Hand pinching basil

How and When to Pinch Your Herbs

A common question from garden owners is “when and how do I pinch my herbs?” To help you out, we’ve put together this quick guide.

Why Pinch Your Herbs?

Pinching your herbs helps to encourage bushier, fuller growth. By removing the growing tip of the plant, you “force” the plant to produce side shoots, which results in a fuller, bushier plant. Pinching also helps to prevent legginess in plants that tend to sprawl. In general, you’ll want to pinch your herbs once they’ve reached 6-8 inches in height.

How to Pinch Your Herbs

Pinching is easy! Simply use your fingers or a sharp pair of scissors to snip off the growing tip of the plant. Make sure to only remove the very tip of the plant. You don’t want to remove too much, or else you’ll stunt the plant’s growth.

When to Pinch Your Herbs

You can pinch your herbs at any time during their growing season. However, most gardeners find it easiest to do it early in the season, before the plants have really started to take off. This way, you can just keep an eye on your plants as they grow and pinch them back as needed. If you wait until later in the season, you might have a more difficult time keeping track of which stems need to be pinched and which don’t.


Pinching your herbs is a great way to encourage bushier growth and prevent legginess. It’s easy to do, and can be done at any time during the herb’s growing season. Just remember to only remove the very tip of the plant, or you’ll risk stunting its growth. Happy gardening!