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Garden Tip for Fuller & Bushier Plants

selective focus photography of green basil leaf garden hacks

Think you don’t have a green thumb? Think again! This simple garden tip for fuller & bushier plants will transform your garden and really impress those neighbors. Welcome to the Home Adventures gardening blog.

selective focus photography of green basil leaf

Axillary Plants

Take a look at some of your herbs, flowers, and vegetable plants. If they have a tiny leaf or stem growing between the main stem and a leaf attached to the main stem, then you have an axillary plant. Axillary literally means armpit! Taking advantage of this type of plant can really improve the shape of said plant.

Axillary leaves on an herb

What Kinds of Plants are Axillary?

There are a whole host of plants that have this stem structure! Here is a list of some common ones:


  • Bee Balm
  • Roses
  • Lilies
  • Hibiscus
  • Snapdragons
  • Tulips
  • Daisies
  • Marigolds
  • Zinnias
  • Peonies
  • Carnations
  • Hydrangeas
  • Lavender
  • Sunflowers
  • Lilacs


  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplants
  • Squash


  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries


  • Basil
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro (Coriander)

The Ultimate Garden Hack

Developing plants that are fuller, bushier, offer more blooms, and bigger fruit is as simple as looking for the point where you have an axillary point. This is the easiest garden tip I like to look for this early in the season and periodically check back for more opportunities to prune throughout the growing season.

Garden Tip for a Larger Plant:

Growing a fuller plant with either more leaves or flowers involves snipping the main stem at an axillary point, in order to encourage the secondary stems to grow. As you can see in the photos below, by snipping the main stemp (center), you encourage two new stems to grow (left and right photos). For herbs, especially basil, it’s also an easy way to prevent it from bolting (flowering), thus prolonging the plant’s life and use.

garden tip
Bee Balm Pruning Result
Simply Snip the Main Stem
Herb Pruning Result

Garden Tip for Larger Fruit/Vegetables:

If you are more interested in larger fruits or vegetables, pruning the axillary stems will help the plan to concentrate more energy into the fruit instead of into growing more stems. You may hear gardeners call the axillary offshoots of a tomato plant “suckers”.

In the dog-days of summer, these suckers can run wild if you aren’t checking every day. Even then, there might be some that escape your inspection and can start to grow quite large. With tomatoes, you can pick the sucker off and plant it in the ground to start a whole new plant.

Enjoy the fruit of your labor with minimal effort!