How to Deal With Basil Downy Mildew

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Handling Basil Downy Mildew

If you suspect that your basil plants have been affected by basil mold, what should you do next? Basil blight is a highly contagious disease and can appear without warning.

It is transmitted through spores that are almost invisible to the naked eye and can be blown away by the wind; worn with clothing, hands, or tools; or travel in water sprayed or sprayed from one plant to another. Here are some things you can do after you find basil mold in your garden, plus some answers to common questions about basil mold.


Basil blight is caused by a pathogen called Peronospora belbahrii. Basil infected with powdery mildew may appear yellowish, similar to a nutritional problem.

Yellowing usually appears first in areas along the main veins and eventually spreads across the leaf. Infected leaves may also have irregular black spots and gray fuzzy spores on the underside of the leaf.

As the disease progresses, the leaves turn completely yellow and fall off the stems wilt, and the plant eventually dies.

The infection usually starts at the bottom of the plant and increases. If you suspect your plants are infected with basil mold and want a specialized diagnosis, take an affected leaf to your local or university extension office for positive identification.

Carefully remove one sheet and place it in a sealed plastic bag for transport.

Remove Infected Plants

When you are sure your plant has mold, cover the entire plant with a bag to prevent the spores from spreading; remember, they can become airborne and land on other plants, or they can topple over and contaminate the ground.


Take out the whole plant, take it out of the garden and destroy it. Do not compose the plant or attempt to remove only the visibly affected leaves. Do not store basil seeds anywhere in that year's harvest. The spores can infect seeds and affect next year's plants.


Basil blight thrives in warm, humid environments. It can grow in temperatures up to 59 F, but is more prevalent in higher temperatures, especially in humid conditions.

This is why the problem tends to be more severe in late summer in many climates. The best way to prevent mold or limit its spread is to separate the plants so that the leaves can dry out between waterings or after rain.

Drip irrigation is preferable to spraying because the leaves remain dry. If you need to spray, water the plants more deeply and less often, preferably early in the morning so the plants have plenty of time to dry during the day and between waterings.

Basil blight can remain viable for many years in soil, and some reports indicate that the spores can remain viable for eight years or more. To be safe, it's a good idea to rotate your basil crop and plant it in a completely new location for the next season.

Safe Consumption

In general, mold-infected basil leaves are not poisonous, but eating clearly affected leaves is not recommended. When you notice the first signs of mold, it is best to remove the entire plant and remove and cook only the healthy leaves if you want to eat them.

Since basil grows very fast, the best way to prevent the spread of mold spores is to quickly remove them and start new plants in a new location.

Enjoy This Video Tutorial About Downy Mildew on Basil

Source: VCE Master Gardener

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