Identifying and knowing when to prune basil for the first time is something often people make a mistake with. Since it’s an herb, people tend to cut it whenever they need it for a certain dish. But when it’s about the first-time pruning, best thing to do is doing it a bit more sensibly. You don’t want to leave the plant with some sort of risk that may end up killing it.
Also, there’s a direct connection of pruning to its optimal growth. So clearly, this matter needs some attention.
Exactly When to Prune Basil for First Time!
The straightforward answer is until your basil turns 6 inches tall. But things are not that simple if you want to maintain healthy growth. You need to understand a quick fact first. Once you prune the basil plant, you’re basically allowing central stem to divide into two parts. And this splitting will cause the growth of two central stems. This means the number of leaves and stems will get doubled once you prune. And that can turn into a wild affair very soon.
Now, this is both good and bad news. Good because now you will grow more basil leaves that can be stored or sent to a dear friend. Also, your favorite pesto can now be on your menu for more than just one time every week. This also makes scope for growing a new plant.
However, if you are too soon with the pruning, then plant will be deprived of receiving sufficient energy. With more pruning, it’ll become bushier and leafier. If you do it less than the plant will say tall, slim, and prone to bolting.
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Pruning Process in Detail
The whole point is, balancing between too much or less, and pruning in a controlled way is critical here. And so, giving you an exact time on when to prune does not make sense. But you’ll get your answer by the end, just bear with me till then. For now, let’s discuss the process in detail.
Wait Until Its 6 Inches Tall:
There should be six sets of leaves at least when you prune the plant. And this is usually when the plant is 6 inches tall. The stem holding six sets of leaves are usually safe for pruning. Because this way at least one to two sets will be left behind after pruning. And this works to convert sunlight into energy for the plant.
Find the Central Stem & Cut It:
The main stem should be tall and come with sets of tiny leaves that are growing on each side. In the middle, you should see thickest stem. This need cutting which will allow two new stems to grow from it.
Now when you are handling the plant, make sure to be very careful. Because basil is a very sensitive plant that can get bruises very easily. As soon as you have found the central stem, go ahead and cut it. You need to count leaves sets from the stem’s very top part and go until the very fifth set.
These sets need to consist only of true leaves. Move onto quarter to half-inch above the spot where two leave grows, you need to make an angled cut here. After cutting, there should be still one or two sets of leaves left behind on the very bottom of stem. Also, make sure you use scissors for pruning. You can also use gardening shears. But never try this with your fingers as it’ll cause damage to the plant.
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Once Flower Blossoms Form, Start Cutting:
You need to clip off the flowers as soon as they start to bloom in your basil plant. Because then it will turn into a reproductive plant and lose the capability of growth. We don’t want that to happen. So, if you want your plants to be thicker and keep on growing, then cut off the flowers using gardening clippers. You can also stop the blooming process to happen again. Simply let the stem move down a few leave sets before cutting them.
You must prune the basil plant all through summer season. This is to make sure the plant is able to enjoy optimal growth. Also, you will have more basil for cooking. Each pruning session should have at least one to two weeks of a gap. Or else it would be too pressurizing for the stem and impact negatively.
Things You Should Know
keep your plants in check for discovering bolting. If you find, then pinch those off.
Bolt initiated plants will become ready for flowering. And this can utilize all available nutrient sources for the flower. Which will disturb the leaves’ growth. You must avoid that from happening.
Trimming has no right or wrong time. You just need to be in control and avoid going overboard with it.
One plant can get you two months’ worth of leaves for several dishes.
Understanding when to prune basil for the first time and pruning right way are two very critical matters for ensuring good growth. It’s best to be aware of all the good and bad sides of growing basils to control things and turn them into your benefits. The basil leaves can grow during whole summer and you can enjoy so many delicious meals out of it.
But that pleasure of tasting really well-grown basil will only come to you when you’ve spent enough time taking care of plant, prune it right way and pay attention towards it.