Why are my basil leaves turning brown?

Basil leaves turning brown? We got you covered. Popular and flavorful, basil is frequently used in culinary preparation and can look lovely in a garden. Despite being a delicate plant, basil is extremely simple to care for if you have some basic gardening expertise.

This article will assist you in determining the issue and reviving your basil plant if you’ve noticed that its leaves are turning brown.

Let’s begin!

Why are my basil leaves turning brown? - Basil plant growing in a brown pot.

How do you keep basil from browning?

It might be upsetting to see basil leaves turn brown, whether you’re a beginner gardener or have been taking care of plants for a long time.

Most likely one of the potential causes is as follows along with its remedies:


When handled too much, basil reacts poorly. Excessive transplanting might shock the plant, limiting its growth and resulting in withering, brown, or yellow leaves.

Basil transplants should be given time to adjust to their new surroundings without being overwatered or experiencing any significant changes in temperature or habitat. Avoid switching the pots too frequently because doing so can cause the plant to die.

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Basil plants can develop bitter and unpleasant aromatic leaves when underwatered.

If your basil plant needs watering, examine the soil and foliage every few days rather than watering it on a schedule. The plant can withstand being waterlogged for a brief period of time and recover if watered promptly. It may not always be able to salvage the plant, though, if underwatering has caused extensive harm.

Please read: How to Stop Your Herbs and Vegetables from Bolting


Because there is less moisture loss indoors, overwatering occurs most frequently with indoor plants. Basil that has been overwatered will initially begin to wilt before the leaves begin to change color.

Check the roots first if you think you may have overwatered your basil plant. They rot if they are squishy, mushy, and brown in color.

Replanting the plant in fresh soil and only watering it until the earth feels dry to the touch will rescue it from serious damage. The plant cannot be saved if the roots have completely decayed.


Preventative measures and avoiding overwatering are the greatest ways to combat disease. Avoiding an environment that is too wet will prevent the formation of fungi. Additionally, plants require enough space between them to promote airflow.


To check for pests, you should regularly inspect your plants. Examine the stems, leaves, and both sides of the leaves with great care. The entire leaf may turn brown or yellow, or it may only produce irregularly shaped yellow spots on the leaf.

Gardeners can either use predatory insects like ladybugs or wasps to rid the plant of bothersome insects, or they can spray the plant with insecticidal oils or soaps.

Issues with sunlight

Basil enjoys the sun and needs six to eight hours per day of either direct or indirect sunshine. If the surrounding conditions are ideal, it can survive with just four hours of direct sunshine. Basil that is cultivated indoors, away from windows, requires up to 12 hours of artificial light each day.

Moving the plant to a more or less sunny location will solve any sunlight problems, and if that is not possible, buying grow lights that simulate these lighting conditions can do the trick.

Varying temperature

Basil does not handle cold well because it is typically grown in tropical settings and will suffer if the temperature dips below 50°F. If nighttime temperatures drop too far, Basil will also react negatively.

A plant that has been exposed to cold can be saved if it is quickly moved to a new location and planted in warm soil.

Being rooted in place

Roots that protrude widely from drainage holes or soil that dries out quickly after irrigation are symptoms of being root-bound. You can repot your plant into a bigger pot if you notice that this is a problem for it in time.

Repot your basil plant into a bigger container after carefully removing it from its current pot. It is not necessary to overly loosen the roots because doing so frequently causes more harm than good. The enlarged soil volume in the new pot will quickly support the growth of new roots.

watering potted plants

How do you know if you are overwatering basil?

The symptoms of overwatering your basil will largely show up in the foliage. You may notice that the normally bright green leaves have become paler in the early stages of overwatering. Eventually, the leaves will start to turn yellow and wilt downward.

These warning indications of overwatering in basil include:

  • The leaves start to turn brown or yellow.
  • The plant begins to falter.
  • The topsoil is persistently moist.
  • Moldy odor emanates from the soil.
  • Brown and drenched roots

It is easy to overwater basil because it is so sensitive to moisture and water, but if you watch out for these symptoms, you are already doing well.

Why are my basil leaves drying out?

Basil plants can wilt due to either too dry or too damp soil. Basil plants benefit from the full sun but require continuously moist, premium soil with good drainage. Check the soil and rethink your basil watering schedule if your plant is withering or drooping.

Is it OK to eat basil leaves with brown spots?

In the big scheme of things, eating basil leaves with brown patches is probably ok. However, you must first make sure to look for disease indicators in the leaves, such as fungus, bacteria, spores, or mildew.

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