Purple Basil Turning Green: Exploring the Reasons Behind this Phenomenon



Why is my purple basil turning green? If you're a gardener or someone who loves to keep plants at home, this question might have bothered you at some point. You may have noticed your purple basil plant leaves losing their beautiful hue and turning green instead. Don't worry; you're not the only one facing this issue.

Understanding why your purple basil is changing color can be quite tricky. It could be related to different factors such as temperature, the amount of light it receives, soil pH level, water quality or even pests infestation. But what exactly triggers a vibrant purple herb to turn into an ordinary-looking green bush?

In this article, we'll explore all the possible reasons that lead to changes in leaf color and provide some helpful tips on how to prevent your purplish herb from losing its distinctive appeal. So let's dive in!

Why is My Purple Basil Turning Green?

If you've noticed that your purple basil has started to turn green, don't worry – this is a common issue for many gardeners. While some may view this as a problem, it's important to know that there are several reasons why this might be happening. In this article, we'll dive into the causes of why your purple basil is turning green and provide some tips on how to prevent it from happening in the future.

Understanding Purple Basil

Before we dive into what causes purple basil to turn green, let's talk about what makes it so special. Purple basil (Ocimum basilicum 'Purpurascens') gets its name from the deep violet hue of its leaves and stems. This variety of sweet basil adds a unique pop of color and flavor to dishes like salads or pasta sauces.

The plant itself grows up to two feet tall with small pink or white flowers appearing in mid-summer if allowed to flower. The leaves are rich in volatile oils which aid in digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties.

Causes for Green Leaves

Now onto the main question – why do those vibrant purple leaves suddenly start turning green?


Genetics play an important role when it comes down as certain varieties such as Crimson King have more stable pigments than others owing their dark coloring specifically due genetics rather than environmental factors.

Environmental Factors

In most cases however environmental conditions play major role when change occurs.This could include both natural & artificial reasons ranging from over watering ,nutrient deficiencies,insects attack(aphids) ,low light levels among others could trigger chlorophyll production leading changes .

Chlorophyll refers  to one type pigment responsible photosynthesis process which results making plants look greener .When Chlorophyll gets produced,the level anthocyanin(purple pigment ) decrease consequently causing colour changes on leaf surface areas meaning purples turn green.

Prevention and Care

While genetics may not be in your control, there are some things you can do to prevent your purple basil from turning green due to environmental factors:

  • Ensure adequate lighting: Purple Basil requires full sunlight for at least six hours each day. If you're growing basil indoors, place it near a sunny window.
  • Water the plant correctly: Over-watering or under-watering is a common mistake that many gardeners make. Always check the soil moisture level before watering and ensure proper drainage.
  • Maintain good soil quality: Good soil quality is key for healthy plant growth. Make sure your soil has enough nutrients by adding organic matter like compost or fertilizers .
  • Pruning:The more you harvest leaves off ,the bushier basil will become .Pruning encourages branching which stimulates growth enabling light infiltration resulting in better photosynthetic activity ensuring sustained pigmented colours.


In conclusion, purple basil turning green could be due to genetics but more often than not its an environmental factor which can easily be prevented with proper care .By following the tips above,you'll help keep the vibrant color of your purple basil while also promoting its overall health.It's important to note that even if it does turn into shades of greens,the flavor still remains unchanged so don't get too worried enjoy cooking!


Why is my purple basil turning green?

Purple basil is known for its stunning, deep purple coloration and unique flavor profile. However, if you've noticed your purple basil plant turning green, it can be a cause for concern. Here are some possible reasons why this could be happening:

  1. Lack of sunlight: Basil plants thrive in full sun exposure and need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day to grow properly. If your plant isn't receiving enough light, the leaves may turn green instead of maintaining their characteristic deep purple hue.

To remedy this issue, try moving your plant to a sunnier spot or adding some artificial grow lights if you're growing indoors. Make sure that the light source is positioned close enough to provide adequate brightness without burning the leaves.

  1. Nutrient imbalance: Another reason why your purple basil may be turning green could be due to nutrient deficiencies or imbalances in the soil composition.

Basil requires lots of nitrogen-rich fertilizer for healthy growth and vibrant leaf coloration; however excessive use can lead to foliage burn as well as discoloration issues like yellowing or browning tips/edges on new growth areas (or even spots). On the other hand insufficient amounts will result in stunted growth with pale leaves that eventually turn bright yellow before falling off altogether so it's important not only know how but when & how often fertilize depending on type too!

  1. Disease: Purple basil plants are susceptible to several kinds of fungal infections such as fusarium wilt that causes stems wilting leading up from roots through upper parts along with brown spots infecting lower surface area while others attack various stages throughout life-cycle i.e., damping-off (when seedlings die-off), root rot (when roots die off) etc – all these diseases can impact leaf quality altering overall appearance too! So make sure soil conditions are ideal including drainage patterns before planting seedlings outdoors or transplanting them from containers indoor settings.

  2. Genetics: It's possible that your purple basil plant may be reverting back to its green parentage due to genetics. Sometimes, the genetic traits that produce the purple pigment can be weakened or lost over time, leading to a less colorful plant.

If this is the case, there's not much you can do other than enjoying your green basil and perhaps consider planting another batch of new seeds (or taking cuttings from an existing plant) with better chances of producing purple leaves instead! Remember though – different varieties have varying degrees/qualities when it comes down into hue so choose wisely!

  1. Environmental stress: Finally, environmental stressors such as extreme heat or cold temperatures can also cause your basil plants to turn green instead of staying purple.

To prevent this issue from happening in future seasons make sure you're planting at optimal times and locations for regional conditions including weather patterns before anything else! If growing indoors then control temperature/humidity levels too as these effect leaf quality over time impacting overall appearance more drastically than outdoor counterparts sometimes.

Can I still eat my green basil?

Yes! While it may not look quite as pretty or unique without its characteristic deep-purple coloration, there is absolutely nothing wrong with consuming green-leafed Basil. In fact some varieties like "Sweet Genovese" which tend towards Greener tones are considered superior in flavor profiles by many chefs all around world!

Just remember though that while being safe consumption-wise sometimes cross-contamination issues might arise if using same knives/cutting boards etc for both types so always use clean utensils/plates/bowls etc before transferring ingredients into recipes!

Are there any benefits to having a Green Basil Plant?

As mentioned earlier above one potential benefit of Green-Basil would be stronger flavor versus their Purple counterparts if harvested & used fresh in recipes but apart from that no major advantages are known except being able grow larger quantities faster thanks higher photosynthetic rates which translate into quicker overall growth time equaling larger yields than purple ones sometimes.

How do I prevent my Purple Basil from turning green?

One way to prevent your purple basil plant from turning green is by ensuring that it is getting enough sunlight. As mentioned before, basil plants need at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day, so make sure that they are in a location with plenty of light.

Another crucial aspect for healthy leaf coloration and growth would be maintaining nutrient-rich soil conditions via fertilizing methodically especially during growing season depending on type too! If you're unsure how to go about this process or want an organic approach then there are various options available such as compost tea etc – just research & pick one that suits your needs!

Finally avoid cross-contamination issues while harvesting/drying/cutting fresh leaves using different utensils for both types even if same recipes again due possible food-safety concerns related with pathogenic bacteria like e-coli etc

Can I turn my Green Basil back Purple?

Unfortunately once the genetic expression leading toward production of deep-purple coloration in the leaf pigments has been weakened or lost, it's not possible to reverse course. While some factors like environmental stressors can cause temporary changes in the appearance and intensity levels (even frequency) of pigment expressions these tend not last long-term across entire plants due instability causing more harm than good often times!

If you're really keen on having vibrant purplish tones there may still be hope though – consider planting seeds for new batches under controlled conditions including light/temperature/humidity ratios etc optimized grow robust seedlings displaying desired hues over time! Remember though don't expect perfection every time; nature's ways unpredictable & complex combined demands patience perseverance when going through this process…

In conclusion, while it may be disheartening to see your beloved purple basil plant turn green, there are several reasons why this could happen. By understanding the root cause of the issue, you can take steps to remedy it and ensure that your basil continues to thrive. Whether you decide to enjoy your green basil or attempt to grow a new batch with better chances of producing purple leaves, just remember that healthy soil conditions and optimal lighting are key factors in maintaining vibrant leaf pigmentation.

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