Am a complete gardening novice, any level of information welcomed!

Have been trying to grow Basil - it is now very tall and skinny and woody - I think from initial neglect. See picture: enter image description here

Question: how to make it shorter, and bushier, and self-standing. (it has become so tall that I have had to add a vertical support to stop it falling over.)

It is also starting to flower, unsure of the significance of that, should I remove them?


1 Answer 1


Yes, remove the flowers, and remove that tiny apical tip with new leaves. You need far more light! In fact I'd cut that plant in half right down to new leaves AFTER you are able to get a true grow light or a south facing window. Reduce fertilizer. I can't tell very well but looks like you've used garden soil and you HAVE to use potting soil in pots. I don't think this pot has a drainage hole and that needs to be fixed pronto. Make sure that only potting soil is in your pot with NO ROCKS or gravel below the soil and above the drainage hole. Use a saucer to protect surfaces but raise the bottom of your pot (new one with hole in the bottom) off the surface whether it is saucer or patio. Water ONLY when soil dries at least 1/2 inch from surface. We can help with pruning but get the soil and pot fixed and we'll go from there, okay?

  • Thanks! So I should just cut the whole thing in half, at about the height of the silver spoke, just above all the new small leaves? Didn't know existence of garden vs potting soil - will research, and change it - thanks! Not visible in photo quality but that pot does have a built in saucer, hole on the back, I water from the bottom, into the saucer, through the hole, is that right - or should I water from top?
    – Mtl Dev
    Apr 2, 2017 at 1:54
  • 2
    Water from the top, thoroughly, letting it drain freely, but don't allow the saucer to retain water after 30 minutes, empty it out.
    – Bamboo
    Apr 2, 2017 at 11:42
  • Thanks, Bamboo! Those side holes are kinda wimpy. They allow a sliver of standing water just below the hole and that is enough to cause all kinds of problems. Let's do one major change at a time. Tip the apical bud off and plant in potting soil with a pot that has a bottom hole. Get the bottom off the surface of the saucer or whatever the pot is standing upon. Let's do the chopping after this is all done...give it a few weeks. Always water from the top of the soil. In extreme hot weather watering from the bottom is warranted but otherwise from the top. Soak and allow to dry before...
    – stormy
    Apr 2, 2017 at 21:22

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