Here's the scenario: it looks like your basil plant has been eaten by an insect. What should you do?
It is really depressing to return to your plants after a vacation to find out that the leaves have been eaten by insects. While it is safe to assume that all your plants will still be healthy when you get back, you can't really be so sure.
This is exactly what happened to Jess, our CMO.
“When I got home, I was too excited to water them all and then suddenly I saw my basil with tears and holes. I was certain that it was eaten by something” cried Jess.
Have you experienced the same thing? Here are some tips that we’d like to share with you:
Look for it in every leaf and even in the soil. Most of the time, you’d still see the insect roaming around the leaves or the soil.
If you can't find it, wait until the evening before looking for it. Sometimes, these insects only appear at night (when they think they can get away with eating more of your plants' leaves).
Get a flashlight and find it. Again, look at every leaf and its underside. You'll most likely find them hiding there.
If you don’t want to use a pesticide, you can use a little drop of soap with water and spray it on the leaves to make sure it won’t bother your plants (AND YOU!) anymore.
It's always better to use a more diluted portion (meaning more water than soap) on your first try. The reason for this is a concentrated dose might do more damage than the insects itself. If the insects don't go away, increase the soap portion by a small amount.
Re-pot the plant again to be sure that the culprit is not just hiding somewhere on the base.
Replace the soil with a new one. Be careful when transplanting the plant, though. Roots can get damaged and that will kill your plants sooner than the insects would.
Cut every leaf that was destroyed, leaving only the healthy ones.
What this does is make sure that the nutrients are given to those who are in real need of it -- the healthy leaves. Since the leaves are going to grow back anyway, removing the ones with tears and holes allow the plant to grow healthily and, frankly, more beautifully.
Treat this as a last resort. Of course, if you are going to use a pesticide, go for the organic ones.
Check out some recipes for your own organic pesticides.