Basil stem turning into wood

sepandeeSeptember 28, 2009

So after a very successful summer with my basil, most of the plants are now starting to have a very thick, woody stems. Does that mean that my basil plants are dying and I should harvest everything? Or does this just mean slower growth and my plants will still give me more basil if I move them indoors (it's getting cold outside)?

Thanks

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boothc9

The plant is hardening off because the temperatures are dropping. It's simply protecting itself. Production in the winter is slow but still existent.

Bring it indoors and make sure it gets a good amount of light throughout the winter. If you're lucky, they will last through spring and you can put them back outside for another summer of basil.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 10:53AM
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sepandee

Thanks. I can't bring them inside unfortunately. Last year I did that and after a month my apartment was filled with gnats (or some bug that looks like gnats). And this year, a few weeks ago, I could see those pesky things, and their eggs, every time I watered the plants. So I'm assuming if I bring them in it'll be like last year or even worse, considering that I have twice as many pots and plants.

I don't know why I keep getting these bugs. I might just grow some new basil during the winter. My apartment gets loads of sun.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 11:08AM
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psyguy10(8)

Sepandee, the stems turning brown is simply natural aging. In the wild Basil grows into a small shrub-like plant with the lower branches having a woody texture.

Getting rid of fungus gnats (which is probably what you had) is easy.

When I had gnats i simply halted water for a longer period, that got rid of them pretty fast.
If you decide to NOT bring your Basil in, just remember, it's easy and fun to grow from seeds! (especially of your own plants)

Good luck & happy growing!

Here is a link that might be useful: Getting rid of fungus gnats

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 6:27PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Gnats can be controlled in two ways. Yellow sticky traps are used and set down horozontally just above the surface of the soil. They lay eggs and these hatch into fungus maggots that destroy tender roots. Use a form of Bt for controling the maggots. Simply drowninbg with water isnt ver effective and can cause yellowing of leaves. Indoors, the nasty tiny bugs can infest every single indoor plant in no time. As an extra control, there is also a benefical nematode that is watered into the soil and these micoscopic creatures seek out the maggots and any other stages and quickly consume them, creatiing more Bt in the process. Kind of like what milky spore does to Japanese beetles.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2009 at 10:32PM
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Daisyduckworth(Aust)

Basil is a woody shrub, not unlike lavender and rosemary, both of which have stems which harden with age. It's only the young and tender new growth which has soft stems.

The solution to gnats and other bugs is to grow your plants outside where they are protected to a large extent by predator bugs - and where your plants will be healthier and therefore less susceptible to bug-attack. The sickest plants attract the most bugs.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 4:42AM
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sepandee

"The solution to gnats and other bugs is to grow your plants outside where they are protected to a large extent by predator bugs - and where your plants will be healthier and therefore less susceptible to bug-attack."

Like I said, my plants are outside, as they were last year, and are already filled with gnats. I don't mind them to be honest. They ahven't done any damages to my plants. It's bringing the plants inside that causes the problems. I really don't enjoy sharing my shower with 5 gnats.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 12:02PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Her, fungus gnats thrive outdoors and if plants are outside all summer, then brought indoors, this will carry the infestation indoors where it will get into all indoor plants. The gnats don't really have much in the way of preditors outside, unless there Bt applied to soil as well as benefical nematodes that also live in the soil. I see no outdoor 'bugs' that attack the tiny gnats. There are beneficial insects used outside, but most are for controlling caterpillers and a few other destructive bugs, and have little to no protection for the gnats and their maggots. The maggots are the culprits that do damages to plants, as they feed off tender roots. This can weaken and kill plants. Ever see indoor plants die for no apparent reason? Its usually caused by the fungus maggots and not the gnats, who simply lay their eggs everywhere.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2009 at 12:22PM
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jobob10_msn_com

I have new plants , planted in late May.. THe stems are turning into wood.. They arent that old... what is the cause of this? I was hoping to take it in in the fall and keep all winter..

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 11:27AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Basil is an annual. It is geared to survive one growing season. I hear taking cuttings can stretch out your basil's life.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 9:23AM
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