With its strong green leaves and distinct aroma, basil (Ocimum basilicum) is an important ingredient in Mediterranean cooking. The royal herb has been cultivated in Europe since the 12th century, most likely from India. However, the common kitchen weed needs a suitable location as well as proper care to thrive. Brown leaves indicate a problem with the plant’s location or upkeep.
Basil bought at the store
Fresh basil, also known as Ocimum basilicum in botanical terms, is not a must-have ingredient in Mediterranean and Asian cooking. It’s no surprise, then, that sales of the centuries-old kitchen herb have been steadily rising for many years. If the hobby chef brings his freshly acquired potty home from the supermarket or even an expensive garden store, however, the unpleasant awakening normally occurs after just a few days on the kitchen bench: The basil plant starts to wither and eventually joins, with yellow or brown leaves.
Stressed plants are caused by growth accelerators.
The cause of this phenomenon is the industrial growth conditions for both cheap and expensive basil pots, which are grown in a short amount of time thanks to optimized seed selection, targeted light use, and ideal position and soil conditions. The plants in question, on the other hand, appeared to be in great condition at the time, but they had little hope of maturing into healthy, adult plants. Furthermore, during transportation, sensitive plants have often suffered greatly.
You should take the following steps to ensure that the basil pot from the supermarket survives in your home:
• do not immediately remove the protective plastic film
• instead, only remove about one centimeter of the film per day.
• repot basil into fresh, nutritious substrate
• distribute the plants, which are usually too narrow, on several planters
• set bright and warm
• if possible to cultivate outside
• no draught
• slow getting used to the new location (attention, sunburn!)
• do not pour over, do not let it dry out
• never water from above or spray the plant
Ocimum basilicum is a very sensitive plant that reacts quickly to changes in the climate, especially incorrect care and an unsuitable location, with leaf discoloration – whether you brought it home in a potty from the supermarket or started it from seeds. Brown leaves or leaf spots are commonly indicators of poor treatment, but they can be switched off. We’ll go through the various causes of brown spots and how to easily get your basil plant back in shape in the following rundown.
In the wrong place
Basil isn’t a good option for a window sill society. The heat-loving plant likes to be outdoors in the open air, where it can stand in full sun on a balcony or in the backyard. Plant the herb where it can get at least six hours of sunlight a day.
Plants or avoid exposing the basil plant to direct sunlight for many days to enable it to become accustomed to it. A sudden transition from a dimly lit store to a brightly lit herb bed often results in brown spots on the leaves, which are known as sunburn. Cut off the spotty sections of the plant and shade it over lunch.
Basil plants should be kept away from temperatures below 12 °C because, considering their centuries-long culture in Central Europe, they are originally tropical plants that cannot survive such cool temperatures. Warm temperatures of at least 20 degrees Celsius, preferably more, are ideal. However, basil shrubs dislike draughts and hot spots, such as in front of a sunny south face. An open space with some shelter from the rain is ideal.
Tip: Grow basil alongside covered tomato shrubs because the two species work well together: the kitchen herb’s essential oils keep pests away from the tomato plants, while the basil benefits from the canopy.
Soil/substrate deficient in nutrients
Ocimum basilicum, unlike most other Mediterranean herbs, is a brazen heavy-hitter that should be transferred to a suitable substrate as soon as possible after purchase. The plant prefers soil with the following characteristics:
• nutritious, as high as possible humus and compost content
• no peat
• deep, well-drained (loosen ingestion with perlite, expanded clay or sand if necessary)
• pH between 6.5 and 7.5
If your basil plant is growing in an excessively light soil, you can either replace it, improve it with a high-quality compost soil, or fertilize it more often.
Soil that is too heavy, too humid, or that hasn’t been properly drained
Heavy, loamy soils are only ideal for basil cultivation after a significant improvement with compost soil and sand, and you should also install proper drainage. Cover the bottom of the planting hole with a layer of gravel that is many centimeters thick. In order for excess water to drain quickly from the pot, drainage is also necessary. Too much moisture causes leaf spots to appear first, then the roots rot and the plant as a whole succumbs. Repot the plant into new substrate and cut back both the roots and the above-ground shoots if the plant has been overwatered.
Basil does not tolerate dryness or excessive moisture, so when there is too much moisture, as well as when the substrate is dry, it easily develops brown leaves. The following golden casting principles should be followed to ensure that the plant is easily ready again:
• use hand-warm water, never cold
• Rainwater or well- satisfied tap water
• Basil is sensitive to lime
• if possible in the early morning, not in the evening
• in the evening watering, the leaves dry only slowly
• never pour from above, only directly onto the roots
• Never spray the plant
Basil leaves discolor when wet, particularly when they’re wet. As a result, all precipitation, including rainwater, must be kept away from the trees.
Pests and diseases
Basil leaves turn brown and have leaf spots can be caused by a variety of factors, including the following diseases and pests:
• Wilting or stem-fin-eye (caused by the fungus Fusarium oxysporum)
• Leaf spot disease
• Leaf juice sucking pests such as aphids and thrips
Cutting out contaminated plant parts as soon as possible is important in the battle against fungal diseases. Other than that, popular household items like arable horsetail and other liquids should be avoided because the plants are also responsive to them. Dry charcoal or primordial powder should be used instead. Alternatives include incorporating sneezed seeds into the planting substrate. In the event of an insect infestation, these methods can be used, and the use of beneficial species such as predatory mites or ladybugs can also be beneficial.
Basil plant care
While basil is a low-maintenance plant, it does require weekly attention and monitoring.
Basil is a water-hungry plant that dislikes wet soils. Water the soil every day, except when it rains, and apply mulch to keep it moist. Stop wetting the leaves by watering your feet to avoid fungus formation. Similarly, morning watering is preferred.
Depending on the instructions, fertilize once a month with a liquid seaweed fertilizer or a fish emulsion applied to the water.
Pinch all stems over at least two pairs of leaves to encourage bushy growth and abundant leaf production. Pinch the ends of the stems as the flowers form to keep it from developing into flowers. Break the stems with the thumb and forefinger fingernails to pinch them. Stop oxidation by using nails rather than a metal instrument.
Leaves can be picked all summer long. To promote new shoots, choose the most beautiful leaves and cut the stem completely. To keep basil as fresh as possible, harvest it just before using it in a recipe. Harvesting in large amounts for freezing is best done in July and August.