Cut back flowering herbs in late summer

Some herbs will have flowered for a few weeks by now, and you’ll notice the leaves beginning to look a little worse for wear. You might get a second flourish by cutting them back. Here’s a little guidance for the most common herbs:

  1. Mint often becomes a leggy at this time of year, so you can cut it back quite heavily to encourage them to grow a bit more bushily. Cut it right back to the ground once it starts to flower and you may well get some fresh growth through before the end of autumn.
  2. Basil tends to bolt and flower, but cutting the stems right back leaving two or three pairs of leaf shoots will get it to grow some more leaves and bush out. You can do this quite regularly throughout the summer and into autumn.
  3. Chives can be cut right back after flowering to encourage new growth. You may wish to gather the seeds and scatter beforehand, to encourage a few new plants.
  4. Thyme will do really well from being lightly pruned after it has flowered. This prevents it becoming too woody. Cut back the oldest looking stems by two thirds but leave younger stems.
  5. Rosemary only needs to be pruned if you feel it’s getting too large. Cut stems by no more than a third to keep it tidy.
  6. Oregano, marjoram and tarragon┬ácan be cut right back once they start to flower. They’ll come back again really quickly, within a week or so.
  7. Sage doesn’t need pruning at this time of year but pick off the leaves regularly to encourage new growth even if you’re not going to use them.