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Why Do Basil Leaves Wrinkle? (Explained)

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Last updated on September 23rd, 2022 at 01:03 pm

Basil plants are mild and tender even after the leaves have attained maturity and, as such, are prone to issues if not well maintained and taken care of. One of these many problems is wrinkling.

The wrinkling of basil leaves makes the plant unattractive and causes panic for most cultivators. However, it also leaves many seeking answers.

So, why do basil leaves wrinkle? Basil leaves can wrinkle underwatering, overwatering, too little sun, too much sun, diseases, and pests.

Why Does Basil Leaves Pucker?

The most common causes of puckering basil leaves are underwatering and overwatering.

When the basil plant is overwatered, it can result in Root rot, and when it is underwater, the soil becomes soggy.

What Are The Causes Of Puckering Basil?

As earlier mentioned, many factors facilitate basil leaf puckering but let us look at the most common ones and how they happen.

1. Overwatering

The first cause of basil puckering is overwatering. When the plant is overwatered, It results in root rot, making it have yellow leaves and pucker. Some of these leaves even drop.

2. Underwatering

When the soil you plant the basil on is not well hydrated, it causes the soil to go soggy, making the basil leaves short of water and nutrient supply resulting in puckering.

3. Too much sunlight

Excess sunlight dries up the basil leaves and makes them wrinkle and Fall off.

This occurrence is one of the many reasons basil plants are grown in flower pots to move to more minor sunny areas when the weather becomes too harsh.

4. Too little sunlight

Basil plants love full sun but not too much sun. You should give them six hours of sun daily for efficient growth. If you don’t do this, it can make the leaves wrinkle.

5. Diseases

Some diseases are the reasons why basil leaves wrinkle. They come in and fight for nutrients with the basil plants, thereby making the plant take less of the required nutrients.

This action could also result in basil leaf puckering. A typical example of such a disease is powdery mildew.

6. Pests

Pests like Aphids struggle with basil plants for nutrients, they are there as parasites, and after depriving the basil plant of the nutrients it needs, it makes the basil look malnourished and wrinkled.

How To Fix Wrinkled Basil Plant?

There are only a few problems without solutions; fortunately, wrinkled basil is not one of them.

If you discover your basil leaves are beginning to wrinkle and look dry, then there are a few things you can do to restore them to their natural forms.

They include:

1. Providing appropriate sunlight for the basil plant

Since basil is a complete and bright sun lover, it must be placed in the proper spot to avoid wrinkles.

If the basil plants are potted, you can put them by the window in the daytime or anywhere they can get enough sunlight.

If the sun does not come out very often, you can alternate with grow lights like in winter.

2. Supply the right amount of water

When basil plants reach the first to second inch above the soil, they feel dry.

Because of the direct sunlight this plant comes in regular contact with, and it requires quite an amount of water.

Reduce watering during the cold or winter and increase watering during summer or dry seasons.

Apply water at the base of the plants and ensure a slight dryness between the watering.

3. Treat Powdery mildew

This fungus disease affects plants and causes severe wrinkling in basil plants.

To avoid this, avoid too much water on the plant and allow basil plants to be in sunny or bright areas, as the shade or cold can enhance fungal growth.

If this disease is already present in the plant, carefully cut off the affected areas or preferably uproot the affected plant from the garden, so the rest do not get infected.

For chemical treatments of Powdery mildew, you can make a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution and spray it over the affected area of the plant once a week until it eradicates all the disease.

4. Treat fusarium wilt

This plant disease is almost impossible to prevent. It attacks the root system of the basil and causes it to wrinkle.

Its treatment is nearly the same as powdery mildew, but you can seek safer advice from a plant specialist since the disease only affects a variety of basil.

5. Treat Aphids

Aphids are tiny insects that survive by sucking on the sap of plants, especially green leafy plants.

When the basil plant begins to bear seeds, aphids suck off the nutrients from the leaves of the plant leaves. Thereby facilitating basil leaf puckering.

Treating aphids is a significant step toward preventing and fixing wrinkled basil leaves.

A way of home treatment is to provide enough sunlight, but you can ask plant specialists to provide proper Aphid treatment depending on the basil you are growing.

6. Treat spider mites

You can treat or prevent spider mites by rubbing alcohol around the surroundings of your basil garden.

Preferably, you can rub alcohol on the leaves when you notice spider mites and wash them off after some hours.


Basil wrinkles are very annoying and may eventually cause the leaves to start falling off and might subsequently cost you your entire basil garden.

To avoid such, always ensure you provide everything the plant needs in the right proportions and at the right time.

If you are not familiar with basil plants or are new to basil gardening, you can ask plant specialists for advice when you notice our basil leaves have started to wrinkle.

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