“Why is my basil plant drooping?” Actually, there are several reasons why it happens but the most common culprit is underwatering.

Why Is My Basil Plant Drooping

This disappointing scene may have gotten you thinking that your basil is approaching the end of its life, but do not lose hope because although there are numerous reasons why your basil droops, we offer many solutions for you here.

Why Is Your Basil Plant Drooping? 9 Reasons

Your basil plant is drooping because of the following: underwatering, overwatering, poor sunlight exposure, planting in a too-small container, pest infestations, diseases, transplant shock, lack of regular pruning, and changes in temperature.

Let’s talk about the reasons we have listed below to figure out why your basil plant is drooping.

1. Underwatering or Overwatering

Having dry soil due to underwatering causes your basil to droop. This is considered one of the common reasons why drooping occurs. Basil plants love to be watered with a sufficient amount and frequency as much as they love to be exposed to light and heat, which sometimes growers tend to forget. It is essential for basil to have consistent moisture in the soil while having plenty of sun.

However, having the right balance between moisture and heat is still very important to consider. Providing consistent moisture does not mean you have to overwater, and requiring full sun does not mean you should ignore too much heat exposure because both of these issues cause the drooping of the plant.

2. Poor Sunlight Exposure

Given that basil is a sun-loving herb, shady conditions can contribute to wilt and droop, especially if this takes place for a long period of time. Having enough sunlight exposure is as crucial as proper and adequate watering because heat and moisture are the two beneficial factors why your basil is alive and producing fresh basil leaves.

The inability to achieve a balance of these two factors might result in your plant drooping. You will notice the signs, such as leaves turning yellow, drooping, and falling off. All these factors might result in the eventual death of your plant due to lack of good sunlight exposure.

3. Planted in a Too Small Container

Another factor to look out for is the size of the pot where your basil is planted, especially if your basil was bought from a garden center, which usually uses small pots for its merchandise.

Your basil’s roots are compressed and constricted in a small container and are not able to absorb water and nutrients in the soil. This condition results in the drooping and wilting of your basil leaves.

Using small containers also allows the soil to quickly dry out, especially in the heat of a full sun, because they can only hold a small amount of soil, which also means being able to hold only a small amount of moisture.

4. Pest Infestation

Though pests are usual among plants, it is not a good idea to ignore them. Spider mites and aphids are the most common pests you can encounter when growing basil plants. These insects are generally feeding on your plant and slowly killing it by sucking the sap on its leaves and stems.

Reasons for Why Is My Basil Plant Drooping

Aphids appear when your plant is stressed, has poor soil conditions, or is experiencing overcrowding, so they are actually just adding to the current problem that your plant is having. These pests should not be left unchecked because severe infestation can occur, causing your plant to exhibit distorted, curled, wilted leaves, stunted growth, and eventual death.

5. Diseases and Fungal Infections

Fusarium wilt, Downy mildew, root rot, and leaf spots are the common diseases that basil plants are susceptible to. These diseases also cause your plant to droop, so it is important that you identify them. Let us discuss them one by one so you can take action immediately.

  • Root rot

Root rot takes place when you are overwatering, have poor drainage, or because of soil fungi. Instead of having firm and white roots, you will notice your plant has soft brown roots when it is infected with this disease. When you notice that the soil is soggy, it means that the fungus has started to spread, killing the roots first by making them brown and mushy.

  • Fusarium wilt

You will notice when your basil plant is having Fusarium wilt if it is exhibiting drooping and yellowing of the leaves, which are the signs that also occur if you are just underwatering or exposing your plant to too little sun. That’s why Fusarium wilt goes unaddressed and will eventually take its toll on your plant.

The main difference between this fungal disease and lacking moisture and heat is that it will cause your plant leaves to seem to curl, forming small cups before drooping from the plant altogether. Fusarium wilt can create great damage to your basil and to other plants you are planning to grow in that same soil because it can reside in the soil for up to ten years.

  • Leaf spot

Leaf spot is a disease caused by fungi that produce symptoms in your plant’s leaf tissue. Leaf spots manifest in spots on your plant foliage, hence the name. These spots are often brown in color but sometimes tan or black.

  • Downy mildew

Leaves turning yellow and brown, wilting or drooping, and falling off are also a result of a disease called Downy mildew, which usually causes death. One distinctive symptom of this disease is the gray-purple fuzzy growth that can be found on the underside of the leaves.

6. Transplant Shock – A Deadly Stressor

Transplant shock is the occurrence in which your basil is subjected to a number of stressors due to the recent transfer of location. Your basil fails to root well and becomes poorly established. This condition causes it to droop or wilt because of the changes in its growing condition.

7. Drastic Change in Temperature

After being moved from one place to another, such as from the garden center to your home, your plant may exhibit signs of temperature shock like plant wilting. The drastic change in temperature your plant experiences or the inability to maintain its preferred temperature makes the basil leaves curl and have brown edges.

8. Pruning Inadequately

Lacking pruning on a regular basis will cause your basil to produce blooms. Though it is your plants’ natural response, this process can be threatening to your plant’s life. As basil produces flowers, its leaves are not good for culinary use.

Your plant will also go to seed, droop or wilt, and stop producing new leaves, which is not a good idea because your basil is mainly prized for its delicious foliage.

What Do You Do When Your Basil Plant Is Drooping?

What you do when your basil plant is drooping is one or more of the eight items below.

Some of them are: getting your watering right, exposing the plants to enough sunlight and treat diseases. These are the actions you can take to revive your plant.

1. Adequate Watering

You might find it tricky, but keep in mind to water basil with not too little and not too much water because either of the two can cause your basil to droop. Give your basil an adequate amount of water daily when the weather is hot.

During cold weather, water your plant every three to four days. Maintaining the soil moist to a depth of one inch can help your plant to perform best. Your basil can withstand a hot sunny day if you water it in the mornings.

If you observe that the soil is dry to touch or separating from the edge of the pot, that is a sign that your plant is severely thirsty. If this happens, water your plant generously and deeply until you see the water flowing from the drainage holes, and wait for two to three days to see good results.

Remember to avoid watering at the top of the plant to avoid burning it. Instead, water at the base so your plant can easily absorb the water.

In the case of overwatering, you can avoid it if you initially check the soil before watering; if it is completely dried out, then it is safe to water your plant again. Stick your finger into the soil, and observe how damp it is.

It is time to water if you see that it is dry. Drainage holes are also one factor to consider if you think you are overwatering, make sure that these holes allow the water to flow smoothly and are not blocked by anything to avoid drowning the roots.

While adequate amounts and frequent watering are essential to your basil, achieving a soil profile that provides the right balance between keeping moisture and being well-draining also helps your basil to thrive big time.

Solution for Why Is My Basil Plant Drooping

Consider using potting soil with porous materials that hold nutrients in the soil, along with compost to permit the roots to thrive. Adding nutrient-rich mulch to the base of the plant also helps in preserving moisture and giving nutrients to the soil, which prevent drooping.

2. Adequate Sunlight Exposure

Situate your basil in a full sun location and allow it to receive at least six to eight hours of sun exposure daily. This makes them sturdier and prevents them from having diseases. If your basil is potted, try moving it to a shady location in times of extreme heat.

3. Plant in a Larger Container

Put your plant into a larger pot. The more room the roots have to grow underground, the more it will encourage and produce growth up above. A recommended size container to grow basil is 12 inches wide and 4 inches deep, made of ceramic, terracotta, or clay materials that prevent the soil from heating up and evaporating quickly, which avoids plant drooping.

4. Get Rid of Pests

Kill spider mites using a solution consisting of one cup of rubbing alcohol and four cups of water. Get rid of aphids by spraying the leaves with a mixture of water and drops of dish soap. You can also try using essential oils, neem oil, and insecticidal soap. Make sure that these come in contact with pests to kill them effectively.

5. Treat Diseases

Dealing with these diseases might be difficult, especially if they are left unchecked and not addressed as early as possible. That’s why it is important to be mindful of your basil and observe its current condition. However, the steps for treating the diseases we have mentioned above will be helpful to prevent and revive your dying basil.

  • Treating root rot

Prevent root rot by checking if your pot has good drainage. Avoid overwatering by letting the soil dry out completely between waterings. Once your plant is already identified with root rot, you should determine if it can be saved.

If you notice there are still healthy white roots, you can wash them gently, remove the infected roots using a pair of scissors, and replant them using fresh soil. However, if the roots become mushy and brown, you will have to say goodbye to your basil.

  • Treating fusarium wilt

Treating Fusarium wilt means saying goodbye to your basil plant. The drooping leaves are just one of its visible effects, but underground, it can spread to other plants by targeting younger and vulnerable roots.

It can also spread through insects, water, and gardening tools. It is recommended to throw your plant away and use fresh new soil for your new basil.

  • Treating leaf spot

Removing and pruning the affected leaves helps you get rid of leaf spot disease. You can also consider applying fungicide to your plant’s foliage to prevent it from coming back. Keeping your infected plant away from other plants also helps to avoid spreading the disease. It is best if you water your basil at the bottom and keep the leaves dry until your plant recovers.

  • Treating downy mildew

Unfortunately, there is no other thing you can do but throw your plant away because once it is infected with this disease-causing fungus, it can also infect other plants nearby.

6. Prevent Transplant Shock

Whenever you are planning to transplant your basil, especially if you bought it planted in a small pot, to a larger pot or just want to transfer it to another location, you should be aware of the transplant shock.

Keep in mind that the best way to prevent it is to give it plenty of water to allow the roots to be established and adapt to the new environment.

However, if your basil plant is already in a state of shock due to transplanting, you can minimize the damage by keeping the roots moist, exposing them to full sun, trimming back the plant so it can focus on growing and establishing its roots, and being patient, allowing your plant to recover for a few days while giving it extra care.

7. Maintain the Right Temperature

Basil requires full sun for at least six to eight hours per day, but it also prefers consistent moisture from frequent watering. Achieving these requirements may help you maintain the preferred temperature of your basil while avoiding wilting, and drooping.

This would also help your plant be free from diseases. During times of extreme heat or if you are living in a hot region, make sure that you move your plant to a shadier location.

8. Do Regular Pruning

Avoid the drooping and wilting of your basil by pruning it regularly. This step allows the sunlight to reach the lower leaves of your plant, making the leaves healthier and more productive.

Make sure to cut from the top of your plant as this encourages foliage growth and extends the life of your basil to longer than normal. However, if your basil is already flowering, the best thing you can do is to just keep the seeds and grow another plant from the seedlings.

Fixes Why Is My Basil Plant Drooping


There are several factors why your basil plant is drooping, yet there are easy steps to avoid or save your plant as well. The following key points below will help you remember:

  • Moisture and sun exposure are crucial to the healthy growth of your basil.
  • The earlier that you identify what causes the drooping of your basil, the better.
  • Maintain the right temperature all the time.
  • Do not allow pest infestation and disease to go unchecked.

Upon recognizing the common reasons that cause your plant to droop and what to do to fix them, growing basil will be an easier task for you, and producing leaves will be an easier task for your basil.

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