Re: [gardeners] Holy basil

margaret lauterbach (
Fri, 05 Feb 1999 14:16:38 -0700

>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.
Now that you mention it, Peggy, fusarium could well be the problem.
Richters is selling fusarium resistant basil, and I haven't seen any other
source selling such seed.  The fungus can contaminate the seed and the
soil, the fungus apparently taking up residence in the soil.  Margaret L