A native to India, Holy basil/Tulsi is an aromatic perennial plant, widely cultivated throughout the Southeast Asian tropics.
It is cultivated for religious and medicinal purposes and also for its essential oils.
Rama Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is a broader leaf variety with a milder flavor but stronger aroma.
It is also characterized by a dark stem.
Seeds are usually sown in late spring or early summer.
The time period between May and June is the best for growing this plant.
It is suggested that the seeds are placed on top of the soil and tamped for good soil to seed contact.
Use a sprayer to water the seeds and keep the soil constantly moisturised until they germinate.
Once the seedlings start sprouting, it is suggested that the plant is covered with a net as the seedling stage creepers are sometimes eaten up by sparrows, if kept outside, in the open.
If the plant is bought from a nursery, make sure you don't disturb the roots while transplanting it.
As the plant grows and yields 4-6 pairs of leaves, pinch the top for making the plant grow bushier.
Removal of flower buds is also suggested as it grows more lush and full when seed production is prevented.
Remove the faded/wilted leaves to encourage the growth of new foliage.
Do not water during monsoon or when it's constantly receiving rain.
Water whenever the soil layer looks dry, the goal is to keep the soil moist.
Avoid watering during the arrival of winters, the plants may get diseased. These plants don't survive well at lower temperatures.
Move the plant indoors in winter.
This plant grows well in loamy fertile soil.
A pH of 6-7.5 has to be maintained to ensure ideal growth.
Make sure that the soil is well drained.
In summers or during the growing period, mulching can be done to retain more moisture.
Rama Tulsi prefers full sunlight but it may require frequent watering, especially in summer.
Indirect sunlight is best for this basil plant where it can receive at least 4-5 hours of sunlight per day.
You can use any organic fertilizer to fertilize this plant. Usually, a balanced liquid fertilizer, once in every couple of weeks is preferred.
You can also replace the top layer of the soil with compost every 6 months.
It is a good antioxidant.
It also possesses antibacterial and antiviral properties and is used in Ayurvedic medication.
It reduces stress levels.
It is also used in skin care and dental care products.
It cures fever, respiratory disorders and also prevents lung disorders.