How to Prune Basil and Propagate it the Best Way⎢UGR

How to Prune Basil and Propagate it the Best Way

How to Prune Basil

Let me show you how to prune basil

If I could convince you to grow one herb in your garden, it would most certainly be basil. With its lush green leaves, soft fragrance, and beautiful blooms it is the star of the herb garden. We know basil for a wide variety of culinary and medicinal uses. It can also be used in the home to freshen the air and brighten spaces. As such, I love to grow it in my garden for as long as the growing season allows. Most of my friends wonder why my basil looks so good. One answer: I know exactly how to prune Basil!

Related: How to Dry Herbs

Did I mention, basil is also very photogenic?

Through years of trial and error, I have found that the key to a successful basil harvest is pruning and propagation. Pruning is essential for plant health, flavor, and longevity. Propagation can save you money on buying more plants and increase your harvest. In this post you will find out just how easy it is to do both, and have your best basil harvest yet!

How to Prune Basil and When

The first pruning is the most important for creating a bushy, multi-branched plant. When the young basil has developed three sets of leaves, and is over 6 inches tall, cut the main stem right above the second set of leaves (see photo below). This will make the plant more stocky and will produce more leaves and intense flavor.

How to prune basil? Here are some tips!

Basil is one of the most prized herbs that can always perk up the taste of food. This is why I always keep some basil on hand. How? By planting them in my garden! I even thought of giving basil to my loved ones and even selling them! If you are a basil-lover and you are looking towards growing it in multiple scale, here are some tips on how to prune basil and propagate it easily!

Some Tips On How To Prune Basil

How to Prune Basil

Remove any blossoms that appear by pinching them off. Prune basil plant every two to three weeks throughout the summer. That’s all there is to it! Easy peasy!

Tip: I find a sharp pair of scissors works well for pruning basil.

How to Prune Basil

How to Propagate and Grow

Plant propagation is the process of creating new plants from a variety of sources: seeds, cuttings, bulbs and other plant parts. In the case of basil, you can create new plants from your pruned stems in several easy steps.

For this you will need:

  • Water
  • Vessel to hold water (I like using a mason jar or small vase)
  • Basil cuttings
  • Liquid Plant Fertilizer (optional, but highly recommended)

Step 1.

Fill a vessel with water and add a drop of liquid fertilizer. The fertilizer will encourage strong root growth.

How to Prune Basil

Step 2.

Prep your basil cuttings for propagation by stripping off the bottom set of leaves. The stem that sits in water should be free of leaves so that bacteria does not form during the rooting process. The leaves you removed can be used for cooking or drying.

How to Prune Basil

Step 3.

Place cuttings into prepared water vessel. You should see roots starting to develop after 7-11 days. Replace with fresh water every 3 days (no need for more liquid fertilizer) .

How to Prune Basil

Keep the stems in the water until they have about an inch of root growth (see roots on the left pictured below). Some stems will develop roots faster than others. Those that take more time to develop roots can be left in water for an additional 3 days. If roots don’t develop after this point, discard the stems.


Step 4.

Time to plant! Pick out your stems with the strongest roots. These will get planted first.

How to Prune Basil

Gently place your rooted basil stems in the soil, covering the roots completely and packing soil down firmly. Carefully water, using a fine mist, until the roots have grown enough to support the plant.

How to Prune Basil

Step 5.

Enjoy your best basil harvest ever! 🙂

How to Prune Basil

This is how to prune basil and to propagate it! Please let me know in comments your own methods if different!


About the Author


Stephanie is a plant and DIY enthusiast, photography lover, engineer by trait and gardener by heart. She loves writing about her adventures in the garden at and sharing her photography on Instagram.

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