Pricking Basil – How To Do It Right

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:58 pm

If the sowing of basil seeds goes as desired, numerous, vital seedlings will thrive. To ensure that the seedlings do not hinder each other’s growth, pricking out is now on the agenda. With a little flair and these instructions, it works smoothly.

Pricking Basil - How To Do It Right

How to recognize the right time?

Among amateur gardeners often uncertainty prevails with regard to the choice of the correct time to prick the seedlings. If you look closely at the plantlets, you can see the two cotyledons in the lower area. These are visually distinct from the true foliage sprouting above them. Once a basil seedling has produced at least two pairs of leaves above the cotyledons, the time has come for singling.

Pricking Basil - How To Do It Right

Sovereign pricking goes like this
You will give basil seedlings more stability for singling if you water them a few hours beforehand. This is how you proceed afterwards:

  • fill small seedling pots (7,00€ at Amazon*) half or two thirds full with potting soil
  • cover the water drainage in the bottom of the pot with a piece of clay in advance
  • press a hollow into the substrate with a pricking pin
  • separate the basil plants with the thin end of the pricking out stick
  • use a spoon to lift them out
  • place them in the center of the soil and plant them just below the cotyledons

Take a close look at the seedlings when removing them. Too long root strands shorten with disinfected scissors to 2 centimeters. When inserting the seedlings into the soil, make sure that none of the roots bend upwards. Finally, compact the substrate from the side with the thin end of the pricker.

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How to care for basil after pricking out

As part of the singling process, provide the young basil plants with adequate space for further growth. By the time they are planted out in mid-May, your seedlings should have transformed into vigorous herbaceous plants. Therefore, focus on these care measures:

  • keep the substrate constantly slightly moist without wetting the foliage
  • fertilize weekly organically with a liquid fertilizer in a highly diluted concentration
  • Regularly de-tip young shoots to produce bushy growth and encourage lush branching.

Tips & Tricks
The thrifty among amateur gardeners do not acquire expensive pricking out wood. A shish kebab skewer or a Japanese chopstick made of wood or plastic will do the job just as well.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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