How to Prune Basil So It Grows Forever!


Hello, everybody. This is Kevin from Epic Gardening. We’re doing a video today on—𝐧𝐨𝐭 this whole system which there will be videos on that—but just on this basil here. So how do we prune this basil so it keeps growing vegetation, which is what we want, and does not grow any flowers? And not only that, how do we prune it in a way that it does what we want so it grows very bushy and very wide and keeps producing amazing leaves? So it’s actually really simple. First of all, this is two types. This is actually two basil plants right there. That’s contributing to the bushiness, but I’m going to zoom in right here. Just look at that. You see this cut that I’ve made right there? That was one of the main stems. And by cutting it I’ve removed all the growth hormone out of the plant and it’s basically redistributed itself to this one right here, and the one on the left of it. So you can see it sort of looks like a man with two hands going upwards in the sky. And so now this one is one of the main stems. And so if I wanted to do the same thing what I would do is I would chop the main stem, or what is considered the new main stem, potentially right there. So you can see those two little hands or little nodes coming out right there. If I chop the main stem, what those will do is they will then become the bushier, thicker stems and new vegetation will come out that way. And you can see, if you think about it, what that’s going to do to the plant is it’s going to keep making it a bushier and bushier plant. So if I go in here—see where my scissors are?—they’re around that and I give that a chop What I’ve done here is I’ve pruned this in a way where this right here and this right here will now grow outwards like this and become bushier and continue to produce vegetation instead of moving into their flowering phase. And so you can imagine if you do this enough times and you do this in a smart enough way, you’re going to get a basil plant that first of all never starts flowering because flowers are never allowed to develop on the plant, so the basil thinks Oh, I need to keep putting out vegetation and as long as you have the right light conditions and you have the right nutrition, water, oxygenation, you’re going to have basil basically forever. Obviously it can get to a point where it’s a little hard to handle but you know that point comes at a much later date than most people think. So let’s look at what we cut off. So this was going to, as you can see, create a lot more vegetation and goes pretty much straight upwards, but it’s a bit early in this plant’s life. I want to get as much basil as I possibly can off of this so obviously I can use this basil in the garden [by rooting and planting] or in the kitchen but what I want to do is go through, locate those things that I want to prune. So you can see what we’ve done is we’ve got this one, we follow this one up, and then we cut right there. And so I can actually do that on this one, too. I won’t do it in the video though, but I could cut right about there. So hopefully that was a helpful little primer on pruning and exactly sort of how it works. I’m going to go through and prune the rest of this and show you what happens. All right, so I’ve gone ahead and thinned this plant out considerably and it really doesn’t even look like it. It’s a bit less tall, taken some of the top nodes off, and it’s just a bit more groomed. I mean I could probably even take one of these off right here and shape it a little bit more, but look: I’ve got a handful of basil. I mean at the market you’re talking about something like that is probably like three, four bucks easy. And it’s just that easy. I know that a lot of people watching this will say, Oh this is a suboptimal system, you could have more basil in here, you could be using this light better—all that’s true. This is sort of a demo system that I’m going to be doing for a couple of reviews as well as for just showing how big one single plant can get. So thanks for watching, guys. Please hit Like, subscribe, comment, et cetera. If you want to see more stuff like this, and of course and ask any questions, I answer every single thing in the comments. So thank you, keep growing, keep gardening. Kevin from Epic Gardening, I’m out.

100 thoughts on “How to Prune Basil So It Grows Forever!

  • He doesnt say…its a bit off topic..but if you take the "main" growing stem, as he shows. and then cut it off, as he shows, but instead of eating the cut off bit you suspend it is clear rainwater it will start to put out roots within a week and after about 3 weeks it will have all the long hairy roots you need to plant it in the garden. I know because I do this every year. What an amazing plant! Why doesnt everyone grow it?

  • thank you, do you think Basil grows better with water coming from below than top watering ? do you keep feeding them ? and what fertilizers you use ?

  • The weed grower's FIM cut might be even better for this as you get 4 to 6 shoots off each cut. Not that I know…

  • Can you prune sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary or any other herbs or spices? My family uses lots of these herbs/spices?

  • Tldr; do the opposite of growing tomatoes. There you pinch out the side shoots so that the main stem grows up, but here you want the side shoots to grow and limit the main stem. Gotcha, cheers 🍻

  • This is something that seems so obvious but, most beginners (like myself) think omg I might kill it…lol
    I have hydrangeas that I’m scared to do that to and it’s getting tall 😬🥺

  • Just noticed the poor plant without any soil! Just that put me off from watching the rest of the video…..

  • I know a lot of people say to not let basil go to flowering. But I had done this with a single plant. It grew and spilled seeds until I had a row of about 10 basil plants, all flourishing, no fertilizer ever and just on rain water. Eventually the plant does die back but with new seedlings sprouting all the time, pesto in abundance is not a problem all year round. There's a lot to be said about naturally spilling seeds. And I have the room for multiple plants. My curry tree dropped seeds and although notoriously difficult to germinate, another plant popped up a couple of feet away. I love it.

  • Is flowering basil not edible or why we don´t want it to flower? Thank´s in advance to whomever answers…

  • I have been doing that for years also.
    Home grow tent
    12hr on/off lighting & controlled temperature.
    Pepper plants also – more than three years old and still producing every month

  • The machine that supports the water for those crazy long roots, what is it, or where can I find your video about it?

  • Haha. This is equal to "toping" a cannabis plant. Amazing how the growing and pruning is so similar to all veggies to make the plant push more output.

  • At what stage of the plants growth should you start pruning in this way.. I have self seeded plants about 15 cms high .

  • w0w .. . I can actually SEE what you are doing. So many how-to demos don't quite get in there close and truly demonstrate !! 🏇 Thank you.
    Are those gardens yours? ¡They are absolutely sumptuous!

  • You should have said you live alone lol great vid thx it's these things ppl dint know and its helpful. Happy gardening

  • Great video, but, I can't afford to build Dexter's Lab to grow my basil…so my back porch will have to do and my baby seems happy enough.(and tastes great)

  • Finally a Youtube video where no one makes nasty or mean comments. Maybe Basil is the answer to world peace. LOL

  • Basil, raw sunflower seeds, salt and pep, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Chop it in a food processor. Then I took some puffs off of a marijuana cigarette. Now I have no sauce left for my pasta 😭

  • This is pretty epic. I haven't had much success thus far growing basil, but also never realized that every time you harvest the basil you can be promoting healthy, bushier growth. Can't wait to try it!!

  • Excellent info!! I didn’t get around to finding out how to prune basil last summer and only got a month or so of usage. Not this time! 😀

  • Hey, thanks. We've been growing Basil for about a month and I wasn't sure how to top it. I really appreciate this video.

  • Thank you! I'm a novice at this and your explanations make sense. Question: After cutting, how to best use the basil; I like it because of its aromatic value—how can I best use the cuttings for that? ~Linda

  • I had no idea that plants were not supposed to flower… if my basil has flowered already, can I still prune it to promote growth and prolong it's life?

  • Hello. it's me. I see how you cut it. But you have only 2 stems here for a huge bush. I've never got this big. Most of the time 2 lever. Do I need to cut until they grow bigger or just do it? So confused.

  • Hi Kevin! I just watched your video on 8 unique basil varieties. This was very helpful. I went out and cut my basil back. Thank you for sharing!

  • I know this is a bit late but this is the best description I've ever seen on the internet about how to take care of Basil. So thank you.

  • Thanks so much for this tip. I am not a gardener, but I do like to have a small herb garden of those I frequently use. Basil is possibly my favorite. In the past my basil did beautifully, but it did start flowering fairly early.

  • Every time I purchase a plant from a nursery they don’t last they died
    Why these plants don’t last
    The same with Rosmary it will create roots but when I transfer to a pot with soil
    It also died

  • it's like sterilization…birth control…people should do that to themselves….no flowers aka no babies!! snip snip…

  • pretty basic care taking. sad we live in such an information rich world where the basics aren’t just common knowledge.

  • Never had success with basil, it always has a distinctive short section of the main stem shrink in diameter about a centimetre above the potting mix level until it cuts itself off from it's own roots and dies.

    Have experimented with different conditions and watering patterns, but have not figured out the cause or solution.

    Would love to be able to grow it, as fresh pesto is delicious.

  • I'm not impressed… That's how you prune all plants. Show us how to prune a cow so it grows more steaks and I will quietly nod in approval.

  • I love your videos and I subscribed to you! I love gardening and I would rather spend time in my garden and bird feeder than watching TV!! Great helpful videos! I have these basils too!!

  • Thank you for this very informative and useful video! I will be putting the knowledge to good use in my balcony herb garden.
    Can you tell me if the same technique will also work well with chili pepper plants? Thanx.

  • I accidentally broke off a large flowering stock of basil with over six branches. Stuck the entire stock in water and to my surprise it grew a handful of roots in two week's time.

  • Coincidence. New subie. Just purchased basil plant from supermarket. It was cheaper than bottle of dry. Will binge your other videos. I will need help with light source.

  • Awesome Idea! Subbed, liked, but still have a question: can you tell me the composition of the water? For how long is the light on per day? Cheers!!

  • TY! Starting small scale Container Gardening on a small budget, I bought my first packet of Sweet Basil seeds & planted a portion of them on 6/21/19. I drilled a drainage hole on each side of a Wendy's Salad Bowl; Mixed 2 c Peat Moss, 1 c Vermiculite, 1 c Seed Starting Soil & Added 1/2 c boiling water, stirred, covered w/ plastic lid to kill fungus gnats & eggs as Gary Pilarchik suggests. After it cooled, I stirred soil, made 3 grooves & scattered a portion of Basil Seeds in each; covered lightly w/soil & put the clear plastic top on it. When sprouts appeared, I removed the lid & watered EOD.
    Three weeks later, I transplanted the 3 rows as they were into a 14" x 10" plastic tub from the Dollar Tree. Today, I have at least 100 plants to transplant, share and/or sell. I can only imagine what I would have if I pruned them like this 😊! The problem: Each time I water or even pass by, I snatch 2 – 3 leaves to chew. Eating Basil leaves like candy… Go fig're! WhattaDelight. Must be Time to Make Pesto.
    Thanks, again, Epic Gardening!
    M-09/01/2019 @ 10:04 AM
    Happy Labor Day, AMERICA!

  • SirRobinDeSway U can do this with tomatoes too. I have a lot of new tomato plants from branches that I accidentally broke off or trimmed. Gave some away.

  • VERY GOOD!!!! Pruning & Croping #101 ; Cal-Poly Pomona. Key take away; Never let your herbs bloom out. Continually crop, and you will always have full and bushy herbs. ENJOY!!!!
    SuperSniperSal
    USMC
    Disabled Vet

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