This is my third try in having a basil that lives more than a month and I've been rather successful with my last try. But now, for some unknown reason to me, it's dying.

Here are many pictures of what I have gathered and my comments to help you understand and, hopefully, help me understand and overcome this situation. I've found many basil related questions on this site already but they didn't seem to have the same symptoms (most of the time, basil was being eaten by something, mine seems to not lose matter, but to rot instead).

Stages of rotting

Image 1: These are the stages of the process. From left to right, healthy to dead. The last one is completely dry and often falls off just by barely touching the branch.

Basil from above

Image 2: I've had to cut leaves regularly as they became more and more infected, and cutting infected leaves seemed to slow down the infestation of the remaining leaves. All of them seem infested now.

I think it happened from bottom to top, since only the top leaves are now alive, but they are also the last ones to have been growing so I don't know.

You can also see in the background I'm using a fertilizer to help nourish the plant, as the last two basils I've had died, I'm just trying to boost my chances.

==== Here are some close up shots to help you gather more information === enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

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Height picture This image should help you grasp the size of the current plant. This is the largest basil I've ever grown, I think because I started in May and not because I'm a "good gardener".

And now the most important bit and maybe what I should've started with

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  • These white crawling insects are all over my plant.
  • They do not seem to grow.
  • They don't seem hairy.
  • They're about 1.5mm long, but I've eyeballed it

I can find them inside/under leaves, and that's about it. I've seen them in the dirt but I think its just from the leaves falling. They're now on my table from all the dead leaves I've removed.

I've also found a very small spider, I have no idea if she's related either. I'm hoping she's enjoying all the food, but I don't think she can eat all those bastards alone.

Okay, I know that's a lot of pictures, most of them are probably all irrelevant, but since I have no clue I'm trying to provide as much information as I can.

Oh, also, I live in Belgium, summers are not really hot here but there can be 10° (Celsius) differences in a single day. The plant is inside, always watered from the bottom. That window right next to it is pretty much always open, and the plant is exposed to direct sunlight about 1h or 2 at least every sunny day.

Please ask me for more information if you need it. I'm not sure what I can do for my next basil since this one will probably be dead in the next few weeks.

  • Basil needs a lot of light. 1-2 hours/day from a window isn't going to cut it. A plant that can't get its needs met will be more stressed and susceptible to infestation. If you really want to grow basil indoors, I suggest investing in an LED grow bulb (e.g. amazon.com/dp/B014ZZLP8G) and hanging it 2-3ft (<1m) directly above the plant. Don't bother trying to save an infested plant - basil grows so rapidly and you can start with a fresh plant. Don't reuse the soil from the infested plant. If you're going to reuse the pot, be sure to thoroughly clean and disinfect it first.
    – alexw
    Aug 28, 2017 at 19:50
  • Just to make sure you see this, if the thrips answer is correct, you can aid the little spider with these: planetnatural.com/beneficial-insects-101/amblyseius-cucumeris Aug 28, 2017 at 22:24
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    I like your 20-sided dice with cracks emanating from it ;) Aug 29, 2017 at 0:17
  • Hahaha thanks. It's supposed to be on the window!
    – Gil Sand
    Aug 29, 2017 at 7:05
  • Also, thank you everyone for participating and upvoting my question. It's really good that everyone is so cooperative :)
    – Gil Sand
    Aug 29, 2017 at 11:43

3 Answers 3


Looks like a heavy whitefly aphid infestation - they're usually underneath the leaves and suck the sap within, causing the leaf to shrivel and die. You can't treat with pesticide because it's an edible plant, so your only recourse is something like neem or insecticidal soap spray, I'm afraid. Further information on how to deal with whitefly on edible plants here http://homeguides.sfgate.com/kill-whitefly-basil-plants-killing-plant-40658.html

  • Thanks a lot, this is really good information :) I'm grateful!
    – Gil Sand
    Aug 28, 2017 at 20:21
  • You can use dish soap / washing up liquid in a spray bottle for a quick fix and have a little finger and thumb squashing session until you get some proper insecticidal soap spray.
    – Shambhala
    Aug 29, 2017 at 12:25
  • You can also use the Yellow Sticky traps to control them: planetnatural.com/product/yellow-sticky-traps
    – Zissouu
    Aug 30, 2017 at 14:26

The leaf damage you are seeing is almost certainly thrips feeding damage, though it does not look much like the first reference here. For your next plant, you may want to replace the soil and clean the pot well (thrips can survive in soil). These may provide some places to start looking for a solution that will work for you.




You've got major insect infestations and a beat up plant. I would sadly get rid of that plant and the soil. Disinfect the pot with a bit of bleach. Get another basil plant and use only potting soil. A little Osmocote

I would try THAI BASIL. Knock you down dead with the flavor and smell! I dried mine filling 3 gallon size ziplocs last season. Working on growing more because we are out and no other basil is this good, my opinion of course!

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