This week, give your herb garden some extra attention and trim your herbs to ensure they thrive for the remainder of the growing season. You’ll be able to find the perfect dose mid-summer Zen with a little patience, and sharpened snips.
Why Prune Your Herbs
- Primarily because it is good for the plant’s health.
- This encourages new growth and often helps tall, thin plants develop bushier leaves.
- To encourage new, rooted growth
- To manage the size of each plant and the overall garden size.
- Keep a variety of herbs on hand for your cooking needs. You can either use them immediately or you can dehydrate them and store them for later.
How Often Do You Need to Prune Herbs
There is a difference between hard and light pruning. And there is a limit to how much you can prune. Your goal is to allow your plant to thrive and grow, but not to hinder its ability to produce new growth. No matter what herb you are, you must remove blossoms from your plant to redirect growth energy back to its roots and leaves. The plant’s growth will slow down or stop for the season because the blossoms consume a lot of energy.
Light pruning is more appropriate for herbaceous plants like cilantro, stevia and basil. These plants are able to thrive all year but will lose their strength or die in the winter months. Regular trimming will encourage new growth and make herbaceous plants bushier and more productive.
Tipping is the act of removing the top few inches from new growth. This encourages the branch to grow in two directions. Tipping will increase the plant’s willingness to branch. Pruning herbaceous plant is important for the health of the plants and the surrounding plants.
They can either grow too large to choke neighboring plants or they slow down their growth, which will reduce the amount of leafy growth you can harvest. Don’t remove too many plants! Because they absorb more sunlight than smaller, newer leaves, big leaves or those at the base of plants are vital for their health. For the plant’s overall health, make sure to keep these leaves intact.
Pruning is a difficult task
Hard pruning is for perennial herbs that are evergreen and heartier. This includes plants with woody stems such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, and sage. These plants can still be strong garden perennials if they don’t need much maintenance. If you have heartier plants, your lightweight pruning shears won’t cut it. Get stronger clippers. The evergreen family of herbs should be pruned only occasionally, no more than twice per year.
Pruning encourages new growth. It’s best to avoid pruning at the end of the season. They need to be “toughening-up” for winter, and not developing tender growth. Avoid pruning in winter, when the plant is dormant.
To get the best results, cut your herbs early in the year as new growth begins to emerge. It is a good idea to trim dead branches to the soil. However, it is best to not cut more than 1/3 to 1/4 of the overall healthy branch. It is best to not trim large herbs too fast as it will hinder its ability to recover. Lavender is one exception. It’s often used as a garden feature. You need to cut it back in the late spring or early fall so that there are only three inches of green above the wooded stem. You should not cut off any new growth and leave only the wood stems as this may hinder the plant’s ability to regenerate. Similar pruning will encourage new growth in the spring.