My Basil Plant is Dying – What to Do

Is your basil plant showing signs of dying? Are the leaves wilting or stems starting to droop? A change in environmental condition is typically the biggest reason for basil plants that aren’t doing so well. Here are the main things to look out for to revive a dying basil plant.

Improper Watering

For gardening beginners, one of the biggest challenges of gardening is getting the watering frequency just right. Watering plants is a bit more complex than one may think. You need to consider a number of factors when you determine how much water a plant needs, such as the type of container the basil plant is grown in, the temperature and humidity, as well as the type of soil. As you can see, the watering needs of the basil plant will fluctuate by season.

For dying basil plants, you need to make sure the soil is not heavily-saturated with water. Like most houseplants, herbs like basil grow best in well-draining soil. Waterlogged soil will prevent the basil plant from getting important nutrients, which in turn, encourages the development of plant diseases like root rot.

Make sure you are only watering the basil plant when the soil feels dry to touch. Basil plants can also show signs of dying if they are being under-watered so it’s important to get the balance right.

Presence of Garden Pests

Basil plants, especially those grown outdoors, can also die if there are too many pests eating away at the leaves and stem. There are several garden pests that will enjoy eating the basil plant leaves, such as slugs and aphids.

Since it’s likely that you will be harvesting the leaves once the basil plant matures, it’s important that you leverage natural remedies, such as food grade diatomaceous earth, to prevent the leaves from being laced with harmful toxins and chemicals.

Too Little Sunlight

Basil plants grow best in full sun conditions so this explains why a lot of people struggle with growing basil indoors, especially if they don’t have a south-facing window where sunlight exposure tends to be strongest. A lack of sunlight will prevent the basil plant from photosynthesizing at an optimal rate.

You will need to either move the basil plant to a sunny location or set up some artificial grow lights that mimics the wavelengths of direct sunlight conditions.

The Plant Container is to Small

The roots of the basil plant can start to become fairly extensive as they mature. You can expect the roots of potted basil plants to grow to a depth of at least six inches. For this reason, it may be important to transplant your basil plant as it grows bigger and bigger.

A small container may limit the development of the basil plant’s root, which may contribute to the plant’s stunted growth later on. You will know if the plant container is getting too small if roots start to poke out from the drainage holes.