Elfmaze
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Need help with indoor Basil

Round one of the "my herb garden sucks" topics. Lol.

I have had a basil growing its about three months in. All four seeds germinated but I cut one that was shorter.

Its in a 9" pot with lava rock drainage sub-straight.

Light is a six bulb T5 florescent fixture, currently a few inches over the plants. 16 hour on/ 8 hour off day cycle.

Besides an aphid issue that appears to have jumped over from my mint plant. The Basil is a bit flush in color and leaves are growing in clusters and misshapen. Any advice?

[img]https://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a116/Elfmaze/20120131120140-735.jpg[/img]

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hendi_alex
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Color looks bad, perhaps multiple issues are at work. I would perhaps play with mixing different temperature bulbs, so as to give a broader spectrum of light if not using grow bulbs. Make sure the plant is getting adequate nitrogen, as that could contribute to the yellow green color. Don't over water. Providing a little air movement might also help. The aphids can be controlled with mild soapy water, rinsed off after a few minutes. If the plant were mine, I would pinch it back hard especially the tip where flower clusters are forming. Also would start replacement plants. If you can provide some natural sunlight for part of the day, that also would help deepen the leaf color and improve growth.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

Elfmaze
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seems the color temperature of my bulbs is 4100K "cool white" should i have gone with a cooler, or warmer bulb?

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hendi_alex
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I don't remember the exact temperature, but generally use a mix of cool white and warm white to give a broader spectrum. In previous years, when using just a single temperature bulb the plant leaves stayed more yellowish. At that time I had paid no attention, just using some generic CF bulb.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

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rainbowgardener
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agree with everything hendi said re lighting, possible over watering/ nutrient issues (those would go together, since over watering tends to flush nutrients out and make it hard for the plant to access what is there). Also all those plants are looking quite crowded in the one little pot. I'd separate them out, give them their own pots.
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Elfmaze
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by separate you mean just cull two of the three plants out? they are so close together the root balls are probably impossible to separate.

The pots are 8" across, only one plant per pot?

Another thing i though of, My house is fairly cold, maby 60* by my garden. Could the cool air be hurting them too?
Last edited by Elfmaze on Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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One plant per pot. They probably aren't as hard to separate as you think. Take the whole thing out of the pot and either gently tease them apart or soak them in a bucket of water and they will basically float apart.
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hendi_alex
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Nursery bought basil usually comes with 3-5 plants to the pot. My guess is because it makes the immature plant look full at a young age, to make more marketable. I always separate those to singe plants per pots. If the plant retains the smallest amount of root, it should transplant without a problem. You may want to pinch the top back pretty hard, if lots of roots are lost. I agree 100% with one plant per pot. If you have way more individual plants than are needed. Just snip a few off and the ground.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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Elfmaze
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OK i cut two of the other plants down. PH tested right around 7.0. I also put some miracle grow in the water. It is nitrogen rich to solve any nitrogen issues. Still kinda yellow green on the color.

Could the lights be on too long each day? I can't think besides getting even cooler bulbs i can do much with the temperature?

[img]https://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a116/Elfmaze/IMAG0195-3.jpg[/img][/img]

Elfmaze
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this site https://www.gardeners.com/Gardening-Under-Lights/5080,default,pg.html

references cool white bulbs a bit differently "Cool white bulbs are a good source of blue and yellow-green light, but are a poor source of red light. They are used for interior lighting in schools and office buildings, and are the most commonly available type of fluorescent bulb. Plants grown under cool white bulbs will be stocky or even slightly stunted."

Perhaps i need to go every other bulb with a warm white? It said for seedlings. Does it apply to adult plants as well?

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rainbowgardener
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Probably the cool white and warm white is a good mix for any plant. I really doubt your lights are on too long. Basil is a full sun plant and it is just difficult to provide that indoors. I have one basil that I grew outdoors last summer and brought in to see if I could over winter it. It is in a corner with windows on two sides and a lamp shining on it about 16 hrs a day. It is barely hanging in there, but definitely not thriving, parts of it dying back. It has two months yet before I could bring it back out and it is still not clear to me whether it will make it or not....
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Elfmaze
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When you start buying this stuff you realize the sun is one heck of a light bulb. It takes a lot of juice to even come close to mimicking it...

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rainbowgardener
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Yeah, because our eyes are so good at adapting, we don't realize how dark it is indoors, compared to even a cloudy day outside.
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Susan W
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I have a number of basil pots inside, and wish I could brag on them! These are new starts from Aug-Sept. All are by windows and have auxiliary lighting. There are 2 plants per 10" pot, and have plenty of room, especially as inside and grow slowly! Among other problems, have a case of the aphids. Anyway, their color is good. They are in a decently rich potting mix, and freshened with more plus worm castings every 1 -2 months. Sometimes they get a watering with fish stuff (fish emulsion). I have found that if they are runty when started, mostly due to cool temps, they never catch up.

As for yours EM, your 60 temp is a hindrance, and not having the plants near a window, and they don't like drafts. They like warm! You didn't mention where you are and climate.
Hope this helps and not too discouraging!
Have fun!
Susan

Elfmaze
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The main point of this project was to over winter two of my hibiscus. SO the herb garden was a second goal. But i do say i was expecting better results. I am in the Lehigh valley in PA.

With the new bulb temperature in for three days I do believe the color is improving a bit. But it hasn't been an over night change. I just want to get it right before i try again.

My cilantro is exploding though! Mint still has midget little leaves, but it got aphids and shock pretty bad when we moved up here.

Elfmaze
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SO when i look at the picture i guess its still not much to look at. I'm still having leaf curling issues too. Lol, worst basil grower EVER!

[img]https://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a116/Elfmaze/IMAG0200-1.jpg[/img]

dustyrivergardens
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look real close for spider mites I had that problem and it looked a lot like that.

greenleaf
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Very helpful :D
Give me a minute

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klevelyn
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I agree

It looks like it could be an insect. Maybe its time to grow a new plant.

I have had success with my lights using 4 foot shop lights. Use one cool bulb and one warm bulb to get a full spectrum of light.

The label will tell you if its a warm bulb or cool bulb.

good luck!
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estorms
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I would throw out the plant, the pot, and the dirt. Start a bunch in the kitchen with Miracle Grow potting soil. By the time they are big enough it will be time to plant them outside. I plant one potted plant, then a package of seeds in a row next to it. I can use the leaves from the first one while the seeds are coming up and growing. Put the tag from the plant by the stem so you don't forget what it is.

jpr54_
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I have had the most success with my aero garden-

I also have 2 basil plants outside that I bought in home depot-
and 2 pots of self seeded pots of basils with lime and lemon basils-
seeds from www.southernexposure.com

Elfmaze
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Hey guys just wanted to update this.

When I switched to the 50/50 mix of cool white and "bathroom" warm bulbs the plants exploded with growth and color.

I am having a bit of problems with some form of parasite on a few leaves. I just cut them if i see it. The aphids that are attacking my mint do not seem to have a taste for basil.

I was having, I guess you could call it a "problem" with flowering on my basil and mint. Every few days i will cut off the flowers and they grow back in a day or so. So I switched to four BLUE, two RED bulbs today to try cooling off the flowering drive.

[img]https://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a116/Elfmaze/IMAG0243.jpg[/img]

Elfmaze
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Here is an example of one of my "parasite" leaves. only a few to cut each week.

[img]https://i10.photobucket.com/albums/a116/Elfmaze/IMAG0244.jpg[/img]

I think spider mites may have taken out a cilantro plant. Webbing was everywhere and I could not save the plant. Not webbing on the basil And i have looked at culled leaved under the microscope and haven't seen any mites running around.

dinajawad
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Help with Basil plant (Beginner Gardner)

I bought a lettuce leaf basil plant in a small pot a week ago from Walmart. I’ve been watering it moderately (when the soil is dry). It is placed indoors beside my balcony for sunlight. I woke up today and saw the that the bottom side leafs have suddenly dropped/wilted. I felt the soil, it was completely dry even though I had just watered it the night before. There is also a small black spot on one stem.

Here’s a link to a photo of my plant for reference. You can see the bottom leaves wilt and a small black spot on the middle stem.

[img]https://i1256.photobucket.com/albums/ii498/dinajawad/2012-04-15132108.jpg[/img]

I'd would really love to freeze the basil leaves only if they are safe to eat at this point.

I am wondering, has my basil plant been infected with fusarium wilt? Are the leaves safe to eat?

Elfmaze
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Disclaimer: No expert, But the pot size looks small. And the transplanting may have shocked the plant. It also may have just dried up that fast with the small root ball. My basil would not grow in the window sill without the light above it.

Give the leaves a good rinse and eat em. My stems did turn brown and woody as the plant aged, may or may not be what you have. But probably not going to kill you.

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hendi_alex
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Yep, I would have a plant that size placed in a 1 qt or 1.5 qt container. Also, would not have such a deep bottom tray as may lead to sour soil and rotting roots.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

dinajawad
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Reply to Elfmaze & hendi_alex

Thank you for your expertise! :)

I have just removed the majority of the plants, saved the leaves in my freezer. I will soon replant the few leftover plants into a larger, not so deep, wide pot to keep it alive.

Take care,

Dina

Elfmaze
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ID'd the bugs, Thripes! :shock:

Susan W
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Voila! THRIPS! I could not figure what was 'bugging' my indoor basil, and some of the new starts, and couldn't get any suggestions. I had tried washing, spraying, pyrethrins etc. (just need to do lots more of same) I will carefully watch my outdoor ones, and come fall keep a beady eye on the inside plants.

They are frustrating as the damage is evident, but bugs too small to see. Then hard to treat if an unknown!
Have fun!
Susan

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