Tulsi is a variety of basil that is important to the Hindu religion. Gardeners of any skill level can sow the seeds of this herb, which is also known as holy basil, either in trays for transplanting or directly in the ground. With patience and attention to detail, you will be able to grow mature plants suitable for both ceremonial and culinary use. Planting tulsi seeds provides valuable gardening experience, and before you know it, you’ll have a healthy crop of tulsi plants.
Create a seed-starting soil mixture of one part peat moss to three parts garden soil. These proportions can be used to mix whatever quantity of seed-starting soil you need. Use a garden spade to add the ingredients to a bucket: one scoop equals one part. For smaller amounts of seed-starter, use your hand to scoop the ingredients: one handful equals one part. Mix the soil and the peat moss with a garden spade or by hand.
Fill a seed tray with the seed-starting soil. Use a garden spade or your hands to transfer the soil from the bucket to the seed tray. Pour the soil over the tray’s surface, filling each of the tray’s cups until level with the tray’s surface. Use your hand to sweep excess soil back into the bucket. Keep the soil loose in the cups—do not tamp it down.
Use your finger to make a ¼-inch-deep hole in the centre of each cup. The hole should be about twice the diameter of the seeds.
Place two tulsi seeds in each hole. Sprinkle soil over the cups to cover the seeds and fill the holes. The soil should be loose, not tamped down.
Attach an adjustable nozzle to a garden hose. Turn on the water and set the nozzle to a mist spray to avoid disturbing the seeds, which might prevent germination. Gently and thoroughly moisten the seed tray until water drains from the underside. Depending on the number of seed trays, you can also use a spray bottle to moisten the seeds.
Keep the seed trays moist, watering at least twice daily, until the seedlings sprout. Thin the seedlings from two to one per cup by using a scissors to clip the weaker seedling at the soil’s surface. Allow the seedlings to grow to about 3 inches high before you transplant them.
Dig a ¼-inch-deep furrow in your garden soil with the edge of a garden hoe. The tulsi plants should be 12 inches apart when they're mature, so the length of the furrow will depend on how many plants you plan to grow.
Drop two seeds per inch into the furrow. Cover with garden soil. Keep the furrow moist, watering at least twice daily, until sprouting occurs.
Thin the plants after they sprout so that there's 12 inches between each one. Cut the seedlings off at ground level—do not disturb the soil by pulling them out.
All varieties of basil are sensitive to frost. Set tulsi seedlings outside only after the weather becomes warm.
Tips and warnings
- All varieties of basil are sensitive to frost. Set tulsi seedlings outside only after the weather becomes warm.