Why does basil wither? How to repair fallen basil plants

Basil is a grass that loves the sun, appreciated for its bright green foliage and its special flavor. Although basil is generally easy to treat, it can develop dead leaves that can eventually shorten the life of the plant. Read on to find out why your basil is beginning to wilt and what you can do about it.

Why does basil wilt?

Healthy basil plants need at least eight hours of sunshine a day, well-drained soil and enough space for air circulation. If you meet the plant’s basic needs and your basil plant keeps falling anyway, there may be a more serious problem.

Fusarium wilt

Sudden basil plant drop in young plants is often caused by fusarium wilt, a fungal disease that causes stunted growth and falling, wilted or yellowed leaves. The first signs of problems are stunted growth and leaves that appear hollow. The leaves may eventually fall off the plant.
Fusarium wilt is difficult to manage and can remain in the soil for eight to twelve years. If you think your plant is infected with fusarium, you will probably have to start over with a new plant in a completely different location.
Prevention is the best way to control fusarium wilt. Buy healthy, disease-resistant plants. If you plant basil seeds, make sure that the packaging indicates that the seeds have been tested for fusarium.

Root rotation

Root rot is another common cause of basil plant drop. Root rot is a waterborne disease, usually caused by poor watering or poorly drained soil. Let the soil dry out a little between waterings, but don’t let it dry to the bone.
If the basil is in a pot, make sure the plant drains well after watering and never leave the pot in the water.

Leaf spot

If your basil plant begins to wilt and you notice brown, watery spots on the leaves, it may be infected with several fungal diseases called «leaf spots».
Remove affected leaves at the first sign of infection. To prevent disease, water the base of the plant and never use a sprinkler or sprayer. If the disease is not serious, a fungus spray may help.


Aphids, spider mites and other insects can suck the sap from aphids, which can cause leaves to fall. Most sap-sucking insects are easily eliminated by spraying leaves with insecticidal soap spray.
Use the spray strictly following the instructions. Never spray the plant when the sun is directly above the foliage, or when temperatures are above 90 degrees F.32 degrees C.

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