Herbs forum: What are the pruning instructions for mints and basil?

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Barcelona, Spain
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Gabe1982
May 9, 2016 2:17 AM CST
Hey guys,

I havent really touched any of my herbs and the reason is simple: I dont want to do any damage.

Mint: it is growing like crazy and I only have the guts to snip of 2-3 leaves at the bottom (ones that look healthy obviously...the rest I pluck and throw away if they are turning yellowish).
Is there anything else I should do to keep my mint plant healthy and harvest gradually to have a fresh supply of mint leaves at home?
I was told to cut the top when flowers appear. That's noted, but are there any other things to do?

Basil: it is still growing. So, I havent harvested anything from it yet. I read somewhere that I should snip the top off when the plant reaches a 7 inch size. Will that do? Then I guess baby leaves will appear on the side of the nod, right? As you can see I am slightly lost when it comes to what to do with the basil. Smiling

Let me upload 2 images of them so that you could see what I am working with here:

Thumb of 2016-05-09/Gabe1982/8e349e

Thumb of 2016-05-09/Gabe1982/235928

Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
May 9, 2016 10:27 AM CST
Mint: snip away, harvest right from the tips which will be more tender. I don't think you can kill it. If it gets leggy or particularly after blooming, I often cut mine back to about 8" to rejuvenate them.

Basil: I don't have luck with this plant so can't speak to that.
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Michigan (Zone 5b)
Keeper of Poultry
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crazypetunias
May 9, 2016 1:43 PM CST
Basil is an easy plant to keep. Pinch back the top whenever you need fresh basil. it will continue to grow by starting new shoots where you pinch it. (just keeps growing bigger that way). If you have room in your garden, plant it. Mine does really well in my flower garden by the front door.
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
May 26, 2016 6:50 PM CST

Thumb of 2016-05-27/kittriana/c29568

Lime basil in ground, I dropped 3" off the top, just above a set of leaves. This will double the plants stems. Dont pinch tips, esp on the larger leaved basils like your genovese, give it some ht, then take off enough the base can support the doubling stems. I grow my African blue for the bees, so it also gets topped off to double the bloom stems- outside in north Houston these basils grow til frost
kitt
Barcelona, Spain
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Gabe1982
Jun 2, 2016 12:07 AM CST
kittriana said:
Thumb of 2016-05-27/kittriana/c29568

Lime basil in ground, I dropped 3" off the top, just above a set of leaves. This will double the plants stems. Dont pinch tips, esp on the larger leaved basils like your genovese, give it some ht, then take off enough the base can support the doubling stems. I grow my African blue for the bees, so it also gets topped off to double the bloom stems- outside in north Houston these basils grow til frost


Thanks for the info. I had no idea mine was a Genovese basil. :)

Let me share two photos with you.
Simply because I havent used any of the leaves (I am too afraid to do so....I dont want to damage the plant).

It looks like one of the stems is about to bloom. It has grown fairly tall. What shall I do to keep it in control.

Photos:



Thumb of 2016-06-02/Gabe1982/5aa7d7
Thumb of 2016-06-02/Gabe1982/903adc

Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jun 9, 2016 6:44 PM CST
Snip it back. Mints and basils need abuse to grow. Also deep root room when larger, take it from the stem, not the leaf, just above a set of leaves so it will double- I have some of yours, but hope to be home in time to snip it back as it was seeded instead of a cutting like this african blue basil

Thumb of 2016-06-10/kittriana/764a6c




Thumb of 2016-06-10/kittriana/a43d2e

kitt
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jun 9, 2016 6:48 PM CST
Mine is grown for the bees- but they share with the kitchen windowsill. When a plant blooms, it seeds and is apt to die- except basil, when in good weather, slows growing while blooming. Then may put up a second stalk, pinching back the first bloom stalk doubles its efforts to bloom.
kitt
Name: Robyn
Minnesota (Zone 4a)
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters Tomato Heads Garden Photography
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robynanne
Jun 14, 2016 6:17 PM CST
Cut mint like you are mowing grass. Just snip the whole top off. I go out and cut them all down to a couple inches regularly or else they start flopping anyway. Basil is about the same, but it grows slower than mint, at least in my experience, so I leave more than a couple inches with basil. More like 4 or 5 inches. They also grow thicker stems and can support taller plants.
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Jun 20, 2016 2:33 PM CST
Yeah, the african blue turns into a woody shrub somewhere like Africa, but hits 5-6' easy by Fall even with constant snipping!
kitt

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