Can't get Basil to grow in Phoenix?

tracydr(9b)October 24, 2009

I have tried now for 3 years to grow Basil. Container, sun, shade. Indoors, outdoors. What am I doing wrong? I just went to the store again and bought both globe and sweet basil plants. I'm going to give it another shot. Basil is my absolute most favorite mint. If I could grow an acre of basil I'd be happy!

My plan-some in the sun garden, some in the partial covered herb garden (filtered sun), some in a container that can go in and out of the house.

I know it's not traditionally planted in end of October but my parent's neighbors seem to have success doing this in Phoenix. Is there anybody else in a similar climate that can help me? Or any other that can give me help with my basil woes??

Maybe I need to use something besides potting soil in my containers?

I'd really like to fill my freezer with pesto someday!

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nygardener(z6 New York)

What happens to it? Does it yellow, wilt, bolt, stay small ...? How big are the pots you're growing it in? What kind of potting soil are you using? Are you adding fertilizer? How often do you water?

    Bookmark   October 25, 2009 at 10:44PM
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The ones in the house, I guess they just "fail to thrive". They seem to struggle along, don't grow and eventually die off. No yellowing. I think the last two were root rotted before I got them.
The ones I've tried in the ground, I think I've tried to plant too late in the heat and they've literally burned up. I've just tried three more sweet basil. I got one from Home Depot, two from Sprouts. The two from Sprouts (a grocery) are sorry looking creatures, made for "living food" which I guess you're supposed to harvest when you get home but I decided to plant instead. They were so rootbound it was amazing they were still alive (but barely). I took out about 10 of 15 little plants from a tiny container out of each, loosened up the incredible root balls and stuck them in a window type container but put them outside with a pretty little globe basil from Home Depot.
The one from Home Depot looks quite healthy, I put that one right in the garden on the east side of the house (figured if it survives the winter it will have some shade in the heat of summer)
In the past I haven't really added fertizer. This time when I planted I put a handful of bloodmeal and bonemeal in a mixture of good potting soil in the pots. The one in the ground has good garden soil, vermiculite and I also gave it a little bonemeal/bloodmeal.
It seems like all the plants have perked up and darkened in the past two or three days, a good sign. I gave some the sweet basil each a haircut, especially the one's from Sprouts which had huge leaves on long skinny stems that were weighing them down so that they couldn't stand up. That seemed to perk them up quite a bit.
I'm open to all suggestions about what to do next. I stuck the window container out in the yard in full sun. Also planted a few cilantro seeds on one side of it, hope that's ok with basil.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:00PM
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I need help with this as well! My brother bought my mother one of those easy grow herb things you see on television and the only one that really survived was the basil. It grew really well for a long time and my mom put it in a pot and it thrived in our home in Gilbert. Once it stopped raining this summer in Phoenix it started dieing because my mom was out of town and couldnt water it. I thought it was gone for good but then it showed signs of life when I started watering it regularly and leaves sprouted again. Eventually I took it to my home in Tempe. However now the little leaves that were growing are starting to die. It still has green on it but I fear it will die if this continues. I think it has something to do with gnats getting to it. How can I naturally get rid of them without harming my plant and what other suggestions do you have so that I can save my plant? There is not alot of green left on it and Im afraid its going to die. I don't want to put soap on it because I know it will harm the plant but I thought maybe that clorox Green Works stuff, thats supposedly all natural, could help? Will that do anything?
I dont want to loose my plant!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 5:53PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Tracy, it sounds like your plants have started to recover. Basil needs a fairly large pot once it gets going so consider moving it to a larger pot if it starts to take off.

Sarah, basil usually isn't bothered by gnats. If they're fungus gnats, they're caused by overwatering and you can help the plant by letting the top 3/4" of soil dry out between thorough waterings. Some organic fertilizer will help it out too.

Basil is extremely easy to start from seed. Rather than a cramped mini-garden or rootbound cell pack, try starting some in a paper cup with drainage holes and, after it has a few pairs of leaves, moving it to a gallon or larger pot. If growing it in the garden, you can sow it right in place  just don't let the surface of the soil dry out until the seedlings are established.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 8:48PM
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