Why Do Basil Plants Turn Yellow?

Basil is a flavorful herb used in many styles of cooking, including Italian and Asian dishes.

Considerations

Basil can be grown in the garden or in a pot in a south-facing window. A number of things may cause the leaves of a basil plant to turn yellow, but the remedy is simple.
Older leaves turn yellow naturally.

There may be nothing wrong with your basil plant. Older leaves turn yellow naturally.

Nutrients

Some experts think that yellow leaves are caused by lack of nutrients like nitrogen or potassium.

Some experts think that yellow leaves are caused by lack of nutrients like nitrogen or potassium. You can try using a fertilizer, but the Colorado State University extension website recommends against using fertilizer on basil, as it could affect the flavor.

Needs

Basil needs well-drained soil and six to eight hours of sunlight.

According to the P. Allen Smith Garden Home website, basil needs well-drained soil and six to eight hours of sunlight. Water until soil is moist, but don’t leave standing water. Water the soil, not the leaves.

Cold

Temperatures below 50 degrees F could damage the plant.

According to a forum on a website called Garden Guides, basil needs warm temperatures. Temperatures below 50 degrees F could damage the plant.

Solutions

Over or under-watering may be the problem.

How much are you watering? Over or under-watering may be the problem. Make sure your basil gets enough sunlight and keep it out of the cold.

Resources

About the Author

Joseph Slama received a Bachelor's degree in English from the University of Colorado in Boulder. He lives in New York City, where he is pursuing a Master's degree at City College.