The Easiest Guide On When To Pick Basil Leaves

Last Updated on August 9, 2022 by Griselda M.

This guide on when to pick basil leaves will help you discover the right time to pick these herbs when growing them at home.

Basil is a type of herb that is found in the Mediterranean region. It is from the plant family called Lamiaceae, which makes it closely related to other herbs such as mint and sage.

When growing basil at home, you can use the leaves for cooking purposes or just for aesthetic appeal. When harvesting your leaves from this herb, it is important that you only harvest when your leaves are vibrant in color and when they have a nice smell.

When To Pick Basil Leaves

Knowing when to pick basil leaves is important to get the best flavor possible. The right time to pick basil leaves is when they are a deeper green in color and when they have a distinct smell. It is advised that you do not pick basil when it is flowering as this will stop the growth of the plant.

Helpful tips when trying to determine when to harvest your leaves from the basil.

  • The best time to harvest basil is when the plant has turned around its development cycle so it can now create new flowers. You can identify when this happens by looking at the stem where the new sprouts grow from. Once these sprouts have started growing, it’s a sign that harvesting will help promote more leaves to grow.  Pick young leaves off your plants for aesthetic purposes
When To Pick Basil Leaves
  • If you just want beautiful-looking leaves on your crops for selling purposes, then picking young leaves when they are smaller and when they have a nice green color will help you achieve this.
  • On the other hand, if you want to harvest basil when it is fully mature then allow the plant to grow until it has started producing flowers. Once these flowers start appearing, you can pick them and use them as garnishes or in various recipes for their distinct taste and smell.

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When is Basil Ready For Harvest? – When to Pick Basil Leaves

If you are growing basil for cooking purposes, when is it ready to harvest?  It takes about 50 days from planting for basil to be ready for harvesting.

Basil seeds can take a few weeks to germinate so when growing seedlings, you will have to wait about 8-9 weeks before harvesting them. The basil plant will be ready to harvest when it is about six to eight inches tall.

Another method that people use when harvesting basil is when the leaves are just starting to branch out. Harvesting basil at an early stage means that you don’t have to wait for too long before your crop is ready to be harvested. You can either pick off individual leaves or cut down the entire stem of the plant if it’s grown big enough.

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When To Pick Basil Leaves

How To Pick Basil Leaves So it Keeps Growing

When to pick basil is now clear. But how to harvest basil so it keeps growing more is still a question to many gardeners.

When harvesting basil leaves, choose to pluck the leaves from the top part of the basil stem. This is the part of this plant that is most flavorful.

If you can see flowers developing on the stems, then leave some leaves on there. Note that even if this looks like new growth on the stems, it is still not ready for harvest.

If you want to preserve your basil for several weeks, then using stem cuttings will help you achieve this. Harvest the basil when there are flowers on your plants. Then, put the stem and put it in water until new growth emerges from the stems.

You can use some kind of rooting hormone when doing this method to get the best results when growing new basil plants.

Remember when harvesting basil leaves, don’t forget to pick the stems off your plant. In addition, also make sure you don’t break or cut these too close to your main stem when doing so. This will only cause the plant to lose stability and when this happens, it will no longer produce new shoots when harvested.

What Leaves To Pick Off Basil When Harvesting?

It is not only important to know when to pick basil leaves, but also what leaves to pick. You can pick basil leaves when they are young and when they have a nice green color. 

When the plant has flowers starting to grow on its stems, it’s best not to remove them so you can harvest basil for longer periods. This will help preserve some of your plants when growing new ones.

Harvesting the leaves both when they are young and mature helps the basil plant to continue growing.

Take-Home On When To Pick Basil Leaves

When to pick basil leaves is now clear among other essential details. As long as the plant has both flowers on its stems when harvesting, it will keep growing new shoots when you harvest the leaves properly.

If you notice the leaves starting to branch out when harvesting, this means that your plant can continue growing more even as you harvest. You can harvest basil from your plant for a long period without exhausting it if you had provided it with the right growing nutrients.

You will also need to carefully pick the leaves without damaging the plant so that it continues to produce more leaves for days to come.

FAQ’s

Do basil leaves grow back after you pick them?

Yes, the leaves will grow back when you harvest them when they are young and when they have a nice green color.

Where should I cut my basil?

If you are cutting the entire plant when harvesting, then cut it close to the main stem so that you don't damage it.

When should you pinch basil?

Basil should be pinched when the plant is just starting to grow in readiness for harvesting.

How do you pick basil leaves so it keeps growing?

When harvesting basil, pluck the leaves from the top part of the plant when they have a nice green color. Make sure you don't break or cut these too close to your main stem when doing so. Harvesting the leaves when they are young and when they have a nice green color helps the basil plant to continue growing when harvesting.

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