Learn effective techniques and find How to Grow Big Basil Plant Like a Shrub for unlimited harvest of this fragrant herb.
Want to know – How to Grow Big Basil Plant Like a Shrub? With these tips on fundamentals of basil planting, you’ll be on your way to enjoying an abundant supply of fresh basil throughout the growing season!
Check 22 Types of Basil to Grow here
Pick the Tallest Basil
While basil plants typically don’t grow very tall compared to other plants, some basil varieties are known to have a slightly larger stature.
- Thai Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum): Also known as Tulsi or Sacred Basil, Thai Holy Basil can grow up to 2 to 3 feet tall under optimal conditions. It has slender leaves with a strong, spicy aroma and is commonly used in Thai cuisine and herbal teas.
- Mammoth Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Mammoth’): As the name suggests, Mammoth Basil is known for its larger leaf size and overall plant height. It can grow up to 2-4 feet tall and has broad, wrinkled leaves. It offers a classic sweet basil flavor and is often used in cooking, pesto, and salads.
- Lettuce Leaf Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Lettuce Leaf’): Lettuce Leaf Basil is characterized by its large, crinkled leaves that resemble lettuce leaves. It can grow up to 2-3 feet tall and has a milder flavor compared to other basil varieties. The leaves are excellent for wrapping ingredients or adding to sandwiches.
- Red Rubin Basil (Ocimum basilicum ‘Red Rubin’): Red Rubin Basil is an ornamental basil variety with deep purple-red leaves. It can reach a height of about 2-3 feet. It has a sweet basil flavor and can add a striking visual element to gardens and dishes.
However, by following these practices, you can grow any basil plant like a shrub!
Learn Growing Basil Indoors Year Round here
How to Grow Basil Like a Shrub?
1. Pinch the Top of the Plant
Focus on pruning and pinching the top portion of the basil plant to encourage upward growth. This stimulates the plant to put more energy into branching, which ultimately helps the plant grow taller and bushier.
Using clean pruning shears or your fingers, carefully remove the identified lateral branches by cutting them close to the main stem. Make clean cuts just above a leaf node.
Learn 11 Pro Tips to Grow Bigger Basil Leaves here
2. Take Out Flowers
Basil plants tend to focus their energy on flowering and producing seeds once they reach a certain maturity. By removing the flowers, you redirect the plant’s energy away from reproductive processes and encourage it to invest in growing tall.
This can result in increased branching and foliage production, leading to a bushier and taller appearance.
Learn 9 Steps for Never Ending Supply of Basil here
3. Prune it at the Bottom and Sides
Once the plant achieves a height of about 2 feet, you can start pruning it from sides and bottom – this will help the plant to focus its energy on growing from the top, resulting in a better height and a more shrub like shape.
4. Provide Support and Stake the Top Stems
Providing support, such as stakes or trellises, helps keep the stems upright. When the top stems are secured to a stake or trellis, it stimulates the plant to produce lateral shoots along the main stem.
- Bamboo stakes or metal trellises are great for supporting basil plants.
- Gently tie the top stems to the stake using soft plant ties or twine. Be careful not to tie too tightly, as it can damage the stems.
- As the basil plant grows, periodically check the ties and adjust them to accommodate the increased height and width of the plant.
Check out the 7 Best Flowering Basil Plants here
5. Let it Grow!
Allowing the plant to continue its growth without extensive pruning encourages lateral branching, which contributes to a shrub-like shape with multiple branches extending from the main stem.
Some Quick Tips on Maintaining Basil as a Shrub
- It is important that you provide it with at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight every day.
- Achieving a basil plant with a shrub-like appearance may require patience, as it can take a couple of years for the plant to develop to the extent seen in pictures.
- Use a 10-10-10 liquid fertilizer, diluted to 1/4 of its strength, once in 5-6 weeks in the active-growing season.
- Reduce the frequency of watering, allowing the top layer of the soil to dry out slightly before watering again. This approach encourages the plant to focus on developing stronger and woodier stems.