Known for its use in creamy pesto sauce, classic margherita pizza, and refreshing pasta salad, basil is an essential herb for any foodie.

Basil is a forgiving plant for new gardeners and easy to grow in high quantities for farmers. As a result, it’s a popular crop to cultivate.

A basil plant grown in the right conditions will continue to produce fresh leaves perpetually. It’s the gift that keeps on giving!

In this article, you’ll learn how to keep your basil healthy and happy.

Growing Conditions

Basil plants, like any, prefer certain conditions to others.

The herb thrives in both hydroponic and soil systems. Either way, the growing medium needs to have good drainage as basil is sensitive to overwatering.

If you give too much water to your basil plant, you put it at risk for root rot. Root rot is a fungal disease that eventually leads to plant death.

Basil prefers warmer, humid climates. If you’re using controlled environment agriculture (CEA) techniques, keep the temperature between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 60% to 65% humidity.

Additionally, you should keep an eye on the pH level of the nutrient solution or soil. Basil grows best in pH levels between six and seven.

In hydroponic systems, use one to one ratio of potassium to calcium for the nutrient solution.

Also, prune the basil frequently to keep flowering at bay. Once a basil plant flowers, its leaves become bitter, its stems are inedible, and it’s time to start a new one.

Signs of Distress

Pay attention to your basil in order to identify signs of disease, pests, and other harmful circumstances.

Plant growth can be the first indication of a problem.

For example, if your seeds haven’t sprouted in three to four weeks, the seeds did not germinate, so you will likely have to start over.

If it has developed leaves, but hasn’t grown at all in a couple of weeks, it’s possible that it’s not getting enough light.

Move the basil closer to a light source, or in an area that receives more direct sunlight, to mitigate this problem.

Look to the plant’s leaves for another indication of health.

It’s normal for the smaller, lower leaves to turn yellow and fall off, as they don’t get as much light as the higher leaves.

But yellowing could be a sign of something more serious.

If your basil’s leaves turn yellow, gently examine its roots. If the roots have turned brown, soft, and mushy, your plant is infected with root rot.

To save your plant from rotting, prune away any decaying roots and replant it in a drier location. Use a better draining medium or water it less frequently to prevent the problem from reoccurring.  

Additionally, pale green leaves could indicate the basil needs more nutrients. Provide fertilizer or adjust its nutrient solution so it will grow healthier.

White spots or burnt leaves mean the plant is too close to its light source, or receiving too much sunlight. Try moving it farther away.

Thin, curling leaves indicate the basil is under stress. This could mean it’s too hot, thirsty, or getting too much light.

Withered leaves with mysterious substances are often the result of a pest infestation.

Black soot and white dust are signs of aphids and whiteflies, respectively. To solve an infestation problem, rinse the insects off, hang traps, or use insecticidal soaps.

With this knowledge, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to grow beautiful, healthy basil!

Our Pure Greens Container Farms allow basil to be grown in perfect conditions all-year round with little risk of pests and diseases.

Visit our website or call us at 602-753-3469 for more information.