When To Prune Basil For The First Time

When To Prune Basil For The First Time

Do you know when to prune basil for the first time?  With proper pruning techniques, this plant can give enough leaves for a long time.

When the word basil is mentioned, many people visualize the sumptuous pizza, fresh summer salads, or the luxurious pesto.

Basil is one of the most popular herbs in the world, grown in almost every home.  It is easy to grow and doubles up as an ornamental plant and herb.

This plant doesn’t need lots of watering, sunlight, and basic nutrients to grow into a tall, strong plant. The one most efficient care this plant need is pruning.  The key is to know the right time to prune it because – cut it too early and you could slow down its growth or cut it too late, and it will have already overgrown.

Let’s learn how to grow this herb and prune it at the right time.

Growing Basil

When you are ready to grow your own basil, you have 2 options. You can either sow your own seeds and plant them directly or buy transplants. We recommend starting from seed in the spring or summer season.

Growing Basil

Basil Seedlings

Once you sow your seeds, wait for about 7 to 14 days for your seedlings to emerge from the soil.

You can transplant your seedlings a week to 2 weeks after germination.  After transplanting, the growth of the plants is almost rapid.

Prune Basil For The First Time

This is a crucial step in the life of basil! Wait until the herb is about 6 inches tall before trimming the leaves.   The stem should have at least 2 or 3 sets of leaves.  The plant can take about 2 weeks to reach this stage from transplanting.

Now let’s get ready for the trimming.

When pruning, cut off the central stem and allow the plant to split off and grow two central stems.  This splitting doubles the number of leaves and stems, and they grow wild very.

If you keep your plant healthy, you will have so much basil that you can store and give to friends.

Pruning your basil for the first time is how you get to eat pesto three times a week because the produce is plenty.  Did you know you can plant the stem you just pruned to make a new plant?

Do not prune too soon, or the plant will not receive enough energy.  The more often you prune this plant, the bushier and leafier it grows.

If you don’t prune your basil, it will grow tall, slim, and begin bolting, so prune to keep it flavorful and healthy.

Prune Basil For The 2nd Time

On the first stem, leave 2 or 3 leaves ad cut down the last leaves after the previous cut.

The process is the same from here onwards. Once the plant has had enough time to grow, harvest again; keep following the pruning process on new leaves to give them a chance to provide you with lots of basil to harvest from each new shoot.

Prune Basil On-Time – The Right Process

What do you require?

  • A basil plant
  • Pruning clippers or a sharp pair of scissors

Trimming a basil plant takes only about 15 minutes, but a critical thing to keep in mind.

Treat your basil plant with care because they are easily damaged.  When damaged, it starts to release essential oils, which holds their aroma and flavor together.  If you damage your leaves, too much you could get some bland-tasting pesto.

Be sure to count up to 2 or 3 sets of leaves to help give your plant a solid foundation to help it grow strong.

After you’ve chosen the set of leaves, cut off with a single cut to ensure you don’t damage the plant.  That’s why your clippers or scissors should be very sharp.

gonicc 8″ Professional Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears

Do You Know How To Cut Basil?

Cut the central stem, about a ¼ of an inch above the little branches. This will kill off the central stem and allow the plant to start growing from the side leaves.

You will have 2 central stems coming off from where the main stem was.  Leave these stems to grow for 1 or 2 weeks until they have a couple of leaves grown.

Basil Active Growth And Flowering

Basil produces foliage at a swift pace. It starts with multiple leaves growing from their stems and the basil plants growing as tall as 24-inches in a season.

You start harvesting after 7-8 weeks.

The growth habit of Basil starts from a single stem. When pruned, this single central stem branches out into multiple sides stems.

The basil plant produces flower buds that are white and purple. Basil flowers grow within the first year. During the flowering stage, the branches and stems of the basil turn woody as they mature.

Basil Active Growth And Flowering

Keep In Mind

You will need to look out for bolting in your basil plant as soon as you pinch them right away. When a basil plant begins to bolt, it’s ready to flower-sending the available nutrients to the flower and not to the leaves.  If your plant does this too early, you will not enjoy a good harvest of basil.  It would be best if you stopped it as early as possible.


If you take proper care of your basil plant, it’s possible to get a 2 months’ worth of basil harvest.

You want to know when to prune basil for the first time; we have cleared every doubt and explained a smooth process to follow.

Pruning your basil keeps it healthy, lovely, and in vibrant green color.  Be gentle when handling the plant and cut off the true leaves.

Pruning is quite therapeutic for this plant and causes it to produce more leaves which means more harvest.

It’s more like trimming the edges of your hair to allow it to grow more in a healthy way avoiding tangling and breaking.

Now it’s your turn to grow this renowned herb and enjoy your pizza or pesto-like never before.