Scent leaf (Ocimum gratissimum) is in the family of Lamiaceae.
In Nigeria its called Nchanwu in Igbo, Efinrin in Yoruba, and Daidoya in Hausa.
Description of the Scent Leaf Plant
Scent leave is a perennial crop,
It has an upright woody stem that can grow up to a height of about 2 m (6 ft) high.
The stem has several woody branches bearing the leaves.
The plant branches into a sub-shrub.
The leaves are green in colour, with an oval shape,
They are slightly hairy and have a strong scent and spicy flavor.
Thus the name scent leaf.
The inflorescence are simple,
The flowers are borne on short stalks of about equal length at equal distances along the elongated axis and open in succession toward the apex.
They produce plenty of tiny black seeds.
Planting Season For Scent Leaf
Scent leaf can be planted any time of the year,
It grows all year round, it only shades of its leaves during harmattan season in December
This occurs if the plant is not watered by irrigation.
It begins to green up again when the rains begin.
Planting Scent Leaf
Step 1: Choose a Location
Choose a location that’s not water logged
Ensure it’s open to good amount of sunlight
Although scent leaf can thrive on any kind of soil or good yield, sandy – loamy soil is best.
Step 2: Land Clearing and Preparation
Once a good location has been chosen
Remove weeds, shrubs or dirt from the soil,
Do the same if you’re planting in containers
Till the soil
Add manure to it and incorporate it into the soil.
Step 3: Means of Propagation (Seed Selection)
Scent leaf is propagated through the seed and stem.
Buy seeds from the market, garden store or collect seeds from a scent leaf plant.
If you have scent leaf plant at home you can harvest seeds as well as uproot stem from
How to harvest seeds from scent leaf plant
The seeds are impeded in the flowers located at the peak of the shrub.
cut the flower off the plant with a knife or scissor.
On a tray or clean surface beat the flowers against the tray,
The seeds begin to fall out gradually.
Use for planting immediately or store in a dry container or nylon until ready for planting.
Step 4: Planting
Planting by seed
Make a hole in the ground about 1.3 cm (½ in) deep,
Place a seed into the hole and cover it.
With a spacing of 70 cm (28 in) between each plant.
Planting by Stem
Make a hole deep enough to hold the stem upright.
Place the stem into the hole and cover with soil.
Step 5: Water
Water the plant immediately after planting
at least once a day water the plants.
They require a good amount of water to grow well, that’s why they thrive well during the rainy season.
But if you are growing them in the dry season ensure to give the plant a good amount of water.
Maturity and Harvest
Germination starts 10 to 15 days after planting by seed.
Harvesting can begin as early as 2 – 3 weeks after germination or 6-8 weeks after planting.
To harvest use a knife or scissor to cut some branches
When cutting the stem or branches use a knife or scissor.
Pest and Diseases
- Bacterial Leaf Spot
- Cladosporium Leaf Spot
- Damping-Off and Root Rot.
- Downy Mildew.
- Stemphylium Leaf Spot.
- Virus Diseases.
Pest and Disease Control
- Avoid over watering.
- Avoid dense planting.
- Destroy affected plants.
- Weed regularly