How To Prune A Basil Plant

Basil plants are a great addition to any garden or even just a windowsill. They are easy to care for and can be used in a variety of dishes. However, if you want your basil plant to thrive, it is important to learn how to prune it properly. In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about how to prune a basil plant.

Why Prune a Basil Plant?

Before we dive into the details of how to prune a basil plant, let’s first discuss why it is important to do so. Pruning is the process of removing certain parts of a plant to encourage new growth and improve its overall health. In the case of basil, pruning helps to:

1. Increase Yield

Pruning your basil plant regularly can help to increase its yield. When you remove the top portion of the plant, it encourages it to produce more leaves, which means more basil for you to use in your cooking.

2. Prevent Flowering

When a basil plant starts to flower, its leaves become less flavorful. Pruning regularly can help to prevent flowering and keep your basil tasting fresh and delicious.

3. Improve Airflow

Pruning also improves airflow around the plant, which can help to prevent disease and pests from taking hold.

When to Prune a Basil Plant

Now that you know why pruning is important, let’s talk about when to do it. It is best to start pruning your basil plant when it has at least six sets of leaves. This usually happens about a month after planting. After that, you can continue to prune it every two to three weeks throughout the growing season.

How to Prune a Basil Plant

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to prune a basil plant:

Step 1: Identify the Stem to Prune

Look for the stem that has the largest leaves. This is the stem that you want to prune.

Step 2: Cut the Stem

Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut the stem just above the second set of leaves from the top. Be sure to make a clean cut to avoid damaging the plant.

Step 3: Repeat

Repeat this process with each stem that has large leaves. Be sure to leave some leaves on the plant so that it can continue to photosynthesize.


Q: How often should I prune my basil plant?

A: You should prune your basil plant every two to three weeks throughout the growing season.

Q: Can I prune my basil plant too much?

A: Yes, you can. It is important to leave some leaves on the plant so that it can continue to photosynthesize.

Q: Can I use the leaves that I prune?

A: Absolutely! The leaves that you prune can be used in a variety of dishes, or you can dry them for later use.


Pruning is an important part of caring for your basil plant. It helps to increase yield, prevent flowering, and improve airflow. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that your basil plant stays healthy and productive throughout the growing season. So go ahead and give it a try – your taste buds will thank you!