We’re sometimes asked: "Should I let my basil plant flower?" The answer is, it depends on how you want to use your basil. Here are some things to keep in mind:
How do you want to use your basil plant?
If you're growing basil for its leaves and taste, harvest them before letting the plant bloom. If it's purely for decorative purposes, then go ahead and let your plant bloom. Either way, your freshly picked leaves will still have all the same health benefits! Just bear in mind that if the plant starts to flower, its taste will become slightly bitter.
Be sure to use the Click & Grow mobile app when growing plants in your indoor garden. After registering your smart garden and basil plants, the app will send you tips at each stage of the plant’s growth cycle so you’ll know when it’s time to harvest.
What can you do with basil flowers?
Basil flowers are edible
It’s certainly possible to eat basil flowers. They’re a delicacy in many countries, including India and Thailand.
They can be used fresh or dried in cooking. They have a light anise flavor that complements fish dishes like Thai curries and soups like chicken noodle soup. You can even experiment using them in salad dressings, fruit salsas, ice cream sauces or as fresh garnish.
Basil flowers attract bees and butterflies
If you're concerned about gardening practices that harm the environment or would just like to attract some natural pollinators to your outdoor garden, allowing your basil plants to flower may be a good choice for you. The adult bees will feed on the pollen and nectar produced by the flowers. You can start your basil plants in your indoor garden and transplant them outdoors later.
Image: Scisetti Alfio/Shutterstock
Basil flowers can be used for decoration
The flower buds look gorgeous floating in a glass bowl or vase on your dining room table. You can also add a few basil flowers to a bottle of vinegar to create beautiful homemade herbal vinegar. Furthermore, you can use them as a decorative garnish for drinks.
Basil flowers can be used to make herbal tea
Make a refreshing basil tea by adding some basil flower heads to a teacup and pouring boiling water in it. Allow it to steep for 3-5 minutes and enjoy. For a more intense flavor, add some leaves to the brew.
So, should you let your basil flower or not? That really depends on what you want your basil to do. If you want it to grow as abundantly as possible, then it’s best to keep pruning your basil as it grows. This way the plant focuses on leaf growth rather than producing flowers.On the other hand, if you’re curious to see the plant in bloom (and don’t mind slightly bitter tasting basil) then leaving it alone is your best bet. Above all, have fun growing homemade basil in your Click & Grow smart garden!