Why Is My Basil Plant Wilting? Causes And Prevention

If your basil plant is wilting, there could be several reasons why. This blog post will discuss some common causes of wilting and how to prevent it.

Basil plants are straightforward to care for but require essential maintenance to stay healthy. Following the tips in this blog post can help keep your basil plant looking lush and green!

Quick Overview of Basil Plant Wilting

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11 Reasons That Lead Basil Plant To Wilt

If you see any signs of wilting, you’ll need to take corrective action to save your basil plant. You can keep your basil plant healthy and thriving for many days with proper care.


This delicate herb can be finicky if you’ve ever tried to grow basil. While getting the plant to sprout is easy, it’s much harder to keep it alive and thriving. One of the most important things to remember is that basil requires porous, moist soil. This means that the soil should be able to drain well and hold onto moisture simultaneously. 

In hot weather, it’s essential to water basil frequently. If the leaves begin to wilt or droop, this is a sign that the plant is not getting enough water. Being mindful of these needs allows you to keep your basil plant happy and healthy all summer long.

Sun Light

Basil needs at least 6-8 hours of sunlight per day to grow properly. If the plant does not get enough sunlight, it will become leggy and produce fewer leaves. In addition, the leaves will be smaller and less flavorful. 

When choosing a spot for your basil plant, ensure it will get plenty of direct sunlight throughout the day. 

High Temperatures

If the temperature changes quickly, that may be the reason your basil plant is wilting. When it’s hot outside, the leaves of the basil plant release moisture to evaporate and help cool the plant. If the temperature suddenly drops, the plant can’t produce enough moisture to compensate, causing the leaves to wilt. 

You can prevent this by keeping your basil plant in a location with consistent temperatures or covering it when there are drastic temperature changes. 

It is native to tropical Africa and Southeast Asia, and as a result, it can withstand high temperatures if the soil is moist.

So, with a good soak and consistent moisture levels in hot and expected weather, the plant can recover; if the soil is allowed to dry out in hot weather, the plant will become stressed and wilt. 

Not well-draining soil

It is essential that the soil also drains well. Otherwise, the plant’s roots will become waterlogged, leading to disease and rot. A simple way to test if your soil is too wet is to take a handful and squeeze it. If water droplets appear on the surface, the soil is too moist and must be allowed to dry out before planting basil.

Large pots or containers with drainage holes in the base are ideal for growing basil. This is because they allow excess water to escape and help maintain the soil’s balance of moisture. 

Well-draining soil is essential for basil as it helps prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. Waterlogged roots can lead to several problems, such as rot and fungal diseases. By ensuring that your basil plants have access to well-draining soil, you can help them stay healthy and productive.

Why Is My Basil Plant Wilting?
Why Is My Basil Plant Wilting? Causes And Prevention 5

Pot Type and size

One of the most common reasons is that they are planted in too small pots. When basil plants are confined to a pot, they become stressed, and their leaves begin to droop.

If you see that your basil plant is wilting, it’s essential to check the pot size. If the pot is too small, the roots will be cramped, and the plant will not be able to absorb enough water. 

Anyone who has ever tried to grow plants in small pots knows the frustration of watching them wilt in the sun. While it may be tempting to believe that the problem is simply that the pots are too small, the truth is that there is a bit more to it than that. They dry out more quickly because they hold less soil and water.

This is because the pot’s surface area is proportionally larger than the soil volume, so the sun and wind have a more significant effect on the moisture levels. 

In addition, it is vital to choose wisely when selecting pots for plants. 

Metal and plastic containers can heat, causing the soil to evaporate and the basil to wilt. 

To prevent this, it is essential to use a material that insulates against heat. Clay or ceramic pots are ideal, as they help retain moisture and keep the basil roots cool. 

Moreover, when basil plants become too large for their current pots, they can be carefully transplanted into larger containers. It is crucial to keep the soil moist during this process, as basil plants are susceptible to wilting. 


For many gardeners, basil is one of the most versatile and easy-to-grow herbs. Its sweet, aromatic leaves can add flavor to everything from tomatoes to soups. However, if basil is not pruned correctly, it will flower and go to seed. Once this happens, the leaves will become more challenging and less flavorful. 

Additionally, the plant will wilt, making it less attractive as a garnish or ingredient. Fortunately, preventing basil from flowering is relatively easy. Trim the flowers as soon as they appear, and the plant will continue producing new leaves. 

However, one way to encourage a bushier, more productive basil plant is to prune it regularly from the top. This helps the plant focus its energy on producing new leaves rather than seeds. 

In addition, regular pruning prevents the plant from becoming too leggy or wilting. As a result, a healthy Basil plant can last for many weeks with proper care. 


There are still a few insects that can wreak havoc on a basil plant. One of the most common problems is root rot caused by overwatering. The fungus that causes this condition thrives in wet conditions, so it is important to water basil only when the soil is dry. 

Another problem that can affect basil plants is blight. This disease spots and kills leaves and is often spread by overhead watering. To prevent blight, using a soaker hose or drip irrigation system is best to water the plant at the base.

Destroying a severe infestation by hand can be backbreaking work, but it is often the most effective option. You will need to carefully inspect your crops, remove any affected plant parts, and dispose of them. 

You may also need to treat the surrounding area with an organic pesticide to kill any remaining insects. Be sure to follow the directions on the pesticide label carefully, as some pesticides can harm humans and animals if misused.


Fusarium is a type of fungus that can cause stunted growth and leaf drop in basil plants. The early warning signs of fusarium infection are reduced growth and cupped leaves. The leaves may also be wilted, yellow, or limp. 

Fusarium can spread rapidly in warm, humid conditions, and it is often difficult to control once it has established itself in a garden. To prevent fusarium infection, water basil plants at the base of the plant rather than overhead. 

In addition, avoid getting water on the leaves, as this can promote fungal growth. If you notice signs of fusarium infection, remove infected leaves and treat the plant with a fungicide to prevent the spread of the fungus.

Moreover, to help prevent the spread of fusarium wilt is to ensure that basil seeds are fusarium-tested before planting. Fusarium-testing involves incubating the seeds in an environment conducive to the fungus’s growth. If the seeds germinate and produce seedlings infected with fusarium wilt, they will be destroyed before they have a chance to infect other plants. 

So, fusarium testing is an essential tool for preventing the spread of this devastating disease.

Downy Mildew

Basil is also susceptible to a disease known as downy mildew. Downy mildew is a fungal disease that can quickly decimate a crop of basil. The first signs of downy mildew are small, yellow spots on the leaves.

These spots eventually turn brown and die, causing the leaves to drop. Downy mildew can be difficult to control, and it often destroys entire basil crops. 

To prevent this disease, farmers must carefully monitor humidity levels and take steps to reduce moisture in the air. Additionally, planting resistant basil varieties can help reduce the risk of downy mildew. 

This fungus also produces a white, downy growth on the underside of the leaves. To prevent downy, it is crucial to cut off any infected leaves and spray the plant with a fungicide. If downy mildew is already present, the plant must be destroyed to prevent the disease from spreading.

Downy mildew affects sweet basil more than other types of basil, and it can quickly ruin your crop. You can plant your basil in a different location each year. This will help to prevent the fungus build-up that causes downy mildew, and it will also give your plants a chance to recover if they get affected. 

Transplant Shock

Basil is a delicate herb that sudden temperature changes can easily harm. If the weather is mild, followed by a sudden cold snap, it can stress basil even if the temperature never falls below freezing. 

Cold damage can be a significant setback for basil plants. The leaves may curl or turn brown at the edges, and the plant may even wilt. If you notice any of these symptoms, taking action immediately is vital. 

When you purchase a potted basil plant from a garden center, it has likely been grown in ideal conditions with just the right amount of sunlight, water, and nutrients. However, when you transplant it into your garden, it may be exposed to less sunlight, different watering schedules, and different soil types. 

As a result, the plant may go into shock and begin to wilt. The best way to prevent transplant shock is to acclimate the plant to its new environment slowly. 

Begin by placing it in an area with similar conditions to the garden center, then gradually move it to its final location over a week or two. 

To avoid shocking your plant, it’s best to acclimatize it slowly by placing it in a shady spot outdoors for a few hours each day. Once it has had a chance to adjust, you can move it to its permanent location in your garden. 

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by overly wet or poorly drained soil, which can lead to fungal growth and the plant’s eventual death. If you suspect your basil plant has root rot, the first step is improving its drainage. 

Check the pot for drainage holes and ensure it is not sitting in water. 

If necessary, repot the plant into a pot with better drainage. 

Additionally, water the basil profoundly but infrequently, allowing the soil to dry out somewhat between waterings. 

Leaf Spot 

Brown, water-soaked spots on your basil plant’s leaves are usually a sign of a leaf spot caused by a fungus. To prevent the disease from spreading, immediately remove any infected leaves. 

You should also avoid using a sprinkler or spray attachment, as this can cause the fungus to spread. If the infection is mild, you may be able to treat it with a fungal spray. 

However, in severe cases, the best action is to destroy the plant and start a new one.

How To Avoid Basil Plant Wilting?

wilting basil plant
Why Is My Basil Plant Wilting? Causes And Prevention 6

Regular Pruning

Regular pruning is essential for keeping basil plants healthy and preventing wilting. By trimming away dead or dying leaves and any flowers that have started to bloom, you can encourage the plant to produce new growth. 

In addition, regular pruning helps to prevent the plant from becoming too leggy or scraggly. When basil plants are appropriately pruned, they will remain compact and bushy, making them more resistant to wilting. 

Pinch off

To keep basil plants healthy, productive, and wilting, it is essential to pinch off the tips of the plant to prevent flowering. This simple task will encourage the plant to put its energy into producing leaves, ensuring a bountiful harvest.

Find Right Placement

When finding the proper placement for your basil plant, there are a few things to remember. First, basil prefers full sun. This means it should be placed in an area that gets direct sunlight for most of the day. Second, consistent temperatures are also necessary. Basil does not do well in areas where the temperature fluctuates frequently. 

Finally, moisture is also essential. Basil should be watered regularly, and the soil should be moist but not soggy. If you can provide these conditions, your basil plant should thrive. 

However, if the weather or season changes and these conditions are no longer met, your basil plant may drop its leaves or suffer other stress-related damage.

Proper Watering

Watering your basil plant properly is essential to keeping it healthy. Basil is a delicate plant; too much or too little water can lead to wilting. Be careful not to overwater or underwater your basil plant, as this can harm it.

Early mulching will help retain water and reduce evaporation, thus reducing the need for additional watering.

Pests Sprays

Insecticidal soap is an effective and relatively safe method for controlling sap-sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, and mealybugs. 

The soap works by dissolving the insect’s outer waxy coating, causing the insect to dehydrate and die. When using insecticidal soap, it is essential to follow the directions carefully. The soap should be applied early morning or evening when the temperatures are excellent, and the sun should not be directly on the foliage. 

In addition, care should be taken to avoid spraying beneficial insects such as ladybugs and bees. With proper use, insecticidal soap can be an effective way to control basil plant wilting.

Final Thoughts

Basil plants are a popular herb used in many dishes. They can be grown indoors or outdoors and make a great addition to any garden. However, several things can cause your basil plant to wilt. 

In this blog post, we’ve discussed some of the most common causes of wilted basil plants and how you can prevent them from happening. 


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