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Why Are the Leaves of My Basil Curling? Read This!

Why Are the Leaves of My Basil Curling? Read This!

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Basil is a member of the herbal mint family. It is often used to add flavor to food and also adds nutrition. There are various varieties of Basil found all around the globe.

Sweet Basil is used in food to add flavor, and the Holy Basil is used for its health benefits in teas and other supplements.

Since this plant has lots of benefits, it is important that you provide it with the right environment to grow.

Not having the right growing conditions may cause problems for Basil. Curled, wilted, and dead leaves are not a good sight for anyone.

Let’s look into why the leaves of Basil are curling.


Why Are the Leaves of My Basil Curling?

There are many reasons that will cause the curling of your beautiful Basil leaves. Knowing the cause will help you treat them accordingly. Improper care of the plant, such as not providing the required sunlight or watering it too much or too little causes the leaves to curl. Diseases like powdery mildew and fusarium wilt also adds to the curling of leaves. Aphids and spider mites are among the pests that attack the plant and cause Basil leaves to curl.

Reasons for Curling Leaves on Basil


1.Improper Sunlight

Basil plants love the sun and thus require at least 6-hours of direct sunlight to thrive. When Basil does not receive enough light, the plant’s foliage begins to turn brown and curl. This also leads to distorted and small leaves.

Placing the plant in a shady location will not provide it with the required amount of sun it loves.


2.Improper Watering

Overwatering and underwatering both cause the curling of Basil leaves. When you overwater the plant, the soil gets soggy. When the soil remains wet for too long Basil will develop root rot.

Once root rot has started, there is only one way, downhill.

Likewise, do not underwater your Basil. Since Basil often stays in direct sun, not providing it with enough water leads to curled leaves and excessive wilting rather fast.

Basil is fragile and it does not have the capacity to store lots of water.

The sun dries up the water very rapidly, so if you watered lightly and there is a big-time span in between, the roots won’t have enough water to transpose to the plant.

From my personal experience, Basil indoors needs to be watered every day. Of course, this depends on the size of the pot, the soil, the temperature as well as the humidity and the amount of light, and the size of the basil plant and its root system.

But it isn’t wrong to state that Basil needs to be watered rather frequently. Watering once a week will not cut it.

Underwatering Basil causes malnutrition. It will begin to turn brown, curl and eventually drop.



The two most recurring diseases that cause problems for your Basil plant are:


Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that will cause the leaves of Basil to curl. When this disease attacks your plant, it secretes a powdery, grey substance on the foliage of Basil.

When you give Basil excess water and place it in a shady location, this disease can overcome your plant. If it is left untreated, it initiates severe problems and might lead to the loss of tasty meals using basil.


Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt is a deadly fungal disease that causes curled and brown leaves. It produces a fungus that will attack your Basil and eventually kill it.

There is no cure for this disease once it has attacked your plant. Prevention is the only solution.





Aphids are sap-sucking insects that will attack the leaves of a Basil plant. If the pest is not treated on time, it will cause the leaves of Basil to curl and produce yellow leaves.

These pests suck out the important nutrients from the leaves of the plant, leaving the plant with little to no feed. When there is no food in the leaves, the plant’s whole health begins to decline, the leaves curl up and it eventually dies.


Spider Mites

Spider mites are also among the sap-sucking insects that attack plants. The damage caused by these pests initially appears as brown or yellow spots, which ultimately leads to the curling of Basil leaves.

They are very tiny and not easily visible. A trick to detect them is to shake the plant gently, and if you notice a white substance falling from the plant, you might have an infestation of these nasty pests.


Solutions to Counter Curly Leaves on Basil


1.Appropriate Sunlight

Since this plant loves full bright sun, you must place it in an appropriate spot. Basil hardly receives sufficient light indoors. Therefore, it will be safest to grow it outdoors under full sun or very close to a window.

Grow lights are an alternative too.

If you notice that the leaves have begun to curl, immediately change the location of your plant. Move it to a spot where the Basil gets six hours of full sunlight.


2.Right Amount of Water

Water the Basil when the top 1 to 2 inches of the soil surface feel dry on touch. As this plant is placed under direct sunlight, it requires lots of water. You need to water even more frequently during the hot summer season.

During the cold winter season, you can reduce the amount of water you provide it. Water takes time to dry in the cold season.

Pot the plant in a container that has drainage holes to eliminate excess water.

Whether Basil is planted in the ground or in a pot, make sure that the soil remains light and dries up quickly.

Avoid applying water to the foliage and water only base of the plant.


3.Treating Powdery Mildew

To prevent powdery mildew from attacking your Basil plant, you must place it in an appropriate location. Avoid providing too much water to the plant and allow it to dry between waterings.

Place it in a bright sunny location and not in a shady dark place. If this disease has attacked, you must prune away the diseased foliage to avoid the spread of the disease to the rest of the plant.

Chemical treatment for powdery mildew includes spraying a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide. Spray this diluted solution on the diseased plant once every week until the disease is treated.


4.Preventing Fusarium Wilt

Fusarium wilt thrives most rapidly in warm conditions. Therefore, you must keep rotating the Basil in your home regularly.

If only one side keeps receiving direct sunlight, it will get extremely warm and the leaves might begin to curl.


5.Treating Aphids

Many tiny insects out there will eat up aphids without causing any harm to Basil. You can use ladybugs and lacewings for this purpose.

You can also spray the Basil attacked with aphids with a strong splash of water. This either jets aphids off the leaves or drowns them.


6.Spider Mite Treatment

A natural treatment for spider mites is splashing them with water. You can also apply neem oil or insecticide sprays on the Basil plant.

If the infestation is heavy, dispose of the plant.


Frequently Asked Questions about Basil Leaves Curling


Does soil quality affect Basil leaves?

Improper soil application won’t be a problem, but soil quality will cause a problem. An acidic soil burns the Basil plant causing the leaves to turn brown, wilt, and curl. Therefore, the soil you choose for growing Basil should be neutral and well-draining.


What can you do when Basil leaves have curled because of overwatering?

When you give the Basil plant water more than it needs, it will lead to problems such as curling leaves. To treat the curled leaves, dispose of damaged leaves. Stop watering the plant further. Let the soil of the plant dry up before watering again. You can also prune the Basil plant to revive it.

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