Have you ever bought a beautiful little basil seedling from your local nursery, only to have it quickly turn scraggly, tall, woody, and sparse? When you pinch back the stems to the next leaf cluster, you keep the plant from getting leggy and stimulate new growth. How to Repot Store-Bought Basil. In this article, we'll show you exactly how to prune basil the right way so that your basil plant can produce aromatic leaves over and over again! How to Plant Basil. Every time you prune the leaves from the top of the basil plant, it allows the plant to create two new branches from the spot that you picked. It will grow exponentially bigger every time you prune the plant. Basil plants should be placed in a sunny window, preferably facing south. For the plant to remain healthy, grow vigorously, and provide you with plenty of basil this season, it’s important to learn how to prune it correctly. And there you have it, the secret to growing big bushy basil plants! Put the plant in a pot adding soil as needed. The problem may simply be one of pruning! If you cut one stem, it will reproduce to form two stems. 10 Indoor Gardening Ideas You Have to Try. Pruning basil leaves may seem counter intuitive, but it actually does produce more basil in a quicker amount of time. As a general rule, pots as small as 10 inches in diameter … When to Prune Your Plants. Tomatoes make great neighbors for basil plants in the garden—and on the plate! She also contributes articles to Mother Earth News Online, From Scratch Magazine, and Grit. If often means the plant isn't healthy because the roots have replaced the potting soil. The more often you prune the basil plant, the bushier and leafier it becomes. (Coming soon!) In this instance, transplanting your plant to a wider pot is crucial. Leave about a quarter of an inch of the stem above the last set of leaves. The first time you prune your plants you want to do exactly what I did here: cut off the main stem above a pair of leaves. Think of it as getting regular trims for your hair – your hair is healthier, and will grow better! This ensures the seed or flower don’t produce quickly as the focus of the plant will be to produce more stems and leaves. Basil plants will grow quickly in the garden, getting leggy with oversized leaves. This post may contain affiliate links. Step 2: Cut the Middle Stem Meredith is a freelance writer and founder of Backyard Chicken Project, a place for crazy chicken people to gather, learn, and share in their love of chickens. The leaves that you should remove are those growing on the top of the plant. Where the base of each leaf meets the stem, you should see another small set of leaves or very small green knobs. Step 1: Look for Two Large Leaves Begin harvesting basil shortly after the seed sprouts and the second set of leaves appear. When learning how to correctly prune basil, it’s important to first know the wrong way to go about pruning. Store-bought basil (Ocimum basilicum) growing in a pot provides fresh leaves for a week or two, but a repotted plant can supply your kitchen for months. For many years we struggled with the same issue. Fresh basil is great to have in your kitchen as it's very convenient, and will easily thrive in a windowsill! Most people are tempted to pick off the biggest leaves of the plant, those growing on the bottom branches. Typically, you want to prune your basil plants when they begin to grow tall and leggy. This is great! A rootbound plant means that the roots have completely taken up the pot, often circling and creating a dense web of roots. Believe it or not, if you want a big production of basil, you actually have to prune it, so today we'll show you how to prune basil so you can get the healthiest, biggest crop yet! Once you finish pruning your basil, you can use some of the stem cuttings to propagate new plants. Start by looking for a set of 2 large basil leaves. Not sure how to prune basil? You can start growing basil indoors in small 6-8 inches deep pots. Those two new branches will create new sets of leaves, and when you prune them again, they’ll create two new branches again. Simply use a pair of shears and shape them, not removing more than 1/4 of the foliage at a time. If you love everything basil, then you no doubt have a basil plant growing somewhere in your home! Not only does removing those bottom leaves hurt the plant, it doesn’t help the plant create new leaves and branches. This can form a compacted, hard ball that comes out of the pot with effort, retaining the shape of the pot. Those big leaves take in the most sunlight and make sure the basil plant is getting adequate nutrients. Cut the middle stem directly above the set of small leaves, leaving at least a 1/2 inch of stem if … A lot of people plant basil in beds because they are best mixed with different types. Make sure you learn how to dry and preserve your harvested herbs so that nothing goes to waste. Pruning basil will ensure the plant grows extra stems and leaves throughout the season.