Basil Holy Green


Ocimum tenuiflorum (also Ocimum sanctum), commonly known as holy basil, or Tulsi, is an aromatic perennial plant native to the Indian subcontinent that is cultivated widely throughout Southeast Asia for religious and traditional medicine purposes, such as in herbal teas in Ayurveda. The leaves also are used in the worship of Vishnu, while the plant is viewed as protective for the home. With such grandiose uses, it may seem outrageous to use it in cooking. Nonetheless Tulsi is well-known in Southeast Asia cuisine, and during the hot summer months, you should be able to find big bunches of it at farmers’ markets with ethnic stalls.  

Common name Basil
Latin name Ocimum tenuiflorum
Variety Holy Green/Tulsi
Quantity 125 seeds
Plant size Height: 60 cm
Width: 60 cm
Container size Height: 20 cm
Width: 20 cm
Companion plant(s) Coriander, mint, oregano, thyme, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines.
Planting indoors Feb to Mar
Planting outdoors Apr to Jun
Germination 7 to 14 days
Harvesting 40 days
Planting 2 cm to 3 cm apart at 0.5 cm depth
Thinning 5 cm to 10 cm between plants
Light Full sun
Soil Well-drained, light and moist soil
Watering Regular watering, not overdone
Feeding Light feeding
Caring As Tulsi plants are highly frost-sensitive, it can be grown as an annual in temperate climates as long as you wait until the last frost has passed in the spring before planting.
Beneficial wildlife Attracts bees and butterflies and many insects species.
Pests Caterpillars and aphids attack it
Harvesting When it comes to harvesting, less is best. Harvest the plant’s leaves regularly, in small amounts, to encourage continuous growth. Pinch the leaves gently, as they can bruise easily, which can damage the scent or flavour.
Eating Medicinal properties: Teas bring clarity and beat stress. The act of drinking itself can be as calming as yoga.

How to eat: Holy basil commonly is used in Thai cuisine to make pad gkaprow, a signature stir-fried recipe with garlic, fresh chillies and fish sauce. Holy basil’s peppery spiciness has earned it the nickname ‘hot basil’.

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