I am growing a sweet basil plant and providing full sun and plenty of water. I pinched off the first set of flowers and pruned the plant a bit, but the leaves are still drying out towards the top. I'm afraid of pruning too much even though there is some new growth near the bottom. I noticed that the bottom of the stem is also becoming more 'woody.'

Does basil require more liberal pruning to thrive? Would the temperature of the soil in the black pot be negatively affecting its growth? Perhaps I'm just not watering it enough. What is the typical life span of a basil plant? Any tips/suggestions are appreciated.

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1 Answer 1


Basil plants are annuals, which means that they typically only live one year. They are supposed to flower and make seeds during that year, and those seeds germinate the following year to carry on the life cycle. Of course in Hawaii you're unlikely to get the freezing temperatures that will really kill the plant, so yours has probably been living for more than the typical 1 year (2, if you're lucky in other climates). I would guess that your basil simply has reached the end of its life. You may be most successful if you get some new seeds and start over with fresh plants.

  • 2
    Thanks, I suspected I may have been expecting too much from one little plant.
    – YBarkley
    Nov 28, 2018 at 0:41

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