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Basil Killer

by Meghann on May 23, 2012

Does anyone know anything about Basil plants?


My aunt gave me one last time I was home. She grew it from a wee seed to a baby plant, then handed it over to me. Little did my aunt know that I have a black thumb and have been unintentionally killing it ever since. The once green and vibrant leaves are starting to dull and wither. πŸ™

Right now we have it on the porch (out of the extreme direct sunlight since that + the heat seemed to be killing it) and are hoping for the best. πŸ™‚

Last time I was home my dad told me he had stopped buying the steam-in-a-bag vegetables since him and my mom couldn’t finish a bag between the two of them. What?! I told him I found that strange since I can eat an entire bag by myself.


Just call me the veggie queen. πŸ™‚ Though it doesn’t look like much in the photo (who do photos always do that?!) a full bag of an asian influenced vegetable medley mix (with my own addition of soy sauce) made up half of my lunch today. Yum.   


The other half consisted of the last of Monday night’s Publix sushi.


I thought the soy sauce on the vegetables was a nice touch. It brought in the asian flavors from the sushi into the mix and gave the vegetables a little somethin’ extra without weighing them down. It was a great, easy lunch. πŸ™‚

For all the Fifty Shades fans out there… I thought you would enjoy this πŸ˜‰   

1 Heather May 23, 2012 at 2:02 pm

the end.
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2 Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 23, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Um I just got a basil plant yesterday and somehow managed to kill it within a 2-hour time span. No, really. I don’t understand what the heck I did. Advice from anyone would be appreciated! πŸ˜‰
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3 Sana May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I would just get fresh basil from the store! Less work!
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4 Cait's Plate May 23, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I think I have a black thumb as well which is why I’ve always resisted taking on plants. Haha. Yours looks way more alive than mine ever would!
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5 Jillian May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I’m so surprised that your basil doesn’t stay alive. We couldn’t kill our basil if we wanted to. It lives through everything! Ours is outside on our porch, it gets a ton of sun and we water it once a day (but we forget sometimes) and it thrives. No clue why!

P.S. I can down a pound of brussel sprouts easy.

6 Christine May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm

In my (and my mom’s) experience with basil plants, they prefer lots of sun and lots of water (note: I’m in Wisconsin so our sun and heat is a bit less intense than yours). My mom usually grows hers from seed in her vegetable garden – but she has had some years where conditions weren’t right and the basil didn’t do much. I am in my second year of growing basil in pots in my apartment. I think the key with pots is making sure that the pot is large enough for the plant to continue to grow and make sure that they get lots of water. I also use Miracle Grow once a week as well. I haven’t had any issue with growing basil thus far, but I have killed a few plants in the couple years I’ve had them, so no one’s perfect. Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions! πŸ™‚

7 Sarah May 23, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I was going to suggest a bit of fertilizer too like Christine mentioned. If the pot is rather small and/or the soil poor, then as it grows it’ll use up all the available nutrients. They’ll turn a bit dull and yellow when that’s happening. I’d recommend an organic fertilizer and make sure Maddie doesn’t get into it!

Never harvest more than 1/3 of the plant at one time.

And lastly, don’t over-water. Let the soil get nearly dry before watering again. They don’t like to sit in soggy soil continuously.

8 Annette @FitnessPerks May 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Yikes…black thumb around here too–so you don’t want my advice! Good luck πŸ™‚
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9 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More May 23, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I finish veggies way too quickly! I can hardly buy enough at the grocery store it seems! mmm…sushi!
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10 Grace @ Grace Dishes May 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

I’m not sure about basil plants but hopefully you find out how to save it! I’m thinking of starting an herb garden for myself!

I love publix sushi as a go-to last minute dinner idea! It’s always freshly made and they have brown rice options!
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11 Maura @ My Healthy 'Ohana May 23, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I don’t have a green thumb, but basil is one thing that grows well in my garden! We have ours out in direct sunlight for most of the day, and I water it once or twice a day. It seems to like lots of sun and water πŸ™‚
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12 wymberley May 23, 2012 at 3:26 pm

I saw a pin on pinterest about basil. take some bottom leaves and keep the stems submerged in water, they will grow roots to keep your plant growing. Basil does not last long…its not your fault!
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13 Amanda May 23, 2012 at 3:33 pm

It’s awesome to have your own basil because it will really take off!! Then you’ll have tons of leaves. Good move taking it out of the direct sunlight. We had some that didn’t look so good when it was getting about 10-12 hours of direct sunlight. We moved it to a spot where it gets closer to 6 hrs of sun and it perked up.
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14 Faith @ For the Health of It May 23, 2012 at 3:38 pm

When I was a kid, my grandma and mom got basil plants from the same store on the same day. My grandma meticulously tended to hers while my mom plopped it on the back porch, forgot about it and let the dog pee on it. Guess which one ended up living the longest!?!

15 Ryan May 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Looks like fusarium wilt to me. It’s common in basil plants and unfortunately there is nothing you can do to save it once the plant is infected. It’s a soilborne disease so in the future try to water low, near the soil so it doesn’t splash up on the plant and wash that pot really well before you use it again. It’s likely that the seed came from an infected plant, though, so don’t worry too much!

16 Sneakers2sandals May 23, 2012 at 4:20 pm

Hahah I’m cracking up because my mother in law gave me a basil plant at mothers day weekend and I already killed it πŸ™‚
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17 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

I totally have a black thumb of death also. I always see bloggers who grow all kinds of herbs and veggies, and I can’t even keep an un-killable jade plant alive at my office!
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18 Michelle May 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Everyone tells me that basil is SO HARD to kill, but I am currently achieving the impossible. Basically, it needs a lot of sun, a lot of room, and water on a daily basis. And yet, I’ve managed to eff it up. You are not alone my friend.

19 Talia @ Bite Size Wellness May 23, 2012 at 4:41 pm

I’m never in charge of plants in my house. I always kill them…unintentionally of course! Black thumb here too. The only thing I can keep alive is my bamboo and well, we know how much care that needs. haha.
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20 Nikki May 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I am not sure… I am fighting to keep a few herbs alive here myself! I will take the recommendation from one of the other commenters and start watering lower… As a few of my other herbs are like that, and my basil is wilted looking!:(
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21 Sloane @ Life Food and Beer May 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This year is the first time in over 5 years I have not killed my Basil plant (He isn’t dead yet anyways) I have him on my porch where he gets about 4 hours of full sun and when it starts to welt I give it some water and he perks up. I also sprinkled in some plant food. I think I used Miracle Grow? How often do you water it? Also, a trick I learned to fight off bugs, mix hand soap with water in a spray bottle and stray the leaves with the soapy water.

22 Jen May 23, 2012 at 5:02 pm

When I grew basil in a pot on my balcony I found out that you also need to keep cutting the bigger leaves off to encourage growth and pinch back any flowers. I usually keep mine in direct sunlight, but I’m in Ohio and I’m sure that makes a difference

23 Reenie May 23, 2012 at 5:16 pm

I have my basil, and other herbs on my deck ~ they get part sun/part shade. I’m in KS and we have already had high (80’s) temps for this time of year. So, I have been watering them every day. And they are doing just fine =)

24 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm

I can totally eat a whole bag of steamed veggies myself!!
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25 Silvia @skinny jeans food May 23, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Is that a photos of the ‘dying’ basil plant? If yes, it looks good to me.

One tip that has not mentioned before (i.e. lots of sun, keep it water if it is hot outside) is that basil grows a lot better if you nip off the top leaves for smaller plants like this. It basically grows back stronger and longer with more side branches. If that is indeed a photo of the basil in question, time to snip off the top part of each stem (cut the stem, right under the 4-5 small leaves ), and use up the leaves.
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26 Jamie May 23, 2012 at 5:53 pm

aaaak, the leftover sushi is making me cringe….i might eat it one day leftover, but two? Sorry, I am not trying to criticize/attack you, but that is flirting with disaster, icydk.

otherwise, veggies look nice!

27 BroccoliHut May 23, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I am think I have a black thumb too–I planted herbs a few weeks ago, and they’re just not cooperating. I am convinced that birds are eating them…
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28 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama May 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

No clue how basil thrives. We leave ours alone and it does great!
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29 Georgia May 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Basil is one of the few things I seem to be able to grow (magic?! πŸ˜› ). I suggest putting it in a place that gets a reasonable amount of sun, but perhaps not in full, direct sunlight. Also, my basil seems to LOVE being near my citrus. If you have an orange or lemon tree growing, I would suggest moving your basil to nearby (I actually plant my basil in with my dwarf orange).
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30 Mari May 24, 2012 at 1:21 am

I read your blog daily but rarely comment…Just wanted to reiterate what someone said above, in the future I would definitely not consume sushi after 24 hours. You can google it to see info on how long it stays good for and within 24 hrs is the general rule of thumb. Just looking out for ya girl!!

31 Aubrey May 24, 2012 at 1:55 am

Put him in a bigger pot with rocks in the bottom for drainage, and don’t water too frequently. Just test the soil with your finger to see how dry it is. You’ll have pesto in your freezer though winter once you get the hang of it! πŸ˜‰ Be sure to google how to prune it before it starts to flower!
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32 Carly Thurman May 24, 2012 at 10:14 am

My basil plant just died too. I think I pretty much have to water it everyday and that is just too much work for me! Good luck! I think I’m sticking with the heartier herbs.
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33 Karen Tannehill May 24, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Visit my blog and look up the one about Bountiful Basil…or Perfect Pesto…or something like that. You have to treat it sort of rough in order for it to keep growing back. I just found out the same rules apply to Cilantro!

34 Krista @ Can't Survive on Yarn Alone May 25, 2012 at 7:11 pm

I swear by moisture control potting mix. Several brands make it. It basically helps if you underwater or overwater.

One thing w the basil if it survives, snip off the flowerbud/flowers or the basil gets more bitter.
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