Encouraging Basil Growth To help your basil plant thrive, prune or pinch off the tips each time a … Pinch basil plants when they're 4 to 6 inches tall, removing the center set of leaves at the growing tip. Step Two: Pinch the flowers off the stem. I've been just plucking off the large leaves. First, find a stem that has a leaf on each side and leaves growing in “the middle.” ... Minced garlic (granulated garlic can be used in a pinch, but fresh is better) Basil (chiffonade) Salt & Pepper to taste Sorry no exact amounts, I just make it to smell/taste – more vinegar than EVOO. Pinch off the leaves, which helps keep the plants from flowering, but remember to avoid bruising or crushing them. Pinch back leaves – pinch leaves from the tips of your basil as soon as the plant has two sets of true leaves. Pinch off any flower spikes immediately to continue the rapid growth of basil leaves. As you harvest the leaves, be sure to pinch them off at the stem, avoiding to tear or damage the stems the leaves are attached to. ... High heat may encourage basil to flower, so pinch any flower buds that appear to help prolong harvesting of the leaves. If you like to cook with basil and olive oil, blend fresh basil with your favorite olive oil and portion it into an ice tray for freezing. Be sure to cut or pinch right above a leaf pair rather than leaving a stub. Basil loves the warm sun. In a few weeks, your basil plants will be ready to harvest again. Always make sure to pinch or cut above a pair of leaves, rather than leaving a cut branch. If you are growing basil indoors, you will almost always need to supplement with additional sources of light such as a CFLs or grow lights. This will encourage branching, resulting in a bushier plant. Remove the basil leaves from the ice bath and dry in a salad spinner (or on a paper towel, but this can take a while). Cut the entire plant back to the ground at the first sign of frost to prevent leaves from blackening. The absolute best time for harvesting basil is in the morning before the sun has driven some of the moisture away from the leaves, but you don’t have to fret if some late afternoon-plucked basil … Don’t worry about hurting the plants when you harvest. Pinch and remove the flower heads as soon as they appear. It is best to use scissors or garden shears. Selecting and Buying. Continue Reading Below . When harvesting, trim each branch back to the next set of leaves. It’s this section of the cutting that you’re going to be planting in the potting medium. The biggest leaves on the bottom branches are the powerhouses of the whole plant. Give it a try today! Though not required, this will help you separate the seeds from the dried flower petals in the next step. Pinch basil leaves at their base, where they meet the stem. Inspect the base of the leaves where they connect to the stem and you will see new leaves forming in tiny pairs. If you see any flowers start to appear, remove them immediately. Gently pull away the entire leaf from the stem. You can also cut leaves with a small pair of scissors. Reply. Submitted by Nancy on July 27, 2020 - 2:56pm. Remove leaves from sheet and transfer to a freezer bag. If you plan on harvesting your basil plant, make sure to keep an eye on it daily. Basil plants need consistent soil moisture to yield well. Step Three: Pull/pinch seeds from the dried flowers. This encourages your basil to grow full and bushy. Basil: Pinching back basil means more edible leaves and a more attractive plant. Courtney says. Pinch again three weeks later. Just pinch them off at the stem and breathe in the intoxicating aroma of sun-warmed, fresh basil. Final Harvest: At the end of the season (before the first frost), cut the stems to the ground and pick off all the leaves. Let it flower. Frozen basil has a stronger basil flavor than dried but at the cost of texture. There are about 4 large leaves and then a small grouping of tiny leaves on top of the 4 big ones. Using fine trimming snips (or a careful pinch with your finger tips), snip off the top portion of the stem and couple top leaves.