The Q&A Archives: Problems Growing Basil

Question: I've tried to grow basil outside for years, both in raised beds and in containers. I buy the plants and they are always very healthy, but a month or so after I plant them they always start to wither, turn brownish and die. I grow lots of other herbs which do fine. Do you know what I'm doing wrong?

Answer: Basil doesn't have any unusual requirements for growing; provide full sunshine, regular applications of water, and pinch out the flower heads as they appear (or the plant will die). Basil is an annual. Like most annuals, the last thing the plant does before it dies is set seed. If you've been allowing your basil to flower and set seed, you've given it permission to wither and die. Try cutting it back as it grows and remove the flower spikes as they form.

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