Asphalt Garden: The Basil Plants Get Serious Haircuts

As it’s gotten later in the summer, my basil plants have stopped putting out new foliage and switched instead to flowering. This makes the leaves more bitter. I needed to seriously cut back my plants to promote the growth of new tender shoots.

I hesitated to trim my plants for a while, because the flowers were such a bee magnet. It was very satisfying to see a dozen or so bees at a time, buzzing between basil flowers in my apartment parking lot. By now, many of the flowers have dropped off.

I also took the opportunity to seriously cut back the mint basil I planted. That has continued to be an invasive dud.



I’ll be eager to see how well my aggressive pruning system works. As the days stay hotter, it’s possible that my basil plants will continue to send out flowering shoots. All the same, it’s a worthy experiment to try.

  • Mark Smith

    Let us know how the pruning goes. I also grow basil plants, and find that no matter how I pinch off the flowering stems, once the plants reach a certain height and fullness they don’t get any bigger. Simply flower again. I also can’t figure out how to “harvest” from the plant without severely limiting it’s future growth. So, I just take what i need weekly for salads and then harvest the entire plant halfway through the summer yielding about 20 cups of leaves for pesto and other products. I then plant 2 new plants for the remainder of the season, and repeating the process in sept/oct.

    One other tip, pine nuts for pesto at the grocery store cost a fortune, you can buy them in bulk at costco for a fraction of the price. Also, homemade pesto freezes and stores well, and serves as a great gift. A cuisinart makes the process easy.

  • Delaney Towery

    Those flowers got seriously out of control, dude. I did a similar experiment and found that late season trimming can get rid of the bitterness. I used a daily leaf tasting method in conjunction with varied trimming of flowers. I have a youtube video on the making of the pesto from end of season harvest. I waited until the first week of october to harvest in moline IL.

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