How To Prevent Basil from Bolting to Seed

By: Dan Hagan - Managing Editor

This is the third post of five in the Summer seasonal Series.

During the heat of the summer Basil will continually attempt to bolt to seed. Once seeds have developed the flavor of the leaves diminishes greatly. Here is how to prevent it.

At first sign of flowering (see picture) cut the stems one-inch bellow flower bud and continue to do so at first sign of any flowering.
Cut 1/3 of each stem and dry cut portion (or use fresh) at least 3 times during the summer, or as often as needed.
Harvest Often
Harvest the plant the leaves of the basil plant frequently to prevent flowering. Frequent harvesting also encourages rapid growth.

More Info

Cut stems at first sign of flowering

Basil flowers form a large bud compared to plant size, which makes it very easy to tell when flowers are about to develop. At first sign of flower development cut the stem about 1” directly bellow the developing flower.

Harvest top 1/3 of each stem

After first sign of flower development it is time to harvest the top 1/3 of each stem. This practice will cause the plant to revert back to growth mode and get out of flowering mode for a short period of time.

Harvest leaves often

If the plant is prevented from developing flowers it will grow rather rapidly. Because of this rapid growth the leaves should be harvested frequently. The frequent harvest will also encourage even more rapid growth!