Getting the most from your basil

Pinching the growing tips of your basil throughout the growing season will make a bushy plant that will keep producing lush, tasty leaves all season long.

The growing tip is the upper most set of leaves, usually with tiny leaves forming at the center. If you snip off this growing tip early and continuously, about once a week or two, you will eventually have multiple growing tips.

If the nursery you bought your plant from began the pruning for you, there may be several already, and they can all be continuously cut.

Cut the growing tips when they are big enough to eat, and use them as a topping or a garnish. Make your cut right above two larger opposing leaves, or just above the set of baby twin leaves coming from the base where the double leaves connect to the main stem. Those baby leaves will each become two additional growing tips. If you don’t see the baby leaves yet, you will soon.

Don’t let the basil plant go to flower. Herbs are less tasty and more coarse after they have flowered. If a flower bud appears, cut it off just above the set of opposing leaves beneath the bud.

You can eat those tasty basil buds! Try garnishing your salad or pasta dish with them, whole or chopped!

Cutting off the flower is called deadheading, most flowers will produce more and longer blooms if you deadhead them. Read more about deadheading flowers here.

Interested in learning more? The Grower’s Library at Johnny’s Selected Seeds may have the information you’re looking for.

Photo by Alice Henneman (flickr)

Gardening Tips Gardening basil deadheading garden herbs pruning

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