I have a friend of mine who has basil planted in a pot on his lanai. The soil stays moist (waters once a week) and consists of Black Cow mixed with top-soil.
The plant stays in a sunny spot (it gets afternoon and evening sun).
The leaves, mainly at the bottom, are turning yellow with brown spots and feel a bit dry … then they fall off. The top leaves are nice and soft and green but look a bit wilted.
The yellow is telling me too much water … the brown and drying is telling me not enough.
I planted these for him, he is a chef from Sicily and I really want these to do well for him so that he can use them in his recipes. Any ideas for us??
Thanks a million!
Stacie Whicker, Bradenton FL
Botanical Journeys Plant Guides
Although I currently reside in Florida, I am originally from a town in Connecticut with a large Sicilian population. Your mention of a Sicilian chef has made me homesick.
I do so miss the food from my hometown!
About your friend’s basil: I’m going to assume it is growing in the Bradenton area.
Basil plants are notoriously disease prone. Because of this, they are 1 of the shorter-lived tender annual herbs.
Back home, in Connecticut, I could grow 1 basil plant all summer long. Summers there only last 3 months.
A Florida summer lasts nearly 10.
The plants simply won’t always last this long even with excellent care. When growing basil in the subtropics, it is best to start new plants every 3 months or so.
You can purchase new plants or start your own from seed or cuttings.
Summer cuttings root very quickly in water.
How to Grow Basil will provide all the information you need.
As an alternative to starting new plants, you could spray the basil plants with a fungicide which has been approved for use on organic food crops.