Re: [gardeners] Holy basil

Sullivan Peggy (
Fri, 5 Feb 1999 15:57:12 -0500

Pat wrote, in response to previous posts:
> > At 03:34 AM 2/5/99 PST, you wrote:
> > >Can it(ocimum sanctum)survive temps of 50-60 F?I have this plant in a
> > >pot with night temps around 54 F and its withering slowly away-even with

> > >enough water and sunlight...
> > >Please help.
> > >Thanks!
> > >
> > >Adi
> > >
> > It should survive those temps.  Are you overwatering?  Margaret L
> Basil, any basil, requires hot weather to thrive. Pat

Basils do prefer warmth, but, as Margaret wrote, nighttime temps
in the 50's should not kill plants that have been hardened off.
If they did it would be hard to grow basil at all here -- even
in the summer we get night temps below 60 at least occasionally.

If the daytime temps never get above 60 that is another story.  I
assume they do.

Root rot can easily kill overwatered container plants and
Thomas DeBaggio and Susan Belsinger in their book "Basil: An Herb
Lovers Guide" mention several wilt diseases that basils can get:

Erwinia, a bacterial disease, has symptoms that include premature 
leaf drop, dark stem lesions and leaf spotting.

Fusarium, different from but related to the tomato disease of the
same name, blocks the vascular system causing the plant to wilt 
and die.  It is can be transmitted by infected palnts, soil or
contaminated seeds.  It is fairly new to the US.  

They do not mention cures for these diseases but suggest prevention
and/or starting over with fresh uncontaminated growing mediums. 

Peggy Sullivan, Zone 5, NE Pa. where its still to early to start
basil seedlings, although the pictures in DeBaggio and Belsinger's
book of an indoor basil garden (basil seedlings under lights 
5-8 rows to a flat initally, thin and use the thinnings in salads, 
but continue to grow intensively -- 1 or 2 plants per inch in the
rows, harvest regularly, cutting stems back to 4 leaves or so,
water and fertilize regularly, continue for 3 or 4 months until 
the flat is totally root-bound, pitch it and start over... ) look
awfully good.