Ocimum tenuiflorum - known as Tulsi or holy basil - is a cousin of the basil in the Lamiaceae family. It is widely consumed in India in herbal tea. There are actually two different species : one, annual - Ocimum sanctum - and the other perennial - Ocimum gratissimum, but unfortunately, the latter, which can reach in good conditions 3 meters! - is sensitive to cold (below 5 ° C) and therefore, usually grown ... as an annual - just like Ocimum basilicum is.
Sowing & planting
20 - 70
6.2 - 6.8
Sow my tulsi
Ocimum sanctum seeds are black and similar in size to those of basil, while Ocimum gratissimum seeds are rather brown, and slightly smaller. Both species are sown and grown just like a regular basil.
You can sow directly in place, starting in April for southern regions, or in May for other regions — the seeds will sprout once temperatures approach 18°C.
Sow in light, well-drained earth, placing a few seeds in each seed hole, spaced 20-30 cm apart. Barely cover with earth or potting soil, as the seeds are extremely small.
Water with a fine mist.
Keep the soil moist during the first few weeks after sowing.
You can also sow under a cold frame, from February to April.
Do not cover the seeds that need light to germinate - just sprinkle a little potting soil on them. Put the seedlings in a clear room with a temperature of around 18 ° C. Behind the kitchen window, it works pretty well: just avoid full sun and big temperature differences. Keep the soil moist for the first few weeks, but never soggy, spraying gently and regularly.
Thin out my tulsi
Once your plants each have 2 to 3 leaves, thin them in a manner that only keeps the most vigorous seedlings, taking care to leave them lots of space to develop.
Dibble my tulsi
Transplant seedlings sown under shelter to your vegetable garden after the last frosts, choosing the best plants. use well-drained, deep soil with a low clay content. Install the plant very delicately — the roots are still very fragile!
Plant my tulsi
Choose a location with full sun and shelter from winds.
The soil must be well drained in order to prevent water from stagnating: the ideal is a substrate of potting soil with an addition of 10% sand.
Tulsi likes to have a warm head and cool roots. But avoid soaking wet soils at all costs!
Whether you're sowing under cover or buying an pre-grown plant, you can plant your tulsi in open soil at the beginning of May and leave it outdoors all summer.
Tulsi is also perfectly suited for growing indoors, behind a window, on a balcony, potted, or in a box. If you wish to keep it potted, transplant it immediately in a bigger pot after buying — a simple terracotta pot will do the trick!
Pinch my tulsi
Pinch off new sprouts once the plant reaches 10 cm of height in order to favour branching. Twist off the tip of the stem between your thumb and forefinger — this will allow lateral stems to develop.
You can repeat the operation several times at the tip of each stem.
Prune my tulsi
If you don't want your plant to produce seeds, cut back the the ends of the stalks on a regular basis. Remove the flowers as they appear, before they tire our your plant!
Water my tulsi
Tulsi likes regular water, but take care not to get the foliage wet in order to avoid diseases!
Golden rule: never water during direct sunlight: this can burn the foliage, and this wastes water. Water in the morning or evening, but not too late.
Mist the seedlings very delicately instead of watering them, if possible, to keep the subtrate moist. Once they have grown a bit, we'll say a month after thinning, you can start watering them directly, but be delicate!
Favor pots with a water reserve if you're cultivating on a deck or balcony, or place saucers of water under the pots.
Mulch my tulsi
You can mulch between the plants one to two weeks after planting with the aid of a mulch which holds in moisture. This will limit evaporation from the soil, and thus the need to water and to weed.
Reap my tulsi
You may pick leaves all spring and summer.
Quick note! We tend to pick off the lower, most-developed leaves — this is a serious mistake! Let your plant keep it's lower, greenest leaves — these give the plant it's energy!
If possible, cut off an entire stem in order to promote the growth of new sprouts. Take the time to remove buds, as their growth tires out your tulsi to the detriment of the leaves!
Remove my tulsi
You may pull your plants up at the end of the season to leave room for autumn planting — Tulsi is not resistant to cold!
You can also try to get it to last the winter by bringing in your pots and placing them in a cool, well-lit room before the arrival of the first frost.
Shelter my tulsi
Tulsi does not withstand negative temperatures, so whether it is in pots or in the ground, it must be sheltered.
If it is in the ground, dig it up with a spade and place it in a container of at least 5 liters, being careful not to break the root ball.
Then take the pot and place your plant inside in a very bright area.
Put outside my tulsi
Once the temperatures exceed 15 ° C, you can take out your plant and gradually place it in the sun.