Here’s What to Do with a Flowering Basil Plant

updated Jul 1, 2020
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(Image credit: Faith Durand)

Does your basil plant look like this? With those pretty purple flowers? Yeah, those flowers actually need to go! It’s okay, though — there’s a super-easy solution. Let’s take a minute to go over what these flowers mean, what you should do about them, and a few other tips for growing your own basil.

What It Means If Your Basil Plant Has Flowers

Right now, the hot, humid weather is sending my basil plants into overdrive, and they’re sending up stalks of purple flowers every day. Some basil plants flower quicker than others, and there’s great variety in the way the flowers look. I have another variety that sends up delicate white flowers.

These flowers are pretty, but they are also a sign that the plant is shutting down and going into reproduction mode — instead of growth mode, which would shoot out the necessary basil leaves for my pesto cravings. It’s not a sign that you’ve done anything wrong, it’s just part of the cycle. However, if you want the plant to keep producing basil, you’ll have to handle the flowers.

What to Do with a Flowering Basil Plant

Just pinch the flowers off! Pinching off these flowers helps keep the plant growing. I pinch them off at their base and put them in tiny bud vases in the kitchen, where they both look and smell beautiful.

While pinching off the flower buds will help, it’s even better to harvest half the plant and make pesto. Give it a week or two and you’ll find an even more robust basil plant grown back.

More Tips for Growing Your Own Basil

Got any other basil questions? Leave them in the comments below!