Asphalt Garden: Why Are My Leaves Turning Black?

It’s been two weeks since I planted my vegetable garden, and so far, things have been growing nicely. The zucchini plant (shown above) has already more than doubled in size.

These first weeks haven’t been worry-free, however. Just like new parents rush to call their pediatrician in the first months of their baby’s life, I made my first visit to plant ER today – aka my neighborhood nursery.

My question: Why are some leaves on my plants curling up and turning black at the tips? It is especially noticeable on the basil plants. Googling “black tips on leaves” didn’t help either. There was plenty of help for cannabis plants, not so much for basil plants.

On my way to the nursery, I imagined all the terrible situations my vegetables could be in. Every theoretical problem ended with me needing to get all new dirt and plants.

A staff member at the nursery assuaged my fears. It had been unseasonably cold (low 40s) and windy the past week in Los Angeles where I live, and the staffer theorized the low temperatures had harmed my leaves. Basil leaves, she said, are especially sensitive.

I didn’t leave the “doctor’s office” without a “prescription” – this time a bottle of fungicide to spray on the tomato plants. The weather is also getting warmer in the coming week. That’s welcome news to this new parent.

  • Passerby

    Could you advise if the fungicide spray help?  I had a couple of cold and windy days in the past week and my plants (including purple cornflowers, bee balm and hydrangea) show the same sign and leaves were eaten.  Please help!

    • Mark Evitt

      I didn’t have any success with the fungicide on my zucchinis … once the weather warmed, my basil leaves stopped shriveling up. Here’s my advice – if it’s just a temperature issue, there’s not really anything you can do. If it’s wet, too, (which promotes fungus growth) then it would be worth it to try spraying with fungicide.

  • Educated Grower

    Looks like a phosphorus deficiency

  • Guest

    Might Be Too Hot

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