Can I save my basil?

asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)June 12, 2014

Something is rapidly destroying my basil plant and I'm not sure what it is or how to kill it. I bought this as a plant and it's been planted for two weeks. Also, not sure if it matters, but we've had rain for the past 5 days.

This is what it looked like on Monday.

And what it looks like today.

I didn't notice until I was reviewing the pictures, but I want to point out what looks to be a grasshopper in the last picture, next to the curled up brown leaf. Could that be what's eating my plant?

Also, am I overreacting here? I'm not new to gardening and realize that plants aren't going to stay pristine, but it's concerning to me that it's gone so downhill in 72 hours.

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It may be that the plant was not hardened off to being outside. Although it may have been cloudy and rainy, but probably the UV rays are still affecting it.

Also, as it was transplanted, you could also remove some leaves and branches. Fortunately, that means you get some use out of it for eating (other than the bad-looking leaves). Or you can try to root the cuttings and make additional basil plants.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 12:37PM
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theforgottenone1013(MI zone 5b/6a)

I have to agree that it's most likely sun scorched. If it is, it will outgrow the damage soon.


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 3:28PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

Agree, and the suggestion of clipping a couple cuttings is good. They root easily in a glass of water. You can plant them in potting soil, and keep in a sunny window, and just pluck off the leaves as you need them. I did that for my neighbor, and she thanks me daily! I water from the bottom on the inside plants. Actually outside too. Drip system.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 3:31PM
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I don't think the plant is ruined. I think some pests just picked at the leaves. you could still use them but wash well to make sure no more pests exist. soak well in water. I spray with murpjys soap. I could be wrong but it seems to work for me.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:29PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

With the rapid downhill course, I wonder if it's downy mildew which is far different than powdery mildew.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 1:08AM
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asm198 - Zone 6a (MO)

Since it's been a couple of weeks, I wanted to give an update. My basil hasn't died and it seems that whatever had affected it hasn't spread to the entire plant. I ended up cutting off and discarded most of the affected leaves and sprinkled the remaining leaves with red pepper. I have no real reason for that, other than I assumed that anything that liked basil probably wouldn't care for red pepper. I also cut off one of the side branches to see if it would produce new leaves and it did, so I take that as a good sign.

I'm thinking Klovescats79 was probably correct about it being pests munching on the leaves and I was overreacting a bit. I've always had great success with all of my gardening attempts, except for herbs, basil in particular. It's always bolted really early or just shrivles up and dies before the leaves are big enough to bother harvesting. I'm hopeful that this plant will survive!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 2:54PM
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