should I bring my basil inside during tomorrow's rainstorm?

bedebeep(7B)April 15, 2014

I'm in NYC and may have jumped the gun with planting basil. The weather had gotten warmer (60-70F) and I was so happy spring was finally here that I bought a starter plant this past weekend and put it in a pot to grow outside my south-facing window. Now I'm seeing on the weather report that it's going to RAIN all day and all night tomorrow and Wednesday morning is going to be 35F with real feel temp at 22F!!

Now, should I bring my plant back in for a couple days to ride it out? The pot has a drainage hole but I am worried about it getting drenched for over 12 hours and then being in extreme cold. I would put it inside on the windowsill of the same window it had been out in, so really just moving it back by a foot or so. I would put it back out there on Thursday or Friday, when the temp goes back to the 50s.

This is my first time growing basil (or anything really) so I don't know if that's a good idea. Would that do more damage than good? Or is my basil plant doomed already? Please advise! Thank you!

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zzackey(8b GA)

I be more worried about the cold than the rain. It will have to take the rain eventually. If you have good draining soil it shouldn't be a problem when the weather is warmer. I'd bring it in until it warms up.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:54AM
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ditnc(7 NC)

Yes, bring it in. Basil cannot tolerate cold. I don't let it get under 45F.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:48PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Hello from the other end of NY State in Western NY/Finger Lakes!

In my experience, basil suffers from any temperatures under 60 F. In the fall, all growth stops once we start seeing temperatures that require a jacket or sweater. And we had a very cold night last night indeed. They were forecasting record cold (below 22 F, real temperatures!) last night. I haven't yet seen the forecast today but do not doubt it got that cold. That is enough to damage more hardy spring growth let alone heat-loving tender plants like basil.

I personally don't plant basil outside until Memorial Day along with my tomatoes and peppers. You can probably do it sooner - your zone is warmer than mine but I would guess you still have some weeks to go before that would be safe to do. Check your "last frost date" and plan accordingly.


    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:06AM
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Like the others said, the cold is more concern than the rain.

It seems like since basil was one of those that might even continue growing with the rootball in water, it is definitely one of the herbs that I worry about less when there is too much water.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 1:16PM
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Hi everybody, thanks for all the info! I did bring it back in and I still haven't brought it back out because at night the temperature has been under 50 degrees. Good to know that it should really be at least 60 before I put it back.

It's doing ok, except today I noticed that one of the stalks has turned brown near the soil. I touched it and it felt hard, not slimy or rotting. I did a search and found that's what it does to protect itself from the cold, but it usually happens at the end of the season. Is it bad that it's happening now? Will it ever go back to green when it's warmer?

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 10:19PM
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