Basil plant too old?

jclagrecaApril 13, 2009

My basil plants don't really seem to thrive. I have 3 plants, which are quite old now (maybe 1-2 years old). They grow a bit, but the leaves are always quite small, and they never seem to product enough to make pesto.

I'm wondering if maybe the plants are just too old, and need to be replaced, or am I doing something wrong? Do basil plants have a useful lifespan, or can they produce indefinitely?

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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Basil is usually only a single year and then dies out never to return. After that length of time it can get legggy and lose flavor as well as lack decent foliage. Suggest that you start fresh again. The Genovese type is very short and bushy with smaller leaves. That type might be better suited for your zone.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 11:01AM
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leira(6 MA)

Your plants probably are on the old side, so I'd start with some new ones.

If you ever allow them to bloom, they'll certainly die.

Also, make sure they're getting enough water. I had bad luck growing basil until I switched to growing it in a self-watering planter.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 10:41AM
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Thanks for the info. I decided to pull up all my old basil and plant new ones. I bought seeds yesterday. I'm also going to let these new plants go to see after I harvest from them a few times, and try to re-use those seeds to keep a continuous supply of fresh basil year-round. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2009 at 12:47PM
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There are some basils, as I learned last year, that are perinnial. If you know what type you have and have not throw away you might do a search of your type.

If your's are the perinniel type plant some of the annual types for pesto.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:22PM
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If the problem is small leaves and leggy stems maybe the container is too small. I live in the tropics and my grandma's basil is 3 years old and 3 ft. Tall. Basil likes a lot of legroom to grow. Check if your basil is rootbound and consider a large container. Goodluck!! ;)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2014 at 1:51AM
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