This is how you prevent flowering for a long herbal enjoyment
The herb plant attracts busy insects as pollinators with its flowers. In this way, basil pursues its central goal of reproducing as numerous as possible. Only from pollinated flowers can seeds develop, which turn into new plants after germination. The royal herb therefore invests all of its energy in the flower, which is at the expense of the aroma in the leaves.
- How can Thai basil overwinter?
- Under what conditions does basil grow?
- Can basil be cultivated for several years?
Since blooming basil stops growing and gradually dies, experienced herb lovers counteract this process. The following measures will prevent or at least delay flowering:
- Harvest basil regularly
- do not pluck individual leaves, but rather 5 centimeter long shoot pieces
- leafless shoots die hopelessly
- leave at least 2 eyes on when cutting whole branches
Harvest when the first buds appear at the latest. The cutting of the shoot tips also contributes to further branching and a bushy habit. Anything not freshly used in the kitchen is suitable for freezing or drying. Blossoming basil is still edible, but it tastes unpleasantly bitter. Experienced hobby gardeners preserve the wonderful aroma by harvesting the branches in good time.
Blossoming basil - this is how you enjoy the flowers
As a mint, blooming basil is a feast for the eyes in the bed and on the balcony. Depending on the variety, white, pink or purple flowers develop. As if that weren't enough, the flowers are edible. Since their taste arrives on the tongue as slightly bitter and less aromatic than the leaves, gourmets use basil blossoms as a decoration on salads or to garnish warm dishes.
In addition, blooming basil offers a delicious variant for the kitchen, because it provides the most important ingredient for the unique basil blossom vinegar. To do this, place 80 flowers in 200 milliliters of white wine vinegar and add 15 leaves of royal herb and peppercorns to taste. After four weeks, strain through a fine sieve and fill into a bottle - done.
Blooming basil - this is how you harvest the seeds
If you can't get enough of the enchanting flowers of the royal herb, let nature take its course. Blooming basil develops rich seed pods in the course of autumn, which are ideally suited for propagation by sowing. After all flowers have wilted, the 1-2 millimeter small fruits ripen inside the calyx. First pick off the withered leaves. Then harvest the seeds like this:
- Wipe the dried flowers over a bowl with your fingers
- grind the flowers between your hands
- sieve the mixture of flower remnants and seeds repeatedly
- Pour the black seeds on a plate and let them dry for a few days
The harvested seeds can be safely stored in the dark screw-top jar in the cool cellar until next spring.
This is how the sowing succeeds
In April, the time window opens for sowing the hand-picked seeds that a flowering basil produced the previous year. Since royal herb does not tolerate temperatures below 10 degrees, only sowing behind glass is possible. Basil should not be planted outside until mid-May. How to sow royal herb correctly:
- small growing pots (14.90 € at Amazon *) fill with peat sand, seed soil or similar poor, permeable substrate
- moisten the soil slightly and sprinkle the fine seeds on it
- as a light germinator, simply press the seeds lightly with a board
- wait for germination in a partially shaded location at 20 to 25 degrees Celsius
The cotyledons break out of the seeds within 5 to 14 days. Any cover has now done its job. When the seedlings have reached a height of 5 centimeters, they are pricked out. Now pamper your children for the first time with a very diluted dose of liquid fertilizer. By mid-May, they develop into strong young plants to be planted in the bed or in the pot.
Tips & Tricks
On perennial varieties of basil, the flowering does not affect the aroma of the leaves. In this case, blooming basil does not stop growing and does not develop seed heads. You can thus enjoy the pink and purple flowers and harvest rich shoots at the same time. It is also possible to spend the winter in the house.