Basil is an essential herb because it has many uses. You can eat it raw or add it as an ingredient in your favorite dishes. Basil leaves are indeed fragrant; no wonder many people use them as a flavor to vinegar, oils, soups, curries, and other dishes. But aside from being a tasty and versatile herb, basil leaves are also used for medicinal purposes. You can make a tea out of the leaves to treat your digestive issues or use the leaves to cover the pain in your body areas. If you want to grow this plant in your home, you must know how to prune basil.

Why Prune Basil?

Pruning is necessary because the leaves you choose to remove matter for the health of the plant. This goes for all types of plants, especially basil. Knowing how to prune basil allows you to enjoy its freshness all season long. If you want the plant to remain healthy, thrive, and provide the freshest leaves, it is critical to prune it correctly because it is the easiest way to encourage the basil to grow bushier. You may use a sharp pair of scissors to cut off the tops of the stems. These tops can then be placed into water to develop a new set of basil plants. 

You may find pruning basil plants tiring or challenging, but know that it is a critical part of the growing process. One of the best ways to prune basil plants is to pinch off the leaves as they grow. However, make sure to do this regularly, every 2-3 days. Consider pruning it back to about four inches high. Doing so stimulates the plant to grow new stems and more leaves. Pruning basil leaves make the plant healthier, but it also encourages the plant to produce more flowers that you can use in your cooking.

How to Prune Basil

There are several ways to prune basil, but one thing that you should not forget is to prune it regularly because if you miss it, the leaves will grow so much, causing them to get tangled together. Keeping your plant trimmed is essential so that the plant grows in a bushy shape and stays healthy. Here are some tips when pruning basil leaves:

  • Trim the plant back, so the stems and leaves are similar in size. But make sure to prune the plant about a little at a time.
  • Try not to cut the stems off at the bottom of the plant. You may use a sharp knife to trim the stems and leaves right above to keep the plant intact. 
  • Since basil is a delicate herb, it doesn’t like to be handled too much. You can trim it by making a small cut at the end of the stem. 
  • If you see basil flowers at the first occurrence, try to remove them to increase yield. Doing so will also maintain intact the leaves flavor. 
  • Remove the first buds when they start forming to prevent the oil content from changing and prevent the basil leaves from becoming bitter. 

A lot of people love to see basil in their meal. Not only does it add flavor to any dish, but it is also packed with nutrients and other health benefits. Whether you are a gardener or not, you can save more money when you have this in your garden. Doing so means you don’t have to buy basil if you want to eat it. Besides, you can get fresh basil leaves when you grow them on your own. So make sure to follow the guide on how to prune basil to make it thrive and bushier.