I’m a beginner with gardening so I don’t know much about it. I bought my basil plant from the supermarket and it was growing well for the first few weeks. I was just about to water my basil plant until I saw this. What is it and is it normal? I have neglected it for a while since I wasn’t at home though😓 it’s also on the soil and when I touched it, the leaves felt very sticky? What should I do? enter image description here

4 Answers 4


It does look like whitefly.

My experience with this insect is, it usually shows up when the plant is under stress. And while the plant is under stress it is tough to get rid of. The one that got me was over-wintering my plants. The only place they could get sun through the window was close to the heat vent and the forced-hot-air system that heated my house. The whitefly showed up shortly after the plants came inside and stayed no matter what I did. The only way I ever completely got rid of them was to put the plants back outside in the spring.

Treating methods include various insecticides. If it is in a place you don't want poisons, or you just don't want poisons, I have had luck with various soap and oil products. You can usually find appropriate such sprays at your local garden center or plant store. With all such products, read the label carefully before use.

Also, if you have the ability to give the plants a good wash that can help. Perhaps you have a large kitchen sink or you feel ok putting the plant in the bathtub and giving it a gentle shower.


That looks like a whitefly infestation to me, there is a thread about treating it here.

I wish you well in recovery!

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As this is a supermarket herb, it's not intended or likely to last very long. The pots tend to be overcrowded (though you might have potted it up, judging by the picture), and stripping leaves repeatedly puts the plant under stress.

I'd pick the leaves, give them a good wash and use them up, then replace the plant - in fact I've just done that with basil I grew from seed.

I wouldn't use insecticides on something like this, where I'm going to eat the leaves soon and they're not even going to be washed by rain. Washing with soapy water, while less effective than pesticides, may be worth a try, and you can use the same soap you'd use on your dishes.

  • +1 for suggesting sources of stress.
    – Boba Fit
    May 18, 2023 at 15:49

Disclaimer: I've never grown basil. Looks bad.

Some plants that whitefly love: tomato, radish.
Some plants they visit only when attacked: jalapeno.

The difference is the latter's leaf surface is hard(looks almost oily).

Tried spraying insecticide twice(sorry, can't find the formula or translation: МУЛИГАН®). This reduced their number to a quarter, but still the eggs renewed the population.

IF it is a single plant, the following could work. Exposing the plant to low-high temperatures of 5-15°C(numbers pulled out of thin air, do not trust them) renders the whitefly asleep most of the time, so you can just crush them with fingers. But it takes at at least a week to kill all the hatched eggs.

Perhaps someone will propose a more efficient soap-based solution, but for a simple herb 'thumb and index finger' works well enough.

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