Tips on Growing Holy Basil or Tulsi

Updated February 21, 2017

Holy basil, also called tulsi and Thai holy basil, is valuable in both garden and kitchen. The herb grows to heights of 24 to 36 inches and can be a fragrant green addition to an herb garden, or a landscaping plant with benefits in the yard. For those who cook regularly, few things are better than gathering fresh herbs from the garden.


Although holy basil grows and flowers all year, it requires specific planting times. Start holy basil in indoor growing trays, in light soil, before the first frost. Leave the holy basil in the trays until after the last frost, and then transplant it to the outdoors when weather warms. A late spring sewing allows the plant to establish and grow for June harvests. Holy basil grows all year in Zones 10 and 11 of the USDA Hardiness Zone Map, and must be moved indoors during the winter in colder areas.

Location and Spacing

Plant holy basil in the right location for best growth. Choose a spot that's sheltered from wind or heavy weather, where the basil will get full sun and plenty of warmth. Amend the soil before you plant with quick-draining potting soil to give holy basil a supportive foundation, and plant basil seedlings at a spacing of 24 to 36 inches. Pinch off flowering stalks or leggy stems to encourage bushy growth.


According to Dave's Garden, holy basil has average pH and water needs. Keep holy basil's soil moist with around 1 inch of water a week, but never water the plant until its soil is muddy. Check the soil periodically and adjust watering to your growing zone. If the soil dries out quickly, water more often, and if the soil is retaining good moisture, water less often.

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