Do herbs need thinned?

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

A couple weeks ago, I started some herbs in 4inch pots. I started oregano, 2 sweet basil's, and some cinnamon basil. They have since sprouted (pictures below).

My question is... do they need to be thinned?

I will note, that they have been infested with some kind of pest... though I'm not sure what kind it is. I can give a description of the pest (though probably not a very helpful one), but the type of pest it is, I am not sure of, therefore, am not sure of how to get rid of it. I'm going to try a couple of "home remedy" recipes i've come across by googling to experiment a little (as I'd really rather not use a chemical pesticide on herbs I plan to cook with eventually).

Any help is much appreciated!!

Thumbnail by MrsLidwell Thumbnail by MrsLidwell Thumbnail by MrsLidwell Thumbnail by MrsLidwell
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Will you be planting them in the ground or in pots eventually? You might pot them into larger containers and place the plants a bit farther apart. I don't find that will hurt them as long as they are still small.

While still small and in larger pots, take care not to overwater as the roots can easily drown. Herbs don't mind being a bit crowded in pots.

What type of pest are you seeing? Herbs aren't usually bothered by pests. There can be a fruit fly type or maybe aphids?

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

I was planning to keep them in the pots they are currently in (4-4 1/2 inch pots), and not plant them out. I only water them about 1-2 times a week, usually only once a week though. The soil seems to stay moist to the touch, so really it seems thats all I need to water them, without overwatering lol.

Truthfully, I'm not sure what kind of pests these are. I first spotted them in the pot I had some celery I was regrowing in (an experiment I'm doing from a blog post I read... there's a thread going on this in the beginner veggie forum). All I can do is try to describe them lol. I know they start out as some kind of eggs, seemingly attached to the root systems of plants. Then, after they come out of the eggs, they appear as some kind of tiny (maybe 2 cm long) very thin white crawling pest.. then after that stage, they look like even smaller (so small its hard to see them if it werent for the dirt being so dark lol), white insect things that crawl around, and I've seen them "hop" around when I water the herbs. I think I managed to get them from the soil I used to pot things up, so I'm getting my hubby to pick me up some better soil today on his way home from work. Sorry I couldn't explain them any better, hard to explain, but I really have no idea what they are, and the only way I can think that they got in there is via the soil.

I did have a picture of the egg clusters around the base of my celery at one point, but I can't find it now. It is posted in the "regrowing store bought celery" thread I created in the other forum though. I'll see if I can find it and post it here for you to see.

So, I shouldn't really have to thin out these herbs?

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

picture of eggs of pests surrounding roots of my celery, pests I'm also finding in my herb's soil.

Thumbnail by MrsLidwell
Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

I don't know what to tell you... I have only seen a cluster of eggs like that one time but don't recall what plant it was on. I tossed it immediately. Just didn't want them to spread.

Your description of the bugs sounds like aphids but that doesn't sound like the type of eggs they lay. Did anyone on that other forum have any idea?

If you intend to leave your plants in those small pots, you may need to thin them. You will find as the plants grow, the plant will become rootbound and will require much more frequently watering. OTOH, if you will be trimming the foliage often to use in cooking, you shouldn't need to thin the plants. Good luck.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

There really hasn't been much luck trying to figure out what these pests are, though I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday, and she said it sounded like I had some kind of mites in them. Suggested I sprayed them with a diluted dish soap solution to try to take care of them. I'll be trying that next. I guess the worst it can do is kill them, right? LOL!

Stamford, CT(Zone 6b)

Mrs. L, when you posted the photos, the herbs had only primary leaves. I have to assume that they have surpassed that era, developed secondary leaves and stronger stems. They often thin themselves out.

Do you still have the bugs and do they fly? The celery looks a bit rotted, which is always an attractant for just hatched flies.

Cresson, PA(Zone 6a)

I do still have some critters in the herbs, but no, no flies. The critter problem has slowed down drastically though since I cut back on watering frequency and put them outside for a couple weeks in a greenhouse when we had some warm weather. Yes, they now have their second set of leaves :-) :-)

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