50%. Full sun exposure is necessary.

The care is the same as growing basil outdoors, but you need to make sure that it drains well. Potted plants will also need to be watered more than garden-sown plants.

How to grow Spicy Globe basil

Spicy globe basil leaves in the yard.
Spicy Globe in all its glory. (By Photo by David J. Stang – source: David Stang. First published at, CC BY-SA 4.0, )

This section comes with basic suggestions for getting the most out of your basil.

Depending on your local climate, hardiness zone, and other conditions, your plant’s needs will vary.

But if you’ve got questions, please feel free to ask by leaving your comments at the end of this care sheet.

Hardiness zone

Plant globe basil based on how you plan to grow it.

If you want to grow it as a perennial, plant it in zones 10 or higher. If you want to grow it as an annual, plant it in zones 4-10. This matters because it won’t tolerate colder temperatures for perennial production. It needs to be in a warmer zone if you want it to come back every year.

If you just plan to harvest it all at once for one season, then you can plant it in a cooler zone.


Use rich, loose, nutrient-dense soil. The more nutrients it has in the soil column, the more it’ll produce. And you don’t need to supplement with too much fertilizer either.

So if you start it off right, it saves time/effort later on.

Use organic garden soil if possible. If your soil has a poor nutrient profile, supplement it with some organic compost to supply fresh nutrients. If you’re growing in pots, use potting mix.

Soil pH

The soil should be slightly alkaline (basic). Try to keep the range between 6.0-7.5 Use a soil amendment to help increase the pH if necessary. If the soil is too acidic, your basil may have poor taste or texture.

The pH won’t make or break your basil, so don’t fret.

Planting depth

If you’re starting from seed, you can scatter sow or plant them each ¼” deep. If starting from transplants, plant them at the same depth as the original pot. Try to recreate the same conditions that the basil is used to.

Plant spacing

Space each basil at least 6 inches apart. This is enough to stop them from competing for nutrients and provides just enough space for the water to evaporate.

If they’re planted too closely together, they’ll starve each other as they compete for nutrients. Additionally, it prevents water pooling which may lead to fungal issues if the water doesn’t evaporate due to the denseness of foliage.

Plant food

Globe basil will need some half doses of fertilizer every 14 days. When they sprout, give them a tiny dose. Gradually increase the dosage until they’re about 8 weeks. Then stop feeding.

This will give them a head start to produce larger greens. You can use any generic fertilizer, but organic is preferable.

Use an NPK of 10-10-10 or 4-4-4. If you’re planning to grow your basil as a perennial, feed it every year.


Humidity should be around 50%, up to 60%. Basil enjoys moderate humidity with deeply watered roots. But the soil must be well draining.

If it’s too humid, it can lead to rot or fungus. Basil likes warmer temperatures with moderate humidity levels. If the humidity is too low, spritz the leaves.


Spicy Globe basil needs temperatures between 70-85F. It tolerates some shade but prefers full sun in warmer climates.

Warmer soil will encourage larger, tastier basil leaves. If you expect a cold snap, bring them inside if you’re growing in pots. Otherwise, use mulch to insulate the roots or wrap them with a plant wrap.


Globe basil should be moist at all times but never soaked. You can test the soil so you know when it’s time to water- use your finger and stick it into the top inch of the soil.

If it’s dry, it’s time to water. Basil can tolerate the soil going dry between watering, so don’t worry too much. Just water enough so it doesn’t go soggy.


These plants require full sun in order to thrive. They need to be exposed to plenty of light during the morning hours but will wilt if the sunlight is too strong.

So plant it somewhere that will get some daylight exposure but has afternoon shade. For indoor herbs, place them next to a sunny window. Sun exposure is necessary.

Aim for at least 7 hours of full sun. Use a grow light if you can’t provide this exposure. Basil with no light will grow smaller. They may also grow leggy.


Globe basil will need some light pruning to keep it nice and shapely.

Over time, it’ll lose its spherical shape. It becomes leggier. You’ll need to prune it every now and then to keep it nice and shapely. If you’re growing it as a decorative herb, then keeping it globular is necessary.


Spicy Globe needs very little care other than regular watering and fertilizing. If you want to keep the globe shape, you’ll need to prune it once in a while.

You can pinch it off to keep it compact so it produces dense foliage. Stop pinching it around 65 days or so. Then just leave it be. This is for annuals so you can maximize the most from it.

For perennials, prune in the winter when the basil is dormant.

Do not prune in the summertime or fall when it’s active. It should be pruned to shape, but don’t cut it down to the soil line. If you don’t prune, it’ll get leggy and weak.


Similar to most basil plants, you can harvest Globe Basil as you need it. Avoid plucking off a bunch of leaves at one time. That’s how you end up wasting your harvest for nothing.

You can harvest when the basil is 8″ tall or has 6-8 leaves. This is usually around the 60 day mark.

Just pick as you need before you need to store the surplus. Use a sterilized pair of scissors to clip off the basil when you need them.

Basil is a cut-and-come-again type of thing, so no need to pick it all. Unless you’re making sauce or something. Perhaps picking a lot of basil leaves will come in handy for that batch of pesto.

When the plant starts seeding, cut the whole plant down for the winter. If you don’t, they’ll go to seed. The basil becomes too bitter to eat

Next, if you’re planning to grow it as a perennial, you can harvest it in the following season. Over time, it becomes leggier and will lose its shape, but continue to produce seeds.

If you’re growing it as an annual, congrats on your basil. Harvest the entire thing and collect seeds for next year.

Basil storage

Upon harvest, globe basil can be stored in a tight container or Ziploc bags. Put it in the crisper drawer. It can store up to 14 days while retaining its freshness this way.


Basil can be overwintered, but it’s often more work than it’s worth.

If you’re in zone 10 or lower, the most efficient way is to simply let some seed pods develop and then harvest the seeds for the next season. If you’re in a warmer zone, you can cut it back and leave the roots as perennial.

The roots can be protected with some mulch for the winter. Some people will bring their basil indoors, but this is a lot of work. You’ll need heating and lamps, which is often not worth it.

How to collect basil seeds

The seeds will continue to produce since it’s an heirloom cultivar. If you plan to collect the basil seeds, the seed pods will be what you’re looking for.

You can regrow basil easily from saved seeds.

When they’re developed, cut the pods off then shake the seeds out. Keep them in a mason jar for next season.

Companion plants

Globe basil fits well into your herb garden. You can plant it with the following herbs harmoniously:

  • Marigolds
  • Potatoes
  • Cilantro
  • Root vegetables
  • Borage
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Asparagus
  • Chives
  • Oregano
  • Chamomile
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Anise
  • Cilantro
  • Cabbage
  • Beet

Don’t plant with

These plants don’t pair well with basil. Avoid planting together in the same plot:

  • Lavender
  • Mint
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Cucumbers
  • Fennel
  • Common rue

Basically, you want to never plant with other herbs that’ll outcompete basil or that have polar opposite husbandry.


There are many bugs that would love to get a bite of your basil. Most of them can be eliminated with some organic insecticide. Make sure that it’s indeed safe for use on edible plants before you go spray crazy. Use as instructed by the label.

Some of the most common pests you’ll come across are the following insects:

Snails, caterpillars, beetles, spiders, fungus gnats, spider mites, crickets, aphids, cutworms, leaf miners, leaf beetles, katydids, whiteflies, flea beetles, army worms, grasshoppers, owlet moths, vein miners, underwings, cutworms, and of course, slugs.


Basil is susceptible to the following issues:

Cercospora leaf spot, Downy mildew, Fusarium wilt, Fusarium, Gray mold, Botrytis cinerea, root rot, and fungal issues.

You can greatly reduce the possibility of them by simply not overwatering. Keeping the roots moist, but not wet, plus having good water evaporation by not planting your basils too closely will help.


Globe basil can be used in the same recipes that traditional Italian large-leaf basil is used in. Some common recipes include:

  • Pesto
  • Tomato basil pasta
  • Sauces
  • Soups
  • Salads
  • Garnishing
  • Avocado toast
  • Pizza
  • Pastas
  • Ice cream
  • Balsamic reduction

Where to buy

Spicy Globe basil seeds are widely available online and in nurseries. You should have no trouble finding it for sale. Opt for organic if possible.

Further reading/references

Enjoy your Spicy Globe basil!

Spicy Globe plant in the yard.
Spicy Globe making a perfect…globe. (By Zenon Sych – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, )

Now that you know the basics of growing and caring for Globe Basil, you have no excuse to add it to your herb garden.

While my enthusiasm for this neat little overlooked herb may be too much, you’ll understand when you grow it yourself.

This plant can be used as both an ornamental decorative plant and you can eat it. Keep it inside or outside. Eat it or decorate it. What do you plan to do?

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