Introduction to Growing Holy Basil (Tulsi)
The following details are about Growing Holy Basil (Tulsi).
Introduction of Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Holy basil is also popularly known as “Tulsi” in India. This plant is widely cultivated throughout India. It is also considered as one of the holy plants in India. It has significant religious importance. The basil plant is a perennial, biennial shrub belonging to the family of “Lamiaceae”. Basically, Tulsi is originated in the Indian subcontinent. Basil plants can reach a height up to a height of 2 to 4 feet and their flowers are small and purple in color. These plants can also be grown in pots, containers, balconies, terraces, backyards at home. Usually, a fresh Basil herbage is sold to the temples and worship centers across the country. Oil extracted from Tulsi is being used in aroma therapies, cosmetics and herbal products. The essential oil of Tulsi those has good commercial demand throughout Asia. One can get good earnings from growing holy basil /Tulsi medicinal plants on commercial scale.
- Scientific Name / Botanical Name of Holy Basil (Tulsi): Ocimum sanctum.
- Family Name of Holy Basil: Lamiaceae.
- Genus of Holy Basil: Ocimum.
Uses of Holy Basil/Tulsi
Tulsi is an aromatic medicinal plant can be taken in conjunction with other herbs. The aromatic leaves and blossoms, in the kind of tincture, tea or decoction is regarded as stomachic and expectorant, used in treating coughs, bronchitis, skin infections, and nausea. These preparations are regarded as a prophylactic against epidemics such as cholera, influenza and malaria.
They’re employed in healing low energy, nausea, nausea and nausea or as a general tonic. The powder of the dried root, taken with milk, ghee or as a decoction, is suggested to deal with malarial fever as an analgesic program to the bites and series of insects. The herb enhances resistance to pressure and has a synergistic effect on blood pressure and blood sugar imbalances. Tulsi is very likely to demonstrate prophylactic from the damaging effects of environmental toxins, such as cancer. The plant can be richly endowed with bioavailabel antioxidants vitamins ‘A’ and ‘C’ and calcium. It’s indicated insecticidal activity against mosquitoes.
Varieties / Cultivars of Holy Basil
There are many varieties of holy basil or tulsi. Most popular types are:
- Ocimum Sanctum- Krishna Tulsi/purple type (Ocimum Sanctum).
- Ocimum Gratissimum (Sri Tulsi/green type).
Other Tulsi types include:
- Drudriha Tulsi.
- Ram/Kali Tulsi.
- Tukashmiya Tulsi.
- Vana Tulsi.
- Kapoor Tulsi.
- Drudriha Tulsi.
Indian Names of Holy Basil /Tulsi
- English: Basil Leaves / Holy Basil.
- Hindi: Tulsi / Ban Thulasi.
- Bengali: Babui Tulsi.
- Gujarati: Tulsina / Sabje.
- Marathi: Tulsichi / Sabja.
- Malayalam: Tulasi / Sivatulasi.
- Kannada Tulasi / Amli.
- Hindi: Tulsi / Ban Thulasi.
- Oriya: Tulasi / Durlabha.
- Punjabi: Imli / Tulasi.
Climate Requirement for Growing Holy Basil
Holy basil plants prefer long day times with high temperatures and humid conditions for healthy plant growth and high yield of Tulsi essential oil. Tulsi can be cultivated both in tropical and sub-tropical climatic conditions. The Basil crop requires an average annual rainfall of 90 to 120 cm. Basil can be grown up to an altitude of 900 meters (mean sea level). Basil can tolerate drought and frost to a certain extent. Even Tulsi can be grown under partial shade conditions, but expect lower oil yields.
Soil Requirement for Growing Holy Basil
Tulsi plants can be grown in most of the soil types due their hardy nature. However, they will not thrive in waterlogged, highly saline and alkaline soils. The best suited soil for growing holy basil is sandy loam soils having good drainage with good organic matter. Commercial Basil growers should check the soil health by measuring its pH value. The ideal soil pH for successful Basil growing is 5.1 to 5.6.
Propagation in Growing Holy Basil
- Seed Propagation: Propagation of basil is done by fresh seeds. Avoid using old stock as they will not germinate.
- Vegetative propagation of Holy Basil: Holy basil plants can also be propagated by means of terminal cuttings. This method of propagation is successful when the crop is planted during October to December. In this method, select terminal cuttings of 12 to 15 cm length with 9 to 10 nodes on them. Except for the first 2 to 3 pairs of leaves, the rest should be trimmed off. Later, these cuttings should be planted in prepared nursery beds. You can even plant in polythene bags filled with top soil mix. You can expect rooting of the cuttings after 5 to 6 weeks and they will be ready for transplantation in the main field. In the main field, use a spacing of 40 cm between rows.
Land Preparation for Growing Holy Basil
The main planting field should be prepared with drainage channels between rows. The soil should be given couple of ploughings and harrowings till it attains the fine tilth stage. Level the field and mix well-decomposed farm yard manure of 15 to 20 tons/ha (basal dose) like cow dung at the time last plough. Once the fine seedbeds are prepared in the field, land will be ready for Tulsi transplantation.
Seed Rate and Seed Treatment in Growing Holy Basil
Approximately a seed rate of 125 grams per acre is required.
There are many seed borne diseases and pests attack the crop. To prevent this, it is essential to treat the Basil seeds with Mancozeb at the rate of 5 grams/kg seeds. This should be done before sowing on nursery beds.
Season, Sowing, Planting and Spacing in Growing Holy Basil
Usually, in commercial cultivation of holy basil, the nursery raising is carried out in the 3rd week of February and transplanting is done in the middle of April month.
Basil seeds should be sown in the nursery beds and the nursery ought to be located with irrigation facilities in shade conditions. Soil is worked to a depth of 30 cm. Well decomposed farm yard manure (two kg/sq. meter) should be applied to the soil before making seedbeds.
Seedbeds with measurements of 4.5 meters x 1 meter x 0.2 meters should be prepared. As tulsi seeds are small in size, they should be mixed with sand in 1:4 ratio and sown in nursery beds. Ensure the sowing distance of 60 cm x 60 cm. Usually basil seeds are sown at a depth of 2 cm. Tulsi seeds start germinating after 10 days of sowing on nursery beds. These seedlings will be ready after 6 to 8 weeks when they attain 4 to 5 leaf stage.
Irrigation for Growing Holy Basil
Dry and hot summer months need frequent irrigation. Usually it takes about 3 to 4 irrigations per month in summer. The life irrigation should be given immediately after transplanting in the field and subsequently during seedling establishment in the soil. On an average Basil crop requires, 14 to 15 irrigations per year depending on climate and season.
Intercultural Operations in Growing Holy Basil
- Weed Control: Interspaces of Tulsi garden needs to be maintained weed free. The first weeding and hoeing should be carried out 30 days after transplanting and the second weeding after 1 month from the first weeding time. At this point in time, usually, the tulsi plant become bushy and cover the soil, hence there is no need of carrying any weeding operations. However, Weeding operations should be continued after every harvest.
Manures and Fertilizers for Growing Holy Basil
Basil plants are good feeders of manures and fertilizers. Timely application of fertilizers ensures the highest yields and quality oil. Avoid any pesticides and chemicals to control abnormal conditions of the plants. If it is required, use only organic certified fertilizers. Apart from FYM used during land preparation, the recommended inorganic fertilizer application for growing basil crop is 120:60:60 kg/ha of N:P:K or Nitrogen: Phosphorus: Potash (N: P: K): 48:24:24 kg per acre should be applied.
Pests and Diseases in Growing Holy Basil
Well, Basil crop is more prone to serious pests and diseases. You must be careful with control measures, you should avoid any chemical and pest control measures due the fact this herb has medicinal properties. Organic pest controls include using neem based formulations and fish oil resin soaps. Apart from this, extracts of garlic, other botanicals should be combined and sprayed periodically for controlling the pests organically.
- Common pests of Holy Basil: Leaf rollers, and Tulsi lace wing are minor Basil pests found.
- Common Diseases of Holy Basil: Powdery Mildew, Seedling blight and Root rot are common diseases found.
For above said pests and disease symptoms and control measures, contact a local horticulture professional.
Harvesting in Growing Holy Basil
Basil crop will be ready for first after 3 months of planting. Subsequent harvesting should be carried out for every 70 to 75 days interval. Using any sharp object, cut the crop 20 cm above the ground level. Avoid harvesting the crop in case there was rain on the previous day. Make sure to harvest at full-bloom stage for better yield of oil and quality. Harvest only on sunny days.
Yield in Growing Holy Basil
The yield of holy basil crop or Tulsi herbage depends on soil type, irrigation, climate and variety of basil along with cultivation management practices. On an average, one can obtain 9 to 10 tons of fresh herbage per acre in 2 to 3 harvests per year.
The essential tulsi oil yield varies with type, season and place of origin. You can recover the oil from 0.3 to 0.4%.
Post harvesting in Growing Holy Basil
After cutting the crop, it has been allowed to wilt in the field for 4 hours for minimizing the moisture level in the leaves. Leaving the crop for a long time after harvest (more than 8 hours) may drastically reduce the quality of oil and yield. Steam distillation is used extract the oil and the oil is decanted and filtered. The distilled tulsi oil is treated with common salt @ 20 grams/litre oil to remove the moisture content. Usually, the filtered oil is stored in cool and dry place in glass bottles or clean containers.
Marketing of Holy Basil
Need to contact herbal companies or essential oil processing factories for bulk sale.