There are multiple reasons to grow tulsi as a beginner. First of all, tulsi plants are easy to grow, as well as hard to kill. Moreover, the amount of time it takes prepares you for the slow nature of gardening overall. Lastly, there are so many ways of growing tulsi that it will give you a sandwich course on farming.
Before getting right at it, you should know some basics. Let’s get started.
What is Tulsi?
Tulsi (Indian basil or the holy basil) holds the tag of the Queen of Herbs. It is an aromatic perennial plant coming from the species of Lamiaceae. It is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, spread all across the Southeast Asian tropics as a cultivated plant.
What does it taste like?
Tulsi plants impart a characteristic aroma and an astringent, sometimes sharp sweetish flavor. Some species of tulsi may also possess a clove-like redolence and spiced flavor. On the contrary, others may produce a clean, lemony fragrance and flavor.
Types of Tulsi
Though there are too many subspecies of the plant, we know as basil, holy basil AKA tulsi, has four different types.
- Rama (Green Leaf) Tulsi Ocimum sanctum / Sri or Lakshmi Tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorum.
- Krishna (Purple Leaf) Tulsi, Shyama Tulsi
- Vana (Wild Leaf) Tulsi
- Kapoor Tulsi (Heavy Flowered)
Rama Tulsi / Lakshmi Tulsi
Rama Tulsi is also known as Sri Tulasi. And it has medicinal properties and a refreshing taste. Moreover, it provides a slight tinge of sweetness to your taste buds, with a natural aroma. As the name suggests, these leaves are essential holy objects in the Hindu religion.
Named after the bluish skin complexion of Krishna, this type of tulsi plants flaunt purple colored body and leaf. Besides, the leaves are crunchy in texture. Coming to the usefulness of this variant, these leaves aids the medicinal purposes in curing throat infections, respiratory system, nasal lesions, earache, and skin diseases.
Vana Tulsi earned its name due to its bushier growing nature. As a result, we also term it by Wild Tulsi. This type of tulsi usually cultivates around the Himalayas and has a heavy fragrance, helping in heightening immunity. Apart from that, it further supports the development of mental as well as physical endurance. Furthermore, this variant of Tulsi also has anti-aging attributes.
Kapoor Tulsi incorporates profound medicinal properties. Also, it leaves a sweet fragrance, keeping insects and mosquitoes away. Tulsi Kapoor also accommodates vitamin C and A, calcium, zinc, and iron. Consequently, it improves digestion, absorption of nutrients from food, and other herbs.
Now with all basics covered, it is time to move on to the growing process.
How to Grow Tulsi from Seeds?
1. What you need:
- A pot
- Transparent plastic sheet
- Garden soil
- Fine Sand
- Tulsi Seeds
Prepare the soil
We will need two sets of gardening soil for this one. The first one will be used for germination and the other one for transplantation. For the first one, we will need 60% vermicompost and 40% fine sand. On the contrary, while transplanting, we will go for 50% gardening soil, 20% cocopeat, 20% vermicompost, and 10% fine sand.
Take the small pot, put two-dot size holes in it, and fill it up with the potting mix. Now sprinkle the tulsi seeds evenly. Upon doing so, you should layer it up with another fine coating of the same potting mix. Add ample water. Now wrap the entire setup with the plastic sheet. The poly-wrap needs to be transparent so the light can pass through.
Where to place it?
Keep it in a bright area yet protect it from direct sun. Let it be as it is for the next two weeks.
Germination will take place in about a week or so. After another week, remove the wrap and add more water along with a small amount of vermicompost. Done? Now cover it again and leave it for ten more days.
As the setup grows about four weeks old, you must remove the poly-wrap for good. From now on, you need to water it daily and add vermicompost weekly. Maintain the cycle for the next month.
As the plants grow for another month, you can see them growing taller and stronger. It is time to transplant the more potent plants to different pots or tubs.
Prepare the transplantation potting mix, as mentioned above, and feel the tubs with it. Don’t forget about covering the drainage holes with tiny stones. After you are finished filling the tub with the potting mix, use your hands to make a hole into it. Next, Use your gardening tool to take out the seedling without harming the roots. Then place it into the hole and add some cocopeat in the surface fractures. As a finishing move, water it well.
After transplanting, you need to prune the top of the plants, encouraging them to grow faster and better. As you water them and keep adding fertilizer weekly, the seedling will form many branches within a month. Again, you are to cut the top of the main branch. Besides, this time around, you can harvest from the side branches. Make a point of making cuts around the leaf nodes. It will grow the plant bushier.
Grow Tulsi with Stem Cuttings?
Growing plants from stem cuttings is a faster way to do it. Unlike seeding, in this process, we get the edge of having a backbone for the plant we are about to grow.
Prepare the Stems
Take some fresh cuttings and strip them off all the leaves, leaving only the top leaves.
How to Grow Tulsi in Water?
1. What you need:
- Soft water
- Water-soluble fertilizer
- Non-transparent water container
- Tulsi cuttings
Cut out a circular piece of Thermocol with a diameter smaller than the opening of the water container. Now make some dot-sized hole in it. Then plug the stem cuttings through the hole.
On the other hand, mix the fertilizer in the soft water and pour the liquid into the container. Now take the piece of Thermocol and place it on the water surface. It will float.
Where to place it?
Keep the entire setup in a bright and breezy spot. Partial shade will be preferred over direct sunlight.
In about a week, you will notice more leaves. In about another week, the roots will grow fresher white threads, making it ready for the transplantation method. Use the above-mentioned process for transplantation. In this way, you have fast-tracked the process by two weeks (which would take about a month from the seeding date).
If you wish to keep it in the water, change the liquid with a newer refill. Also, you need to repeat the refilling process every two weeks.
About four weeks later the plants will grow taller and greener. Now you can harvest from them.
How to Care for Tulsi Plant
- Use Epsom salt after your plant grows a month older
- Keep the water supply consistent yet adequate
- Use proper potting mix and water combination
- Keep pruning monthly
- Pluck out the weaker seedlings, so the stronger ones grow faster
- Keep under direct sun
- Overwater it
- Overuse pesticides