Herbs get tough

I started planting herbs a few years ago and I notice that the soft ones (chives, mint, parsley, etc.) are very nice in the spring but as time goes on, they concentrate more on flowers and reproducing, and the herbs become quite tough and not good for cooking. What’s the solution? Should I just keep cutting down the flowers? They are perennials, so they will regrow. But will they send up new shoots during the season so that my tender leaves aren’t restricted to early spring? Thanks all.

I’m no herb expert but my strategy with herbs has always been two fold - 1 - as you say, always pinch off the flowers but also 2 - don’t be afraid to aggressively pinch back the plant. So even if you’re not using the herb, once you see it growing pinch back 1/3 or so of the stems to just above the paste few leaves. This should cause those stems that shoot up new stems at those leaf points, thus helping to plant to stay bushy but also encouraging new tender leaves all season long.


Sorry for my typos - iPhone helping me .…

Yes, if they flower, they’re trying to go to seed - just keep pinching them back and they’ll keep putting out fresh shoots.

Is this a typo? Where do we pinch back exactly? On the bottom of the plant?

Well yes that is a typo but no, not the general sentiment of the sentence . . . .

pinch back 1/3 or so of the stem to just above the last (not paste) few leaves. . . .

Essentially you can pinch back a stem/branch of the herb pretty far but you need to make sure at least one or two sections, where leaves branch off the stem, are still there. New “branches” will emerge from the same area where these leaves are, so if you pinch it back so far that there are no leaves left on the remaining stem then there is no place for new branches to emerge.

Hope that helps clear that up.

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Thank you. Now can you tell me how to cut back my jasmine bush without killing it? :slight_smile:

Thanks for asking this question! I always thought I just had to live with tough herbs later during the season.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold