Tulsi or Indian Holy Basil is an Ayurvedic herb native to India, and it's considered a foundational herb. Tulsi is also popularly known as the Queen of Herbs and Elixir of Life. This easy to grow herb is often combined with other adaptogenic herbs and helps the body withstand many forms of stress.
Tulsi is in the mint family, and the plants produce a sweet aroma and stalks of edible flowers that will have the same flavor as the leaves.
This Queen of Herbs is loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and also has several medicinal uses. There are mainly five varieties of Tulsi, including Amrita, Rama, Krishna, Vana, and Kapoor, and grow well in warm, arid climates. In contrast, others grow best in both warm and cool climate zones of Australia.
Learn about the many benefits of growing holy basil and how to overcome climate challenges so you can be successful in growing Tulsi in your home garden.
Holy Basil grows equally well indoors or outdoors and will provide you with fresh herbal goodness, mostly year-round under the right growing conditions. Outdoors the herb plant will be annual and will behave more like a perennial indoors.
Plants need a sunny location but will also tolerate some shade, so a place that is in full sun is not necessary.
Depending on the selected strain, Holy Basil may need to be supplemented with grow lights to provide enough warmth for Tulsi seeds to germinate and plants to thrive.
Fill a seed tray with good quality potting soil, dampen soil thoroughly and sprinkle seeds all over the top of the damp potting soil. Barely sprinkle dry potting soil on top, press firmly, and place the seed tray in a warm indoor location away from direct sunlight. Tulsi seeds are light-dependent germinator and, as such, to be sown on the top of the soil surface. Burying them deep in soil may result in germination failure.
Mist the soil every day with water to keep the soil moist. Do not allow the soil to dry out between watering, being cautious not to over-water. You may like to use a bottle sprayer to water the seed tray.
To retain soil moisture and increase humidity, cover the seed tray with cling wrap. It will help prevent the soil from drying out and speed up the germination process. Remove the cling wrap as soon as the green sprouts appear to prevent the fungus from developing.
Light and Water
After the seeds germinate, keep young Tulsi plants tray in a warm, bright location away from drafts. Mist the plants daily with water until they have developed two sets of leaves on either side of the stems.
Transplant each Tulsi plant into a larger pot or outdoors into the herb garden after the seedling has developed two sets of leaves. Don't rush transplanting as Tulsi does not enjoy cold weather and will not thrive outdoors until soil and air temperatures rise above 18 degrees C.
For indoor plants, place one seedling into a 15-20cm inch container filled with potting soil and place in a sunny, indoor location. Grow lights can be used to increase light and warmth in cool climates, or the seed tray should be placed on top of a heating pad to increase soil warmth.
Water daily and turn container once a week so the plant's light exposure will be even for all sides of the plant.
If the Tulsi plants will be planted outdoors, place seedlings in temporary bio-degradable containers until they are large enough to go out. When plants are 10-15cm tall, set temporary containers outdoors in a sheltered location during the daytime to allow them to harden off before transplanting into the outdoor soil. It needs to be done for two weeks before outdoor planting, bringing the Tulsi plants back indoors at night to enable it to get acclimated to outdoor climatic conditions. Transplant into prepared garden soil in a sunny location after all danger of frost has passed in the spring.
The Tulsi plant leaves have been used in Ayurvedic treatments for 1,000's years. This herb's leaves have a strong aroma and a flavor that can range from peppery to astringent. Holy Basil leaves are often combined with black, green, or white tea leaves or in an herbal blend with other health-promoting ingredients such as turmeric and ginger to create a health-benefiting beverage.
Tulsi herbal tea has been used for many centuries in natural and holistic medical practices and has recently been recognised by scientists of modern medicine for having anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Popular Tulsi Varieties
Amrita Tulsi is a colorful and fragrant holy basil plant that thrives outdoors in the summer and can be overwintered indoors. Amrita tea is often used to treat anxiety. This variety of Tulsi has proven to be highly leaf productive. This seed came from AMMA's ashram in India (Amritapuri).
Rama Tulsi is sometimes called Green Leaf Tulsi, and it produces purple flowers and has a clove-like aroma. Rama Tulsi's tea is often used to treat respiratory ailments like asthma, colds, bronchitis, and sinusitis.
Krishna Tulsi grows best in warm tropical climates but can be grown indoors in cooler climates. The stem color is purple, and the leaves are green, giving this herb plant a striking appearance. Krishna Tulsi tea is often used to soothe arthritis symptoms.
Vana Tulsi is native to Africa and develops into a small perennial bush. The plant grows large and, as such, needs to be planted in a large container and kept outdoors during the summer and over-wintered indoors in cooler climates. Vana Tulsi tea provides benefits such as increased physical and mental endurance, increased oxygen, and nutrients in the bloodstream, plus it gives the immune system a boost.
Kapoor Tulsi is frost resistant, and as such, tolerate the cool climates of Australia. The herb plant is fast-growing and has a bubble-gum like aroma. Its tea is consumed for its cardiovascular protection, analgesic, anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, anti-fungal, anti-allergic, and anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties.
DISCLAIMER: All information provided on this listing is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before commencing any treatment.