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Growing Tips for Herbs: Why Is My Basil Dying?

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<strong>Q: Why are my herbs dying? </strong>
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<strong>A:</strong> Many readers have called and written our office with a common frustration: Why are my herbs dying? Here at <em>The Herb Companion</em>, we thought everyone would be interested in the answer.</p>
<p>Although finding a cure varies for each herb, I’ll do my best to touch upon common herbs and their growing conditions in this series. I will cover <strong>basil</strong> (<em>Ocimum basilicum</em>), <strong>rosemary</strong> (<em>Rosmarinus officinalis</em>), <strong>mint</strong> (<em>Mentha spp.</em>) and <strong>lavender</strong> (<em>Lavandula spp.</em>) and on the final posting, I will take requests from readers about which herbs to address. Comment with your requests at the end of each blog post!   </p>
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<p>Herbs can die for many reasons; a few being location, exposure to sun, amount of water and pests. <a title=”Basil” href=”http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/factsheets/herbs/ocimum_basilicum.html” target=”_blank”>
<strong>Basil</strong>
</a> is an annual herb that is hardy and easy to cultivate. That being said, I’ve had my fair share of dead basil plants. </p>
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<strong>Tips for Keeping your Basil Alive</strong>
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• If your basil is taking a turn for the worse, it may be because of the location. Pick a location that is sheltered from harsh wind and yields lots of sun exposure. Basil thrives in warmer conditions, especially in the summer months. Choose a site that receives at least six hours of direct sun each day. (<a href=”https://www.motherearthliving.com/cooking-methods/explore-the-bountiful-world-of-basil.aspx”>
<em>Explore the Bountiful World of Basil</em>
</a>)<br />
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• If your basil meets the location requirements and it is still not holding up, the cure may be in the soil conditions. Like most herbs, basil loves rich, moist and well-drained soil and the ideal pH range should be close to or around 6.0. Your local nursery or hardware store will have <a title=”pH test kit” href=”http://www.thegardenhelper.com/acidsoil.html” target=”_blank”>pH test kit</a> that comes with a color chart.<br />
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• If the location is spot on and you’ve achieved a balance in the soil, it might be a temperature issue. Anything below 50 degrees is too cold for basil, and the herb will start wilting and turning brown.<br />
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• Keep in mind that the lower leaves which are closest to the soil may turn a yellow-brown and fall off. This is normal and healthy, due to the larger and higher up leaves soaking in the majority of the sun.</p>
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What do you do to keep your basil alive? What other herbs do you have problems keeping alive? Drop me a comment or email <em>The Herb Companion</em> magazine at <a href=”mailto:editor@herbcompanion.com”>
<strong>editor@herbcompanion.com</strong>
</a>.

Published on Mar 3, 2009

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