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Basil Stems Turning Brown? (Reasons and Solutions)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 01:10 pm

A Basil plant’s stem changing in color or texture signifies a significant issue that may have hit the plant’s system with a thud.

Basil stems becoming brown may occur for a few reasons, which will be explained shortly.

Due to their sensitivity, Basil plants react quickly to changes in their environment or reactions that signify their discomfort in the areas where they are grown.

For example, they change color to a series of others, which may alter their textures.

The brown color of Basil plant stems appears because they encounter unfriendly circumstances, which most definitely cause changes in their buildup.

This may be the plant showing that it has come close to the completion of its life cycle, it is being overwatered or indicating that it is being attacked by some plant microorganisms, which are most times Fungi.

You can fix it by using pesticides, cutting off dead parts, and giving it time to regenerate.

Do Basil Stems Become Woody?

Basil Stems Turning Brown

There is a chance that Basil plants’ stems could become woody in the middle of their life cycle, but their stems would turn woody at the end of their lifespan.

This is one phenomenon that is bound to occur if the plant is allowed to keep growing until the completion of its lifespan.

Basil plant stems may become woody if they can freely produce flowers without being nipped off. This occurrence is common in tropical Basil plants, which grow independently.

When allowed to develop spontaneously without the leaves getting harvested or trimmed, they swiftly produce flowers while quickly running out their life cycles to their end.

But if properly looked after and harvested, the lifespans of these plants could be elongated by a considerable percentage. The key here is trimming the Basil plant’s leaves and removing any flowers that may develop.

Also, Basil plants’ stems may become woody as the plant approaches the end of its annual lifespan. This event is unavoidable because this is a natural step in the Basil plant’s life.

At this point, the plant leaves could acquire a bitter taste. And this is why Basil plant farmers try to prevent their plant stems from becoming woody, as they are cultivated mainly for their leaves.

What Can I Do with Woody Basil Stems?

Basil Plant

It is pretty disheartening when you realize that your Basil plant is developing a woody stem because raising a Basil plant to the level of maturity can be a tasking venture.

One part of this circumstance is when the Basil plant’s leaves become so bitter they are no longer fit for consumption.

Therefore, there is a step-by-step guide towards dealing with Basil plants that develop woody stems.

And if properly followed, these steps go a long way toward the recovery and rejuvenation of the plant stems.

1. The first move here is taking off all the leaves from the Basil plant. The only path to follow while trying to activate the recovery of your Basil plant is by removing the old plant material.

Because by doing this, you give the plant the urge to reproduce fresh food and plant material that could be usable.

Freshly regrown Basil leaves would give the plant an excellent outlook and carry out photosynthesis more appropriately.

2. The next thing to do is sit tight and wait a few days to see if the Basil plant would grow back new leaves.

This occurrence indicates if the Basil plant’s stem would recover from its now woody nature to a fresh green stem or not.

If the Basil plant leaves grow back, the plant may have a chance at resuscitation. But if it doesn’t, the next thing to do is remove the entire Basil plant and plant new seedlings.

3. Cut off the dead branches to encourage the growth of fresh ones.

As the Basil plant’s stem becomes woody, its branches follow suit, turning hard and sometimes dying off faster than the Basil stem itself.

When you notice this, the ideal step is to cut off the dead branches from the plant before this condition spreads to other parts of the plant.

You would need a pruning shear or scissors to remove the dead branches. Check out the latest prices of pruning shears on Amazon.

4. It will help if you cut out the bottom of the Basil plant to allow the whole plant to regrow from the roots.

You can do this when the damage to the Basil plant’s stem is so severe that it refuses to revert to its original green state.

As you cut out the bottom, the Basil plant gets stimulated to grow again from the already established roots, therefore possessing an added advantage.

5. If the Basil plant was grown in a pot, it should be re-potted into another and kept in a spot where it can absorb sunlight and enjoy an open atmosphere.

This could go a long way towards the recovery of the plant.

How to Prevent Basil Stems From Turning Brown.

Because Basil stems turn brown due to fungi infection, overwatering, and aging, this occurrence can be avoided in some instances, while in some, it is unavoidable.

If Basil stems look brown and feel slimy, it is most definitely a result of too much water or insufficient drainage in the soil or pot in which it is grown.

So if water is fed to plants incorrectly and you establish appropriate drainages, you will handle this issue. Also, the Basil plant leaves turn brown because of fungi infections.

Applying soft pesticides in moderate quantities could go a long way to preventing the issue of the plant’s stem becoming woody from popping up.


Basil stems turning brown and gaining a woody texture occurs in certain stages of the plant, which is expected in the latter stages of the plant’s life cycle.

Whereas in the early to middle stages, certain factors Influence this condition. And because this is not a natural occurrence, it can be prevented and controlled.

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