Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil

Cinnamon Basil

Also known as Mexican basil, cinnamon basil is native to the world’s tropical and subtropical climates. Cinnamon basil plants thrive when temperatures are in the 80s and 90s F. Cinnamon basil plants contain cinnamate, a compound that gives the herb an intense, spicy aroma and cinnamon-like flavor. Cinnamon basil is sometimes used medicinally and is said to be good for maladies such as constipation, headaches, cough, and diarrhea. The spicy herb is appreciated by chefs too, who use it as an attractive garnish or to flavor hot drinks or other dishes.

Sun Exposure

  • Full sun (six to eight hours)

Soil pH

  • 6.0 to 7.5

Hardiness Zones

  • 4 to 8 as an annual
  • 9 to 11 as a perennial


  • 6 to 12 inches apart


  • Water every 7 to 10 days


  • Grows in bush-like fashion up to 3 feet tall
  • Dark green, shiny leaves with cinnamon-colored square stems
  • Spiky, pink blossoms
  • Needs full sun and warm temperatures to thrive
  • Best grown from seedlings in moist, but not soggy soil
  • Great in teas and baked goods such as cookies and pies; used in pastas, salads, jellies, and vinegars—or even in dried arrangements as a potpourri

Do you grow cinnamon basil? If so, please tell us your top tips for ensuring a bountiful harvest and exactly how you use it.


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