How to grow holy basil?

Basil Seeds – Holy Basil Herb Seed

Herb Specifications

Season: Perennial

USDA Zones: 9 – 11

Height: 20 inches

Bloom Season: Mid summer to early fall

Bloom Color: Pink

Environment: Full sun

Soil Type: Well-drained, pH 6.1 – 7.3

Planting Directions

Temperature: 70F

Average Germ Time: 7 – 14 days

Light Required: Yes

Depth: 1/4 inch

Sowing Rate: 1 seed per inch

Moisture: Keep seeds moist until germination

Plant Spacing: Rows 18 inches a part; thin seedlings 6 inches

Green Holy Basil (Ocimum Sanctum – Holy Basil is a widely cultivated herb plant that can be grown from Basil seeds. It is a tender perennial, and in many areas is grown as an annual. Holy Basil is a bushy, aromatic herb that is native to Asia but now is grown in many warm climates world-wide. It has a pungent, peppery flavor and can be used as a culinary herb. There are two main types of Holy Basil: green-leaved and purple-leaved.

Holy Basil plants are extremely important in the Hindu religion. In the Hindu religion the herb plants, called Tulsi, are worshiped morning and evening. As a medicinal herb, Tulsi Holy Basil is used to fight fevers associated with malaria, dengue fever, colds and flu by making a tea from the leaves. The Holy Basil teas also soothe sore throats, coughs, and respiratory ailments. Holy Basil is considered to be an adaptogen and helps protect the body against stress.

How To Grow Holy Basil From Herb Seeds: Start the Holy Basil herb seeds indoors 6 – 8 weeks before the end of frost season. Use a good, sterilized seed starting mix. Keep the soil moist but not saturated until germination occurs. In warm climates, the Basil seeds can be directly started outdoors in prepared seedbeds. The Holy Basil plants benefit from regular fertilizer feeding. Start feeding once the first true leaves appear, and used a diluted liquid fertilizer, like fish emulsion, every other week.

Holy Basil: The Zen Herb

Species and Cultivars

As you begin to study and grow holy basil, you’ll realize that it isn’t actually just one plant but a constellation of plants with similar characteristics. To help make sense of the different types of tulsi, I contacted Noelle Fuller, a master’s candidate at the University of Georgia who has devoted the past few years to growing and studying the array of tulsi plants available. Most are types of Ocimum sanctum (synonym O. tenuiflorum) except for ‘Vana’ (O. gratissimum). All can be used interchangeably, though they can exhibit subtle differences.

‘Kapoor’ excels in temperate gardens with high yields and rapid growth. If your holy basil source doesn’t specify the cultivar, then it’s likely ‘Kapoor.’ In India, ‘Kapoor’ is weedy. It flowers profusely and is the most likely to self-seed. In spite of a lesser essential oil content than other cultivars, it has a bright flavor and potent aroma. The fact that you can get fresh and freshly dried ‘Kapoor’ makes it my favorite for personal and clinical use.

‘Krishna’ has purple stems and is the favored species in India for medicine, though it can take longer to grow and has lower yields. ‘Rama’ and ‘Amrita’ tend to be higher in essential oils, yet harder to germinate and grow. ‘Vana,’ a unique species that’s weedy in India, may be slower to grow, but it’s the most likely to survive as a tender perennial. ‘Vana’ is rich in clove-like eugenol essential oils.

“I don’t believe one cultivar is better than the others,” explains Fuller. “It depends on what you are doing, how the product is going to be used, and what you have available.” Her current favorite is a blend of ‘Kapoor’ and ‘Vana’ as tea. You can find a summary of Fuller’s tulsi research in this holy basil powerpoint presentation,which she assembled for the University of Georgia.

Tulsi Blends

Holy basil marries well with a variety of herbal flavors. It’s generally best with leaves, flowers, and other herbs that you steep. Simmering (decocting) tulsi will evaporate many of its benefits. If you want to blend it with roots (such as ashwagandha) that generally require an extended amount of simmering, then consider blending the herbs in a tincture or infusing them in a warm thermos, which will extract the properties from the roots without damaging the more fragile tulsi leaves. Feel free to experiment with the herbs you have on hand; holy basil does a nice job perking up the flavor of bland herbs.

• Tulsi and lemon balm (fresh or dry): Boosts relaxation, digestion, and cognition.
• Tulsi and rose (fresh or dry): Gladdens the heart; eases grief; relieves stress.
• Tulsi and green tea (dry): Boosts energy, mood, and cognition; decreases inflammation; curbs cravings; eases stress.
• Tulsi and elderberries (dry): Supports immune function; rich in antioxidants.
• Tulsi and peppermint or chocolate mint (fresh or dry): Boosts digestion, cognition, and mood.

How to Enjoy and Preserve Tulsi

While you could cook with holy basil, it’s much tastier as a tea and in various herbal preparations. It’s equally useful fresh or dry, but store-bought dried holy basil can be lackluster in quality and flavor. Opt for homegrown or recently harvested holy basil from herb farms that grow their own. Try a low dose first, then work your way up to find the best dose for you.

• Hot tea (fresh or dry): Steep 1 teaspoon dry herb (or 2 teaspoons fresh) in 1 cup of hot water for 5 minutes or longer. Holy basil can steep for minutes or hours without tasting bitter. Strain and drink 1 to 4 cups daily.


• Iced tea (fresh or dry): Either refrigerate a hot tea until cold or brew a double-strength hot tea (2 teaspoons dry herb or 4 teaspoons fresh herb per cup). Steep for at least 5 minutes, and then pour over ice. Strain and drink 1 to 4 refreshing cups daily.

• Infused water (fresh): Cover a few sprigs of fresh herb with cold or room-temperature water, and then let steep at least 5 minutes or up to 1 day. Strain and drink 1 to 4 cups daily.

• Herbal seltzer (fresh): Follow the infused water directions above using club soda or plain seltzer. After straining, sweeten with simple syrup, honey, or stevia to taste (if desired). Drink 1 to 4 cups daily.

• Tincture (best fresh): Tightly pack a glass jar with as much coarsely chopped, fresh holy basil leaves as you can. Cover completely with vodka or brandy that’s at least 80 proof. If the materials condense, top off the jar with more of the same alcohol a few days later. Strain the herbs after 1 month, squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Bottle, label, and store in a cool, dark spot for 5 to 10 years. Take 1 to 2 milliliters as needed, up to 6 times per day (1 mL is equivalent to 1 full squirt from a tincture bottle dropper).

• Oxymel (best fresh): Follow the instructions for making a tincture, but instead of alcohol, cover your herbs with a blend of honey and apple cider vinegar (1-to-2 or 1-to-1 depending on how sweet you want it). Cover with a plastic lid (vinegar eats metal) and strain after 2 to 4 weeks. Oxymels will keep for about 6 months and are best kept refrigerated. Take 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon as needed.

• Infused honey (best fresh): In a stockpot, cover 1/2 cup of loosely packed, chopped holy basil leaves with 2 cups of honey. Gently bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Remove from heat before it boils. Repeat this process 2 more times, then strain on the last heating. Infused honey should be shelf-stable for 6 to 12 months. Enjoy by the spoonful as desired.

• Glycerite (best fresh): Glycerites are similar to tinctures and are a good option for children or those wishing to avoid alcohol. Firmly fill a canning jar 3/4 of the way with chopped herb, and then cover with vegetable glycerin and distilled water (3-to-2), leaving about 1 inch of headspace. Screw on a canning lid, set the jar into a stock pot, cover with water, and simmer for 20 minutes. Let cool and then strain. Glycerites should be shelf-stable for at least 1 year. Take 2 to 4 mL as needed.

• Capsules (dry): Grind your dry herb into a powder. If desired, sift this through a very fine metal strainer to get an even finer powder. Using your hands or a capsule machine, fill empty capsules. Take 500 to 1,000 milligrams 1 to 3 times daily. (Size “0” capsules hold approximately 500 mg.)

• Hydrosol (best fresh): Harvest a basket full of fresh holy basil. In a large stock pot, cover the herb with a few inches of water. Place an empty, sturdy, heat-safe bowl in the middle (place it on a clean brick if needed to keep it from floating around). Cover with the lid upside down so the condensation can collect and drip back into the bowl. Simmer for a few hours, collecting the distilled water and essential oil in the bowl. Use 1 teaspoon in recipes or as a light aromatherapy spray.


When searching for holy basil, keep in mind its various common names (tulsi, holy basil, and sacred basil), along with its Latin names (Ocimum sanctum, O. tenuiflorum, and O. gratissimum). Some producers will specify the cultivar, but if they don’t, then you can assume it’s ‘Kapoor,’ the most widely available and easiest to grow.


Strictly Medicinal Seeds offers a nice selection of holy basil seeds.

The following companies carry unspecified cultivars that are most likely ‘Kapoor.’

• High Mowing Seeds
• Seeds of Change
• Johnny Seeds
• Fedco Seeds


Ask for seedlings at your local nurseries or garden centers, especially those that specialize in unique herbs. If they don’t sell holy basil already, ask whether they would consider growing and selling it. Be aware that the ‘Kapoor’ cultivar is usually the most productive in the garden, but that all holy basils can be finicky to grow from seed.

Fresh Holy Basil

• Pacific Botanicals
• Healing Spirits Herb Farm

Dry Holy Basil

• Zack Woods Herb Farm
• Bee Fields Farm
• Pacific Botanicals
• Healing Spirits Herb Farm
• Oregon’s Wild Harvest

Maria Noël Groves is a registered clinical herbalist whose home is nestled in the pine forests of New Hampshire. She’s the author of Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care. For herbal recipes, information about the book, long-distance consults, and online classes, visit Wintergreen Botanicals.

Ravensong Seeds & Herbals

Common Names
Holy Basil, Sacred Basil, Tulsi, Rama Tulsi

Botanical Name
Ocimum tenuiflorum (Syn Ocimum sanctum)

Plant Family

Life Cycle

Native Range
India, and other parts of Asia.

Hardiness Zone
Perennial in zones 10-11. Grown as an annual in zones 2-9 or overwintered indoors.

Grows to from 8″-1ft tall and wide. Tidy mounding habit.

Full sun, well-drained fertile soil.

The seeds germinate easily and quickly but require warmth, ideally a consistent temp around 20C. Bottom heat is helpful for speeding germination. The seeds can be started in flats in early spring (March-April), and potted up into fertile potting mix once they have gotten two sets of true leaves. The seedlings can be transplanted outside after all danger of frost has passed (May-June). If you get your plants in earlier enough you can harvest them twice before the end of the season.

Holy Basil likes a warm, sunny spot with fertile soil and regular water. It does especially well in the hot and humid environment of the greenhouse, and planting it under cover will extend your harvest season by several weeks. It can also be grown outside easily, just make sure to harvest your plants, or bring them inside, before the cool nights begin. The plants are not frost hardy.

Harvesting is done by cutting the foliage, in flower, down to two inches above the ground. The plants will regrow rapidly and flower again for a second harvest during the warm months of July or August. I love harvesting the leaves and flowers a handful at a time too, as needed for a yummy relaxing summer evening tea.

Culinary Uses
The leaves and flowers are edible and are sometimes used in place of the culinary species of basil to make pesto or flavour dishes. The flowers can be added to salads.

Medicinal Uses
Holy Basil is regarded as an ‘elixir of life’ in Ayurvedic Medicine. The herb is used to promote longevity, and is considered a sacred plant in India. It acts as an adaptogen to help balance the body and mind in times of stress. It is calming and strengthening to the nerves, acting as a trophorestorative to the nervous system.

Holy Basil contains many of the same properties that other aromatic Mint Family plants are known for. The volatile oils in the herb are calming to digestive spasms, and are carminative to relieve gas and bloating. Holy Basil can be taken as a diaphoretic and antimicrobial to help ease symptoms of colds, flu, and fever. It is decongesting to the nasal passages and helps clear excess mucus from the lungs.

Both the oil applied topically, and the tea or tincture taken internally can help ease menstrual cramps, and help with symptoms of PMS such as bloating, irritability and other mood changes. It has a warm, circulating energy and helps with warming extremities and relieving cold hands and feet, which are often experienced as premenstrual symptoms.

Attracts Pollinators, Deer Resistant, Apothecary Garden, Container Garden.

Holy basil

In Hinduism

The holy basil plant is revered in Hinduism as a manifestation of the goddess Lakshmi (Tulsi), the principal consort of the god Vishnu. The plant is especially sacred to Vaishnavites (devotees of Vishnu), and the Lord Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, is said to wear a garland of holy basil leaves and flowers around his neck. The plant is grown in many Hindu homes, often in the courtyard in a dedicated four-sided structure, and the presence of a holy basil plant is believed to increase piety, foster meditation, purify, and protect. Devotees commonly worship in the morning and evening with mantras and offerings of flowers, incense, or water from the Ganges, and Tuesdays and Fridays are considered especially sacred. Even the ritual act of watering and caring for the plant, usually undertaken by the women of the house, is considered worshipful and meritorious. Holy basil is cultivated at many temples, and the woody stems of plants that have died are used to make beads for sacred japa mala (rosaries). The beginning of the Hindu wedding season is marked by a festival known as Tulsi Vivah, in which homes and temples ceremonially wed holy basil to Vishnu. Water infused with the leaves is often given to the dying to help elevate their souls, and funeral pyres are commonly fitted with holy basil twigs with the hopes that the deceased may obtain moksha and be liberated from the cycle of rebirth.

  • tulsi devotionHindu woman worshipping a tulsi, or holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), at a temple.Sujay Govindaraj—iStock/Getty Images
  • tulsi worshipHindu woman carrying a tulsi plant, or holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), on her head to offer at the Vitthala Temple in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, India. © arun sambhu Mishra/.com

Thai Basil Vs. Holy Basil: SPICEography Showdown

Thai basil and holy basil are related to each other and both are fixtures in Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines. They are popular because each of them has certain distinctive qualities. To get the best from these two basil varieties, you will need to understand those distinctive qualities. We will examine what makes each of these herbs unique in this edition of SPICEography Showdown.

How do Thai basil and holy basil differ?

Thai basil is a different plant from holy basil. The Latin name for Thai basil is Ocimum basilicum; the Latin name for holy basil is Ocimum tenuiflorum. It is important to note this fact since some resources claim that they are the same plant. It is easier to make that mistake than you might think since holy basil is sometimes referred to as Thai holy basil.

The differences lie in several areas with the key area being flavor. Thai basil is known primarily for being sweet. It has a strong licorice and anise note that allows it to stand out in Thai curries and soups. The anise note is so strong and so sweet that you can eat Thai basil raw.

Holy basil brings another flavor profile to the table in that it is intensely spicy, so much so that it is sometimes referred to as hot basil. When consumed raw, holy basil has a slight numbing effect on the tongue that is similar to the effect of Szechuan pepper. The flavor is more like a combination of black pepper and clove than like the sweeter notes of Thai basil. It tends to get even spicier as it is cooked.

These two herbs also differ in how they look. Thai basil has distinctive purple stems and leaves. There are two varieties of holy basil: a white one and a red one. The leaves of both are hairy and more delicate than the leaves of Thai basil.

Can you use Thai basil in place of holy basil and vice versa?

Thai basil will work in place of holy basil as long as you remember how sweet it is. Thai basil will give you a strong aromatic note but none of the spiciness that comes from holy basil.

If you are trying to replicate a Thai dish that you have had in the West, the flavor that you want is probably Thai basil even if the dish is traditionally made with holy basil. The reason is that it is difficult to find holy basil outside of Asia, so most restaurants use the more readily available Thai basil in its place. You can use holy basil in place of Thai basil as well. You will have to adjust how much of it you use to compensate for its peppery flavor and you can sweeten it by adding a little sweet basil, which is also called Mediterranean basil.

When should you use Thai basil and when should you use holy basil?

Use Thai basil for a Western version of classic Thai dishes like drunken noodles and in both green and red curries. You should also use it in Taiwanese sanbeiji. It is the traditional accompaniment some Vietnamese dishes where the leaves are served as a table condiment. Use holy basil if you want a more authentic version of drunken noodles and red and green curries. Holy basil is the herb of choice for pad gaprao, the Thai pork stir-fried dish.

Richo’s Blog


How does one disambiguate a subject so complex? Holy Basil, a plant that is gentle and healing to body, mind and spirit should bring happiness, not confusion! The commonality of all types (species/cultivars) is that the leaves may be eaten fresh, used in cooking, or best yet picked, dried, and made into tea.

Taxonomy: Vana Tulsi (a tree basil) is Ocimum gratissimum. The tropical tulsis (Rama, Krishna, Amrita, etc.) are Ocimum tenuiflorum which is the same as Ocimum sanctum (2 different Latin names used interchangeably). The temperate tulsi (formerly called “Kapoor” tulsi which is a misnomer and commonly called “Holy Basil” which is inaccurate but lovely) is classification unknown. Could it be Ocimum kilimandscharicum? Probably not, it smells like tutti-frutti, not camphor. However, a google search (odorless) would lead one to believe so!

Common names: The tropical basils intergrade (hybridize) freely, will vary in name and appearance depending on location and gardener, and have been called by many common names: Krishna Tulsi, Shyam Tulsi, Rama Tulsi, Amrita Tulsi, etc.

Pharmacology: For the purpose of identification, the presence of Eugenol (oil of clove) seems to be the ruling factor. All the tulsi types contain eugenol and smell and taste of clove. Eugenol is an antiseptic and is often used in dentistry. The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) aspects of the herb have been attributed to the presence of Rosmarinic acid, which is present in varying concentration in all types of tulsi.

Comparative description of types of tulsi:

Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum) is a tree basil native to India and East Africa. The plant grows wild on roadsides and in waste places. The leaves are large and the plant can easily attain 5 feet tall, even when grown as an annual in the temperate north. Vana tulsi is relatively easy to overwinter indoors–they are very stable in a bright window, and once the soil warms outdoors, can be transplanted to the garden with good results. This type is often used as an ingredient in tulsi tea blends. There is a long history of misidentification–many products have used lemon basil and called it “vana” out of convenience. Here are the results of one of our analytical tests of Vana Tulsi: 8.89 Eugenol, 3.51 Rosmarinic Acid expressed as dried wt in mg/g.

Rama Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum = O. sanctum) is a tropical perennial that may be grown as an annual in temperate gardens. The color of the leaves is primarily green, while the color of the stems is primarily purple. This is the most common type grown in India. Here are the results of one of our analytical tests of Rama Tulsi: 5.60 Eugenol, 5.15 Rosmarinic Acid expressed as dried wt in mg/g.

Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum = O. sanctum) is a tropical perennial that may be grown as an annual in temperate gardens. The color of the leaves is green at first, but eventually develops to a mottled purple, while the color of the stems is primarily purple. This is a preferred type grown in India. Here are the results of one of our analytical tests of Krishna Tulsi: 4.90 Eugenol, 10.47 Rosmarinic Acid expressed as dried wt in mg/g.

Amrita Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum = O. sanctum) was originally obtained from Amritapuri in Southern India. It is a Rama Tulsi type, more vigorous than standard Rama. As with any tulsi cultivar obtained from any particular place, it has its own unique characteristics. We have found this type to overwinter very nicely in a heated greenhouse (50 degrees F minimum temp). The plants tend to be globe-shaped, bushy and almost red when mature and flowering. I have heard that in India the plants grow very tall and are not globe shaped. Environment will have its influence!

Temperate Tulsi (AKA: “Holy Basil,” Ocimum africanum) was introduced by the now-defunct Abundant Life Seed Foundation. The plant has been grown successfully as a quick summer annual and is well-loved by American gardeners. The aroma is tutti-frutti, the plant bolts fast to flower, it magnetizes bees and is the only basil I know of that readily self-seeds from seed dropped the year before. To make the most of the leaf, it works best to direct-seed the plant in the spring garden and harvest on an ongoing basis, cutting back just prior to flowering. The plants are globe-shaped and do not get very tall–a foot or two at best. Careful management of the timing of planting and harvest can result in a good deal of dried tea from a few plants. This is the tea that we grow and dry for our own personal use, and it has been shown to be a healthy drink for our family. Here are the results of one of our analytical tests of Temperate Tulsi: 0.74 Eugenol, 5.53 Rosmarinic Acid expressed as dried wt in mg/g.

Here’s a video to show the differences between the several types of tulsi. I hope nobody gets too hung up about the different types–a tulsi by any other name would smell as sweet!

What Is Holy Basil – Holy Basil Uses And Growing Conditions

Native to South and Southeast Asia, holy basil is an herb with important cultural and religious significance. In other parts of the world, this herb is most familiar as a common flavor in Thai food, but it is a sacred plant for Hindus. You can enjoy this fragrant, tasty, and medicinal herb right in your own garden.

What is Holy Basil?

Holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), is closely related to the sweet basil used in kitchens around the world. It is a short-lived, woody, herbal perennial that grows best in tropical and subtropical climates. It grows well in containers for gardens too, and homes in colder regions.

In India, holy basil is traditionally grown in containers in and around temples for the purpose of cleansing visitors. Holy basil plants are also important in Ayurvedic medicine and have been used for thousands of years.

Holy Basil Uses

In addition to its religious uses and significance, holy basil is used in cooking and medicine. It is more often used as a culinary herb in Southeast Asian countries, especially Thailand. You can use it in any way that you would use sweet basil: in sauces, salads, stir fries, chicken dishes, pastas, and more. Holy basil’s flavor is spicier than that of sweet basil.

Holy basil herbs have long been used medicinally as well. There is some evidence that it is effective in treating and relieving certain symptoms. Holy basil is used for nausea and other stomach ailments, to reduce inflammation, to promote relaxation and alleviate stress, and to relieve headaches, toothaches, ear aches, joint pain, cold and flu symptoms, and fevers.

How to Grow Holy Basil

You can grow holy basil much as you would other herbs, but it does need warm temperatures. Grow it outdoors in the summer, year-round if you are in a tropical or subtropical climate, or keep it in containers that you can move inside in winter.

Use a light, well-draining soil that is enriched with organic material, although holy basil will tolerate poor soil fairly well. Your plant will also tolerate some shade, so full sun is not necessary.

Keep it watered but not soggy and harvest leaves as needed, just as you would with an ordinary sweet basil plant.

Growing Tulsi in Pots.

A step by step guide for growing Tulsi in pots at home

Hi, guys today we will discuss growing Tulsi in pots in your home garden. Tulsi is also called Holy Basil. This plant is mostly used as a medicinal herb for the treatment of many numbers of ailments starting from headaches to cancer. This plant can be grown in a simple way either from seed or by rooting in water. It is a very simple plant to maintain too. You can keep the Tulsi plant in pots and place it in the indoor locations or you can even plant it in the outdoor locations like your garden.

Tulsi is also called as Vrinda and is considered to be a sacred plant by Hindus. Most of the Hindus have Tulsi plant in their houses mainly in special pits which are called as Tulsi Vrindavan. Hence this plant is used for both medicinal and cultural purposes. Now, let us get into the details of Tulsi growing in pots or how to grow Tulsi in posts at home in India.

Varieties of Tulsi:

You can start these varieties for growing Tulsi in pots.

Though there are 18 varieties of Tulsi (holy basil) across the world, the main types of Tulsi in India are:

  • Krishna Tulsi
  • Drudriha Tulsi
  • Ram Tulsi
  • Babi Tulsi
  • Tukashmiya

Growing Tulsi from seeds:

  • A flower pot has to be filled with soil which has high quality and makes sure that you are watering it in a thorough manner. Also, ensure that you are leaving a space of an inch at the pot’s top layer. Also, add a sufficient amount of water to moisten the soil, but make sure that you are not adding so much amount of water as you do not want your soil to be soggy.
  • Though you are planning to grow your Tulsi in an outdoor location, it is always better to start the growth of Tulsi in the indoor locations before you transfer it to an outdoor location. You can get Tulsi seeds from any of your neighbors if possible or you can also buy them in garden stores.
  • The seeds have to be sown at a depth of ¼ inch below the soil. As the seeds of Tulsi will be tiny, you can sprinkle the seeds on the top layer of the soil in a simpler manner, then press them down in a gentle manner into the soil surface by making use of your fingers or you can even slightly tamper them.
  • The soil has to be kept moist until germination of seeds takes place. The seeds will start to grow in about 7 to 15 days. As the seeds of Tulsi will be delicate and sensitive, you can try to make use of a spray bottle to mist the soil surface in a light manner. If you pour water into the pot, make sure that you are doing it slowly and also in a careful manner so that you will not disturb any of the seeds.
  • You can also prefer to cover the top layer of the pot by making use of a plastic wrap as doing so will help in sealing the moisture inside, but make sure that you are monitoring the soil on a regular basis and keep adding more amount of water whenever required.
  • The Tulsi plant has to be placed close to a window which is warm and sunny. Your Tulsi plant will require almost 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the day and the temperature should be at a minimum of 21°C, The pot has to be set up in a spot where it would be able to receive a large quantity of sunlight.
  • Also, be very careful that you are not leaving the plant close to any window or door which is open if the temperature is decreasing during night time.

Rooting Tulsi plant in water:

How to Grow Tulsi in Pots.

You may check How to Grow Henna at Home.

  • Cut a stem which is having a length of 4 to 6 inch from a Tulsi plant which is matured. The stem has to be taken right from the set of leaves. All the other leaves have to be plucked from the lower section of your cutting. You will have to leave a stem of 2 inches fully bare.
  • When you are cutting the stem, make sure that you are selecting one which has not yet flowering. You can take a cutting from a stem which flowers, but it will be very difficult for rooting and make it much more difficult for the plant.
  • The cut end has to be dipped into a rooting hormone for speeding up the process. Rooting hormones can be bought at gardening stores or nurseries present in your locality.
  • The Tulsi cutting has to be planted in a glass container which is completely filled with water. Make sure that you are using a drinking glass which is clear and fill it with sufficient water for covering just the bottom half of the stems. You can also keep more than one stem in the container, but you will have to make sure that it is not getting overcrowded.
  • The water has to be changed on a daily basis so that the stems will not rot from bacteria overgrowth.
  • Your Tulsi plant has to be kept in a spot which is warm and sunny. Select a table or windowsill which will let the plant to get sunlight for at least 6 to 8 hours of indirect and bright sunlight.
  • The cuttings have to be transferred into a pot of soil when the roots start growing. Your Tulsi cuttings will be ready for transfer into the soil when the roots reached the length of ¼ to a ½ inch. It will take up to one week to ten days for reaching this point.
  • If you are having multiple cuttings in the container, separate them in a gentle manner for avoiding the breakage of the roots which are delicate.
  • Your Tulsi has to be placed in the potting soil for about 15 to 21 days before you are planting in the outdoor locations of you wish to.

How to care and maintain Tulsi plants:

Tulsi Plant Care.

  • Your Tulsi plant has to be watered when the soil’s top layer will become dry. You will have to check your plant for a minimum of two times in a week to check if it has to be watered. If the soil’s top is dry, you will have to water it.
  • The number of times you have to water the Tulsi plant will change based on the climatic conditions and temperature.
  • The Tulsi plant has to be fertilized at least one time in a month. You can make use of liquid fertilizer or an organic compost like manure for the maintenance of nutrients in the soil. An application of cow manure once a month will help your plant to survive.
  • The tops of Tulsi have to be pruned on a weekly basis for the encouragement of its growth. Once your Tulsi plant will have three sets of leaves on a single stem, one set of leaves on the top of the stem and the remaining two sets of leaves on the sides of the stem, you can start pruning. The top set of Tulsi leaves have to be removed, these will be located just above the other two leaves sets.

You may be interested in How to Grow Garden Sorrel at Home.

Pruning of your Tulsi plant

  • Will help it to grow quickly and give rise to branches which are full.
  • Your Tulsi can be transplanted once it has outgrown its pot. As soon as you notice the roots to grow out of the drainage holes which are present at the bottom of the pot, it is the best time for transferring the plant to a pot which is larger. Based on the size of the pot in which you started the Tulsi plant, you may be required to do this at least two times.
  • Always remember that the Tulsi plant will be growing up to a length of 3 feet, so make sure that you are planning for this when you are transferring wither into a pot which is larger or to the outdoor locations.
  • You will sometimes see Tulsi leaves falling off and start turning yellow in color. This is an indication of deficiency of nutrients
  • You can also transfer Tulsi to the outdoor locations in a secure way about 6 to 8 weeks after the plantation is done. Always make sure that there is no risk of frost present and also the temperatures are at a minimum of 21°C.

Facts about growing Tulsi plants:

  • Tulsi plant is the one which is considered to be auspicious in human’s life and most of the Indians have this plant in their houses. The months of April to June are considered to be the best for growing Tulsi plants.
  • Tulsi seeds will take one week to two weeks to undergo the process of germination and start emerging from the soil. After the completion of the germination process, you will have to wait for the first set of Tulsi leaves after 15 to 20 days. Then, after that, the Tulsi plants will be reaching a length of at least 6 inches and that would be the best time to plant them in the outdoor locations.
  • It is always important to keep the tips of Vastu in your mind when you are placing the Tulsi plant in your house. The best place to keep your Tulsi plant is on the East side. If you are unable to place it in the East, then you can opt to place it in a window or balcony which is in the North-East or even North can be preferred. Make sure that there is the availability of sufficient sunlight.
  • The spots which are dark and water-soaked which you see on your Tulsi plant are an indication of a bacterial leaf spot infection which is caused by the bacteria called Pseudomonas cichorii. These symptoms may gradually lead to rotting of the wet stem. The bacteria which will lead to the bacterial leaf spot is the one which is born from the seeds of Tulsi, but there are also chances that it may be caused by splashing water.
  • Tulsi plant has a life span of 3 years to the maximum when taken proper care with a good amount of watering and by not allowing it to wilt.
  • Usually, Tulsi seeds take 2 weeks to germinate and started growing.
  • The bacterial leaf spot infection will cause the Tulsi (Holy basil) leaves to turn black or cause the Tulsi plant to have black spot.
  • Tulsi plant is a tropical plant and you can grow it anytime in tropics.
  • Tulsi plants can be grown on the terrace, backyard, balcony and indoors.
  • The commercial cultivation of Tulsi in India is rapidly increasing as the Tulsi essential oil has excellent health benefits.
  • If the leaves of Tulsi are falling off, it may be due to overwatering or less water supply. It may also be the reason of Tulsi pests and disease other than nutrient deficiencies.
  • You can save Tulsi plant from dying by checking the soil moister, nutrients and analyzing any plant pests and diseases. Overwatering may cause the Tulsi plants to die.
  • Tulsi plants can be grown from cuttings and seeds.

That’s all folks about the techniques of growing Tulsi in pots at home.

The bottom line of growing Tulsi in Pots:

Well, it is auspicious when grown at home and profitable with commercial cultivation.

You may be interested in Dragon Fruit Farming Profit.

Learn how to grow tulsi plant, its care and growing requirements are simple and easy.

Tulsi or holy basil is an incredible herb revered in Indian mythology in Hinduism for its medicinal and spiritual characteristics.

Tulsi, a medicinal herb is native to India, its spicy and refreshing fragrance and tiny colorful flowers makes this a useful houseplant. Tulsi grows as a perennial plant in areas with mild winter and as an annual in cold and temperate climates.

USDA Zones — 10-11, can be grown in the cooler zones as annual

Difficulty — Easy

Other Names — Ajaka, Albahaca Santa, Bai Gkaprow, Baranda, Basilic Indien, Basilic Sacré, Basilic Sacré Pourpre, Basilic Saint, Brinda, Green Holy Basil, Hot Basil, Indian Basil, Kala Tulsi, Kemangen, Krishna Tulasi, Tulsa, Manjari, Ocimum sanctum, Ocimum tenuiflorum, Parnasa, Patrapuspha, Red Holy Basil, Sacred Basil, Sacred Purple Basil, Shyama Tulsi, Sri Tulasi, Suvasa Tulasi and Tulsi Patra.


There are more than 100 different varieties but the most known and used are three:

Rama Tulsi or Bright tulsi is a broader leaf variety and can be found in parts of China, Nepal, India and southern South America. It is used to promote healthy digestion and has a milder flavor than other tulsis but more stronger scent when the leaves are crushed.

Krishna Tulsi or purple leaf Tulsi grows in many parts of India, but this dark purple variety is harder to find than the greener. It is especially useful for curing respiratory infections, ear infections and skin problems. It grows slower than other varieties, which may contribute to its spicy, pungent flavor and odor. Purple leaf basil is also less bitter and astringent than other tulsis.

Vana Tulsi Tulsi or Wild forest holy basil is the most difficult variety to find, it grows around the foothills of the Himalayas. It is the tastiest and beneficial in all the tulsis. It has light green upper leaves and dark green lower leaves.

Propagation and Planting

Sow seeds outdoors in late spring or early summer, when the temperature range around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). For an earlier start in spring, sow the seeds indoors in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill.

Place the tulsi seeds on top of the soil and tamp them for good soil to seed contact, cover the seeds with 1/4 inch layer of compost or soil. Water the seeds with sprayer and place them where they receive part morning sun. Keep the soil constantly moist until the germination, which will take around 1-2 weeks.

When the seedlings have grown two or three sets of true leaves carefully transplant them in individual containers or outdoors, taking care not to disturb the roots.

*As tulsi is a tropical plant you can grow it anytime in tropics.

Requirements for Growing Tulsi

Requirements of growing tulsi is similar to common basil


Tulsi grows well in loamy and fertile soil with good drainage, pH level around 6 to 7.5 is optimal.


Holy basil thrives in full sun but grows in partial shade too, at least four hours of sunlight a day is required.


Water the plant when top one inch of soil is dry. Do not water during rain. Reduce watering by the winter to prevent diseases.

It is important to pinch tops of Tulasi plant when they are forming four or six pairs of leaves, this will make the plant grow bushier. Even the flower buds need to be removed when they appear. It grows more lush and full when seed production is prevented.

It is also important to remove the faded, wilted or discolored leaves to encourage the growth of new foliage. Regular removal of old leaves and flower buds keep the plant healthy.


Apply balanced liquid fertilizer once in every couple of weeks. Replacing top two inch layer of soil with compost every year or in six months is also beneficial.


Prune Tulsi as needed throughout the year to control its size and promote bushier and more compact growth. Remove no more than half of the growth of stem while pruning.


Move Tulsi plant indoors in the winter if you live below USDA zone 10, place the plant near a bright sunny window, where the temperature is kept above 50 F (10 C). Move the plant again outside after all the dangers of frost are passed.

Pests and Diseases

It is generally pests and diseases free. However, when grown in poor conditions it might be attacked by some common pests like mealy bugs, aphids, spider mites and sometimes whiteflies. For treating pests use organic pesticide or insecticidal soap.

Also read: How to make insecticidal soap

How to Harvest Tulsi

Reap the aromatic leaves of your Tulsi plant throughout the growing season. Once your plant reaches 12 inches in height, take a pair of scissors and depending on your needs, cut large single leaf or cut whole branch.

Use fresh leaves on the same day you harvest because they fade quickly.

Store your Tulsi harvest for future use by drying out the leaves. Collect branches in a basket and place them on a dry place away from sunlight and toss the stem 2-3 times every day until leaves becomes crispy and collapses when you crush.

Tulsi (Holy basil) Benefits

Tulsi has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, immune-stimulating and adaptogenic (stress removal) properties. It supports body’s natural defenses against germs, stress and disorders of various kinds.

An unexpected response, growing holy basil plants

Here is a confession: I haven’t always been an herb grower. Sure, I grew herbs along with everything else. Proven Winner Annuals, perennials, succulents, foliage plants, bulbs … you name it, I grew it. We had a garden center in Richmond, VA and my customer base was my guide. Whatever they wanted, I grew. Or, was it the other way around? Whatever I grew, they wanted? We had a very good relationship, my customers and I. It was truly an EXCHANGE.

But, in 2005, when I decided to close the store, my intention was to take EVERYTHING online. I would keep growing as I had been since 1985. Guess what? Everyone else had the same idea. There were plenty of folks growing and selling perennials online. I just had to get in line. It didn’t take me long, with the help of Google, to realize that what folks REALLY wanted was a quality herb grower. I had grown herbs all along, and actually loved growing them. But, here was my chance. I could begin growing MORE than the ‘usual suspects’; I was a kid in a candy shop. Send me the seeds, and I will grow them.

So, the unintended consequence? Enter some of the ‘unusual suspects’ with a BIG following. Among the most important?

Holy Basil

This was one of those eye opening experiences ~ I began growing two types, Holy Red and Holy Green. I was getting seeds from a variety of vendors, but that was my first mistake. What was I really growing? Among my first customer was a wonderful grower from Texas. She was Hindu, and she educated me right away: ‘this is not Holy Basil’! Well, it said so on the seed package. My education began.

Getting it right: What we needed was to grow the true ‘Holy Basil’ or Tulsi Basil. Ocimum sanctum is a member of the Labiateae family, and the seeds were not easy to come by, nor was this an easy plant to grow. Hard to germinate and slow to grow. After some extensive research, we found a reliable source for reliable seeds. Still a germination challenge, but once it is ‘up’ it is an easy plant to grow and we grow A LOT of it.

We have learned a lot about this plant, and most of our knowledge has come from our customers. This plant is very important to Hindus, having been described as DEVI (goddess) in Hindu scriptures. In day to day life, Hindus consider it one of the most sacred plants and every year, there are many religious occasions connected with holy basil.

Thanks to our first Holy Basil customer, we were able to become the top supplier of the RIGHT herb (just as Google Analytics!) and it is among our ‘top ten’ each year. It has been interesting to follow the demand over the years, and even notice the relationships between buyers. A friend tells a friend, and all of a sudden, we are shipping a lot of that plant to a particular zip code in a particular state.

In addition to religious importance, Tulsi is considered a medicinal herb used to remedy many common disorders. The extract is used for stomach issues, headaches, and even heart problems. Here is where I need to interject my ‘but phrase’: before using any herb for medical issues, please consult your physician! There, I said it. Oh, and the juice of the plant has been used to remedy the common earache.

Our relationship with ‘Holy Basil’ is an example of why I love what I do ~ prior to 2005, I didn’t know anything about ‘Holy Basil’. Fast forward 10 years and I’ve become among the top grower of this very important and useful herb. Way to go, Web!

More Information If You Are Interested: we love to know more than we need to know. Here is a summary of an article written for Rare Seeds by Dr. C. Parmar. According to Aryan myth, there was a woman devotee of Lord Vishnu. Her name was Tulsi, and she desired Vishnu to become her husband. She prayed … Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, became jealous and used her power to change the woman into a plant. Vishnu was impressed by the devotion of Tulsi, and assumed the form of Ammonite stone and pledged to be her consort forever. The plant and stone are married every year, and this celebration is joyously celebrated in Hindu homes usually in the month of November.

How To Grow Holy Basil

Planting Holy Basil

When warm temperatures arrive, plant holy basil outside in a prepared bed or container.

Grow Tulsi in a full sun area, where it gets at least six hours of sun each day and preferably eight to ten hours. Prepare the in-ground garden spot several inches deep, about a foot down, laying a good foundation for the roots of your holy basil. Mix in finished compost to enrich the soil and add drainage.

Plant the tiny seeds about ¼ inch deep in a row and cover lightly with prepared soil. Moisten soil thoroughly, but not to the point of being soggy.

You’ll want to keep the seeds moist until they sprout and afterward, but ground that is too wet can cause seeds to rot or seedlings to damp off. Thin seedlings, leaving about 18 inches between plants. Replant those you’ve removed into a different location if desired. Tulsi sprouts are too valuable to throw away.

Pruning Holy Basil

When the third set of leaves appears on the plant, you’re likely seeing true leaves and can water lightly once or twice a day, depending on the heat. When plants are around six weeks old, cut back the main stem and all but two sets of leaves on each remaining branch.

Pruning trains the holy basil plant to develop side branches, resulting in a fuller and healthier plant, one you’ll be happy to move inside later on.

Use succession planting to keep freshly grown plants coming up, every two weeks or so. Continued planting is important to make the most of a short growing season.

Those with short growing seasons may also wish to start Tulsi seeds indoors so you’ll be ready to plant seedlings when warm weather arrives.

Harvest Regularly

Harvest the top leaves regularly as this encourages the plant to grow and produce more leaves. This herb can be dried or used fresh for teas and tinctures. Use twice as much of fresh leaves as those that are dried.

Always remove flower buds quickly. If the plant is allowed to flower, Tulsi leaves become bitter and can’t be used.

In late summer or autumn, before the time for frost, transplant your best holy basil plants into containers that can move indoors. If you’re planning an indoor herb container for winter, add a couple of the best, younger Holy Basil plants.

Young plants will likely have the best indoor growth potential. Tulsi is compatible with most perennial herbs, just don’t include fennel in the same container.

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