Basil fungus?


For the past 3 years my basil starts out great then develops bronze colored leaves and eventually dies
Plant grows about 12", I pick leaves and stems twice, then it overcomes plant and it dies…dies very quickly from bottom up
Any ideas how to prevent it? Fungicide suggestions?
Maybe too much moisture or plants too close?
Plants space about 6"


I think it’s fusarium wilt. I’ve read the only good way to overcome it is to buy resistant varieties. I’m trying one called Nufar this year since it’s been a problem the past few years where mine start out great but them collapse later in the season around July.


Exactly what mine do…great then collapse…that’s a good way to describe the situation…thanks for input


It does sound like fusarium wilt which is a pain. Basil plants in my experience like it on the dry side. I have one here in Michigan that is 3 years old. It almost died this last winter, lost most of it’s leaves, but is making a comeback. It is a hybrid that won’t die after flowering. Also they hate cold weather, if night temps are below 50F bring it in. Some bacteria in compost love eating fungus. I always mix compost in my potting soils. Numerous studies confirm this just google compost and damping off in Google scholar to see the studies. Several fungi can cause decay of seeds and seedlings including species of rhizoctonia, fusarium and phytophthora. However, species of the soil fungus pythium are most often the culprit for damping off. Compost works best here, but may help with fusarium too.


Thanks for info… I found links about compost helping to fight fungus…
These particular very young basil plants only at most 2 inches high are self starters reseeded in a pot from the previous basil plants last year… They are very close together and with all the rain were in very wet conditions…I guess perfect conditions for fusarium…I think best I get rid of them to avoid contaminating soil.


The soil is the source, so if they have it, too late. Use mulch to prevent splashes of soil on the plants.


Ok thanks again Drew


Yeah maybe change where you plant it for a bit if in the ground, good luck. Everyone needs basil!


You might want to try Actinovate. It is a “pro-biotic” which grows on plants but does no harm, and prevents other disease organisms from getting a foothold. It is especially effective on basil, I have used it for sever years and usually prevents what you are seeing. However it is best used prior to symptoms, but I have had success if you pull off infected leaves and then use it.


Thanks for the tip I will have to try to get some…
In the meantime I thinned out the basil providing a lot more space between the plants, then some I put into a little used part of the garden
It appears that the basil is outgrowing its problem… might be wishful thinking on my part but I’m hoping that will be the case. I suspect if it does outgrow it then maybe it wasn’t fusarium wilt (a death sentence?) but maybe a general lack of air circulation and too much moisture in original pot.
What’s interesting to me is this basil came up all volunteers I didn’t think basil left outside

over winter and reseeded itself in zone 6B


It’s a big problem. It’s downy mildew of basil. The local paper had an article on it last week. I had it for the first time two years ago. Last year a few purchased plants did ok but later in the season I started some from seed and they got it. This years plants look like they are starting to get it.


The pathogen (Peronospora belbahrii) can be seed-borne, as well as dispersed via its air-borne spores.

Cornell has an article on it. Read about it here:


Basil in the ground here range from barley grow to grow sort of fast, nothing to tell people about. This year we potted our basil plants up that we bought from a nursery because it was too late to start them by seed. This is our first time and I’d say that they are in two gallon pots and they are growing way faster than any basil that we have ever grown in the ground. I know that pomegranate plants are that way in climates that are too wet, also when they get fungal diseases in the ground they will not in pots as long as they are in long hours of direct sunlight, and as long as they have good well draining soil. We used a about 45% regular miracle grow potting soil to 55% a local brand of potting soil. Any good low to no peat well draining potting soil should do good as the 55%.


Try Greek Columnar Basil instead. It tastes better and is hardier. It originated in the uplands of Ethiopia whereas Italian Basil is a tropical plant first cultivated on Reunion Island.


Actinovate is a probiotic which seems to work especially well for basil.My experience with it is primarily for above ground diseases, but it may have a positive effect for below ground as well.