What to Spray on my Basil?


If you’re growing Basil in early Spring you may be experiencing curling on the new succulent leaf growth. Regardless of in-door potted plants, greenhouse or in your yard or field. These young plants are susceptible to white flies. Whiteflies are tiny, sap-sucking insects that are frequently abundant in vegetable and ornamental plantings. They excrete sticky honeydew and cause yellowing or death of leaves. Outbreaks often occur when the natural biological control is disrupted. Management is difficult (UC IPM on line).
If you are looking for a solution without going the biological approach (General predators include lacewings, bigeyed bugs, and minute pirate bugs, lady beetles) then I would make the following recommendations: dilute insecticidal soaps, neem oil is good for direct use and spray the plant thoroughly. Secondly, Pyrethroids are effective but will also disrupt any natural predators(including bees). The flies will build up quickly. A good way to check if you don’t see the white cluster under the leaf (adaxial side) is flick the leaf and notice a dandruff like flaking. It is a good idea to isolate the plant if it is practical while you treat it to avoid contamination to other neighboring plants.

About richard

Natural whole food producer of nutritious vegetables and exquisite eggs. Farmer of 8 years M.S. Plant and Environmental Science, Clemson University BA Biology, CUNY
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4 Responses to What to Spray on my Basil?

  1. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the advice. I’m just a sucker for the live herbs they sell at the grocery store. I buy them and they die, buy them again and put them someplace else and they die. This time I thought I had it figured out but a hail storm came, obliterated the plant, and as it resuscitated the leaves started to curl just as you said. When it stops raining, I’ll go check for Whiteflies. Thanks!

  2. richard says:


    If you buy it in a pot keep it in the house till this rain blows over.
    Curled leaves are also a symptom of stress, water, root shock if
    Let the stem get slightly “woody” before you plant it in the ground.
    Allow it to weather the elements a little; this is called “hardening off”
    a transplant. It will be a bit more hardy then.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Gary Sigretto says:

    How are you? I planted 8 rows of 60 Basil plants that we started from seed.After planting in rows growth is slow. My question is what should i do to promote growth and how long does it usually take to get any production from your plants.

    Gary Sigretto

  4. richard says:

    You may have directed your Q&A to myself. Depending on where you live and your growing conditions your basil should parallel your tomatoes and likewise basil tends to follow seasonal temperature increase culminating in sufficient growth for harvest mid-June through July here in the south-east. Dilute 5-1-1 Fish emulsion will give it a boost. Also work compost,rotted manure,keep weeds cultivated keep soil loose, compost tea concoctions and keep soil moist but not water logged. What interests me most about growing any herb or fruit is the intensity to focus on the needs of the specific plant. This becomes a challenge when I need to grow 30+ vegetables for CSA and market. Each plant has it’s own character if you will. Basil in my experience is shy at first and vulnerable but once it hardens off and roots well its carefree. Deadhead flowers for bushier growth. Try using a root stimulator which boosts the P and the K available to the plant(non-hormonal).
    Other facts:
    pH 6-7
    6-8 hours of sunlight
    plant 6-12″ a part
    deeply water every 7-10 days

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