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Hi I have been trying for years to grow healthy Basil plants, I have tried seeds, plugs and those plants you get from the supermarket. The basil always seems to get so big, then the stems near the soil go black and it gets covered in tiny flies. I keep the plants on my kitchen window sill, as they are mediteranean plants, but this seems to happen every time!!! I don't want to spray them with insecticide, and whaen I used a soap solution the plant died spectacularly (although I suspect I may not have made the soap solution correctly ) any helpful hints would be much appreciated!!

Dovefromabove

Most summers you can put them outside once the weather warms up - in fact my 25 pots full were outside (in the warmest sunniest spot we had) most of this summer until I turned what had not been used in cooking into pesto.  They need good air circulation and they also like their feet to be kept relatively dry - I suspect yours have been too damp, given that the fungus gnats seem to have invaded the pots.

Don't worry about spraying fungus gnats, just keep the compost a bit drier.

I sow sweet basil seed thinly in a tray in early spring and pot on into little plastic pots when they have two proper leaves - they grow very slowly until the weather warms up when they grow like crazy and need potting on again - I put three plants in a 6" diameter pot and they stay there.  Pick leaves from the sides, don't pick out the tip.

Hi, Thanks for the information, I will try the seeds again this year and maybe be a bit more patient with them. Obviously less is more, less plants in one pot! and i'll let the soil dry out more before watering.

figrat
Greek basil, which has smaller leaves and more of a bushy habit, seems to be easier to grow. I find the purple basil succumbs very easily to pests and disease.
Supernoodle
I lazily just buy the supermarket pots and find they last well if you keep eating it. I lose them when they get overly thick. By if you take out whole stems and keep them thin they they keep coming.

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SherlockGnomes

I have a basil plant which I think was over watered as the stems at the bottom have turned black. It has new sprouts at the top so it hasn't died fully, however, all the new leaves appear to fold over length ways instead of turning out flat. 

Any advice?

 

Dovefromabove

Hi Sherlock  is this a Thai basil or the Mediterranean type?

Dovefromabove

I think that if the stems are black I'd pick the leaves and make pesto - don't think it's going to survive. Sorry. 

SherlockGnomes

They're only black 1/3rd of the way up from the soil and they're still producing new shoots on that black section and the tops. Hmm. I'll give it another month. see how it fairs. 

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