Basil brings a fresh, Italian flavor to any culinary dish and the fragrance is quite lovely when potted or cut for a kitchen arrangement.
Basil is an herb that is easy to grow and is perfect for both container and in-ground planting.
Basil prefers sunny locations and is ideal for hardiness grow zones 2 through 11, typically blooming in June until the plant turns to seed in the fall.
While pretty easy to grow, one problem that basil owners sometimes face is that their basil is getting somewhat droopy.
Why is that and more importantly, what can you do about it?
Let’s find out!
Why is My Basil Droopy?
If you are experiencing a droopy basil, it could be that it is not getting enough sunlight. Cold temperatures are yet another reason why your basil may become droopy. Last but not least, a droopy basil can also be a sign of either overwatering or underwatering.
Reasons behind a Droopy Basil
There are numerous reasons why you may be experiencing droopy or limp basil and most of them are quite preventable.
As mentioned, when your basil plant gets cold or is not receiving enough sunlight daily, it will droop.
It also will show signs of drooping when it is not being properly or adequately watered.
Shady conditions can also contribute to wilt and droop especially over a prolonged period of time.
A sure sign of these deficiencies is when the basil leaves start turning yellow and eventually fall off.
Be especially careful if you decide to transplant or move your basil, as it can easily shock from the change in environmental conditions and droop.
Treat the plant gingerly and make the move gradually to prevent damage to your basil.
Watch for Wilting
If it is not the growing environment or conditions that are causing your basil to wilt, it may be something more serious such as Fusarium wilt.
Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease that first manifests in a yellowing of the plant’s leaves and a significant droop, which could easily be mistaken for too much sun or too little water.
The problem is that if this condition goes unaddressed, your plant can lose all its leaves, wither, and die.
The distinctions between the Fusarium Wilt Basil plant droop and other conditions are an initial lag in the plant’s overall growth. Also, the leaves seem curled, almost forming small cups before dropping from the basil plant altogether.
Fusarium wilt wreaks havoc on the basil plant as well as any future crops that you plan to plant in the soil where the basil was grown. Fusarium wilt can stay in the soil for years, sometimes up to ten years. so it can impact and infect future crops.
The best approach is to start entirely from scratch, replacing the soil or moving your basil patch to a completely different location.
Also, make sure that you are purchasing seeds that are disease-resistant to be assured that your plants are not vulnerable to Fusarium wilt, or any other invasive fungal plant diseases.
Get Rid of Root Rot
If your basil sits in water for any length of time, such as after heavy rain or in a pot without adequate drainage, it is at risk for Root Rot.
Root Rot is a common, water-borne disease that can be prevented by watering lightly and allowing the soil of your plant to fully dry out before watering again.
Over time, you will find the perfect balance between irrigation and drainage when it comes to your basil and other herb plants.
Learn about Leaf Spot
Another reason why your basil could be leaning, wilting, or drooping is due to a condition called Leaf Spot.
If you notice wet, brown spots on the leaves of your basil plant, you could be looking at a case of Leaf Spot, which is a fungal plant disease.
To save your plant, gently remove any and all leaves of the plant that appear affected. You may try a fungal spray to rid the plant of the problem, too.
You can avoid Leaf Spot by taking care to only water your basil at the base of the plant’s stem. Do not sprinkle, spritz, or spray water on the leaves as this makes them considerably more vulnerable to this fungal disease.
Frequently Asked Questions about Basil
Where Does Basil Come from?
Basil is from the Lamiaceae family and is a type of mint. Some other members of this plant family are rosemary, lavender, and sage. Though basil is particularly known for contributing to Italian food and fare, it actually originated in Central Africa and Southeast Asia, more specifically India, an estimated 5,000 years ago.
Will a Basil Plant Droop if it Gets too Much Sun?
Basil is a herb that thrives in the sun, and, in fact, it really needs at least eight hours a day to thrive and prosper. Basil does not mind the heat either, so it is unlikely that it is drooping due to the sun. However, it could be dry and need some water.
Are Pests a Problem for Basil Plants?
Pests can contribute to a droopy basil plant as they suck the sap from the leaves, causing them to wilt and droop. Basil is most susceptible to spider mites and aphids, but you can easily remove them with an insecticidal soap which is sprayed on the leaves to get rid of the insects. Do not treat the leaves in direct sun as it can cause your basil to burn.
As long as you are meeting the basic needs of your basil plants, including a minimum of eight hours of full sun daily, ample room for air circulation, and well-drained soil, it should thrive and grow.
If you notice that your plant is droopy despite these efforts, your plant could have a problem. Use the tips above to deduce and address why your basil plant is drooping.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.