Basil Seeds Infected?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Em
Posted on: September 4, 2003

I ordered 2 packets of Sacred Basil seeds from you – Green and Purple varieties. They arrived today.

When I put some of the Green Sacred Basil seeds on wet paper towel to germinate, they got a white transulent coating of part of the surface within a couple of minutes. I thought only some of the seeds had the problem, and picked them out and put them on plain paper. But almost all the seeds got the coating . When I tried to pick up the seeds I had put on plain paper, they were stuck to the paper - which indicates that the coating is sticky.

The same things happened with the Purple Sacred Basil seeds though to a lesser extent.

Last I had this problem with seeds I had ordered from another supplier, it turned out that the seeds had a virus infection.

Please let me know at the earliest whether this is an indication of virus/fungal infection. I am planning to grow the basil on a hydroponic system, and I do not want my other plants getting infected.

This is not a sign of infection. Basil seeds are well known for producing a gel-like substance when they are moistioned with water. This is quite normal. Some basil varieties produce more gel than others, so you may not have noticed it as much in other basil varieties.

It is not just the basils that do this; other members of the same plant family do it also. The chia sage (Salvia columbiniae) produces huge amounts of the same gel when exposed to water. The chia seed is what is used in "chia pet" novelties you may have seen advertised on television.

Back to Growing Herbs | Q & A Index

Copyright © 1997-2014 Otto Richter and Sons Limited. All rights reserved.