Basil plants will grow quickly in the garden, getting leggy with oversized leaves. The larger leaves soak up significantly more sunlight than the smaller, newer growth and your herbs can suffer greatly if these bigger “sun sinks” are removed. In general, I like to make my cut right where the leaf meets the stem or at a junction of stems. The last thing you want to do is spread disease from one plant to another. Do not prune away many leaves. Journal of Agricultural Science, 9, 160. doi: Barbier, F. F., Dun, E. A., & Beveridge, C. A. The herbs will grow bushier and productive with each light pruning cycle. Almost all herbs can benefit from pruning. This reduces the chances of spreading diseases or fungal infections from an infected plant to a healthy one. In general, stop pruning herbs about eight weeks before the first average frost date in your area. Remember to pinch cleanly through the stem of the leaf, instead of crushing it, for the best results. Any help will be appreciated. How to prune your herb garden Trying to figure out when the best time to prune can be a challenge when it comes to your outdoor plants. I’m curious if you were able to save them. Do not cut back any more than this at a time or you risk damaging the plant to such a degree it cannot recover. By pinching out the tip you will encourage your herbs to “bush” sooner than they would if the plant was left to its own devices. Clip a little lower than here when pruning basil. Read our, 5 Easy-to-Grow Herbs That Are Nearly Impossible to Kill, Garden Maintenance: Pinching, Deadheading, and Cutting Back, How To Grow Herbs Indoors on a Sunny Windowsill, How to Tell If You Are Overwatering Your Herb Garden. When you have pinched out a stem lower down on the plant and a larger leaf is blocking out all of the daylight the buds need to grow. This is partly what makes herbs so attractive for indoor gardening - they grow quickly and can be harvested often for fresh plant material. Simply put pruning is the process of selectively removing plant parts such as branches, buds, or roots. Woody herbs and some of the hardier herbaceous plants will survive, and in fact, may require some hard pruning. Leave a few flowers in place, however, if you want to harvest the seeds. On some plants, you will see a horseshoe shape mark where a stem has detached. As a rule, when pruning leaves and flowers, a simple pinch of the fingers is adequate. Once you’ve planted herbs in the garden or containers, you may be tempted to walk away and let them grow unchecked. If your rosemary has survived the winter, prune back older stems in the spring. These are herbs such as basil, cilantro, and lemon balm. While similar to pruning, harvesting is subtly different. However, knowing when and how to prune herbs is so important. Do not chop your herbs until immediately before you use them. You can pinch leaves from thyme plants as you need them, or trim the top couple of inches of the stems. Regular pruning also alerts you to disease and insect problems that may start small and could possibly be removed before the entire herb is affected., Some herbs, like basil and cilantro, are grown specifically for their delicious leaves. Learn how to prune woody herbs in this article. Prune through the spring and summer. Perennials that are harvested at the end of the season can usually be cut all the way down. Keeping your herbs pruned encourages them to continue to grow and provide new material for you to harvest and use for culinary or medicinal purposes. Avoid tearing or ripping off a stem of the plant if possible. Don’t miss our guide to cooking with fresh herbs! It is not often that herb gardeners need to haul out the actual garden shears, but it does happen. At the base of each leaf, just above where the leaf is emerging from the stem, you will see buds. Why does this happen? Herbs grown indoors are often grouped together more closely or have a limited amount of real estate in which to grow. They are very forgiving and grow back fast. In mid-spring, if the plant is being grown for seeds (e.g. Pruning your herbs is a simple process that doesn’t require much for equipment, helping add to the ease of the process. The plant loses energy later in the season and you’ll have to let it go to seed at this point. When they are only a few inches tall, you want to prune, or “pinch” off the newest leaves at the top from the stem. Cover the leftover exposed stalk with mulch at 3-4 inches to keep it insulated. The big leaves on the bottom act as a sturdy base. Most comfortable with soil under her fingernails, Amanda has an enthusiasm for gardening, agriculture, and all things plant related. If you do not have a drying rack you can use any item that allows air to flow freely around both sides of the leaves. If you do so you’re likely to see your herb die off. Plants that retain dead leaves or petals. Copyright © 2020. If left, it may attract pests or trigger diseases as the material decomposes. Lightly pruning these herbs throughout the summer months will encourage them to sprout new growth, become bushier, and be generally healthier and more productive. You should stop pruning or harvesting biennials and perennials one month before the first frost is forecast. Hi Charlie! Tags: Herbs, Pruning, Basil, Chives, mint, thyme, parsley, dill, rosemary, sage, How To & prune. There are many classifications for plants. Plants that live for two or more years, maintain a shoot system above the ground over the colder months and develop a woody structural tissue. The fragrant, leafy stems can be harvested beginning when dill plants are 6 to 10″ tall, and doing so will help prevent the dill from flowering. Cilantro plants that are not pruned will quickly produce flowers, and then die back. Tags: Herbs, Pruning, Basil, Chives, mint, thyme, parsley, dill, rosemary, sage, How To & prune. These older sets of leaves provide support and the main structure for the plant, helping to keep it erect. This can distract the plant into growing more to replace them, reducing seed growth. I pruned my Basil like this and it’s given me an abundance of Basil. Katsaruware, R., Mafongoya, P., & Gubba, A. Pruning herbs will help promote growing and, for the most part, make the plant more attractive. When you prune your herbs depends, to some degree, on why you are pruning. These plants are woody but are not exclusively trees.eval(ez_write_tag([[336,280],'pruningcuts_com-large-mobile-banner-1','ezslot_8',109,'0','0'])); A plant whose entire growing cycle is completed within one year. I hope this helps. However, this is all the terminology we need in order to discuss how to prune your herbs. On young rosemary plants, snip the top 2 to 3″ of the stems weekly or even more often if the plant is growing vigorously. Using your fingernails you can “pinch” off the material you want to prune. You will often hear gardeners use the words “trimming,” “pruning,” and “harvesting” interchangeability. It is best to prune when your herb plant is actively growing. Light pruning is most appropriate for the more delicate herbaceous plants in your herb garden.