What would make basil seedlings not grow?

elisa_z5May 2, 2014

I'm confused. My basil seedlings came up and then stopped growing. They've been the size of the head of a nail for weeks, even though they seem to be alive.

The specs:
I used pro-mix with 1/10 worm casings (the pro-mix is what I normally use for sunflower sprouts in the winter -- not for seedlings, but it was all I had on hand).
They've spent some time under lights, some in sunny window, some on sunny porch.
THey've been warm.
They've traveled to 3 states, but all my seedlings do that every year.
Also, the seeds were old (2010 and 2011) and germination was extremely low.

Should I just start over with some good potting mix and toss these?
Also, if anyone can tell me why this may have happened, maybe I can avoid it next year. I may have to end up buying a dozen basil plants because the pesto must be made!

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Sweet basils always take a long time to get going after sprouting for me.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:53PM
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It sounds like you have plenty of experience with basil. My most basic experience is that it likes really warm soil.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 11:33PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

As long as they are green (not yellowing), that is fine. Basils do not grow real fast at first. I have a flatfull of them right now. They have just the seed leave for over one week so far.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 12:03AM
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Well that's encouraging. So, patience, huh? I do still have a month before they'll go in.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 10:24PM
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daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

I will echo the point about warm soil. Basil likes warm soil. In fact, it won't even germinate with soil temps much below 70F. I always start my basil indoors under lights. They don't go outside until the low temps are in the 50s and 60s. I suspect exposure to cooler temps will shut them down for a while.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:06PM
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Its been said twice already but - temperature makes a huge difference with Basil. Last year I had basil growing under lights in my grow room, some on the top shelf where it is at 70-75 degrees, and some on the bottom shelf where it is closer to 55-60. There was an amazing difference in growth rate.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 7:43AM
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Basil is a heavy feeder and also prefers bright sun and heat. I mean, it's one of the few garden plants that I can count on through the summer in the extreme, Phoenix summer heat.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:32AM
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To make matters worse the conditions which slow the basil growth also favor many basil diseases. That is my main reason for only early starting disease resistant varieties like Nufar, Emily or Genoveser. Also use a potting mix with biofungicide if possible as added insurance and then you still need to keep young seedlings warmer than most other crops. Temps dipping into the mid 40s often leeds to "Tanning" of the leaves; low of

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 10:39AM
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