I got this basil from a friend when it was about half this size. It was a bit spindly and looked like it wasn't pruned enough. Since then I cut it regularly and it got some branches and the base even began to grow out some.

I'm in Arizona, so the winter was mild with no frost, and it gets full sun. About a month ago it decided to flower, and I can't keep up pulling off all the buds. In that time it hasn't grown at all, and now the leaves are small and yellowing, and falling off lower down.

I give it water about twice a week since it gets pretty hot and dry here. I'm afraid my father in law may have drowned it when he visited two months ago (he's a hobby grower) but that may be unrelated.

Click on picture for larger view.


  • It looks like an old basil plant from the stems. If it got over watered, the nitrogen might have been washed out. When did you last fertilise it? Mar 25, 2016 at 6:16
  • Did you let it dry out too much so that it wilted, at any point? Jun 21, 2018 at 2:09

2 Answers 2


Basil is an annual even in the tropics. Since its flowering it wants to go to seed. Let it, then collect the seeds for the next crop of basil.

If you plant basil in a large enough pot so that plenty naturally falling seed will land in the pot, you can have a near never ending culture of basil.

That's how I raised basil when I lived in Florida. Living in Iowa and Connecticut it's a bit different. When winter approaches I move all my Tropicals into my sunroom, the basil weakens all winter long until it's barely alive by spring, but there are always a few stems to keep me in some basil.

As the flower spike dry out, I snip them off and put them in a paper bag. In the spring right before I am ready move my basil pots back out side, I strip the flower spikes right over the soil and the cycle begins again.

  • I've never had much luck collecting basil seeds. I've collected dry flowers and never find the seeds :( Mar 25, 2016 at 15:58
  • I recommend to cut all flowers as soon as possible, so no seeds, but the basil will continue to produce good leaves for much more time. Mar 25, 2016 at 16:01
  • @GrahamChiu well depending on the type of basil, the seeds may be tiny black seeds, or may be largish white seeds...again it depends on the basil. If the basil produces large white seeds, they tend to fall out as soon as the seeds mature. If they are the tiny black seeds, then you'll see them once the flower petals have fallen off, and they usually stay put in the dried husk. There will be four seeds tucked neatly together radially. Just strip those seeds by cutting off the dried spike, and pulling your fingers down the length of the spike. The dried husks with seed will come off in your hand.
    – Escoce
    Mar 25, 2016 at 16:34
  • if the seeds are the larger white seeds that fall out on their own, you need to let the spike grow tall, and when the flowers have started dying about halfway up the stalk, you can either harvest the seeds carefully or just cut the whole stalk off and keep only the matured seeds and discarding the rest of the spike. The ones with the white seeds will more easily reseed itself, the ones with the black seeds benefit from a little help because otherwise you'll have a pot full of dead basil while waiting for them to fall out on their own.
    – Escoce
    Mar 25, 2016 at 16:36
  • @GiacomoCatenazzi the only problem with that, is eventually the clones peter out and lose vitality. Not only that but if you end up getting a disease or pest that your colonial basil is suspectible to, you loose them all. If you propagate by seeds, you have a bit more biodiversity so that one single disease or pest doesn't wipe out your whole culture.
    – Escoce
    Mar 25, 2016 at 16:41

If it's flowered it may have come to the end of its life. Take some cuttings from non flowering stems and root them. Use the new plant instead. Once flowered a lot of the flavour once in the leaves would have reduced. But as Graham has suggested - feed may be required

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