Inailum
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A Basil Question

I planted some basil in my garden and I absolutely LOVE it, but I am wondering what to do about the flowers that are shooting out of the top. Should I cut them off or just leave them for the bees to have fun with?
Anita

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hendi_alex
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Pinch the flower off. Better yet pinch most of the branches off. Basil produces better the more you pinch. Of course anything can be over done. always pinch back to a node or young shoots, so that they branch back out to give new growth.
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Alex

Inailum
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hendi_alex wrote:Pinch the flower off. Better yet pinch most of the branches off. Basil produces better the more you pinch. Of course anything can be over done. always pinch back to a node or young shoots, so that they branch back out to give new growth.
Interesting, will you think I am silly if I tell you that I always cut my basil leaves with a little tiny pair of scissors? lol I'm confused about "pinching most of the the branches off" though. With that statement I think I would probably overdue it. Now I am nervous. lol
Anita

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hendi_alex
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Snip or pinch, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the branches get pinched or snipped back fairly hard, pretty regularly. That just encourages more branching and more tender young leaf growth. I think that I've read posts from Cynthia saying that it is not wise to prune more than 1/3 of the top growth from a plant at one time. For basil I would say no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the top growth so that the plant continues to generate enough production to keep fresh growth going at a rapid pace. Obviously the plant should not ever approach being bare of leaves. The point of my post is that most basil growers don't pinch the plant back enough and are not nearly aggressive enough in removing the blooms. An overgrown basil plant will become tired and will spend lots of energy making blooms. That will be much less likely in a plant that has been cut back even when leaves are not needed for harvest.
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gixxerific
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What Alex said.

And....

A good rule of thumb is 1/3 though I taken way more than that and still had a bounty after that. I tarted some basil a little early this year and it is flowering but I am not worried. Just keep pinching it off. Or better yet plant enough that you can let some go to seed you will have plenty next year and the wildlife will love it.

I had a ton a basil flowering almost the whole time last year I just kept harvesting and it kept coming. In the right conditions it is hard to stop at least that is until frost occurs. You should be fine. :lol:

Oh and if you haven't tried cinnamon or licorice basil I highly suggest you do. They are both to die for.
Last edited by gixxerific on Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:12 am, edited 1 time in total.

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rainbowgardener
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Basically agree with Alex, but I do tend to leave one flower spike here and there (i.e not more than one per plant) just because the bees do love them. But otherwise yes, pinching/ snipping your basil will make it much bushier with more leaves and keep it producing happily.
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Inailum
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gixxerific wrote:What Alex said.

And....

A good rule of thumb is 1/3 though I taken way more than that and still had a bounty after that. I tarted some basil a little early this year and it is flowering but I am not worried. Just keep pinching it off. Or better yet plant enough that you can let some go to seed you will have plenty next year and the wildlife will love it.

I had a ton a basil flowering almost the whole time last year I just kept harvesting and it kept coming. In the right conditions it is hard to stop at least that is until frost occurs. You should be fine. :lol:

Oh and if you haven't tried cinnamon or licorice basil I highly suggest you do. They are both to die for.
Cinnamon or licorice basil?? I have never heard of it! Where can I get it?? It sounds fantastic! What do you put it in?? I'm so curious now!
Anita

Sunset Zone 8 / USDA Zone 8a

Inailum
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hendi_alex wrote:Snip or pinch, it doesn't matter. What does matter is that the branches get pinched or snipped back fairly hard, pretty regularly. That just encourages more branching and more tender young leaf growth. I think that I've read posts from Cynthia saying that it is not wise to prune more than 1/3 of the top growth from a plant at one time. For basil I would say no more than 1/3 to 1/2 of the top growth so that the plant continues to generate enough production to keep fresh growth going at a rapid pace. Obviously the plant should not ever approach being bare of leaves. The point of my post is that most basil growers don't pinch the plant back enough and are not nearly aggressive enough in removing the blooms. An overgrown basil plant will become tired and will spend lots of energy making blooms. That will be much less likely in a plant that has been cut back even when leaves are not needed for harvest.
Thank you for help, all of you! I also heard that you should mostly harvest from the bottom up. Is that true?
Anita

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gixxerific
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Inailum wrote:
Cinnamon or licorice basil?? I have never heard of it! Where can I get it?? It sounds fantastic! What do you put it in?? I'm so curious now!
EVERYTHING! Google it you should find it i believe I got mine from Bakers Creek.

I actually found cinnamon basil at Lowe's by me.

Look here if interested https://rareseeds.com/herbs-a-l/basil.html

Yogas
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No do not take the leaves from the bottom - always take from the top!

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