Basil is a beautiful herb used in several dishes to bring out the tastiest, most aromatic flavors. It’s also an appealing herb in your home because of its vibrant colors and exciting leaves. However, if you’ve ever grown basil, you may have noticed that it tends to turn yellow.


Basil is a herb, in the mint family, with leaves traditionally used to provide seasoning and flavoring to food.

Yes, they’re delicious on their own too, but you probably recognize them more as a key ingredient in Italian dishes like pesto and pasta sauce.

However, if your basil starts turning yellow, don’t throw it out! It’s not dead—far from it! A yellowing basil plant is letting you know that something is wrong.

We’ll give you some fun facts about your basil turning yellow; then we’ll get into it.


But allow me to caution you! Basil is a delicate plant and, as such, does not tolerate overwatering. You see, it only needs about an inch of water per week. If you give it more than that, the tiny roots will begin to rot in the swampy soil, which will lead to yellow leaves. Too much water can drown your plant! Keep that yardstick handy each week and measure before you water.

If it’s particularly hot out, then you should consider watering your basil twice a week instead of once. Once in the morning and once in the evening should do just fine.



If you water your plant too little, if you water at the wrong time of day, or if you water too shallowly, your plant will start to turn yellow.

Watering only the top of your soil is not a good idea. When this happens, the roots of the plant get dehydrated, and they will not be able to absorb enough nutrients from the soil. This means that your basil won’t have enough nutrients to grow properly, and it will start turning yellow.

Ensure that when you are watering your plants, you are watering them all over. If you are drowning parts of the soil, your basil leaves will die off and turn yellow because there is not enough moisture in those areas. You can do this by using a spray bottle or even pouring some water directly onto them when they’re ready! This should help keep them healthy and green!

Too Much Sun (Or Not Enough)

As a gardener, you’ve come up against your share of obstacles. You know well that plants take time and intention to grow—and sometimes, a lack of one or both can be the difference between yellowing leaves and leafy green sprigs.

So if your basil is turning yellow, there are two likely culprits: too much sun (or not enough).

Basil is a sun-loving plant, but it’s possible that this could be more than what you bargained for. Basil likes full sun, but not all day long. If you’re growing basil in a container outside, make sure there’s sufficient shade for at least part of the day.

Basil can also be grown indoors, using natural sunlight from a window or the extra help from artificial lights; however, it will need 12 hours of bright sunshine each day to thrive.

Too Much Sun (Or Not Enough)

Poor Soil Quality

Soil quality is an essential factor in the health of your basil. Basil requires well-drained soil with good aeration and a pH between 6.0 and 7.0.

If you see the yellowing of leaves on young plants or if new growth from mature plants is yellowing, it’s likely a sign that your soil doesn’t have enough nutrients. To improve soil quality for your basil plant, try adding compost to the soil around it at least once every spring season.


Have you checked for pests?

If you have, then you’re one step ahead of me. I didn’t even think to check until it was too late—I thought my basil was healthy. But when I finally took the time to examine it up close, I found aphids crawling around the leaves and on its stems. And boy did they have a feast! Afterward, my basil looked fine for a while but eventually turned yellow and died.


You may have heard that some pest infestations are helpful because they attract natural predators who can kill off other harmful pests in your garden. While this is true (to an extent), sometimes what happens is that the problem will eat all of your plants before their predator comes along to take care of them instead of killing off other harmful pests first. You don’t want that happening in your garden! It’s best to keep an eye out for aphids, whiteflies, thrips, fungus gnats, spider mites, and slugs when inspecting your basil plants from week to week so that you can catch any infestation as soon as possible and kill it off before it gets worse or attracts other pests too.

There Are Several Reasons Basil Can Turn Yellow, And You Can Change The Conditions To Bring It Back To Green.

Basil plants are particular about their conditions, so there are several reasons you may see yellowing leaves.

The first and most common reason for basil to turn yellow is a lack of water or too little fertilizer. Basil is a thirsty plant that requires frequent watering. The soil needs to remain moist, or the leaves will start to droop and turn yellow.

Adding a slow-release fertilizer every few weeks can also help keep your basil green and healthy for long periods without rain or other sources of nutrients in the soil.


Another reason basil turns yellow is a lack of sunlight. While it seems counterintuitive, basil prefers some shade, especially in hot climates like Florida or Texas, where temperatures reach into the high 90s regularly in the summertime. A bit of shade allows your plant to thrive instead of wilt under the heat of direct sunlight all day long.

In summary, the most common reasons that basil plants are turning yellow are overwatering and underwatering, or nutrient deficiency. Either way, the basil plant should still be fine if you address the reason and make sure not to overwater in the future.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *