Tulsi

Tulsi , holy basil
Tulsi, Holy Basil

Tulsi, a medicinal herb is native to India, its spicy and refreshing fragrance and tiny colorful flowers makes this a useful houseplant. Grows as a perennial plant in areas with mild winter and as an annual in cold and temperate climates. Let us now discuss how to take care of Tulsi.

Table of contents;

  1. Introduction,
  2. Tulsi care,
  3. Best fertilizers to use for Tulsi,
    1. Maintenance Fertilizers
    2. Fertilizers to be mixed with Soil during plantation
    3. Annual application fertilizers
  4. Interesting facts
  5. Further reading.

Introduction

Tulsi
Tulsi Plant in pot

Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), also known as holy basil, is a species of basil used in Hindu religious ceremonies. The plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, have furry gray-green leaves and bloom in the summer, producing spikes of small pink flowers. These plants are highly frost-sensitive. They can be grown outdoors as annuals in warm Mediterranean climates, similar to other types of basil, but you can also grow it from seed indoors.

Tulsi Care

Tulsi plant with flowers
Tulsi Flowers called “Manjari”

Following are the quick tips by which you can take care of your Tulsi;

  1. Tulsi grows well in loamy and fertile soil with good drainage, pH level around 6 to 7.5 is optimal.
  2. Water the plant regularly, but only when the top 1 inch of the soil is dry. Tulsi needs water but does not appreciate soggy conditions.
  3. Plant should be placed where you get proper sunlight.
  4. Fertilize Tulsi every month without fail, it is a heavy feeder. Try to use Organic fertilizer on regular basis.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 white flies. For treating pests use organic pesticide or insecticidal soap.
  8. We should also be careful about the plants which need to be placed around it. It is considered to be a female plant and hence, only flowering plants can be kept close to the tree. Cactus and thorny plants should not be kept next to it strictly.
  9. Replacing top two inch layer of soil with compost every year or in six months is also beneficial.

Fertilizers

Maintenance Fertilizers

Maintenance fertilizers are ones that are used regular on monthly basis

  1. All Purpose 2-1-1 2-1-1
  2. All Purpose 4-2-2 all purpose 4-2-2
  3. Bud Classic BUD

While preparing potting mix

Fertilizer to use when preparing soil for planting

  1. All Purpose 3-3-3 All purpose 3-3-3 fertilizer
  2. Cow Dung blend 3-2-1 cow dung

Annual Fertilizer

For replacing top two inches of soil on bi-annually or yearly basis

  1. Compound Blend 1-1-1 compound blend

Interesting Facts about Tulsi

  1. Is an insect repellent
  2. Is beneficial medicine in Kapha and Vata .
  3. Laboratory studies have shown that it protects against toxic chemical-induced injury. By increasing the body’s levels of anti-oxidant molecules such as glutathione. Also enhances the activity of anti-oxidant enzymes such as superoxide dismutase and catalase. These enzymes protect cellular organelles and membranes by mopping up damaging free radicals caused by lack of oxygen and other toxic agents.
  4. Also helps to prevent cancers caused by toxic compounds by reducing DNA damage. Also known to induce apoptosis in precancerous and cancerous cells, thereby reducing the growth of experimental tumors and enhancing survival.
  5. Studies attest to its ability to prevent liver, kidney and brain injury by protecting against the genetic, immune and cellular damage caused by pesticides, pharmaceuticals and industrial chemicals.
  6. Has also been shown to protect against the toxic effects of many pharmaceuticals’ drugs. Which include acetaminophen, meloxicam, paracetamol, haloperidol and anti-tubercular drugs.
  7. Has also been shown to protect against the toxic effects of heavy metals. Heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury and the toxic effects of radiation.
  8. It exerts its radio-protective effects by scavenging free radicals, and reducing the oxidative cellular and chromosomal damage induced by radiation. as a result reduces organ damage and enhancing post radiation survival in experimental animals.

Further Reading on Tulsi

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4296439/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocimum_tenuiflorum
  3. https://homeguides.sfgate.com/grow-tulsi-plant-39922.html
  4. https://rgyan.com/blogs/things-to-take-care-while-planting-a-tulsi-at-home/
  5. https://balconygardenweb.com/how-to-grow-tulsi-plant-care-and-growing-holy-basil/