Basil tends to gradually become woody over time. This is accompanied by reduced growth of the leaves and a noticeable loss of aroma. Here you can find out what you can do to prevent this unwanted development
Regular pruning prevents lignification
The vast majority of all basil species and cultivars were created by Mother Nature as subshrub or shrub. If your basil tends to become woody, it is a completely natural process. However, you don’t have to accept this development, because it keeps basil juicy green:
- When harvesting, always cut whole shoots
- regularly cut off older branches at the base
- do not pluck the branches, but cut them off with a sharp knife
As long as at least one pair of leaves remains on the royal herb, the plant will sprout freshly. It is, therefore, worth keeping an eye on the herbal plant and, if necessary, cutting back excess shoots even if there is no current need. What is not consumed immediately can be preserved very well by freezing or pickling.
Lumbering is desirable here
In order for perennial basil varieties and wild basil to be able to withstand the weather conditions, they depend on woody shoots. This means that the herbal plants can spend the summer in the bed without lying flat on the ground after a thunderstorm. In addition, the woody branches give them sufficient resilience to survive the winter indoors.
A prime example of woody basil is the wild species from India. Known under the variety designation ‘Tulsi’, the herbal plant thrives as a richly branched bush. The reddish-colored leaves convince with a light black pudding aroma, which is retained even after lignification.
Whole shoots are also always harvested here in order to thin out the bush at the same time.
If the lignification of one-year-old basil is already well advanced, you don’t have to do without enjoying the herbs for a long time. Simply cut off several shoot tips as cuttings that are not lignified.
The offshoots will root quickly in the water glass. Planted in a nutrient-rich substrate, they quickly transform into a vital young plant with a lush green habit.