Battling various basil issues

paulsiu(5a)October 21, 2009


A friend gave me a pot of Basil and it's apparently not so easy to grow. It took me a while to get the hang of how often to water it, but then everything started yellowing and dying.

After some examination, I realized I must have spider mites, since there are tiny specks that walk around and I notice some dry leaves hanging by some webbing.

So far, I have been trying to combat it by spraying it, but that doesn't seemed to get rid of the mites. Today, I decided to just soak the whole plant underwater for 45 min reasoning that should drown the mites (but probably not their eggs, so it'll need to be repeated).

While waiting for the basil to dry, I notice that the base of some of the leaves are turning black. Is this cause by the spider mites or something else?


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The yellowing leaves sounds like you're over-watering it. Spider mites are brown so if you see little spider looking brown things you've got them. I wouldn't recommend submersing the plant in water for 45 minutes again. If you correct the over-watering and the plant comes back it should be able to withstand the spider mites if it's healthy.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 10:44AM
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I am definitely not over-water it. In fact, I keep forgetting to water it, causing it to droop.

Whatever it is, it's tiny little speck that crawl around the leave. This is why I think it is spider mite (that and webbing).


    Bookmark   October 23, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Basils need a lot of space for their root and need to stay cool.
The problem with container planting is that they overgrow the container, fill it with lots of tiny roots. So what happens is the water goes right out and the plant cannot get nutrients. Most container herbs that I see in nurseries suffer from the same condition when they are not sold. Yet another disadvantage of container is that the roots will get too much heat. Plants are not meant to live in a small confined space. This way they will yellow, stay dwarf. That is how they grow BONSAI.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2009 at 5:37PM
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Hello Paul! Your Basil is an annual and honestly it may not survive the entire winter indoors... but don't worry there is some hope.
I live in a small apt. w/ no outdoor space of my own, therefore, I myself grow Basil indoors. In the summer it sits in my sun porch with open windows and thrives, then when I close the room down it comes inside. I had mites this summer and did not go the organic route... I used "Garden Safe Multi-Insect Killer" This really helped alot. You spray the soil, stem, and leaves (underneath and tops) once weekly until your pests are no more. It took me 2 weeks until my mites were gone.
Your Basil should do ok if it is pest free and not drowning.
And if it is receiving enough sunshine.. maybe yours will make it through the winter, too...mine does sometimes!
Oh and heres a lil over watering tip: if you put your finger down into the soil up to the knuckle, and you feel moisture on your fingertip, then do NOT water. I do this test with basil and it fits well. Also make sure your pot has a drainage hole on bottom. Good luck!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2009 at 12:07PM
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