Saturday, July 16, 2022

How To Get Basil Plants To Grow Full and Bushy

Want healthy full bushy basil plants that will produce all summer? 

If you would like your basil plants to get full and bushy, instead of tall and spindly, you need to prune them (not cut them). In this post I will tell help you understand the need for learning how to prune. I also included 6 wonderful summer recipes that include fresh basil.

The difference between cutting and pruning 
The difference between pruning your plant and cutting your leaves is where on the stem that you cut the plant. You can use pruning shears or scissors- but you need to know what part of the plant to cut. 

sFree photos of Scissors and garden tools

I love having fresh herbs growing in pots on my deck so I can clip some basil, oregano, thyme, stevia, and mint to add to my nightly salad. 

But I noticed that some of my herb plants, essecially the basil, were growing tall and spindly, not wide and bushy. This meant less basil and for a shorter season. Once herbs gets tall in the hot weather, they usually go to seed and die.

I did a little research and found out that basil plants (and other herbs) are healthier, more prolific, and sometimes even taste better when they are pruned. 

Free photos of Scissors

 I decided I wanted to prune my basil, but wasn't sure how to do it. I was afraid I might destroy, not improve my plant. 

I read a few articles about how to prune basil and started to feel more confident, but it wasn't until I watched a (link) Youtube video that demonstrated visually HOW that I was ready to go out and cut my plant way down. I needed the visual.

It was really easy, but as with anything there is a short learning curve when you are unfamiliar. I have to admit, after I cut my basil plants down, I was still a little nervous because they looked so small, but in a week or two there was a good amount of growth.

Tomatoes, Vine Tomatoes, Basil
Basil and Tomatoes Are A Natural Pair

I've attached the video that I watched on Youtube at the bottom/end of this post for easy viewing. Just click on the video at the end of the post.

Once you do prune your basil, you will have a pile of basil that you will need to use. You can always chop and add to fresh salads or use it in your recipes. You might enjoy some of my previously shared recipes that are made using fresh basil. 


Creamy Basil Cashew Sauce-a delicious creamy sauce made easily and quickly in the blender using raw cashews and lots of fresh basil. Use as a salad dressing, topping on vegetables, etc.

Creamy cashew basil sauce

A beautiful colorful salad that uses fresh summer peaches and tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, and Creamy Basil Cashew Sauce 

vegan caprese salad with peaches

A wonderful way to enjoy your abundance of summer zucchini in a delicious roasted zucchini soup with fresh basil. 

summer zucchini soup

Makes a beautiful presentation and works great for a party or get together appetizer.  Uses summer tomatoes, avocado, fresh basil and herbs. Perfect for anyone who loves avocado or is gluten free, dairy free or vegan.

vegan appetizer display with avocado, tomatoes, basil

One of my FAVORITE summer salads that is also a complete meal. No need to cook when everyone can enjoy this flavorful, healthy, Mediterranean style salad. I eat it for lunch or pair it with a soup for dinner. So delicious.

Garden salad with chickpeas, basil, avocado, peppers

Once summer eggplants start rolling in, I love making this delicious and (quick and easy sauce) to eat over pasta, rice, zucchini spirals, or as a side dish with vegetables. Full of eggplant, tomatoes, and herbs. Thick and chunky and tastes exceptional.

eggplant sauce, vegan, gluten free , summer

Short Youtube Video : How to Prune Your Basil 
This is the video I watched that showed me exactly what to do to prune my basil for prolific growth.


  1. Basil is my all-time favorite herb. Paired with tomatoes and motz. pure heaven.

  2. What great information. My mother in law always used Basil in place of lettuce for more flavor in a sandwich.

  3. Great post. Helpful for basil. Thank you!

  4. I love basil, and I always plant them from seeds. They say is annual, but I prune them and they last more than a year unless it is very cold....they are very sensible to cold temperatures....delicious recipes!.......Abrazotes, Marcela

  5. Love basil and other herbs. Interesting post and video to know the difference between pruning and cutting.

  6. Thanks for this basil-growing tutorial! The tomato and peach salad is beautiful and looks delicious. You always have such fresh new recipes! Also, thanks for your comments about Where the Crawdads Sing. My mom is reading it and says it's great, but it wasn't until I saw the movie commercial that I got interested. After hearing from you, I want to read and watch it. :)

  7. I usually always have great basil plants in my garden. But my last one went to seed while we were away so I pulled it out. Hopefully the new one grows as well.
    from Tandy I Lavender and Lime

  8. Quanta bellezza! Complimenti per i deliziosi piatti!

  9. One of these days i will muster up the ambition to grow basil!

  10. This is such a great tip, and I love all the tasty ways you have to use basil! I try to prune my plants regularly too, and they really do explode with so much new growth! :)

  11. Great information, Judee.
    Thanks for all the lovely recipes.

  12. Basil and rosemary are two things I love having growing on the patio, they add so much flavor to so many things! Your basil cashew sauce sounds amazing!

  13. Great post ! Great tips and recipes ! Thank you so much !

  14. One of my favorite herbs! I use basil so often, mine is kind of naturally pruned. :-) Really good post -- thanks.

  15. I dearly love basil! I hate to prune, but it does help tremendously. Plus, I root the pruned pieces and have more! Great post!

  16. herbs tend to bolt in our hot humid summers! i used to love having them in the back garden, and the native bees adored the flowers.

  17. I love planting basil in the flower bed right outside my kitchen door. It makes it so convenient for using in recipes. Your caprese salad looks amazing!


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