FriedGreenTomatoes
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i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

I have never had luck with basil! I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Last year I bought plants and they died in a week. This year I tried to start from seed, got one very small sprout then it died. Last week I bought 3 plants. The next morning they were shriveled up and dead. I had watered they we'll before bed so I can't understand how they dried out like that.

Please help!!
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hendi_alex
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

The only real problem that I've ever had with basil is with overly damp soil. Soggy roots will cause the plant to shrivel and die. I always mix a good amount of perlite with my potting soil. That helps drainage and also help increase the amount of oxygen present in the soil. Let the soil get a little dry on the surface before watering. Don't plant the basil in too large a pot for the size of the plant. Only size the pot up, when the plant is so large that it may be getting pot bound. That way you will not have too much soil for the amount of roots and are less likely to over water, or for the soil to stay overly moist for too long a period.
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Susan W
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

It's hard to tell what went wrong, but I am guessing perhaps temperature. For now would buy starts and you can start some from seed. Check the thread below on basil, and that could shed some light.

Basil is very tender and doesn't like temps below 40. We are out of frost, hopefully, but not totally out of 40! Another wave came through and I protected the basil babies. I don't like to have the plants root bound. For one they need water and food more often! I will put 2 in a 10" container when the temps vary, but that gets snug. It's time to go 2 in a 12", and there are a number in 16" containers. I had some in ground last season, but that area may have just been given away to other plants.

Hope this helps
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rainbowgardener
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

You didn't say if you were keeping your plants that just died indoors (with lights?) or outdoors. If outdoors, I would agree with Susan, probably got to cold for them. I have some basil I planted too soon that is all shrivelled like that, from being out in temps in the mid to high 30's. OTOH they may not be dead. If it warms up, they may still be able to recover, if not frozen.

If they were indoors, then it might well have been too much water. Too much water can lead to plants looking shrivelled and wilty also. Basil does not like staying too wet.

Basil is actually not hard to grow, once you get it past the beginning phases. :?
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FriedGreenTomatoes
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

There's two things I've never been able to grow: basil and orchids. I've been able to bring many other plants back from the dead, but these guys have been hard.

Anywho you guys nailed it for me. When I got my basil plant home, I thought that it looked crowded so I 're potted it. After that I gave it a good watering (to much).

Then I put it in the basement with my other plants where it is pretty warm. From what you guys have suggested it sounds like it drowned.

Thanks for then help! I'm gonna give it another try.
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hendi_alex
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Orchids in general are the most water sensitive plant I grow. Not water sensitive as in needing a lot, but water sensitive as in dying if watered too often. Most need to be watered at most once per week. No water can be left in a bottom tray for very long. When planting medium starts to break down and absorb too much water, it must be replaced.

Actually orchids are very easy to grow, though most are a challenge to get to bloom when grown inside. The most effective way for me to avoid over watering is to use a very open medium, so that only the smallest amount of water is absorbed.

I rate phalaenopsis as the easiest plant to grow and bloom inside a house. Just give it filtered light, and water no more than once per week, and it should do well. Of course placing outside in a semi-shade area during the summer will help it even more.
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FriedGreenTomatoes
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

My mother grows some really beautiful orchids! She gave me a couple and they were dead in a week or two! I was really careful not to over water them so I must not have had them in a sunny enough spot.

Where I live now I have lots of Windows and plan to get more house plants. Perhaps I'll try my hand at orchids again. They are truly BEAUTIFUL flowers!
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imafan26
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

I have been battling basil downy mildew for a couple of years so only some types of basil survive. Lemon, cinnamon are thriving. I did get one basil to survive this year, so I am hoping once the weather is drier, I can start more. I usually just start with seeds, basil is pretty easy to grow that way. Unfortunately getting clean seeds are a problem since basil downy mildew can also be transmitted by seeds.

Anyone growing basil and having problems with downy mildew, please participate and file a report on the cornell site where the problem is being monitored. :(

https://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell. ... Downy.html
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rainbowgardener
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Thanks for the link. I (fortunately) have not seen downy mildew yet. People have written in here about it and it sounds much more vicious than powdery mildew. Do you know any treatment for it, or do you just have to get rid of the plants?
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

The treatments are mostly prevention. Downy mildew is not like powdery mildew. It is a different species from powdery mildew and fungicides for powdery mildew are not as effective especially once the disease takes hold.

Copper fungicides and Daconil (chlorothalonil) have been tested and work in preventing the disease but must be applied as a preventive weekly.

I have tried cinnamon and neem and that did not work even with applications every three days.

Some basils are resistant, lemon and cinnamon basil show very little damage.
Thai basil shows moderated damage and can still be harvested by continually removing infested leaves. Colored basils are also supposedly less susceptible

Sweet basil is highly susceptible and if it is attacked young, stunts. The leaves are still edible, but not marketable.

In northern states winter probably kills off the spores, but in states with humid climates, the disease is likely to persist. What makes it more difficult is that the disease is not only in the air, it can be transmitted by seed as well.

I am waiting for someone to develop a disease resistant cultivar.

What is really bad is that I have been to Walmart and Lowe's and seen that they are actually selling basil that are showing symptoms of the disease and people who buy these plants are unsuspectingly spreading the disease around.

Some local growers that were impacted are growing their seedlings in isolated greenhouses. Seedlings are infected faster than older plants. There is a fungicide that has been approved for basil and the growers spray regularly. Infected leaves are picked off, So the growers are able to harvest at least some of the top leaves for market. They also said that they use drip irrigation to avoid wetting the leaves, increased plant spacing and growing the main crop during the dry season helps to limit the disease.

https://extension.psu.edu/pests/plant-di ... wny-mildew
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ElizabethB
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Sweet basil is one of my favorite herbs. I put some starts out too early and they got frost bit. I trimmed them even the one that looked dead. They are all flourishing.. I started in pots which is how I have been growing my herbs in the past then decided to make an herb bed and transplanted all of my potted herbs to the bed. Happy, happy plants. Happy, happy me. I am not having to water every other day like I did when they were in pots. IDK what your problem may be - over watering, not enough light, crowding. When I grew my herbs in pots each basil plant had it's own 12" - 14" pot. Full sun.


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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

I've also had issues with downy mildew the last two years. I get big, tall, strong plants that grow vigorously during May, June, and some of July, but by August its gone downhill really quickly and I have to pull the plants. Once I see evidence of downmy mildew on one of my plants, it's usually a goner within two weeks or so. Like imafan said - you can still harvest the basil for a while, but it will eventually turn really limp and pretty much useless.

This year I'm going to harvest continuously and dry it as I harvest if I don't have a need for fresh basil. I'm tired of having my harvest ruined my that godawful fungus!

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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Mildew has really specific conditions for growing. You may want to place plants in two or more areas with somewhat different sun exposure or air circulation, and the problem may miss some plants and hit others.
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

hendi_alex wrote:Mildew has really specific conditions for growing. You may want to place plants in two or more areas with somewhat different sun exposure or air circulation, and the problem may miss some plants and hit others.
I did that two years in a row, with no success so far, and I've had plants both in the ground and in pots. I don't know if it's something this area has to deal with in general - could be that the spores are entrenched here and don't want to leave.

I've moved the basil into another area of my garden yet again this year, so hopefully the moving will pay off this time.

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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

The problem with downy mildew is that it is in the air for quite some time and the spores can persist. Basil seed can also spread the disease. Lime, lemon, cinnamon and purple basils have better resistance.

It took me two years before I could plant basil that was not infected in the seedling stage. Unfortunately, I am still finding basil being sold at a Walmart 5 minutes from me that has the disease, and if people buy and keep it, it will be hard for me to keep my plants clean for long.
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mattie g
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

imafan26 wrote:The problem with downy mildew is that it is in the air for quite some time and the spores can persist. Basil seed can also spread the disease. Lime, lemon, cinnamon and purple basils have better resistance.

It took me two years before I could plant basil that was not infected in the seedling stage. Unfortunately, I am still finding basil being sold at a Walmart 5 minutes from me that has the disease, and if people buy and keep it, it will be hard for me to keep my plants clean for long.
I get my basil plants from my local nursery, so I wonder if their supplier is the issue. Maybe I could try buying from somewhere else and see what happens. But the issue is that the plants aren't obviously affected for at least a few months, then POOF! Downy mildew all over the place.

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hendi_alex
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

I Googled the topic earlier and it seems that mildew spores are most everywhere. It just takes the right conditions of temperature and humidity for the spores to start actively growing. The best remedy may be adequate air circulation and sunshine. Next would be preventive sprays. And last would be careful removal and separation of any affected plants or pant parts.

Basil is so easy to grow from seeds or from cuttings, that I always over plant and most always have some young replacement plants getting started. Be sure to start any cuttings from a clean plant that has no signs of mildew.
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Basil is rarely sold here now because even the growers are having a hard time keeping the basil clean. I think the growers have been spraying the basil, but once it gets to the stores it only takes a couple of weeks for the disease to show up. The staff at the stores don't realize or recognize the plants are sick and people who buy them don't know better either.

If you live in an area that does not have the disease, you are lucky. Basil has the best chance to survive here when it is grown in drier weather and in drier locations with drip irrigation and wider spacing. If your basil is clean it is a good idea to save seeds.

Basil seedlings are easily stunted and killed. Older plants can last awhile longer. The disease here at least can show up in just a couple of weeks in the right conditions.
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

OK, here's the dummer question.....
What are the signs of Downy mildew? That being early signs that may be treated or plant eliminated, before it goes south.
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shadylane
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

I had thought that downy mildew grows from with in the plant coming up from the soil, and powdery mildew transports plant to plant from air born spores

pale yellow patches on the leaves from downy mildew, it takes the nutrients from the plant.

Powdery mildew makes white grayish spots on leaves..does about the same thing but from the surface growing straw like life to take nutrients from plant leaves.

mattie g
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Susan W wrote:OK, here's the dummer question.....
What are the signs of Downy mildew? That being early signs that may be treated or plant eliminated, before it goes south.
The tops of the plants might start to yellow a little, with some yeloowing in other parts of the plant, as well. Then you'll see fuzzy grey patches on the undersides of the leaves that look like dirt may have splashed up on them. These are the spores; they spread very quickly, even on the biggest and helathiest of plants. The leaves then start to wilt and develop patches of yellow, brown, and grey.

As I mentioned earlier, once I see the spores, I know the plant will be a goner within a week or two. You can still eat the basil, and the taste is just fine, but it won't store for very long and it doesn't look pretty. But there's no question that, once you get downy mildew, there's no way to get rid of it. It's now just something I expect to see come mid- to late-summer.

imafan26
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Susan W wrote:
"OK, here's the dummer question.....
What are the signs of Downy mildew? That being early signs that may be treated or plant eliminated, before it goes south."

I am reposting the link to cornell basil downy mildew website. It describes the symptoms.

Some basil are more tolerant of the disease. Lemon, lime, holy, cinnamon, and purple basil do better. Thai basil has moderate resistance. Infected leaves need to be picked off as soon as possible. Sweet basil is the most susceptible. I pretty much have to pull the basil when the disease occurs because I have not successfully saved one yet.

https://vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell. ... Downy.html
https://extension.umass.edu/vegetable/ar ... ldew-basil
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Susan W
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Re: i need growing basil for dummies! (help)

Thanks for further info on downy mildew, something we all need to be aware of.

Speaking of basil, another cool wave is on its way. Fortunately I hadn't gotten to planting most of the large containers with basil. Looks like tomorrow PM going below 40. Yikes! I can pull the starts in, and get the smaller pots under shelter. Sigh.
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