Tulsi – Tropical Garden N

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Featured Plant in Garden N - Tulsi

1) Plant History & General Information:

Location on Property: Garden N and Garden T

A) Scientific Name:

Ocimum sanctum (‚Äúsacred fragrant lipped basil‚ÄĚ). More recently this species has become known by the name Ocimum tenuiflorum (‚Äúbasil with small flowers‚ÄĚ) or Ocumum gratissimum (‚Äúvery grateful basil‚ÄĚ).Botanical Family: Lamiaceae (mint) Hindi: Tulsi, Sanskrit: Tulasi

B) Region of Origin: India

C) General History: 

Tulsi Flower Leaf
Tulsi Flower Leaf

Holy basil is highly aromatic and different varieties may smell and taste of peppermint, cloves, licorice or lemon. The clove-like odor comes from its high eugenol content. The plant grows abundantly in India, Malaysia, Australia, Central and South America, and western Asia.

Tulsi in Sanskrit means ‚Äúone that is incomparable‚ÄĚ ‚Äď one that does not tolerate or permit similarity. Prof Shrinivas Tilak, who teaches Religion at Concordia University, Montreal has made a historical citation. In a letter written to 'The Times,' London, dated May 2, 1903, Dr George Birdwood, Professor of Anatomy, Grant Medical College, Mumbai said, "When the Victoria Gardens were established in Bombay, the men employed on those works were pestered by mosquitoes. At the recommendation of the Hindu managers, the whole boundary of the gardens was planted with holy basil, on which the plague of mosquitoes was at once abated, and fever altogether disappeared from among the resident gardeners."

D) Mythology: 

In the Hindu mythology, Tulsi is very dear to Lord Vishnu. Tulsi is ceremonially married to Lord Vishnu annually on the 11th bright day of the month of Karttika in the lunar calendar. This festival continues for five days and concludes on the full moon day, which falls in mid-October. This ritual, called the 'Tulsi Vivaha' inaugurates the annual marriage season in India. In the Vedic tradition, there is a rishi by the name of Narada who is the son of Brahma, the creator. He takes the role of cosmic instigator. He is always sneaking in and out of these stories, usually starting things off by making devious suggestions which his unsuspecting target eagerly agrees to. Of course, there are all sorts of interesting consequences and they are what make up the core of these stories.

During the time that Krishna was here on earth, the gods in heaven decided that he had been away long enough and that they missed him. They wanted him to come back to heaven. So with Narada, they hatched a plan to get Krishna to return.

While here on earth, Krishna had 2 wives; Satyabhama and Rukmini. Queen Satyabhaama enquired of the Rishi Narada how she could ensure that she would have Krishna as her husband in her next life. Narada told the Queen, and truthfully so, that you receive in the next life that which you give away in this life as charity. So Satyabhaama immediately gave Krishna away to Narada and they left immediately so that Krishna could go back to heaven.

Tulsi Bush
Tulsi Bush

But Krishna's wives Rukmini and Satyabhama sorely missed their husband, and both requested Narada to bring Krishna back. Narada said that they would have to give the gods something equal to the weight of Krishna if he were to return from heaven. Proud of all the jewels and valuables that Krishna had given her, Satyabhama set up a large weighing balance scale. Krishna came and sat on one side. Satyabhama, who as befits a Queen, is arrogant. She brought out all her jewels and gold and silver pots to weigh against Krishna. But the more she piled onto the balance scale, the lighter her side became. Krishna just became heavier and heavier. Reduced to angry tears, she finally gave up.

Satyabhama asked Rukmini to do what she could. Rukmini removed all the gold and gems from the scale and plucked a few leaves of the wild tulsi plant growing nearby. She put them on the scale with all her love. The leaves proved to be far heavier than Krishna. With a smile, Krishna returned to earth to be with his wives. Since that time, adding a Tulsi leaf is amiable to any auspicious gift.

2) Plant Uses:

a) As Food: 

The leaves of holy basil, known as kraphao in the Thai language, are commonly used in Thai cuisine. Kraphao should not be confused with horapha normally known as Thai basil, or with Thai lemon basil. The best-known dish made with this herb is phat kraphao - beef, pork, or chicken, stir-fried with Thai holy basil. Traditionally, people take Tulsi in many forms: as herbal tea, dried powder, fresh leaf, or mixed with ghee.

b) As Medicine or Other Uses: 

Tulsi Bee Pollination
Tulsi Bee Pollination

Tulsi has been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda for its diverse healing properties. It is mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text. Tulsi is an adaptogen, that counteracts the negative effects of stress, supports the body's natural immune response, and helps normalize organ function. Marked by its strong aroma and astringent taste, it is regarded in Ayurveda as a kind of "elixir of life" and is believed to promote longevity.

You can use Tulsi extracts in ayurvedic remedies for common colds, headaches, stomach disorders, inflammation, heart disease, various forms of poisoning, and malaria. Essential oil extracted from Karpoora tulsi is mostly used for medicinal purposes and in herbal cosmetics. Its wide uses include skin preparations due to its antibacterial activity. For centuries, people mix the dried leaves with stored grains to repel insects. Tulsi tea contains anti-inflammatory properties and is therefore beneficial to those suffering from IBS, Crohn's disease, and digestive disorders. It also assists in maintaining a healthy metabolism and improves levels of stamina. Tulsi herb is full of free radicals fighting anti-oxidants and beneficial phytochemical compounds.

3) Growing Instructions

  • General:¬†Tulsi seed is easy to germinate and grow. ¬†Tulsi does well in pots or window boxes, and people grow it near the front door of the house for good luck.
  • Best time to Harvest:¬†Anytime in Hawaii
  • Sunlight Requirements:¬†Tulsi prefers full sun, rich soil, and plenty of water.
  • Soil Requirements:¬†Well-draining soil
  • Controlling Spread:¬†Propagate to control
  • Propagation:¬†Sow the small Tulsi seeds in early spring indoors or in the greenhouse for an early start, or sow Tulsi seed directly in the spring or summer garden. Sow Tulsi seeds just under the surface of the soil and press in firmly. Keep Tulsi seed watered and warm until germination, which occurs within¬†2 to 3¬†weeks (faster for Kapoor). Thin or transplant to 1 to 2 feet apart.
  • Difficulties with this plant:¬†Adverse to cold and frost will kill your tulsi.

Recipes and Medicinal Uses: 


Garden N Pre-Volcano Instructions


  • Healing Terrace
  • Three-Tier Terrace Between Salad Zone and Mulberry Hill

Lodgings and/or Facilities in areas of the Garden:

This EDIBLE HEALING Garden has the following plants:

  • Lower Level:¬†Sensitive Plants
  • Mid Level: Jackfruit Tree
  • Upper Level:¬†Ti,¬†Tulsi, & Cerasse

Maintenance Activities For This Garden

Main Weeds: Cane Grass, Mamaki,  Stink Maile, chokers, creepers, climbers

  • Eradicate cane grass as close to the base as possible using a¬†Kama and pickax out if accessible
  • Use a Kama to cut the climbers and the chokers at the plant base to kill them. Remove off plant carefully.
  • Remove all creeping weeds from around the whole garden bed.

Identification and Labeling

  • Tag and label ¬†transplanted trees with bright-colored tree ribbons,
  • Date the tree with the date it was transplanted (only babies so we can see the growth process)
  • Update plant pages if any are added or deleted from the garden

Borders & Maintenance

  • Keeping the rock borders free of weeds and mosses is easy and can be done weekly during Spring/Summer, and bi-weekly in Fall/Winter for 15 minutes during a shift.
  • Weed terraces weekly to keep them clear and usable.
  • Carefully hand-trim red plants at the top of the terrace so they don't overshadow the light from the lower levels as needed
  • Fine hand weed the steps using a Kama to remove choking weeds, grasses, and climbers
  • Add soil to smaller plants, trim, and mulch tree bases
  • If you have processed compost, mix in equal amounts with soil for feeding.

Lower Level

  • Sweet Potato ¬†(‚Äėuala), with its dense growth and lovely purple flowers, ¬†looks great as a ground cover. It is also effective at controlling soil erosion. Keep trimmed back weekly but allow to beautifully¬†drape over the rocks.
  • ‚ÄėUala loves full sun and doesn‚Äôt need too much water to stay happy. Once planted, the ‚Äėuala should be ready to harvest in about six to eight months.
  • Traditionally, it was planted on hillsides or in raised planter beds; this allowed for easier access to the tubers without damaging the rest of the plant.

MARK and DATE planting time so you know when to harvest.

Mid Level

  • The jackfruit tree is in the process of being cut down.

Upper Level

  • Keep Tulsi trees¬†weeded and carefully pruned¬†so the bush doesn't grow too tall but grows lower to the ground producing more buds than height.
  • A low-lying creeping shade plant could be under this plant sparingly.
  • Trim edible plants properly so those trimmings can go around the property and accommodations for usefulness and beautification.
  • Check with the director if you have any ideas for new healing edibles/herbs to plant in the terraces.


    • Harvesting¬†regularly promotes budding and growth low to the ground. Keep an eye to see if it's needed weekly or bi-weekly.
    • Encourage guests/Volunteers to grab food from these areas also to harvest to eat
    • If the trees are getting too tall to harvest, check with the director first about topping a tree or if you have any ideas for new edibles to plant in the terraces


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