What Causes Droopy Leaves in Basil?


Your annual basil plant can have a problem with either its roots or its leaves if its leaves are drooping (Ocimum basilicum). These issues may potentially cause your basil’s life to be cut short, depending on the severity of the situation. Drooping leaves may be caused by exposing the basil plant to more sunlight than it needs, over- or under-watering it, having bug infestations, or having illnesses. In most cases, addressing concerns related to water and sunlight may be done in a short amount of time, however addressing issues related to insects and diseases may require a little bit more time.

Basil Insect Attacks

Basil plants are prey to a wide variety of insects, which result in the leaves becoming droopy. The damage caused by most insects is characterised by partial defoliation, yellowing of the leaf, and the presence of microscopic holes in the foliage. Aphids, mites, whiteflies, and cutworms are some of the most common types of pests.

Even though spider mites are minute, the majority of pests are able to be seen with the human eye since they feed on the vegetation. There are several pests, like as cutworms, that feed on the roots of basil. The only method to determine whether root-eating insects have attacked a basil plant is to lift it up and inspect the roots.

Horticultural oils and soaps are effective in killing a wide variety of insects, including spider mites and aphids. It is also helpful to spray the insects with water to get rid of them. The University of California Sonoma County Master Gardeners recommend placing garden cloth over your basil plants throughout the day to minimise infestations. This should be done when the plants are outside.

Common Basil Diseases

There are a number of illnesses that may affect basil, but the two that most often result in wilted and drooping leaves are fusarium wilt and root rot. Both illnesses are caused by fungi. It is not feasible to stop the spread of fusarium wilt. It first makes its way into the root system of the basil, and then it moves on to the stems.

The symptoms include the leaves becoming yellow and withering, which is followed by the plant as a whole dying and falling over. Fusarium wilt may be identified by its telltale symptom, which is the wilting of the leaves throughout the day, even in plants that are frequently hydrated. The only approach to protect basil against the fungal infection is to grow a variety that is resistant to the illness. It is impossible to treat.

Root rot is a common problem that arises when the soil remains saturated for a lengthy amount of time. The basil plant’s leaves become yellow, wilt, and eventually fall off as a result of the roots rotting away, which reduces the plant’s ability to take in nutrients and water. Plants of basil need soil that drains effectively and just enough water to maintain a dampness level one inch below the surface. The use of fosetyl-al fungicide may also aid in preventing the development of fungi that cause root rot.

Basil Sun Requirements

When it comes to young basil plants, there is such a thing as getting too much sun. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, mature plants do not need shade and enjoy the bright days of summer. However, seedlings are less tolerant of direct sunlight and require some shade until they reach the seedling stage. Conditions of full sun may cause seedlings to develop a condition known as leaf burn, which results in browning and a drooping look, particularly around the margins of the leaves. Anything less than full light for mature basil plants has the same effect, without discolouration.

Basil Water Requirements

Overwatering basil deprives it of air. The leaves, particularly the more mature ones that are located closer to the base of the plant, turn yellow. The leaves get droopy and some of them can even fall off. An simple method to tell whether your basil plant is getting too much water is if the soil is constantly moist; if the earth is always moist, your basil plant is getting too much water. You should only water the plant if there is a dry feeling around an inch deep into the soil.

If the soil feels wet even after a modest watering or if it stays excessively damp 24 hours after being watered, the issue is likely due to inadequate drainage. Poor drainage may also cause the soil to become waterlogged. When the compost is put into the soil, improving the drainage of the root zone by layering it with two inches of compost is helpful. Compost should not be worked into the soil at any point. You run the risk of damaging the roots.

It’s possible that submerging a plant in water may cause the leaf tips to wilt and become brown. It’s possible that the tip may feel dry when you touch it, and it’ll snap off if you bend it.