Ah basil, that herb that offers the finishing touch to many meals, appetizers, and sauces and if you did not already know this, it is very easy to grow and maintain. Don’t be scared! I know it’s easy to grow basil because I have a light green thumb and my plants thrive each year.
Below are a few tips to growing basil and remember this, growing and pruning basil is not rocket science! Basil loves to be pinched and trimmed back so don’t worry.
It’s a fact: pinching or cutting back basil plants regularly encourages full, bushy plants. If they start getting tall and leggy pinch and cut away!
You don’t need to prune or pinch back basil before it is needed. Wait until the basil plant is about six inches tall. Then you can go in and trim the basil leaves
If you see flowers at the top of your basil plant, it is time to pinch them back. It not only helps the herb divert energy to the rest of the foliage for better growth, I have read that flavor is enhanced.
Use your pinched leaves if you can. You can use them fresh or dry them. I have a small jar of dried basil leaves I use to enhance some of my cooking. I dried mine on a cookie sheet at the lowest oven temperature possible. You can go old school and hang your basil cutting upside down in a dry space.
The leaf of the basil plant is very delicate so if you are looking to use your leaves in a presentation take care or you will have dark spots. In the first basil photo, you will see what I mean.