Sweet Basil Plant

new2containergardenApril 30, 2010

I bought a Bonnie's basil plant from Lowe's and transplanted it into a pot using the Miracle Grow Potting Soil. I either place the plant on my deck which partially gets sunlight in the early hours of the day or by a window.

In the past week, I noticed that the new leaves that are growing are wilted, specifically turning, downwards. When I look at them in the morning, I'm starting to see little tears on the edges of the bigger leaves. Sometimes they are in the middle of the leaf. I try to clip the larger leaves with tears and dispose of them. The color of the leaves are green so I do not see discoloration patterns. The wilted leaves look like they have very little bumps towards the end of the leaves, but they still appear more green. Maybe they're a little lighter. I'm not sure. I might think that because I notice the bumps. When I look at the underside of some of the bigger leaves with a small tear, I find little brown bits. I'm not sure if they're really bugs because they don't move. I can just scrape them and nothing happens. I don't think it's from the soil because the color is lighter than the potting soil. They don't look like the white aphids that I've seen in pictures online.

Can anyone tell me what's wrong with the basil plant? What are the brown bits? Why are some of the new leaves wilted and why do some of the bigger leaves have tears? Is this plant still safe for eating? Can I discard the part of the leaf with a tear and eat the rest? Can I wash the brown bits and eat the leaves?

I'm new to container gardening and I would really appreciate any advice. I tried searching for information online, even you-tube videos, but I can't find anything that sounds similar.


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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

What would be most helpful is some pictures of these problems. I don't think that your descriptions are going to lead to much help.

I will suggest that many people have problems with MiracleGro potting mix. It is too fine textured, and slow to drain. Always, with potting mediums that are very fine-textured (as opposed to coarse textured) ample oxygen and gas exchange is lacking in the root/soil system.

Basil is a plant that will thrive in plenty of full sun...as many hours as possible.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 5:45PM
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The brown bits sounds like a pest.

Basil like's well drained soil - you want to cut your potting soil with perlite. It's to dense right now.

When you water - dip the entire pot in water and then let it drain. Standing water in a pot will kill it.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 6:33PM
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The problem is probably with the pot the Bonnie's Basil came in. The only way I have been able to have any of their plants live is to cut the pot entirely off. Two problems are: if the least bit of the pot is above ground it acts like a moisture wick drawing moisture from where ever it is damp, normally the soil mixture. Second is that many plant roots are not strong enough to break through the potting material.

Pull the plant up, remove the pot, and replant unless the basil is already dead. Bonnie's do have great looking plants but have problems getting established. I have pulled plants at the end of the season and roots only developed at the top where I had removed the rim.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2010 at 12:22AM
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All the plants I've ever gotten in Bonnie's pots have been in peat pots with plastic "sleeves," but your mileage may vary. I cut off the plastic sleeve and at least pull off the bottom of the pot, if not the whole pot when I transplant.

Basil is a heat and sun loving plant, and it sounds like you're not giving it what it craves. You say it "partially gets sunlight in the early hours of the day or by a window," and I don't think that's enough sun to keep it going. I've got mine in full sun down here in the South and it thrives. Is there any way you can give it more light? I really think that's your main problem.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 8:08PM
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