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Gardener shares simple technique for getting bigger, bushier basil plants: 'I wish I knew this 1 year ago'

"Keep pinching."

Hack for healthy and bushy basil plants

Photo Credit: @thatgirlsgarden / Tiktok

A short, viral TikTok shows viewers how to make their basil plant bushier.

The nine-second video from user @thatgirlsgarden, which has gotten more than 185,000 likes, briefly demonstrates how to enhance the popular culinary herb. 

"I wish I knew this one year ago," the TikToker wrote in the video's caption.  

@thatgirlsgarden Redirect your basil plant's energy into producing more foliage by "pinching" the top 2 sets of leaves! 🍃 Pinching basil is a simple yet effective technique that can help your plant grow bushier and more sets of leaves! 😋 🍃 All you need to do is removr the top few sets of leaves! This stimulates the plant to produce new growth from the lower sets of leaves. This encourages the basil to grow more branches, which means more leaves and more opportunities to harvest fresh, flavorful basil! 😻 #growingbasil #containergarden #herbs #apartmentgardener #zone9bgardening #gardentok #gardeninghacks #gardeningforbeginners #pinchingbasil ♬ BOYs a LIAR PT2 NEVER DULL REMIX - Never Dull

The scoop

The first tip is to "pinch" the top four leaves where the flower is starting to form. This keeps it from producing flowers and allows it to focus its energy on growing more leaves. According to the video, it also "tells the plant to start growing bushier." 

When basil leaves are bushier, this means more basil overall, which means more of the herb that goes very well with salads and other foods. It can also be a key ingredient in making herbal tea. 

How it's helping

Not only does basil help make food taste better, but it is also rich in health-boosting antioxidants as well as vitamin K. Planting and growing your own food has numerous health benefits, such as promoting exercise since it requires lots of walking, bending, lifting, and pulling. 

Numerous studies have shown that exercise helps boost our immune system

Growing your own basil can save you money and is beneficial for the environment as opposed to buying it at the store in a glass or plastic container. 

Around 40 million tons of plastic are used and thrown away every year in the U.S., of which only about 5% gets recycled

Locally grown foods reduce or eliminate the need for plastic packaging. This also reduces the burning of fossil fuels necessary for the production of containers and packaging.

What's everyone saying?

The TikTok has received more than 350 comments. 

In reference to how this hack "tells" the plant to start growing bushier, one commenter jokingly wrote: "It also tells the plant who's the boss."

Another commenter made an interesting suggestion: "If you have more than one basil plant let one of them flower, then get the seeds from the flowers & save for next year."

For those interested in learning a bit more about the intricacies of gardening, another person made a useful observation: "That is a basic tip for any flowering herb in order [to] help more productive leaf growth. Keep pinching." 

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