Basil Plant Gets Woody: How to Fix This

How do you save a woody basil plant? Basil happens to be one of the most popular herbs in the kitchen, and it tends to turn woody when protecting itself from dipping temps. Basil plant stem will turn brown to show it’s becoming woody and if you don’t make plans to fix this, it is likely to die in the second season.

Planting new basil frequently is one of the ways you can fix the woody issue.

Basil might be easy to grow, but it is prone to lots of issues, but this shouldn’t stop you from growing this great herb in your garden. The conditions it is prone to are prolific but knowing the right way to care for them can these issues at bay thereby enhancing basils lifespan.

How you care for outdoor basil is not different from indoor basil but note that it doesn’t do well planted with other types of herbs outdoor especially herbs like sage or rue. This is one of the ways you can prevent the basil from dying and deter bugs from feeding on it.

While there are quite a lot of interesting things to know about basil, one that stands out is how to fix basil stem turning woody. Many cultivators face this problem no matter the type of basil they are growing. Woody basil plant requires attention, hence read on to learn how to fix this and avoid it as well.

Why Basil Plants Turn Woody?

The simple answer to why basil is turning woody is because it is protecting itself from the dipping temperature.

Woody basil will have your plant turning dark green or grayish black. If you don’t prune your basil stem often enough or harvest the basil leaves to encourage new growth, this will cause the basil plant to grow flowers and this development is not suitable for basil, hence it will turn woody to show it is not being cared for.

Basil Plant Gets Woody: How to Fix This
Source: Reddit

While basil is an easy plant to care for and grow, if it is not cared for properly, the stem will start to go woody and eventually lead to the plant dying. Basil is just like other types of herbs, and it does love sunshine which is at least 6 to 8 hours per day.

But when it doesn’t get enough sunlight or the weather becomes uncomfortable, it can start to get woody.

Basil Plant Gets Woody: How to Fix This

Basil is a great annual plant, and before you start to worry about it getting woody, you should know that it can be fixed. Production tends to slow down during winter and basil has to find a way to protect itself which is the perfect way to explain why the stem starts to turn wood.

Basil likes to have little taken off its top so one way you can easily fix the woody stem is to harvest as soon as it is a few inches tall or snip your leaves.

You can also extend the life of your basil by simply bringing it inside when the weather turns cold. Pruning is the recommended way you can fix woody basil, and you might have to replant new basil another option you can try is to shock them. Shock them (not soak) for 1 to 2 minutes which is enough time to perk them back up.

There are ways you can fix woody basil and this is cutting off part of its stem, although this will cause the leaves and flowers to die, you still get to enjoy your bail plant and nurture it for another season.

How To Cut Off Part Of Woody Basil Stem

Cutting off part of the basil stem is the only way you can refocus its energy and resources into new producing basil leaves instead of flowers. Pruning is the way you can save woody basil, so it can reduce the process of growing flowers and go back to complete its lifecycle.

Below is how you can cut off part of woody basil without ruining its ability to regrow.

  • To keep your basil plant from dying and stop it from turning black, trim the plant and remove every dead part of it
  • Make sure to prune away any of the black or dark green portions of the basil plant and cut off the entire stem that has turned black
  • Wait for a few days to check if it will grow back or not
  • If it does then you need to prune away the dead branches
  • After the cutting, you have to re-pot your basil plant, and best to grow it in a pot on the windowsill
  • Basils are rapid growers so take cuttings from them, and you can start growing more basil plants.

How to Avoid Basil Plant Turning Woody

While there is an easy way you can fix Woody Basil, you should however know how you can avoid this as well.

Not all woody basil is going to survive if care is not taken on time, so knowing how to avoid this in the first place is vital. To avoid woody basil, you have to keep pruning because if you don’t, the basil plant will flower and form seed, and eventually, this will start to turn woody especially when the weather changes.

Keep in mind that a temperature change is the fastest way you can cause the basil to go woody fast so the way to prevent this is to bring the basil plant indoors as soon as the weather turns cold. You have to give it plenty of light when you bring it inside.

Basil herb

Make sure you are trimming your basil plant enough and while watering your basil on a regular schedule is vital, avoid overwatering it. You can add some anti-fungal plant food to your potting soil and that should help sort any issue of it turning woody.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to use woody basil?

Woody basil doesn’t stop you from harvesting some delectable leaves it produces except it has stopped producing leaves completely. It’s okay to use it if it turns brown and hasn’t become smelly, slimy, or even completely brown then you shouldn’t make use of it. Black basil can make you sick so avoid consuming that.

Can you save a woody basil plant?

Basil plant is an annual plant, so it is likely, and you can have an all-year-round supply of it so yes, you can save a woody basil plant if discovered early. When the weather gets cold, you can make sure it stays alive by bringing it inside, and you need to prune off the woody stem to give it a chance to reproduce correctly.

What does it mean when a plant becomes woody?

Plants tend to turn woody when the old stems haven’t been cut off and most plants that turn woody are plants whose shoots are meant to survive for a long period and when you do not prune them enough, they can turn woody.

Why is my basil turning woody?

If your basil plant keeps turning woody then this means you are not pruning it well enough. You have to encourage new growth and harvest basil as soon as possible, basil leaves need to be harvested, or basil flowers will grow, and it will get woody. Flowering basil will lead to a woody basil stem.

Wrapping Up

Woody plant can be saved easily if it is discovered on time, but if that is not the case, your basil plant might start dying, and you might need a plant expert to take proper care of it.

Your basil plant is still worth saving when it turns grayish black or dark green, but when it goes completely black, you might not be able to save your basil plant, and it’s best to have new ones potted. In addition, make sure it is getting enough sunlight and water but nothing excess either.