Pinching Basil Flowers in Herb Garden

Pinching Basil flowers in Chicago herb garden.png
Once basil flowers the leaves tend to taste a little bitter. If you’re growing basil in your herb garden on way to extend the plant is to deadhead the flowers. To do this simply pinch off the blooms with your thumb and index finger.

If your basil has started flowering and you want to collect seeds for next year allow them to continue flowering. On the other hand, if your intention wasn’t to collect seed pinch of a few of the flowers (when young ) and if they’re not bitter you can add them to salads, soups or use them as a garnish. Yes, basil flowers are edible too.


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  • This trick works pretty much for all other herbs, too!

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:


    Very good point. Thought of it when I went to use the first basil I bought that I had allowed to go to flower and it ruined a dish.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Just for fun, I let my basil go completely to seed last year. Leaving it until it dried (I'll dig out the photo and post it to the group.) I was hoping it would reseed itself, but no such luck. Herbs that you CAN leave that will reseed are chamomile, fennel, and coriander (cilantro), although I think my fennel is some weird fennel-dill hybrid at this point!

  • In reply to naxn:

    When you find the pics please do add them to the group. I'm especially interested in seeing the hybrid.

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    thanks for this information, I actually cut the flower stem off on 2 of my basil plants wasnt sure what to do with it but figured the seeds were there so I'm letting it dry. Is that ok?

  • In reply to Guadalupe:


    It should be ok as long as you let the flowers on long enough to be A)pollinated B)and let the seeds develop. If the flowers were there long enough you should get some seeds for next year.

  • In reply to Guadalupe:

    I have been doing this all summer since a friend told me about it. I was dubious that it really helped, so thanks for confirming! My basil is pretty much the only thing I had success with this summer. The stuff grows like weeds!

  • In reply to CarrieKirby:

    When I first read about it, I too was dubious but I've tasted basil that went to seed and basil that didn't and I can taste the difference.

  • In reply to Guadalupe:

    Picture of fennel-dill hybrid added to list; there's a couple new ones coming up. I pulled the others, but I'll let these go and take pictures. Basically they look like dill, but have no flavor and very small seeds.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Thanks Xan, I'll take a look.

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