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Why Are My Basil Leaves Deformed? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 12:54 pm

Basil leaves vary depending on the variety of the plant. However, most of them have their characteristic green-leafed appearance except for the purple basils, which surprisingly have glossy purple leaves.

The fresh green color is ideal for most basils. However, if they appear curled up or faded, there is a reason for this.

There are many reasons for your basil leaves appearing deformed, and identifying the problem and fixing it is critical.

Why are my Basil leaves deformed?

Basil leaves appear deformed when there is too little sunlight, certain diseases or pests, or too little water. Identifying and correcting the list’s reasons is essential for a healthy basil plant.

Why Does My Basil Look Weird?

Basil leaves most times to appear bright green, and there can be quite a number of them because they can be harvested for a long time, and their vegetative parts will re-grow

Your basil may look weird to you, probably because of the variety of plants you bought or are growing.

For example, the leaves of the purple basils appear purple in color, and different basils appear different when growing, their shape of leaves or a slight change in the green color of their leaves.

Your basil may also look weird if it has not been correctly stored, appearing wilted or black or brown due to oxidation from the environment.

If the leaves appear white or curled up, they may be diseased or wilting due to lack of nutrients, overwatering, or inadequate sunlight.

Your basil plant may also appear weird when wilting due to transplant shock or inadequate nutrients, which you can quickly fix with organic fertilizers.

Why Does My Basil Look Limp?

Basil plants have numerous benefits and are surprisingly effortless to grow, either in soil or the hydroponics system.

They can grow to a height of about 130cm, with their vegetative part growing to about 11cm in length and 6cm wide.

Though this may differ significantly in basil varieties as some are as low as 30cm high and have a leaf of about 3cm long and 1cm broad.

Your basil plant may not grow up to this standard or maybe trail behind as compared to the others of its age, looking not as healthy or appearing pale or limp; this may be due to certain conditions that are not met for healthy growth.

One of these factors may be insufficient nutrients. This occurrence may be due to the soil they are planted in.

Your basils may appear limp if they are not getting the adequate nutrients it needs to survive effectively.

This includes the right amounts of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate, and in the hydroponics system, they also need their calcium and potassium to grow big, vigorous, and leafy.

Another reason may be improper watering. When your basils are first planted, they may need more water than they need as adults, which may also differ in the growing hydroponics system.

Your basils may appear limp due to too little water or over-watering your basil plants. Also, the method of the watering can affect your basil plants.

It is best to water the soil and not the leaves of basil plants. Unfortunately, many plant lovers make that mistake, and though it is not instantly harmful to your plant, you may combine this with other factors.

Also, underwatering your basil plants is bad for them, ultimately leading to malnutrition of your basils. Your basil plant may also appear limp due to improper sunlight.

If your basil is planted in your garden, it is best to grow them during the seasons where basils thrive and not on occasions where there is too much sunlight and they scorch your basils.

If you have potted basil plants or hydroponics basils, the right amount of sunlight or light, in general, is also essential for healthy growth and they differ based on the systems of planting that you have employed.

Diseases can also cause limpness in your basil; many conditions can affect them, such as gray mold, fusarium wilt, black spot, and downy mildew. Unfortunately, some of these diseases are better prevented than cured.

Pests can also be detrimental to your basil; most not only reduce the yield by eating up your plant but also carry vectors that may spread to your basil plants, causing them to appear limp.

What Does Diseased Basil Look Like?

Many diseases can affect your basil plants, and some can engulf them, causing them to die after some time.

You should avoid some diseases as they can hardly be treated, and some may be extremely difficult to get rid of.

Some are transmitted to your plant through insects and water but rarely through the soil, bacteria, fungi, nematodes, and viruses.

Diseases of basils include foliar nematodes, damping-off, root and crown rot, fusarium wilt, botrytis blight, and powdery mildew.

They affect the basil plant and have different symptoms, but some general symptoms are an absolute tell to know that your basil plant is diseased.

1. If your basil plant appears wilted and the vegetative parts are turning lifeless.
2. When the roots of your basils are discolored, turning black or brown.
3. When the basil plant leaves appear brown or curl up. Curling up the basil leaves is one of the most efficient signs to know that your basil is diseased, and this symptom accompanies most diseases on the basil.
4. If the leaves of your basils change color from green to yellow or sometimes white.

What Are the Solution To Revive Deformed Basil Leaves?

Growing the basil plant is fun and can be harvested over and over for an extended period. Hence, they will be readily available whenever you need these aromatic herbs in the kitchen.

Basil leaves become deformed for several reasons, and you can revive them as long as you can treat the condition that caused the deformity.

It is easier to revive deformed basil leaves when they are caused by environmental factors such as excess sunlight or over or under-watering your basil plant and more complex when diseases or pests cause them.

When the leaves curl up due to excess water, avoid watering them for a few days when you can see the water is dried up in the soil and the soil no longer appears moist.

Like most herbs, basil herbs only need about 0.1% of the water it takes for its processes, so clogging them with water is not the best idea.

You can also make holes in your potted basil plants to drain the excess water it doesn’t need.

Reduce the amount of water given to your basil plants during cold seasons when the water in the atmosphere is high. The right balance of water is essential for the basil plants.

Another way to fix your deformed basil plant leaves is to provide enough sunlight for the plant. The basil plant needs about 6-8 hours of daylight to grow effectively in soil.

Keeping your basil plants in the shade is terrible for them. Like most plants, they need sunlight.

If your basils are growing in a hydroponics system, give them about 14 hours of LED lighting for adequate growth.

Sunlight also prevents the powdery mildew disease that affects the basil plants, which cannot be cured when they are involved. So to avoid this pesky disease, give your plants light.

Diseases like the fusarium wilt that also cause the leaves to be deformed can be stopped by rotating your basil plant in sunlight from time to time for about 4 hours.

Also, giving them too much sunlight during growth can cause this disease as they thrive in the warmth.


Having your garden of basils or potted basils at home can be fun. Not only are they aromatic, but they are also edible.

However, certain conditions may affect them, preventing them from growing to their full potential.

Adequate sunlight, proper water balance, and the right nutrients are some of the fixes and ways of growing a healthy basil plant as long as they are in the right balance.


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