Your basil just won’t grow, and you don’t know what’s wrong? We show you five mistakes that could be the cause and give you tips on how the plant can thrive.

The fact that your basil always dies can have various causes. The healthy spice plant comes from the Mediterranean region and therefore has special demands on its environment. For optimal growth, you need to cut basil regularly, repot it properly and care for it appropriately. You can grow basil yourself or buy it in pots from garden centers or supermarkets. You should choose organic basil to avoid synthetic chemical pesticides. If your basil is dying, it may be due to the following mistakes:

  • Your basil is in an unsuitable location,
  • Planted too close together,
  • Growing in nutrient-poor soil,
  • Is pruned incorrectly,
  • Gets too much/too little water.

In this article we have summarized for you how to recognize and avoid these mistakes.

  1. Unsuitable location: This is where basil goes to die

If your basil always dies, check the location first. Basil is a Mediterranean culinary herb, so it needs a protected place to grow. If the site requirements are not met, the plant will not thrive. Both in the garden and on the balcony, you should avoid the following location mistakes:

  • Too shady: Basil loves sun and needs plenty of light. However, avoid blazing sun, otherwise the delicate leaves can burn.
  • Too cold: Basil also needs warmth. Cold or frost will harm the plant. Temperatures should always be above ten degrees Celsius for basil.
  • Too windy: Wind is not good for basil. Therefore, protect the plants well from strong gusts.
  • Too dry: Basil cannot grow well if the soil is too dry or impermeable to water and nutrients. Basil grows best in moist, loose soil.

Basil is an annual plant. It does not tolerate frost, so it must be reseeded each year or overwintered in planters in a warm place. You can find out how to do this here: Overwintering basil: With these 3 tips it will make it through the winter.

  1. Basil is planted too closely

Basil is usually available pre-grown in pots. Usually herbs for the trade in the supermarket are planted very densely for this purpose. However, when basil grows crowded, the young plants take away nutrients. As a result, the basil cannot grow and dies.

So, check to make sure your basil has enough room to grow. You can prevent the plant from dying by thinning it out. Divide the fresh herbs from the basil pot among three to four pots. If you plant them in a bed, keep a distance of about 8 inchess between the plants. If your soil is particularly rich in nutrients, then less spacing is possible.


Tip: Choose flowerpots for your basil plants with a hole in the bottom and a planter for each. This allows the water to drain off well.

  1. Do not change the soil after purchase

In addition to the right location and sufficient space, the quality of the soil is also important for basil. Most of the time, the soil in which the basil is placed when you buy it is already a bit older and therefore used up. Therefore, if your basil dies, it may be because the soil is low in nutrients. This means that the basil lacks important substances to grow roots and strengthen its defenses. Basil needs, among other things:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium

Therefore, you should put the plant in fresh soil for the first time after buying it. You do not need special herbal soil for repotting. Choose loose organic potting soil without peat for your basil. Also, fertilize the plants regularly to support growth. For example, care for basil with organic fertilizer, some coffee grounds or tea grounds (from green or black tea).

Tip: Do not use too much fertilizer and remove old coffee and tea grounds regularly to prevent mold from forming.

  1. Harvesting basil incorrectly: This can harm the growth

Your basil is dying even though it has enough space and is in a suitable location with nutrient-rich soil? Then the cause may lie in the harvesting method. The most common mistake is to pluck individual leaves from the basil. After that, you are left with bare stems that do not sprout new leaves. That way, you’ll only have something of the herb for a short time. ¬†Instead, follow these tips to harvest basil:

  • Avoid plucking off individual leaves.
  • Cut back entire shoot tips with scissors or a knife.
  • The best place to do this is in the middle of a fork or at the top of the plant.
  • Place the cut just above a pair of leaves. There, new little arms can then sprout.
  • The piece should be about two to three inches long.
  • Remove old leaves and dead branches.

By the way: With the right pruning you avoid that basil flowers. Once flowers form, the plant directs all its energy there and stops growing leaves. In addition, basil tastes bitter after flowering.