Even so, basil plants can have a number of issues; among these are basil plants with woody stems. The more often you prune the basil plant, the bushier and leafier it becomes. How to Prune a Basil Bush. If you don’t prune your basil, it will grow slim, tall and begin bolting. Problem is, your basil is just not producing as fast enough as you would like it to! Basil plants will grow quickly in the garden, getting leggy with oversized leaves. Plan to prep and dry basil once all the leaves have sprouted, but before you see flowers on the stems. And extend this harvest as long as possible. In this article, we'll show you exactly how to prune basil the right way so that your basil plant can produce aromatic leaves over and over again! Read on for details! In fact, great greenhouses will prune their basil plants before they put them out for sale. Basil will flower after all the leaves on one stem are full-grown, but the herb loses some of its flavor after flowering occurs. Prune basil by snipping the stems about 3 to 4″ down from the tops, just above a leaf node. To prune basil without damaging it, you need to cut in precisely the right spot. For a successful trimming, you have to pay attention to all the pruning steps provided above for both the young, overgrown, and old basil. When to Cut Basil. Knowing how to prune your basil plants can go a long way to making it produce enough leaves for you all through its season. Pruning every couple of weeks will keep the plant tidy, prevent flowering and encourage growth of new leaves. This is the key takeaway here. Basil is a wonderfully versatile annual herb that is native to southern Asia and the islands of the South Pacific. Ensure a good amount of leaves during the season. Basil (Ocimum basilicum) generally reaches no more than 12 inches tall, but its nicely mounded shape allows you to enjoy it in both edible and ornamental garden beds. Why prune basil? Advertisement. The Basil Pruning Process. In the case of basil, I can name three very important reasons: Maintain the general health of the herb. This is non-negotiable. If you love everything basil, then you no doubt have a basil plant growing somewhere in your home! Harvest the basil just before it flowers. Almost all the plants in your garden need to be pruned, but the reasons why they need it vary from one to another. This is how to store fresh basil. Wait Until Your Basil Plant Is At Least 6 Inches Tall. You also need to know when to cut your plant. As with other herbs, basil is easy to grow and with ideal conditions quite prolific. The flowers appear in the middle of a bunch of leaves in a pyramid shape. If you cut a plant shorter than 6 inches, you are probably going to shorten its life. Ideally, you should start to cut basil early in the season, when the plant is about 6 inches tall or has at least 6 leaves. We do not want this so we prune to keep it healthy, in control and flavorful.