If cared for properly, basil plants can yield incredible amounts of leaves, and if done right, starting with a single plant can end up with you having more basil than you know what to do with. I have experimented with and read about increasing the yield from basil plants for some time since I like growing basil. Therefore, I have written this post to share what I have learned with you.
On average, basil plants produce 13 ounces (368 grams) of leaves during a season. The total yield is dependent on the variety of basil, and some varieties can yield up to 27 ounces (765 grams) or more, and others around 11 ounces (312 grams). Good conditions and harvesting increase the total yield significantly.
The most crucial factor that determines how much a basil plant can yield is how you care for it. Keep reading to learn how to easily increase the yield from basil plants and grow more basil than you can use by starting with just a single plant, and how many plants you need to grow to have enough basil for a person the entire season.
How Much Basil Can You Harvest from a Basil Plant?
While I can give you a reasonable estimate for what to expect, it is impossible to say precisely how much a basil plant will yield since it is so highly dependent on conditions such as enough sunlight, high temperatures, and proper watering and fertilizing.
When researching for this post, I found an excellent experiment where 10 basil varieties were grown and cared for throughout an entire growing season. The harvests from each of the 10 plants were then collected and measured. This experiment gives an excellent estimate as to how much basil to expect from each plant. I encourage you to go and read about it from the source on this link.
The experiment concluded that basil plants yield about 13 ounces (368 grams) of leaves on average per season, although some larger varieties yielded upwards of twice as much. The highest-yielding variety from the experiment was Genoa Green, and the lowest-yielding variety was Purple Ruffles.
There are many basil varieties and how much your plants will yield is highly dependent on what variety they are. Some varieties can grow up to more than 3 feet (almost 1 meter) in height. Others reach less than 10 inches (25 centimeters) when they are fully matured. See some of the most interesting examples here.
Naturally, basil varieties that grow larger tend to produce bigger harvests than varieties that don’t get as large. However, the most important factor when it comes to basil yield is how you care for the plant and how frequently you prune it or harvest leaves from it. These factors are even more important than the variety when it comes to yield.
How you harvest is crucial when it comes to maximizing the yield from your basil plants. Incorrect harvesting can end up killing the plants and correct harvesting can result in more basil than you know what to do with, which is a lot nicer. You can read about how to end up in that wonderful situation on this link.
Below, I explain how much basil you need to grow per person and after that, I explain the best and easiest ways to prune and harvest basil plants to get the most out of them.
How Many Basil Plants Should You Grow Per Person?
With all this talk about basil yield, it is very relevant to ask the question, “how many basil plants should I grow to have enough for one person?“. I have already teased the answer to this question earlier in this post, and as mentioned, if you know what you are doing, you can get extremely far with very few plants.
A single basil plant can provide enough for one person for an entire season as long as it is cared for properly. This includes giving it at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and watering it frequently in small doses. Taking cuttings and growing them as new plants is also crucial for maximizing yield.
As I have mentioned earlier in this post, I prefer to grow basil plants in small clusters with 3-5 plants (similar to those that you see in the supermarket). If you grow a few plants at the same time, you will naturally reach a place where you can harvest all the basil you need while still letting the plant grow and produce faster than if you only grow one plant.
Read My Complete Guide to Growing and Caring for Basil
I have written a thorough guide where I cover all parts of growing your own basil including choosing a variety, sowing the seeds, the best growing conditions, pruning, propagation, harvesting, storing, solving various problems, and a lot more. You can find the article on this link.