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About a month ago I split my basil plant in half since I wanted to give some basil to a friend. I had never split a plant before. During the summer and fall months I kept my plants outside on my balcony, but since it has been getting colder I brought it inside about the same time that I split it. I have been noticing that both of my plants are losing lots of their leaves and wilting over and starting to lay down. I placed them in front of my window, but I am not sure how much sun they get since my window faces east and I am gone most of the day. I also am watering my plants about every other day. What am I doing wrong? Is there any hope in saving my poor plants?

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    Photos, please: You are describing the symptoms well, but in this case, a picture is worth a thousand words. – Stephie Dec 10 '15 at 10:17
  • I did this to my basil it didn't done good things. Goodbye basil. – Onie Maniego Dec 18 '15 at 6:27
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You can't actually "split" a basil plant as they grow from one stem. What you probably had is a pot of seedlings / small plants like they are sold in grocery stores or garden centers for cooking. Please see this post for more details.

As for the collapsing, I see a few potential causes, but without pictures it is almost impossible to say for sure what causes it:

  • frost / cold temperatures
    Are you sure they weren't exposed to frost? But this usually finishes them off rather quickly.
  • etiolation
    meaning lanky growth due to lack of light, eventually toppling over
  • some fungus (check the stems, basil can be susceptible) or pests (check the underside of the leaves)
  • and finally: The end of the life-cycle.
    Basil is an annual which will die after flowering/seeding.
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    Agreed, I think this is more of a time of year issue. Even in a full southerly facing window, the time of day is significantly shortened right now. All of my basil is also suffering the winter doldrums (word borrowed from sailing condition of no wind) – Escoce Dec 10 '15 at 14:23
  • My basil plants flowered over the summer. I pruned them back a lot and they're still going strong. I'm not sure I agree with the "end of life-cycle" thing. – Tom Dec 10 '15 at 16:56
  • The poor state of the plants may also be partly due to transplant shock... @Tom. I've had the same Sweet Basil plants growing indoor in pots (w/ some time outdoors in good weather) for over two years now. Each plant has flowered at least twice. I usually trim back the flower stalks to encourage foliage growth instead. That is not to say of course that they will survive indefinitely & still be as productive as when younger. – renesis Dec 10 '15 at 17:45

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