Go Grow Garden

How To Prune Basil? A Stepwise Guide To Sky-Rocket Your Production

How to prune basil

Basil, the great basil as some call it, is a wonder herb with many amazing benefits. In addition to being used worldwide in cuisines and in your pesto, its oils can be extracted to make an essential oil which can be used for treating cuts, wounds and skin infections. Its other benefits include lowering of uric acid levels, promoting healthy hair growth, cleansing the skin and many more. So, get rolling and start planting basil in your garden to harness all these amazing benefits. While it may seem complicated to plant a basil in your garden, it actually isn’t that difficult for you. Our website offers a helpful guide which you can easily be understood even by beginners, just click this link here to get started. But before you go, let me just make sure that you know how to prune basil because it can really be the game changer when it comes to health and growth of the plant. 

What? You don’t know? How can you expect to reap all of these amazing benefits without this knowledge? OK, don’t become depressed just yet!

A question that may be running through your head right now is “how exactly does pruning help your plant?” Pruning is the practice of removing some leaves, stems, branches, or roots. This is done to remove any parts of a plant that is non essential for the cultivation purposes or parts that are either dead or have diseases and molds on them. By removing the non essential, the plant remains healthy and free from illnesses.

Pruning is essential for your basil to grow much healthier, but that’s not the only thing pruning does. Pruning your basil likewise helps the basil to increase the amount of leaves and stems it produces. By cutting off the flowers and seeds, while it may seem counterproductive , it actually forces the basil to transfer its energy resources to its leaves which is necessary in making its leaves much more flavorful and making the basil to become much more bushy.

I have researched the heck out of the internet just to make sure that you know the fundamentals of pruning basil. This is a stepwise guide that would help you to produce bushier plants with a lot more Basil.

Stepwise guide on How to Prune Basil for Larger Yield:

This is an easy to follow stepwise guide so that the dummies like me could learn a thing or two about the art of Pruning Basil. 

Here are some basic tips to note before you get starting with your pruning. Firstly, make sure to not to do any plucking when pruning and use shears or scissors instead, this is because plucking can damage the plant instead, only do plucking when this guide specifically asks for it. Secondly make sure to likewise use clean shears or scissors when doing the pruning so that you may not bring any diseases to your plant. Finally, carefully handle the basil as it is a delicate plant and can get bruised easily.

1. When should you start pruning basil?

Now that I’ve told you that pruning is important for stimulating basil growth, don’t just start cutting all over the plant.  The first thing you need to know is, when is the right time to start pruning your basil plant. The rule of thumb is that you can start pruning as soon as the plant is 6 inches tall with 2-3 sets of basil leaves. You don’t want to prune too early when the plant is still in its growth stage, doing so will kill the plant instead. The leaves are essential to the plants since they are the ones that absorb and convert the energy from the sunlight.

Now, you might ask what exactly is a set of leaves? Basil produces 2 sets of leaves with 2 small offshoots right next to the main leaves at every 1 to 2 inches. These small offshoots are of paramount importance for you If you want to learn How to Prune Basil for Larger Yield. 

2. How to Start Pruning Basil to Make it Bushy?

Now comes our main concern, that is to learn a proper, experimented and guaranteed method of pruning basil to make it bushy.

Once your plant has grown to the height of 6 inches, look for leaves, preferably on top, that have two small offshoots growing under them. Cut the stem above the offshoots and you have fresh basil leaves ready to be turned into a delicious pesto. By cutting this way, all the growth hormones that were stimulating the growth of the top leaves are now distributed to the small offshoots and they grow rapidly into two new branches with their own sets of leaves and in this way, the lateral growth of the basil plant can be stimulated to make the plant more bushy. Similarly, when you prune the new sets of leaves, they’ll create two new branches and the process can be repeated as many times as desired. This multiplicative growth of basil attracts plant farmers to grow and sell basil. This ‘how to prune basil’ guide is a perfect starting point for anyone whose interest might have sparked for basil farming.

More mature plants tend to start growing flowers at the top of the plant. While they may look good on the plant, they are generally not desired for farming. From the point of view of someone who wants to increase the basil production, the essential nutrients that should go towards the growth of basil leaves are being utilized for flower growth. 

In order to get rid of this problem, we get rid of this problem i.e. the flower. To do this, just pinch off the flowers. This way, the energy in the plant stays diverted towards leaves growth.

Regularly trim your basil every 2-3 weeks to avoid trimming off too much. The best time to prune your basil is during the summer season where it receives that most sunlight. This ensures that your basil is not only bushy, but is also becoming much more flavorful.


One huge mistake that people make while pruning basil is that they may go after the big leaves at the very bottom. Don’t do that! Those leaves are to the plant’s growth as electricity is to your light bulb. If you cutoff those bottom leaves, you would only hurt the plant and it won’t make the plant multiply which we want. Those bottom leaves take in the most sunlight and make sure that the plant is getting enough nutrients. 

How To Prune Basil

3. How to Harvest Basil?

So, you have been following our advice on how to prune basil and have grown the plant sufficiently bushy. Now is the time to literally ‘reap what you sow’.  

You may want to use a few leaves in a spicy sauce, or maybe you would rather sell it off in market. In both the cases, the basil should be picked from top down, not the other way around (rhyme?). This is to ensure that we are not killing the plant in the process. 

The points mentioned in the pruning section are equally applicable during harvest as well. So, we are harvesting the plant with a goal to further increase the growth of the plant.

One thing to keep in mind when you consider how to harvest basil is that we are not ripping the plant off the ground. We are just cutting the needed leaves and stems from the plant in a manner which stimulates further exponential growth. 

Pro tip: Try to pick the basil in the morning when the essential oils are at their peak freshness. 


There’s no rocket science to pruning the basil plant the right way. If we were to summarize the main points that should be remembered from this guide, they would be to trim from the top of the basil plant every two to three weeks leaving behind the small offshoots and pinching the flowers off as soon as you see them. This would allow the plant to grow bushier and wider instead of only upward. 

If you were to prune the plant in a wrong way, it would only grow from the central branch and would turn meager and weak on the sides and eventually die. So, pruning in the right way can make all the difference. 

There you go, the best ‘how to prune basil’ guide for anyone to take guidance from. If you were to follow all these steps, it would definitely take your basil farming game to the next level and you would be having plenty of fresh basil leaves to try out in different cuisines or sell them in the market.

Do you have any further thoughts or tips on this subject you would like to share? Do you have any questions? Comment below. Our website engages in a lot of subjects such as growing Quinoa, and if you are looking for other specific plants to grow, simply browse our website!

Scroll to Top