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What's wrong with my basil?

Posted by katwomn59 8b-Austin, TX (My Page) on
Sun, May 28, 06 at 12:53

I have genovese basil planted potted in a mix of 1:1:1 commercial potting mix, compost and large perlite, with some bark chips thrown in for extra drainage. I have 2 problems:

New growth coming in with crinkled, upturned leaves:

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Also the older leaves are getting a bit pale:

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I cant figure out what is wrong. Too much water? Not enough? More fert? I know that uncomposted bark can deplete nitrogen, so I have been giving it some fert: 3-1.5-2 and 2-3-1. I also added some 5-5-5 slow release to the potting mix. Maybe not enough?

It also started flowering very shortly after planting. Could this have something to do with it? I am still pretty new to gardening (this is only my second season), but I grew basil last year and didnt have any problem. Overpotting maybe? Last year, I planted it in an 8" pot which it outgrew very quickly. So this year I potted it in a 10" pot with a wick so that I wouldnt have to repot.

Also, I used something called dynarok as mulch. It used mostly in hydroponics and absorbs water. I read that using it to top dress can help keep roots cool due to evaporation. Apparently it was keeping the surface pretty moist because not too long ago I noticed a lot of roots on the surface of the mix apparently trying to grow into the dynarok. So I removed it and added more potting mix to cover the roots. But the new growth is still comming in crinkled.

Any thoughts or advice?


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

Since it is centered around new growth, check under the leaves for thrips. They prefer to hide under new growth tips and feeding damage causes leaf-curl/distortion as they unfold.
Older leaves naturally yellow and fall away.


Here is a link that might be useful: Thrips

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

This is weird. The last time I looked at this thread there was another post saying that your Basil looked fine but suggested that wind was possibly the problem for the curling.

I too posted that your Basil looked fine along with a pic. of my basil, but now both posts are gone! Second post this week to disappear on me.

Phht! Computers! Go figure.

But your Basil looks fine. Mine does the same thing and they're quite healty. No bugs or diseases or anything.

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Best Wishes

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

I think the posts may be missing because GW has been having some technical issues lately..
I may have jumped the gun on this because besides the leaf curl damage caused by thrips, they also leave little brown strips/spots from rasping the leaf surface with their mouthparts....a small amount of the pests on a plant may not show this for a while, but the population explodes rapidly. We see thrips everyday in the greenhouse, but plants are usually treated before the rasping damage, but not before the leaf curling or they are spotted on sticky cards first placed near a crop. For example I got them on my peppers and tomato crops, as did many other student crops, but all where treated before signs of visable brown spotting/striping....BTW I'm graduating this month! Wooohoooo!!!
Very strange my basil never looks like this in the garden and it's windy where I live. On a day the wind don't blow you notice LOL!


RE: What's wrong with my basil?

Thanks Vera and Amino X. My basil tastes and smells okay and other than the crinkled leaves, seems to be growing well so I guess I wont worry so much. I didnt see any thrips on my basil or any damage that looked like thrips. But I did have thrips last year on my petunias. Neem oil seemed to work well, but this year has been so hot I am afraid to use anything oil based. I am not a morning person and cant seem to get going early enough to spray before it gets too hot. This year we basically had no winter so I am seeing a lot of pests that I didnt have last year. I am going to try spinosaid since it doesnt need to be applied as often as neem or insecticidal soap.


PS. I did notice a lot of problems accessing this site this weekend, Hope they got everything fixed.

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

I'm having the curly leaves problem too. :S
It usually appeared on the top few leaves which i'd clip off. Hmm... I'm thinking that maybe it was rain/dew that causes those curls/dimples because it had been rainy and had little sun lately... but that's just my guess. I'm still trying to google it out.
Scientifically, (I am not a science person, but I've read about it in school last time) leaves goes pale when they don't have enough sun light. So... perhaps you could move your plant somewhere with more sun light?


Here is a link that might be useful: zu

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

I stumbled across this because my basil leaves started turning wrinkly too! It's only the new growth. Not only are they wrinkly & curly, they are thinner/narrower than the usual leaves.

Anyone managed to uncover more possible explanations? Do your basils eventually get past this phase?

I am in sunny Singapore by the way... And it has been raining a bit more than usual this week or so...

RE: What's wrong with my basil?

I'd suggest nitrogen rich all purpose fertilizer.

Wrinkling in itself is normal.

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