Sarah Nave
Sarah Nave
  • Hometalker
  • San Jose, CA
Asked on Apr 5, 2013

Pruning Basil

Caley's Culinaries360 Sod (Donna Dixson)Douglas Hunt
+6

Answered

I have basil seedlings that are 3-4 inches tall. I am getting ready to transplant them into bigger containers to keep outside. I am wondering when should I start to prune them?
9 answers
  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Apr 5, 2013

    how many branches do they have? It is best if you leave at least 3-4 nodes at the very least with basil, then you can begin pinching out the top to keep them a bunchier tighter plant. It also keeps them from setting bloom buds which if allowed to bloom, will possibly make the basil have a bitter taste.

  • Sarah Nave
    on Apr 5, 2013

    Ok, that helps. They've just started getting a second set of leaves on top of the ones they sprouted. So wait until there are a few more?

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Apr 5, 2013

    Correct, you want to let it get a few more branches, then start pinching it back. I will try to do a diagram and post if I have time today.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 5, 2013

    Sarah, the author of this article in Fine Gardening recommends what may seem like pretty aggressive pruning, which is cutting the plants back to just above the bottom two sets of leaves when transplanting them into the ground. She does this every four weeks, and claims to get 15 to 25 cups of leaves from each plant during the season: http://www.finegardening.com/plants/articles/basil-basics.aspx

  • Caley's Culinaries
    on Apr 14, 2013

    Basil is like your 401K, if you can keep your hands off it until it grows some, you will end up with more. We pinch the tops when we transplant it, then let it get full grown and start harvesting! A full grown basil plant should be about 18 inches-2ft and produce about half to one pound a week. When the stem gets woody over half way up, it's time to replant.

  • Sarah Nave
    on Apr 14, 2013

    I moved my basil seedlings to a bigger green house and they died. I didn't transplant them I just moved the containers they were already in, into a bigger table top size green house and they died. so did my cilantro. my whole garden has gone to shit in the past two weeks and I'm extremely discouraged. the only things that seem to be doing well are the bell peppers and zuchinni. I have small fruit on the bell plant and flowers blooming on the squash but other than that, it's done for

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Apr 14, 2013

    Sarah, I'm sorry for your frustrating experiences. I can't really imagine while simply moving basil seedlings from one greenhouse to another would doom them, unless there was something seriously wrong with the second greenhouse.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Apr 14, 2013

    @Sarah Nave can we do a bit of sleuthing and maybe discover what went wrong? It isn't too late to start a new crop! What was different from one greenhouse to the other? Did you change your watering pattern? Was one heated and the other not? How did they die? Did they rot at the bottom or did they die from the top down with browning leaves?

  • Caley's Culinaries
    on Apr 14, 2013

    I agree with FSNL. Post some pictures of the top and the roots. We will figure this out! You have plenty of time to start more, and the move should not have hurt them. Did they get too hot or too cold? Basil does get a lot of diseases especially if it stays wet. As for cilantro, it doesn't like heat. You shouldn't need it in a greenhouse anymore this year. Basil that size doesn't either unless it is to protect it from the frost. Just finished a blog about growing cilantro in the South: http://www.caleyskitchengarden.com/2013/04/secret-to-cilantro.html

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