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Why are herbs are not growing well - basil, coriander, pandan

#1 User is offline   herbaltea7415 

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 05:10 PM

I bought a few plants from the nursery recently.
- Thai basil
- Pandan
- Coriander
All placed in in my balcony where they gets 4-5 hours direct morning sun on it daily (from dawn to around 11am except rainy/cloudy days).
I watered them every alternate day, good amount of water because soil in each one felt dry (until water seeps through onto the tray).
However they are not looking good.

Thai basil - its leaves started to lose its green, turns yellow, gets brown and wilt. Browning isn't always at the tips, sometimes nearer the stalk end too. Yet there seems to be some small new leaves growing.
Pandan - leaves getting yellow spots and becoming narrower (not green and broad leaves like it was before)
Coriander - Was doing ok and started to grow too much so I harvested some. Then some leaves closer to the soil started to turn yellow.

Pictures for basil are attached. https://goo.gl/photo...zuu2McWE3WdB5S8
Pictures show the direct sunlight.

What is wrong? Is sunlight insufficient or did I over-water?
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#2 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 09:40 PM

View Postherbaltea7415, on 08 April 2017 - 05:10 PM, said:

I bought a few plants from the nursery recently.
- Thai basil
- Pandan
- Coriander
All placed in in my balcony where they gets 4-5 hours direct morning sun on it daily (from dawn to around 11am except rainy/cloudy days).
I watered them every alternate day, good amount of water because soil in each one felt dry (until water seeps through onto the tray).
However they are not looking good.

Thai basil - its leaves started to lose its green, turns yellow, gets brown and wilt. Browning isn't always at the tips, sometimes nearer the stalk end too. Yet there seems to be some small new leaves growing.
Pandan - leaves getting yellow spots and becoming narrower (not green and broad leaves like it was before)
Coriander - Was doing ok and started to grow too much so I harvested some. Then some leaves closer to the soil started to turn yellow.

Pictures for basil are attached. https://goo.gl/photo...zuu2McWE3WdB5S8
Pictures show the direct sunlight.

What is wrong? Is sunlight insufficient or did I over-water?


Looks like sun burn, but hard to tell. Take some photos from farther away. Also show what the soil surface looks like.
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#3 User is offline   herbaltea7415 

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:11 AM

Thanks for replying keff. I added another pic on the basil soil (pic was taken just after watering cos I forgot). I didn't repot any of the plants afer purchase. My yellow-looking pandan is there too:(

https://goo.gl/photo...zuu2McWE3WdB5S8
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#4 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 09 April 2017 - 09:16 AM

My guess is that you overwatered them. The pandan doesn't mind being water logged. But the others might benefit from a drying cycle. Do you know how to do this?
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#5 User is offline   herbaltea7415 

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 10:53 AM

No I don't, what do you mean by a drying cycle?
Saw this online http://homeguides.sf...asil-85700.html

For pandan I read some posts that it needs a lot of water to the extent of being soaked in water. Is this true?

View Postkeff, on 09 April 2017 - 09:16 AM, said:

My guess is that you overwatered them. The pandan doesn't mind being water logged. But the others might benefit from a drying cycle. Do you know how to do this?

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#6 User is offline   keff 

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Posted 10 April 2017 - 11:15 AM

View Postherbaltea7415, on 10 April 2017 - 10:53 AM, said:

No I don't, what do you mean by a drying cycle?
Saw this online http://homeguides.sf...asil-85700.html

For pandan I read some posts that it needs a lot of water to the extent of being soaked in water. Is this true?


Far more plants are killed by overwatering than underwatering. Waterlogged soils don't allow the roots to breathe so they die. When this happens the plants cannot take up enough water, and they show symptoms that mimic drought. This causes the owner anxiety and he/she waters even more, exacerbating the problem.

Pandan can survive waterlogging or even living in a pond. But it does NOT necessarily need to we water logged. It will do fine if treated like other plants. But because it can survive over watering, you can water it all you want.

But this is not the same for other plants that do not like to be water logged. Although the plant seller has good intentions, it is impossible for anyone to advise a fixed watering frequency. This is because of variables like how aggressively you water, the wind, the sun, the size of pot, the potting material, material that the pot is made of, etc etc.

The best way for you to avoid over watering is to learn to judge when your plant needs water. For your plants I suggest you:

  • When it has already been watered, lift the pot and feel how heavy it is.
  • Stop watering and observe the plant for signs of water stress like wilting, or curling of leaves. This applies to soft leaved plants.
  • When the plant shows signs of drying stress, lift it up again and feel the weight of the pot.
  • Remember the kind of weather and conditions the plant has been in between watered, and dry states. Now you know the approximate timing for drying.
  • The basic idea is you want to water just before the plant shows water stress. For example if it takes 5 days for the plant to show stress, you can water at 3 or 4 days, depending on whether the type of plant likes it wet or dry.
  • Depending on the weather, you may water earlier or later.
  • In the beginning, you will find yourself picking up the pots and weighing them frequently. But after a time, you will get the hang of it and can tell by gut feel if they need water.

    But remember, IF IN DOUBT, WAIT ANOTHER DAY.

This post has been edited by keff: 10 April 2017 - 11:37 AM

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#7 User is offline   herbaltea7415 

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 09:58 AM

Thank you keff. I will try. So far I have let it go without watering for a few days to let soil dry up more. The old yellow leaves are still drooping but falling off slowly. New small ones are looking greener. Fingers crossed see how it goes.
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