How to Harvest Basil

Growing a basil plant but not sure how to harvest it? Removing leaves actually makes the plant healthier and grow better! Here’s how to harvest basil.

How to harvest basil

Are you growing basil at home but not sure how to harvest it? You’re not alone. Harvesting or trimming a basil plant can be tricky, because it seems backward. Removing leaves seems like it would hurt the basil plant, right? It’s exactly the opposite: removing basil leaves helps to encourage the plant to start branching, making it into a large, bushy plant!

Alex typically cares for the basil in our raised bed gardens, which makes me sometimes feel like I’m not sure quite the right way to prune our basil plant. So, we decided it was high time to get some of these thoughts on basil care down on paper. Here’s everything about how to harvest basil!

Related: Best Basil Recipes

How to harvest basil

How to harvest basil

Active Time: 2 minutes
Total Time: 2 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Growing a basil plant but not sure how to harvest it? Removing leaves actually makes the plant healthier and grow better! Here’s how to harvest basil.

Materials

  • Basil plant

Tools

  • Scissors

Instructions

    1. When a basil branch has six to eight leaves, trim back the stem and leaves to the first set of leaves. (Do not remove single leaves.) Continue to do this throughout the growing season. This helps to encourage the plant to start branching and become large and bushy
    2. If flowers start to grow on the basil, cut them off immediately.
    3. Make sure to trim (and use) the leaves regularly: it helps the basil plant to grow! When you bring basil branches inside, store the fresh basil properly to extend its life: see How to Store Fresh Basil.
How to harvest basil

How to grow basil

And that’s it: how to harvest basil! It’s perfect for adding a fresh flair to any dish (see below). Have questions about the best way to grow basil or what we do? Here’s our post on How to Grow Basil.

Basil recipes

There are so many great things to cook with fresh basil! Its peppery flavor takes any dish to the next level. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to make with fresh basil:

How to harvest basil

Questions on how to harvest basil?

Anything we haven’t covered regarding how harvest basil? Let us know in the comments below! Another great resource is the Farmer’s Almanac Guide on Basil.

Related

We love to provide resources for your kitchen and garden! Here are a few more of our resources:

Harvesting herbs
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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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