Basil is a nice spice I love to add to various dishes and dips, to the point that I have my own basil plants! These plants are easy to plant and maintain, and I rarely have any problems with it, as long as you take care of it properly. You can even grow it indoors to have unlimited basil all year long, whether for cooking or raw use.
After all, with its flavorful leaves and aromatic smell, you would want it around your kitchen, too! However, there are things you have to be wary about when growing it, such as when its flowers bloom. Yes, basils have flowers as well, with pretty purple flowers.
While pretty, these flowers need to go, and you should prevent these flowers from blooming! To help you out, read on to see how to keep basil from flowering.
Why Does My Basil Have Flowers?
These flowers are attractive, though this means that your basil plant is “shutting down”, going back to the reproduction stage rather than growth. So instead of growing basil leaves to harvest, it actually reverses.
It doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong, this is just a cycle, slowing down the growth process. Usually, they are caused by hot and humid weather or the variety of basil plants you have. Whatever the reason may be, you will need to handle your plant well and keep it from flowering.
Furthermore, after it begins flowering, basil will begin producing less aromatic and flavorful oils, impacting the leaves and making it bitter. Its stems also become woody, so it tastes off and it leaves your plants looking straggly, with fewer leaves you can harvest. While the leaves are still edible, remove stems from every leaf and foliage so it won’t have the bitter aftertaste.
However, having flowers on your basil plant isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just depends on how you plan to use the plant. When cultivating basil just for the leaves, then you’ll want to prevent it from flowering. But if you prefer keeping the plant for it to look great in the garden or home, then you can leave it there, snipping it every now and then to keep it healthy.
Do you want to learn more about the basil plant and how it grows? This helpful video can show you more:
How to Keep Basil From Flowering
The best way you can keep your basil from flowering is to pinch off any flower buds you see the moment you see them. This helps you get another harvest of leaves before its flavors start to decline. When pinching the basil blooms back, it allows all the plant’s energy to focus on the foliage production, so you have a bushier plant with even more leaves, maintaining high levels of essential oils for your food.
Another thing you can do is to frequently harvest your basil leaves, rather than leaving it on the plant. By doing this, it delays flowering but keeps up a healthy growing process.
Care and maintenance are also important, which you can do by cutting your basil plant to its second or third leaf set from its bottom when the plant grows 6-8 inches tall. This will extend the harvest of your basil leaves, so you are able to get more out of your plant to prevent flowering.
I also recommend that you prune your basil plant every two to three weeks, which can promote its growth. Furthermore, fertilize your basil plant sparingly, or not at all, since doing so may decrease its fragrant essential oils.
What If You Already Have a Flowering Basil Plant?
Sometimes, having flowering basil plants is inevitable, and that’s no problem! It’s really a part of the phase.
If you do see flowers, you can simply pinch them off to keep the plant growing, or snip them off. Pinch the flowers of the base, and you can place them in small bud vases for decoration. You can also harvest half of the plant, and after two weeks, your plant will start growing back as you’d like.
Take note that when you do have a full bloom on your basil plant, the leaves will be a bit bitter, or you wouldn’t find as many basil leaves to harvest for the next few weeks. Give it time and proper care, and it will be back on its usual growth process!
Or, besides decoration, you can even eat them, placing over salads for the mild basil flavor and an attractive dish. I like making it into my own basil flower vinegar to pour over salads and other dishes, or simply sprinkle the blossoms on the salad to make it look more attractive. One can even make basil tea out of them or blossom flower oil, whatever you’d like to use it for!
Whatever happens, if your plant blossoms, don’t panic! By pinching back or snipping its blossoms, or by cutting back on the foliage. Take advantage of the situation by using both the blossoms and leaves, then take your time. After a few weeks and proper maintenance, your plant would double in size, looking healthier and bushier compared to before!
Wrapping It Up
When it comes to growing basil, there are various things to consider, including the way it flowers. While it’s not a death sentence to your basil plant, it’s best to avoid it from flowering again for better flavors and aroma in the long run. You won’t need to invest in so many tools for it, you just need to pinch it off and care for your basil leaves better to prevent it from happening again.
I hope that this article helped you learn how to keep basil from flowering properly. Make sure to care for your basil well to get a successful harvest now!