Skip to Content

How to Prune Thai Basil – My Best Tips!

How to Prune Thai Basil – My Best Tips!

Sharing is caring!

Thai Basil is a type of Basil indigenous to Southeast Asia. Commonly used all over Southeast Asia, its flavor is described as slightly spicy.

Thai Basil has tiny, slender leaves, lilac stems, and pink-purple blooms.

It is compact and can grow to a height of about 1.48 feet (0.45 meters). But to keep the plant healthy and forever flourishing, you need to trim and clean it frequently.


How to Prune Thai Basil?

Pinching or cutting Basil regularly promotes full, bushy plants. Pinch from above to allow parallel development. Basil leaves are quite fragile, so don’t prune the Thai Basil when it is still young. When flowers emerge cut them off as you want the plant to invest the most energy in its leaves. Wait for the plant to achieve a height of about 0.5 feet (0.15 meters) before pruning.


Pruning Thai Basil

Let’s go over the right method to prune Thai Basil leaves.

  • Prune the leaves at the top of the plant and not the ones at the bottom
  • They are tinier and won’t provide as much as those big leaves on the bottom, however your Thai Basil needs its bottom leaves for growth
  • For every leaf you prune, the Thai Basil plant will grow two more 
  • New branches will emerge and will produce new sets of leaves. When you prune these leaves again, they’ll develop two new branches again.
  • Pruning Thai Basil this way, it will grow outwards rather than only growing upwards. It will grow extremely bushy with regular pruning. This is what you should strive for.


Revitalizing an Old-Looking Basil

Your Basil looks old when it develops woody-looking bare stem, unseemly shrunk leaves, and dried stems and leaves on the top.

The most suitable time for pruning an old Basil is at the onset of spring, almost six weeks after the last frost.

You shouldn’t use your hand for pruning an old-looking Basil. You’re going to need pruning shears.

Don’t attempt to prune the entire plant at once. It could make the Basil struggle, might damage it, and will possibly kill it.

Start by looking carefully at the stem from the base to the tip. What you’re searching for is a green spot, a bud where fresh stems and leaves will grow.

Once you’ve seen a green spot, use the pruning shears to trim half an inch just above that point.

Repeat the same procedure for every stem you’re working on.


Have Patience

basil grows fast and you will see new branches and leaves emerge very soon. So, keep calm and observe carefully.

Once you’ve finished pruning all of the old Basil in your garden, you’ll start to see new, nutrient-rich leaves growing.


Reasons to Prune Thai Basil

There are many great reasons for pruning Thai Basil plants. Here are some of the most important ones


To Encourage Growth

Pruning is a good way to push your Thai Basil to expand and become bushy.

Regularly pruning the plant will encourage growth, keep the plant healthy and become bushier.

Plus, you can never add too much Thai Basil to your food.


To Remove Flowers

Ultimately nearly all Basil plants generate blooms. The blossoms are exceptionally interesting to honey bees, but the more Thai Basil plants develop flowers the less energy is left to develop more leaves.

Hence removing the flowers will eventually increase the growth rate of your plant.


Perfect Tools for Pruning

Basil plants are usually soft, delicate, and simple to prune. So you won’t need a pruning saw, a garden trowel, a pole pruner, or a hedge shear.

Any shear that works like scissors will do the job or you can do it with your bare hands as well.

If you do use pruning sheers, you must disinfect them first. This way, your plant will stay safe from infections and diseases.

Isopropyl or ethanol is ideal for sanitizing pruning devices.

Ethanol contains 70% isopropyl and can be applied directly. Ethanol can be utilized without diluting it first.


What to Avoid When Pruning Thai Basil?

Most people are persuaded to cut off the largest leaves of the plant that are sprouting on the bottom branches.

The leaves on the bottom are the driving force of the entire plant. Do not remove them.


Tips for Pruning Thai Basil

  • Thai Basil is fragile so be careful when pruning
  • Prune stem for stem. When you prune more than one leave or stem, you will surely damage the Thai Basil.
  • It is not always necessary to use pruning shears while you prune the plant. You can use your hands for pruning as well.
  • You should also prune the weak and yellow leaves on Thai Basil to promote healthy growth.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pruning Thai Basil


When is the ideal time to prune Thai Basil?

The best time to begin pruning your Basil is early on in the growing season when it is approximately 6 inches tall or when at least six leaves have matured.


How do you prune Thai Basil, so it keeps rising?

If your Basil plant is developing upwards, squeeze the foliage from above. This will help it grow more vertically and become bushier. Pinching the tiny leaves will encourage more leaves and growth.


How do you prune Thai Basil without killing it?

When collecting Basil leaves, be delicate and try to prevent tearing or causing damage to the stems to which the leaves are attached. Pull the Basil leaves at the bottom, where the stem meets.

Gently pull the whole leaf out of the stem. You can cut the leaves with a small knife, too.