You know how you see those “living basil” plants in the grocery store, and they look so amazing, right! Would you believe they are constantly pruning basil until it gets to the stores? Nice and full and bushy. You let save money and grow our own, so you know EXACTLY what is going into your plants (and your body after eating it of course).
So you go out to get the best potting soil, a beautiful planter and some seeds. You read the packet and do everything that packet says. Then, you get a sprout and it grows and grows…and it does NOT look bushy like the ready grown basil plants you have seen. What happened? Here’s your quick and simple guide to pruning basil.
Well, as I learned the hard way, many years ago. Like all bushes. It’s all about the pruning. Since Basil plants have that same ability you need to prune them properly to get that beautiful fullness we see in so many basil plants. Also depending on the size of your planter, consider planting more than a couple of seeds. This way you will get a full planter, and can always cut back sprouts that are being pushed out by more successful germinations.
So once your plant(s) start to grow, is watch your plant and as it gets 2-3 true leaves to start growing (true leaves are different from first leaves. Shape, colour and texture will look more like basil leaves than first leaves do) you want to simply cut the top off.
What this will do, is force new branches out each side allowing the plant to slowly become beautiful and bushy. I like to prune my basil about once a month at first as it’s first growing. But once you have established a good solid plant, you can usually cut back on the pruning and do it whenever you feel it’s getting a bit too tall.
I find once a nice bushy basil plant is well established, its best to keep it wide, rather than tall. This allows for the sun and air to get into the plant and its soil. Allowing for aeration that doesn’t drown the roots or keep the sun away from lower leaves causing them to be inedible and ugly looking.
Some Great Basil Pruning Tools:
If you’re looking for more gardening tips and tricks, we’ve got you covered:
Tag me on Instagram @thediscountvegan. Hashtag #thediscountvegan or #thediscountveganrecipes if you recreate any of my recipes, or wanna show off your beautifully pruned basil. I can’t wait to see your photos!