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How To Grow Lemon Basil Microgreens


Ocimum × africanum


Lemon basil microgreens (Ocimum × africanum Lour.) capture the essence of sun-ripened lemons in their delicate leaves. With their emerald green cotyledons and an enchanting lemony aroma, these microgreens not only enhance your dishes but also infuse them with a tangy touch. Whether incorporated into salads, brewed in teas, or used as a garnish, lemon basil microgreens bring a delightful brightness and zesty lemon flair to your culinary creations.

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Quick Facts:

  •  Common Name: Lemon Basil

  •  Scientific Name: Ocimum × africanum

  •  Other Names: African basil, Hoary basil

  •  Family Name: Lamiaceae

  •  Flavor: Aromatic, Citrusy lemon notes

  •  Seed Rate: 15g-20g per 10″ x 20″ tray

  •  Seeds Per in2: 0.075g-0.1g

  •  Avg. Yeild/1020 Tray: 70-85g

  •  Pre-Soak: No

  •  Weight Duration: 3-4 Days

  •  Germination Time: 3-4 Days

  •  Blackout Time: 2-3 Days

  •  Harvest Time: 20-25 Days

  •  Growing Difficulty: Moderate

Did You Know


Lemon Basil Ocimum × africanum close up macro photo

Lemon Basil Ocimum × africanum is a hybrid basil variety resulting from the crossbreeding of two basil species, Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil) and Ocimum americanum (African basil).

Plant Details &

Grow Guide

How To Grow Lemon Basil Microgreens

If you love Genovese Basil, you definitely ought to try Lemon Basil microgreens! These tiny and incredibly nutritious microgreens not only bring a burst of exquisite basil flavor to your dishes, but they also offer an exquisite lemon aroma.

Let’s walk through the step-by-step process of cultivating these vibrant emerald greens right in the comfort of your home. So grab your green thumb, and let’s begin!

Step 1 Preparing Your Lemon Basil Seeds

First, you need to measure your seeds using a scale. The best seeding rate for a 10″ × 20″ tray is 10-15 grams. If you plan to grow them in a 10″ × 10″ tray then simply divide the total amount by two, in this case, 5-8 grams.

If you’re a rebel like me you can just eyeball it without weighing, just make sure that your seeds are approx ⅛-¼” (3-6mm) apart.

Once you’ve measured out your seeds you do not need to wash and pre-soak them. This is because lemon basil seeds are mucilaginous, and wetting them will make it a nightmare to spread them evenly on your growing medium.

Step 2 Sowing Your Seeds

Fill your tray with your preferred medium, it can be soil, potting mix, coco coir, etc, leaving 1-2cm of empty space from the tray edge to the soil level.

Leaving a small space between the tray edge and grow medium helps when it comes to harvesting, minimizing the chance of digging into the medium with your knife.

Make sure you level your medium with your hands so it’s not clumpy, you don’t want your seeds grouping together when you sow them.

First, mist your medium with a spray bottle so it’s damp but not saturated, I recommend this because when you sow your seeds they won’t bounce around and instead stick to the medium.

Spread your seeds across the medium making sure they’re evenly spread out. Lastly, mist your seeds so they’re all covered with a fine mist of water.

Step 3 Germination & Weight Period

Grab an empty tray with no holes and place it on top of your sowed seeds. I use a 15lb (6.80kg) paving block for 10″ × 20″ trays or a 7lb (3.17 kg) brick on 10″ × 10″ trays.

This helps the seed radicle to bury into the medium when it emerges. Without weight, the radicles have a tougher time digging into the growing medium and anchoring itself.

Keep in mind that the seeds will germinate while they’re covered and weighed down. A lot of people confuse the germination and weight period to be independent of one another and that you add them together, this is incorrect.

The germination time is there to give you an idea by what time the seeds will germinate, but you don’t add the germination time and blackout period together.

While your seeds are germinating and are weighed down you will need to keep your medium moist. You can do this by lightly misting your seeds every 12 hours, once in the morning and once at night.

Step 4 Blackout Time

After 3-4 days of weight period, the seeds should have germinated and the seedlings should now be lifting the empty tray. It’s now time to remove the weight and start the blackout period.

Take your empty tray and flip it upside down to create a blackout dome and place it back over your seeds.

Keeping them in the dark for another 2-3 days will force the freshly sprouted seedlings to stretch and search for light allowing them to get some height.

You can now start bottom watering your lemon basil microgreens. To do this you simply add water to your bottom drain tray. I personally add 1 cup of water twice a day (every 12 hours), once in the morning and once in the evening.

When the 2-3 days of blackout time have passed you can remove the top tray/blackout dome and introduce your microgreens to light. I’ve found that 17 hours under lights and 7 hours with the lights off work well for me.

Grow your Lemon Basil anywhere from 20-25 days, following with daily watering of 2 cups per day, once every 12 hours.

Step 5 Harvest

Harvesting your Lemon Basil microgreens is easy and you only need a sharp knife, I personally love and recommend the Green Mercer Produce Knife . If you prefer using scissors then you can’t go wrong with these heavy duty scissors!

Just make sure your knife or scissors are not coming into contact with your soil while you’re cutting to avoid contaminating your harvest with dirt.

Plant Details & Taxonomy

Lemon basil is a hybrid type of basil created by crossing two species, Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil) and Ocimum americanum (African basil). Belonging to the Ocimum genus and a member of the Lamiaceae family, it shares botanical ties with other basil relatives. As an annual herb, it has a lifecycle of one year. A single gram contains between 300 and 500 tiny seeds.

Lemon basil has beautiful emerald green leaves bursting with a lemony citrus scent, giving a range of foods a zesty and refreshing edge. Its extraordinary flavor is greatly sought after by gardeners and chefs. It thrives in warmer climates and is most desirable when cultivated as microgreens or baby greens.

SOURCE: The botanical data and taxonomic details were acquired from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility

Rank Scientific Name
Kingdom Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass Asteridae
Order Lamiales
Family Lamiaceae – Mint family
Genus Ocimum L. – Basil
Species Ocimum × africanum Lour. – Lemon Basil
Common Names African basil, Hoary basil, Thai lemon basil, Kumquat basil

Microgreen Pests & Diseases

The following are the most common pests and diseases that can affect your microgreens.


White Mold – Sclerotinia sclerotiorum

Sclerotinia sclerotiorum is a necrotrophic fungal disease that causes what’s known as white mold, it can infect over 400 plant species worldwide. It’s also called cottony soft rot, stem rot, watery soft rot, crown rot, and seedling blight.

S. sclerotiorum key properties are its ability to create sclerotia which are its black resting structures, and mycelium which are the white fuzzy spiderweb-like growths you see on stems and growing medium.

microgreens suffering from damping off disease

Damping Off

Damping-off is an umbrella term that covers fungi and fungi-like organisms in several genera including Rhizoctonia, Botrytis, Phytophthora, and Fusarium, with the soil fungus Pythium being the often culprit.

Damping-off is a soil-borne fungal disease that affects seeds and seedlings typically by rotting of the stems and roots at and below the soil surface.

When a seed germinates the seedling will emerge fine but within 24 hours to a few days will become mushy and water-soaked, collapse at the base of the stem and die.

Aphids crawling on a plant stem

Aphids – Aphidoidea

Aphids suck! Quite literally. They’re soft-bodied insects that use their piercing-sucking mouths to feed on plants and there are over 4,000 aphid species in the world.

Other common names are greenflies, blackflies, and plant lice. They come in varying colors such as light green, black, white, brown, gray, or yellow.

When aphids feed on plants they secrete a sticky fluid which is called honeydew (no, don’t eat it). This goo they leave behind drips onto plants and can attract other pests such as ants. If the honeydew is left on leaves it can promote black sooty mold.

Lemon Basil Nutrition Facts

Lemon Basil is a highly nutritious superfood packed with vitamins and minerals. It provides 352% RDA of Vitamin A, essential for healthy eyesight, and 20% RDA of Vitamin C, which boosts the immune system.

It’s rich in Vitamin K, calcium, and iron, aiding in bone health, blood clotting, and oxygen transportation. With beta-carotene and lutein, it’s a tasty way to boost your diet. Add Lemon Basil to your meals for a unique lemony flavor and extra nutritional benefits!

Nutrition value per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database)

PLEASE NOTE: Percent Daily Values are calculated based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Principle Nutrient Value Unit RDA
Energy 23 Kcal 1%
Carbohydrates 2.65 g 2%
Protein 3.15 g 6%
Total Fat 0.64 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 1.6 g 4%
Choline 11.4 µg 2%
Folate 68 µg 17%
Selenium, Se 0.3 µg 1%
Vitamin A 264 mg 352%
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.034 mg 3%
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.076 mg 6%
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 0.902 mg 6%
Vitamin B-6 (Pyridoxin) 0.155 mg 12%
Vitamin C 18 mg 20%
Vitamin E 0.8 mg 5%
Vitamin K 415 µg 346%
Sodium, Na 4 mg 0.27%
Potassium, K 295 mg 6.28%
Calcium, Ca 177 mg 17.70%
Copper, Cu 0.385 mg 42.78%
Iron, Fe 3.17 mg 39.63%
Magnesium, Mg 64 mg 15.61%
Manganese, Mn 0 mg 0.00%
Phosphorus, P 56 mg 8.00%
Potassium, K 295 mg
Zinc, Zn 0.81 mg 7.36%
β-Carotene, beta 3140 µg 78.50%
α-Carotene, alpha 0 µg 0.00%
Lutein + zeaxanthin 5650 µg 94.17%

Recommended Seed Providers

I highly recommend True Leaf Market and SeedsNow for all your seed needs. Their wide selection of high-quality seeds and exceptional customer service make them the go-to choice for both novice and experienced gardeners alike.

True Leaf Market

For over 45 years True Leaf Market has been a provider of high-quality seeds both GMO and NON-GMO organic seeds. They also provide phytosanitary certificates if you need to import seeds to a country outside of the US.


SeedsNow is a family-run company, with the aim of assisting individuals, families, and communities in preparing for the future through the promotion of an organic and self-sustainable lifestyle. All their seeds are completely free from any genetic modifications, making them heirlooms, open-pollinated (OP), raw, natural, and untreated. Additionally, they do provide a selection of hybrid varieties on their website which will be clearly labeled as such in the product listings.

Close up of basil genovese seeds

Buy Lemon Basil Microgreen Seeds

Delight your taste buds with the invigorating flavor of Lemon Basil microgreens, capturing the essence of freshly harvested basil. With their vibrant emerald green leaves and alluring lemon aroma, they not only enhance the flavor of your dishes but also add a nutritious boost. Experience the exquisite taste of Lemon Basil microgreens today!

Recommended Products

Explore our top curated picks for products and places to buy from to grow microgreens. Rest assured that all the featured items and products have been meticulously put to the test by our team, or have received glowing recommendations from our esteemed readers.

Green Microgreens Growing Trays

Microgreen Grow Trays

For my personal home use, these microgreen trays are my go to. Measuring around 12.2 x 9.06 x 1.77 inches (31 x 23 x 4.5 cm), these trays are perfectly suited for cultivating microgreens in a home microgreen grow room. What’s more, they’re durable, and cleaning them is a walk in the park, making them an all-around convenient choice.

1020 Microgreen Trays - Shallow Extra Strength Colors

1020 Microgreen Trays – Shallow Extra Strength Colors

Industry leading BootStrap Farmers 1020 microgreen trays! Designed with long lasting durability in mind, these colorful trays are built to withstand years of use and abuse. With a height of 1¼ inches (3.2 cm), these shallow trays make harvests easy, saving you time and increasing your yield. The trays come equipped with 36 drainage holes that effectively remove excess water, promoting a healthy growing environment and preventing mold growth. If you’re serious about growing microgreens and want the best trays available on the market, these trays are it!

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