Wilted Basil — Can You Help?

posted by Andrea | 12/8/2010

Each year, I grow basil in my garden. It gets HUGE and gives us tons of fresh basil!

Then in the fall, when my precious basil dies off, I purchase another small basil plant to grow in my kitchen window.

However every year, around this time, my “indoor basil plant” starts to wilt…and then it dies. Completely. I don’t know what I do wrong…but it happens every year.

Here are a few things I’ve tried already:

  • Re-potting it into a larger pot
  • Fertilizing it
  • Using water infused with old tea bags
  • Taking it out of the window sill
  • More sun — less sun

But nothing works — can you help me out??

What is your BEST “green thumb” advice?


Filed under: FoodMisc.

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  1. Will



    Did any specific trick work this winter? I have been known to kill my basil every year also, and I would love to be able to replant this year’s crop again next spring if I could.

    Let me know if you had any luck!


    Andrea Reply:

    Nope, I probably could have given it more effort, but I ended up throwing it away when we moved at Christmas time! I’ll try again this year though 🙂


  2. Angie C


    You need to trick your basil into thinking its still summer. I live in NYC and my when my basil shows signs of wilting/dying, I cut off the stems, add them to a cup of water (no soil) and let them regrow out their roots. Then I repot the mini basil into a pot. It takes several weeks for the roots to rego from the stems. FYI, I save the mcdonald’s sundae containers, wash them out and keep the basil in there. Keeping them enclosed keeps the humidity inside.

    hope this helps.


    Andrea Reply:

    Wow, great advice Angie — Thanks!!

    And now I have an excuse to get a McDonald’s Sundae!!!


  3. Kristia@Family Balance Sheet


    It is my understanding that basil needs A LOT of direct sunlight. I’m not sure where you live, but in the northeast where I live that rarely happens again until spring.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for the information!!

    We live in Michigan…so not much winter sun. I do keep the Basil in a South window; however you’re probably right…not enough sun.

    Thanks for stopping by Simple Organized Living!


  4. Susan B


    ooks fairly “leggy” and the lighter color indicates that it’s not
    performing its chlorophyl function (which keeps it very green).

    You might want to pinch off some of the stems (which may well root
    separately in a jar of water) and see if you can “bush out” the remaining
    stems. Basil is by nature a very annual plant as opposed to a forever
    perennial such as rosemary, oregano, lavendar, etc.

    PS I just recently began reading your blog and think it’s unusually good.
    = ) Keep it up!

    Susan B


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much for your feedback — I think you might be right!

    I will pinch off some of the stems and transfer my plant to our guest bedroom (the vents are already closed!)


  5. Mary


    Do you run your heater? It doesnt matter if you run it often, or once..it seems if you run it at all, it gets wilted (at least for me). My mother does not have central air so she does not have this problem, but I do. She recommended placing it near a window that is least affected by the heater…perhaps a guest room who’s vent always remains closed (cost saving measure as well).

    I have yet to try it because she has overwhelmed me with basil so I have not had the need for a plant yet. Let me know if that helps.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Mary!

    Yes, we live in Michigan so we definitely run our heater!! We usually don’t turn our heat on until November 1 so it’s been on for about a month now…which would probably explain why my Basil dies every year around this time!

    I guess I’ll just stick to growing it in the summer months!
    Thanks for your tips 🙂