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June 2, 2005

Why Do You Hate Me So?

Nothing screams failure like a dead plant.

2005-06-02 basil0027.JPG

Behold the delightful lemon thyme. Isn't she lovely? She is green, lush, and alive. I have cut sprigs from her as well as her cousin, the creeping rosemary, and cooked with them each night for weeks. My geranium and succulents, all thriving, as are the hanging plants whose names escape me. But the basil...the sweet basil is a brown, crinkled carcass.

Why can't I keep a basil plant alive? I try every year. There is wonderful southern exposure in my apartment; plants get their six to eight hours of light. Their soil is well drained. But the basil always dies.

Basil is supposed to be the easiest herb to cultivate, yet I fail every year. What on earth am I doing wrong?

Posted by callalillie at June 2, 2005 7:27 AM | Inquiry


Corie, I water mine every morning in my underwear. It's either the water, the morning or the underwear. Much luck.

Posted by: Kevin Hale at June 2, 2005 9:29 AM

or maybe it's YOU in the underwear. i've never tried that, though i suspect the sight of me in my underwear in the morning might scare the basil plant even more.

Posted by: corie at June 2, 2005 9:33 AM

i don't know anything about rosemary and thyme... or basil for that matter, but the clarity and detail in this photo is amazing. i especially like that one branched section against the red pot background.

Posted by: jchow at June 2, 2005 9:44 AM

who ever told you that basil was easy to grow? it likes heat, and is really a different type of plant than thyme or rosemary, which are perennials and can take a wider variety of stresses and temperatures and still thrive. you might try one of the asian varieties; they can sometimes be easier.

Posted by: jane at June 2, 2005 10:27 AM

hmm. i read it on the interweb. i didn't realize that basil was an annual. i need an herb book. so lemon basil might grow more easily? i'll have to buy a small one and test it out. perhaps the windowsill is not warm enough.

Posted by: corie at June 2, 2005 10:34 AM

Yeah: basil is NOT easy and whoever told you that was lying or talking about a normal outdoors garden. My thumb is as green as they come and I can't do basil indoors either. Don't feel so bad. They don't seem to think of indoors sun as "real" sun.
Lemon basil has the same growing requirements as regular basil. I hate to be a downer, but unless you can get them outside in a windowbox or something, you're going to have a tough time. Or, you know, just stick to herbs that actually survive! I find there is nothing more frustrating than trying to grow plants in conditions they hate.

Posted by: abby at June 2, 2005 11:31 AM

Hmm. I have a window box. I avoided using it because I thought the squirrels or birds might eat it...then again, what else do I have to lose?

Posted by: corie at June 2, 2005 12:16 PM

WTF? Garden herbs! We're growing garden herbs! Oh that is just it! I don't think you can be saved now. I've lost my COrie forever.

Posted by: jason at June 2, 2005 12:20 PM

I love basil and have been able to keep a mini variety globe basil alive on my windowsill in the winter. The name is Minette. For some reason I am lethal to my indoor rosemary. Now I have everything out in the garden for the summer months. Poor little rosemary has no idea of her indoor fate--I will try again. Good luck with the basil experiment.

Posted by: Vickie at June 2, 2005 12:51 PM

Nothing screams failure like a dead plant.

I don't think a dead plant is the issue. Hearing a dead plant scream would seem to be a bigger issue to me. ;-)

Posted by: ccs178 (Chris) at June 2, 2005 4:43 PM

Speak to it... in Basilneese.

Posted by: at June 2, 2005 5:11 PM

I transplanted some basil into my garden two years ago and thought it all died.

Today I found it sprouting from the carcasses of the tulips - they lived and prospered and are now a regular part of my diet.

I even found their little nametag this morning...seems the earth decided to spit that up too in case I forgot what they were.

Posted by: Maktaaq at June 2, 2005 10:05 PM

I've killed "lucky" bamboo, so I have no advice for ya... good luck. :-)

Posted by: ms. frizzle at June 3, 2005 6:28 PM

Irving ATE my lucky bamboo.

Posted by: corie at June 3, 2005 6:53 PM

basil is meant to be grown in groups, like spinach or lettuce. one basil plant alone will almost always die.
the best way is to have a planter box with several basil plants in it.

Posted by: isabel at June 3, 2005 7:44 PM

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