I've planted some herbs on my balcony in hanging flower boxes. I live in Illinois so it's pretty hot and humid around this time of the year. My parsley has been showing discoloration my basil has some kind of brown spots on some of the leaves. Also, the rosemary seems to be unable to grow new stems and the base of the existing stems is somewhat brownish. I've posted images for all three. Here are my questions:

  1. Parsley: I thought at first that the issue is related to the heat of the sun, but then I read somewhere that this could be fungus . Any ideas based on the pictures? I ordered a bottle of fungicide from amazon and it should be arriving tomorrow.
  2. Basil: in a previous thread I asked a question about finding a lot of insects in my old bag of potting mix. After seeing the comments I ended up using the soil; the basil plant seems to be the one with the most "infestation". I am unsure if these dots are a result of the insects or heat/sun related.
  3. Rosemary: I suspect that the roots might have rot or something. How can I be sure? Could something else be the issue?

I would appreciate any advice on the matter! Thanks! Basil brown spots parsley discoloration rosemary stem

Pictures of all the pots in which the plants are planted: parsley and cilantro rosemary and basil rosemary mint

  • What is the rosemary growing in, as in what size of pot and is it planted with other herbs or on its own? Do the hanging boxes have drainage holes?
    – Bamboo
    Jul 12, 2017 at 16:04
  • The rosemary is growing in a small pot by itself, the Basil in a large pot by itself, the parsley is planted with cilantro in a rectangular window planter, and the mint is growing by itself in another rectangular window planter. I will update the main thread with pictures of all the pots.
    – adelejjeh
    Jul 18, 2017 at 13:56

1 Answer 1


Rosemary looks over watered, you are correct that the roots may have some rot. They are great at being "left alone". If you are leaving them alone, sometimes the use of gardening soil instead or potting soil OR packing the soil too tightly can cause the pot to store too much water. IF you used potting soil, consider replanting it and packing the soil a tad looser around the root structure. If you ARE NOT using potting soil, switch and only water once the soil has completely dried out. It looks like it's not too late to save it though. If you were loosing lots of needles I'd be concerned that you don't have a chance at fixing the problem.

Parsley just looks a little like sun damage. If all three of these are hanging on 3 different hooks (you mentioned hanging baskets) move the Rosemary to the spot with the most sun hitting and the parsley to the spot with the least (still want full sun, but maybe it's current placement is getting a little too hot). If you can't control the placement, consider a light mist once a day to cool down the leaves, especially if you haven't been getting much rain.

Basil, with the black spots, looks over watered or over fed. This could also be an issue that's caused by soil 1- either gardening soil instead of potting soil holding too much moisture ( if so replant in potting soil) 2- over fed, this is either from too much plant food, or the soil- some soils like miracle grow brand soil are pre packed with plant food, everyonce in a while the feed content in them is too high. Try not to over water, and cut back on any plant food additives you may be giving it. Honestly the green color and leaf shape looks pretty healthy, which makes me think over fed.

Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the lengthy and detailed reply Christy! Concerning the rosemary, something worth pointing out is that when I ran out of potting soil, I went to the store to buy some more but after getting home I realized that what I bought was soil amendment. So I just put whatever soil I had left, along with what was already stuck to the roots of the plant itself, and topped it all off with soil amendment. I posted a new picture of the whole plant in my main thread, I would appreciate any other advice you might have based on the new picture. I also followed your advice by leaving it in the sun
    – adelejjeh
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:10
  • As for the parsley, I am giving it a light mist, as well as all my other plants, once or twice a day. I also have attached a small umbrella to the railing which I am opening as soon as the sun starts hitting it and closing later in the afternoon when the sun stops. I am doing the same thing for the mint. As for the basil, I have added 4 plant food spikes to the pot based on the instructions on the packaging. I also appreciate any comments you might have about the basil, and all the other plants, after checking out the new pictures I posted.
    – adelejjeh
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:15
  • One last question I wish to add is whether I should use the fungicide that I bought or no? I also bought Garden Safe multi-purpose garden insect killer, which I had hoped to use to kill the tons of gnats that are flying around since they are too annoying! (There are literally more than 20 in the basil pot alone!) I wanted to know whether it would be a good idea to use or not?
    – adelejjeh
    Jul 18, 2017 at 14:18
  • Those are likely fungus gnats. Which often appear after over-watering promotes fungus growth. Jul 18, 2017 at 14:27
  • 1
    If you have these sprays it won't do harm to use them unless you use them incorrectly, but yes fungus knats are an issue if your soil is too moist/holding in too much moisture. They usually go away when the soil dries but if you want to use the spray to be safe no harm, just follow individual bottle directions
    – Christy B.
    Jul 18, 2017 at 18:13

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