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Basil leaves a light green...?

Posted by wolf Louisiana (My Page) on
Thu, Feb 23, 06 at 17:51 basil and peppermint are doing pretty well...but the leaves on my basil(about 1"- 1 1/2" tall) are a light green. Is this right, or are they supposed to be dark? If not..what can I do to help them?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

Is the plant still growing well? Are the leaves yellow, or just light green? Does it droop (it'll follow the sun naturally). Basil's aren't as dark a green as mints typically.

If you're really worried, a quarter teaspoon of PURE espom salts (ingredients should read "magnesium sulfate" and nothing else) should resolve any magnesium shortage in the soil (magnesium is to chlorophyl as iron is to hemoglobin).

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

Could be that it isn't getting enough sun, or needs fertilizer. Use a good organic fertilizer (a "grow" formula), or even better, mix some worm castings (about half a cup per gallon if potted, or a cup per square foot if in the ground) into the soil; that should eliminate the need to fertilize further for 2 to 3 months. Toss in a few tablespoons of bone meal if you have some.

Can you tell us more about the growing conditions?

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

What type of basil is it? Some are lighter than others.

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

  • Posted by wolf LA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 06 at 17:34

It's growing pretty well, I think. The leaves are just a light green, not yellow. They don't droop(I'm pretty sure they have enough light).
The basil is Sweet Basil grown from walmart seeds.

Growing conditions:
My closet(ABOUT) 4ft. by 2 1/2ft.
A (about 1 1/2' long) grow light thas about 1/2-1ft. over the plants
A 42", two florescent bulb shop light, about 3-5ft. on top of the plants(hanging)
A regular bulb light to help keep it a little warm
a good bit of alluminum foil lining the sides, dull side facing the plants

The basil are planted in those small pots that are biodegradable(I think they're made of peat-moss or something of the sort).
I mist them everyday, multiple times
Water them well about every two days
and fertilize them with dilluted Miracle Grow about once a week

Well...all of this is pretty much estimated, I'm not keeping notes. I wake up for school, mist them. Get back from school, water/mist them. And the lights are always on, with the exception of the lamp with the regular light bulb.
Soon I'll have pictures :)
I've been keeping updated pics on my mom's cellphone..we're in the process of getting a cord to transfer the pics to my PC.

I hope I answered your questions well enough..if I haven't, then just tell me what more you'd like to know :)

Later All.

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

  • Posted by wolf Louisiana (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 06 at 19:14


I do have Epsom Salt...but it says it's Derived From Magnesium Sulfate, and in the lists Magnesium and Sulfer...but it lists them as seperate ingredients, not together(Magnesium Sulfate)
(Purchased form Wal-Mart, also)

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

The shop lights need to be closer to the plant to do any good-like 3 or 4 inches max above the plant, otherwise most of the light is wasted. Use cool white lamps ( the number on the tube will start with the letters "CW") they stay cooler and put out more blue light which promotes plant growth as opposed to regular lamps that are more in the red range-promote flowering. Sounds as though the rest of the set up will do well for you.
If the leaf pairs (sets) are close together (the space between leaf sets is called an internode) then they are getting enough light. Droopiness isn't really a good indicator of proper light levels but is a sign the plant isn't thriving. If they seem to be stretching or getting "leggy" then they are not getting enough light. Poor light quality can also cause light green leaves. If all else seems to be fine then the leaf color may right for that variety as mentioned before. Keep the temperature above 60F. Basil hates cool temperatures and does best once temps are in the 80's and above. Misting may not be necessary unless it is really, really dry. It doesn't sound like it is since they aren't drying out very quickly. Damp leaves can encourage disease problems, especially in young seedlings/plants. You can also feed the plants by spraying them with a weak fertilizer (with nitrogen) solution or compost tea. This will help fix a nutrient deficiency quickly as the nutrients are absorbed directly through the leaves.
Careful with the Epsom salts. Assuming you used a commercial potting mix, most already have enough magnesium as a starter. Although necessary for growth it is a micro nutrient and as such is needed in a smaller quantity than the macro nutrients- nitrogen/potassium/potash (the three numbers on your fertilizer expressed as a percentage). Your miracle gro probably has some in it. Check the package. Therefore a deficiency in magnesium is unlikely if you used fresh potting mix and have young plants. In all the thousands of basil and other plants I have grown I have never had to use epsom salts.

BTW did you grow the peppermint from seed? If so it is not peppermint but a rank form of spearmint. Peppermint is a sterile hybrid so cannot be grown from seed. The seed companies still sell "peppermint" seed even though it isn't really peppermint. Mature leaves of true peppermint will turn bronze in color when in the sun but will be greener if grown under low light conditions and when young.

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

  • Posted by wolf LA (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 24, 06 at 23:25

Thanx for the info, I really appreciate it. I think that my two problems are:
1.)I'm watering them too much..probably WAY too much
2.)Only the small light is a CW light..the others are regular florescent

The peppermint wasn't grown from seed, but bought as a plant from wal-mart. Now, the spearmint..which is JUST germinating(I planted the same time as basil) is grown from seed. mom keeps telling me that the worst thing I can do for the plants is to pay too much attention to them..I know it's true, but I can't help it.I suppose I should get a diff. hobby to take my mind off of the plants :p

Again, I appreciate the info..thanx :)

P.s. Is it true that, just because the top of the soil looks doesn't mean that the roots are also dry?

RE: Basil leaves a light green...?

Yes, you're definitely watering too much. Herbs only need water when the soil feels dry when probed with your finger. A soaking every 4 days would make the basil much happier. It's something you have to develop a feel for.

Good luck! :)

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