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Cola82
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Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soon

So, again, I was gone for a while while the boyfriend cared for my plants and it was like looking away from a baby for a second. Most of them grew like crazy. Some of my peppers got kinky stems because he wasn't rotating them, but I didn't want to overwhelm him with responsibilities.

I've named two of my plants--one of my tomatoes, and one of my basil. This basil is "The Monster" because even from a tiny seedling it grew faster and bigger than all of the others. Unfortunately, now it's really spindly. I looked up basil pruning, so I think I have a handle on it, I just wanted to throw out a photo and ask if it looks okay. I checked the roots before I left and they still looked great, but it's flopping over a little at the top. I just want to know that I haven't done any permanent harm by not pruning it before now.

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None of my thai basil are anywhere near this size--the biggest is maybe four and a half inches tall. But one of them is developing a bud right in the middle of the central stalk, and I don't know if I should go ahead and cut it off or wait and see if it gets a little height first.

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I'm sure most of you recall that I had some problems with discoloration/wilting that I thought might be thrips at first. The problem has continued and I had to throw out a lot of plants that just got too bad to save, but some have dry brown and black spots and are managing to grow anyway--and I've noticed it doesn't usually happen to plants that are close together, which leads me to believe that it probably is just too darn cold in here at night.

I keep the heat on all the time, trying to maintain the temperature, but the dang thing just keeps blowing cold air when I need it to be warm, and it's running up our power bill. Thank goodness it's finally warming up outside. :/

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soo

Whenever basil starts making buds, you want to pinch them out to keep it from flowering.

I would clip several leaf pairs off the top of your tall one to encourage it to get bushier.
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Susan W
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Re: Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soo

Yes to pinching off the budding part! You lovely basils need larger homes. Are they going in ground or containers? They need out of their baby pots, but if your nights are going below 40, can't live in their destination setting. You may need to go next size for awhile. They need to start playing outside to harden. I start in light shade, then go up to dappled or a bit of sun and more sun as days go on. I have several pots of basil in 10" pots, 2 plants each, and these travel inside and out for a month or two. The next starts I hope to just be out in larger, 12" and up containers. Also as big as they are don't need the extra heat.

I usually try to start pinching when the 2nd set of real leaves develop.

Hope this helps.
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hendi_alex
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Re: Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soo

It is hard to over pinch basil. If it were mine, I would pinch 2/3 off of the top of that tallest plant. Almost immediately it will start to branch out. I've also mostly stopped pinching flowers from our basil. Instead I give the whole branch a hard pruning. That slows the flowering process much more than when just pinching the tips.

One nice thing about gardening, it is not rocket science, and there are lots of approaches that will give good results. Also, most mistakes are not disastrous, as the plants generally recover, even when they don't like what ever silly thing we might have done.
Last edited by hendi_alex on Wed Apr 24, 2013 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
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applestar
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Re: Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soo

I agree to uppotting The Monster. Usually, envision 1/3 of the entire plant as the root system, 2/3 as the above the soil portion for best balance. Also picture the roots to *want to* spread at least as wide as the tips of the leaves (though when in containers, typically the container is 1/3-1/2 of the diameter from leaf tip to leaf tip.)

At the same time, I wold clip him to below the pair of leaves under where you ae holding -- or Basically cut off approximately 1/3 of the entire stem.
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Cola82
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Location: McMinnville, Oregon, Zone 8b

Re: Pruning sweet basil and thai basil flowering awfully soo

Thank you, guys. I really appreciate the advice and support. I just got some more nursery pots, so I will pot him up and prune today. :D



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