Does my basil look healthy?

nomnomveggieAugust 15, 2010

So its been two weeks and 5 days since I transplanted my basil and 5 days ago I gave it its first pruning!! It was delicious by the way... but now I'm worried that I might have jumped the gun on the pruning, the plant is looking a tad bit yellow from the bottom and the leaves are folding in a tad bit (don't know if they're supposed to do that). I water it everyday but just enough water so I don't over water it and it gets about 5-6 hrs of sunlight per day (but its sunlight from 2p-8p facing the east... don't know if that affects it). It has good drainage and is potted in organic mix miracle gro (yeah i know, not the best choice but i didn't know when i got it). So yeah heres a pic...

Maybe i'm just being paranoid and its doing just fine, opinions? Also, the leaves are tiny :/ maybe it just needs time?

Here is a link that might be useful:

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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Truthfully? I don't think it looks happy at all. I suspect that it's a combination of the potting mix and your watering routine.

Little sips at a time are not a good way to water container plants (or any kind of plant). The entire volume of the pot should be drenched, allowed to drain, the allowed to dry out the proper amount of time for the plant species.

Since your plant appears to be in a super big container for its size, this may mean watering once a week. It takes a potting soil like the one you've used a long time to dry out, especially when the pot isn't filled with the root system of a healthy plant.

I water my outdoor container plants every day but they are growing in a very porous, fast draining medium. I soak them until water pours from the bottom each time.

Giving little sips almost ensures that you'll end up with dry pockets and dead roots.

Having said all of should still dig around in the pot with your fingers and a spoon to see how damp the soil is. The potting mix you've chosen has a terrible reputation. Who knows what might be going on?

    Bookmark   August 15, 2010 at 11:21PM
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I see... Rhizo, you always give me good advice. I'll try changing my watering routine, it might be that, who knows. We'll see... and yeah it was only after I potted the basil that I was told that it was a bad choice, wish i could go back in time and undo my choice, but oh well...

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 4:54AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

It's all a balancing act. In many instances, we can adjust this or that to make up for a crummy potting mix.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2010 at 1:47PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

It might also need more sun, if you can arrange it.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 8:52AM
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Miracle grow anything is the pits. For all the hype in their commercials, I have never had one of their products that I thought was good, so now I stay far away from anything Miracle grow. The only miracle is that anything grows with it.

The potting soil you are using is loaded with polymers to retain water and consequently often the plant is watered too much.

Watering every day is a bad thing to do. Only the top layer of soil gets wet and you encourage the roots to stay at the top of the soil. It makes for a poor root structure. With that soil you have you would have pockets of wet and the rest would be dry.

Your plants leaves are folding from lack of water and it is pale and in need of fertilizer.

The solution--
Lift the plant and feel the weight of it. Give the plant a good soaking so that the water runs out of the bottom. Mix up a little water soluable fertilizer and pour in the plant. Feel the weight of the pot now--it will be heavier. Don't water again for about a week. Lift the pot--is it light--if it is it needs water, if not leave it a while. Watering deeply and then not watering again until the plant is dry encourages the roots to go deep in search of water. Never fertilize a dry plant--you can burn the roots. Fertilize about every 3 weeks.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 9:37AM
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jojosplants(9/ Tucson, Az.)

I agree with Rhizo...
Considering the soil it is in.. I'd say it's over watered, and looks like it may need fed and better sun.

Most herbs do not like wet feet.

I don't think pruning it caused any of this. A slight pruning when they are about 6-8" tall is good for them and promotes bushiness. (sp?)

Morning sun is usually best for plants.


    Bookmark   August 17, 2010 at 10:04AM
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I have changed my watering routine :) I gave it a good soaking until water came out the bottom.

Ok miracle gro was a bad choice, would it be a worse choice to buy something else and plant it in that and get rid of the miracle gro? Or might this cause really bad transplant shock and end up killing the plant in the end?

As far as sun goes... hmmm maybe u guys are right, I live in san bernardino and the sun is a tad bit strong, but from what i heard basil loves the sun so i didn't think the TIME of the sun mattered. Morning sun is better? Didn't know that... maybe its time for me to move my basil to the back yard where it will get sun from about 6am-1pm?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 1:10AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I hate to second guess your situation without seeing it. But based on what I've heard about the MiracleGro organic potting mix, you might be better off by changing it out and getting rid of the darned stuff. I doubt that your plant will suffer much transplant shock, if you are careful with the root system. No smushing, crunching, packing down, etc.

Your 'organic' MiracleGro won't have the polymers often associated with other potting mixes. It's just very fine textured and slow to drain. It IS the potting soil and not the garden soil, right?

You should consider adding some extra perlite, too, for added porosity. Please, please know that watering every day is NOT a bad thing, as long as your plant/soil needs it. A fast draining mix will allow for daily drenching without you having to fear that you are over watering. Plant roots, growing in a very porous medium, thrive on those flushes of fresh oxygenated water.

If I waited a week in between waterings, all of my outdoor container plants would be deader than a doornail. And so would your poor basil, lol!

You might consider moving the plant to that morning exposure, at least for a while, until you get the hang of judging how often to water. Basil does love the sun, but yours might need a bit of break from the hottest afternoon sun and heat.

I'd hold off on the fertilizer at the present time. You don't want to do anything to encourage more top growth at the expense of root establishment. Plants find it very difficult to do both things at the same time. Roots first. Give it three or four weeks and then you can begin using a very dilute solution of your favorite product.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 10:53AM
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Yeah i was thinking about holding back on the fertilizer, i heard fertilize too soon or too often and you'll kill ur plant... lol yeah i was very much considering getting a different soil, it drains just fine in my opinion but then again i got nothing to compare it to. And yes it is the potting soil not garden soil (oh man that could have been really bad haha).

Ok so i've decided on getting rid of the miracle gro... any recommendations as to what i should plant it in?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2010 at 4:28PM
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