Gardening – Basil Pruning: Never Buy Basil Again


These 3 pots of basil started as one basil plant purchased just before Easter. All of these plants were cuttings from the first plant. After several prunings, the plants provide us with plenty of basil for Caprese salads. One of our favorite snacks. The rest of our green basil were started from seed.

We love fresh basil. For years we would buy a potted basil plant, put it outside in the sun, water it and pluck off larger leaves for food. Every year the plant would begin to falter, then die…not this year. Here’s how to never need to buy another basil plant again…

Basil is perhaps our favorite herb for cooking. We use oregano and cilantro too, but not nearly as often as we use fresh basil. In past years we have purchased basil plants at the local grocer and used the leaves until the plant dies. We never intended for the plants to die, but alas, they always did.

Herbs were one of the many plants that we committed to learn to grow during this 2021 year of operation green thumb. Up until this year, we’d killed almost every plant that we were responsible for.

So far this year, we’ve killed little. What has made the difference? YouTube. There is little you can’t learn from this social media. We’ve learned to fix lawn tractors, cook, and many other things by simply watching and taking notes from YouTube videos. Why should gardening be any different?

Why indeed! Thanks to watching and listening to several online gardening experts we jot down consistencies. One consistency in gardening is pruning plants to optimize output and the overall health of the plant. For basil, it seems, pruning is most important to sustain the plant.

Each stock stem will form three more smaller stems that resemble a Y with one more stem growing between them. Pruning the middle stem off will encourage the two remaining Y shaped stems to grow 3 more stems propagating the plants growth and survival. The result is a plant that continues to expand out instead of up.

Basil stem that needs to be pruned.
Sheering off the middle stem.
The ‘pruned’ basil stem ready to grow two more sets of three stems which will be pruned again to make our basil plant strong and wide and fruitful.
All of our fresh window box planter basil seedlings from the YouTube video pruned and ready to spread wider instead of taller.
Basil seedlings in our raised garden Bed A. They are not ready for pruning yet…but it will not be long.

Published by R Dub's Rub

Conversational BLOG writer and contributing writer for LocaLeben magazine. My BLOG entries represent observations that intrigue, amuse, inspire or stimulate my appetite.

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