I'm growing Basil indoors hydroponically. Most of my plants look fine (other than them tipping over because I used too small net cups and/or didn't pin them in), but some of the stems appear to be cracking and turning brown (picture below).

Is this because of some particular stress/infection? Should I do something particular to care for it? Is it normal?

  • Couple of queries - what are the small dots I can see on the branch off the central stem to the left in the picture, and what are the things that look like amber coloured droplets on the stem branching to the right? Is the plant oozing discolored sap?
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 13:16
  • I think they are roots trying to form?
    – Nick T
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 13:19
  • Maybe the dots on the left, but that doesn't explain the amber droplets...
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 13:55
  • Oh, I think that's a leaf with some browning edges and the angle just so
    – Nick T
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 14:01
  • Okay - but if they really are adventitious roots trying to form, the plant is stressed and looking for another place to put down roots in an attempt to live... might be age related, though you've not said how old the plants are. They are only annuals in reality.
    – Bamboo
    Commented May 31, 2015 at 14:04

1 Answer 1


It appears to be normal. In climates (or in your case, artificial climates) where basil is allowed to grow for more than three months or so it begins to turn into a small woody shrub. I think that is what is happening to your plant.

October update: Just harvested my whole plant to get it in before the frost. The base of the main stems are cracked and woody much like your plant. It's what basil does when it gets old.

  • Yes - if efficient production is desired, should not (IME) be grown overlong before harvesting the whole plant and starting over.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 13:49
  • I have a 2 years old basil plant indoors, now it's more like a tree, but most of the fresh stems are still green and still producing heavily. No reason to start over until the plant dies
    – Tofandel
    Commented Mar 12 at 13:48

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