How to Prune Basil Plants in Pots

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

Don’t let your basil plants get too big and leggy! Follow these simple tips on how to prune basil plants in pots so they continue to produce fresh, delicious leaves.

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Pruning Your Basil Plant

Pruning is an important part of taking care of your basil plant, and it is something that you should do on a regular basis. There are a few different ways that you can prune your basil plant, and the best way for you to do it will depend on the size and shape of your plant. If you have a small basil plant, you can simply prune it by snipping off the tips of the leaves.

Trimming the Stem

Start by trimming the stem just above a node (the place where a leaf meets the stem). This will encourage the plant to produce more leaves. You can use sharp pruning shears or even your fingers to do this. Just be sure to make a clean cut so that the plant can heal quickly.

Pinching the Leaves

One way to prune your basil is to pinch the leaves. Pinching the leaves of your basil plant will encourage the plant to grow bushier rather than taller. You can pinch the leaves with your fingers or use a pair of scissors. Pinching the leaves will also prevent your plant from flowers and going to seed.

To encourage bushiness, pinch the leaves every few weeks throughout the growing season. You can also pinch off any flower buds that you see.

When to Prune Your Basil Plant

If you want to keep your basil plant healthy, it’s important to prune it on a regular basis. Pruning helps to encourage new growth and also prevents the plant from becoming too leggy. Basil is a fast-growing plant, so you’ll need to prune it every two to three weeks. Let’s talk about how to prune your basil plant.

Spring and Summer

During the spring and summer, your basil plant will grow quickly. You will need to prune it regularly to encourage bushier growth. Every few weeks, cut back the main stems by 2-3 inches. You can also cut back any side shoots that are longer than 6 inches.

Fall and Winter

Basil plants can be pruned in the fall and winter, but it’s best to wait until after the first frost. This will help the plant to better recover from the pruning.

Pruning in the fall or winter will also help to control the size of your basil plant. If you let your plant go without pruning, it can become leggy and out of control.

How Often to Prune Your Basil Plant

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a fast-growing, annual herb that is often grown in pots. The ideal time to prune your basil plant is when it is 6-8 inches tall. You should prune it back to about 4 inches. This will encourage the plant to produce more leaves. You can prune basil plants every 2-3 weeks during the growing season.

Every Two to Three Weeks

Pruning your basil plant every two to three weeks will help it grow bushier and produce more leaves. When pruning, cut the stem just above a set of leaves. This will encourage the plant to produce new growth from that point. Picking the leaves of your basil plant on a regular basis will also encourage it to produce more leaves.

When the Plant Gets Overgrown

If your basil plant gets too tall or begins to produce long, leggy stems, it’s time for a trim. This will encourage the plant to put out new growth, which will be bushier and more compact. You can prune basil plants as often as every couple of weeks, or whenever they start to look a little overgrown.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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