Welcome to this post about how you can save a woody basil stem. We want to warn beforehand that this is a risky procedure as more often than not it’s the main stem that gets woody. Cutting a woody stem is the only way to fix it so new tender stems come forth. As you might guess, cutting the main stem is therefore risky because it’s the backbone in a way for the entire plant. Nonetheless we will discuss how you can do it and what precautions you might need to take.
If you are interested in how you can keep your basil fresh the longest after harvest then you can read one of our articles right here, How To Keep Fresh Basil From Turning Black.
Saving A Woody Basil Stem
It’s not necessarily something wrong with your basil turning into a more woody plant. This is mostly because the season has likely gone on for so long it has had the time to develop this. We usually don’t recommend taking any of the woody stems off as this often indicates a healthy plant in our eyes. It tells us that it can manage a bit more rougher pruning or cutting.
But let’s say that you don’t like the appearance of it and want it to be more of the signater green. Then you simply will have to cut the stem of where you want new growth to come out. Note that since we are growing basil, it most likely will shoot out two new stems from the cutting surface. We suggest you cut the stem at a very wide angle as that will let new growth go upwards immediately. If you cut it plain and simple across then the new stems will first grow diagonally before going upwards. In our opinion it looks better having it grow upwards immediately.
But it’s important having a healthy soil before doing any of these steps. if the soil is not good then the basil plant won’t have anything to lean back on and support it once it starts growing again.
Having a healthy soil includes fertilizing it about 3 – 4 times a year. We don’t recommend doing any more as that will start to have a negative effect on the plant. It essentially gets too much of the good stuff. If you have the chance to use manure then we recommend that. It’s like steroids for the plant, there is so much good bacteria in this that the new stems will just shoot straight out.
What To Do With Woody Basil Stems
Watering is also important as basil likes a soil that is kept very damp throughout the season. But since you have kept your basil in a good condition before this for it to develop a woody stem you shouldn’t have any problem continuing this.
Let’s reiterate again on what we have been talking about here. Basil is a herb that benefits from pruning a lot, but not always the woody stem. It can slow down growth a lot. But if you choose to do it then you want the soil conditions to be kept very well beforehand.
Have you ever wondered what the difference between the most common basil variety sweet basil and holy basil is. We have written a dedicated article that discusses the differences between them. Find it here, What Is The Difference Between Basil And Holy Basil.
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