The Tulsi plant, also referred to as sacred basil or holy basil by many, is an aromatic plant which belongs to the Lamiaceae family.
There are approximately 18 types of Tulsi plants worldwide, including Rama Tulsi, Kapoor Tulsi, and Shyama Tulsi.
Since the plant originates from India, where summer months are abundant, Tulsi grows well in summer and mid-winter climates—and it may require extra care in low temperatures.
So if you want to add this perennial houseplant to your indoor plant collection or garden and are wondering how to take care of the plant in the winter season, keep reading to find out.
Tips for Tulsi Plant Care in Winters
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Even though the Tulsi plant is considered a low-maintenance plant, its condition can quickly deteriorate if you do not give it extra care in the winter months. Here are a few tips to save Tulsi plants from dying in the winter months.
Since the Tulsi plant is considered a tropical plant, temperature control is essential to protect it from damage in the winter. If temperature levels decrease below 10 degrees Celsius, refrain from keeping the plant outdoors and bring it indoors.
If you live somewhere with extreme winters, keeping your plant away from any windows to protect it from cold gusts of wind is also essential.
Keeping your plant in a location with cold air, such as in front of an AC vent will cause its green leaves to turn brown or black, and the plant is likely to suffer stunted growth.
If you notice any of these signs on your Tulsi plants, you must act quickly since if you don’t, it is highly likely that your Tulsi plant will die.
Tulsi needs fertile soil that is well-drained, permeable and contains additional organic material for proper growth.
Avoid planting Tulsi plants in clayey soil since it is detrimental to their roots. The soil has to be fertile sandy loam with enough organic materials for the plant to thrive.
Additionally, too much wet soil might worsen a Tulsi plant’s condition during the wintertime. A Tulsi plant’s roots do not prefer overly damp soil, which might result in wilting or discolored leaf tips.
Therefore, refrain from overwatering your holy basil plants throughout the winter. Much like humans, plants also do not require too much water in winter, considering your Tulsi plant, much like a living being, will enable you to become a better plant owner.
This can make plant owners question how much water a Tulsi plant needs in winter months.
Since the evaporation process slows down throughout the wintertime and the water remains in the soil for longer, you must water your Tulsi plants only when the upper two to three inches of soil are fully dry.
A balanced liquid fertilizer is essential to keep the holy basil plant healthy and maintain the beauty of the greenish or purplish leaves.
A plant cannot replenish the fertilizer in the soil, and if its soil lacks fertilization, the plant will likely suffer malnutrition and eventually die.
If you want to grow your Tulsi plant with organic fertilizer, consider using a mixture of cow manure and Epsom salt.
Give the plant a recommended dosage of fertilizer each 25 to 35 days to encourage optimal plant growth.
A Tulsi plant will likely thrive if given the required water, enough sunlight, high-quality soil, and an appropriate-sized planter.
The only requirement is to keep insects away from the plant. If you own indoor plants, using screens and keeping doors closed can help protect them from insect infestations.
Sometimes if you bring in new plants into the house that have pests in them, those plants can also infect your existing indoor plants.
If this happens, you can spray your Tulsi plant with salt or neem spray to eliminate the pests—which can quickly deteriorate the condition of your indoor plants.
Pesticides can help you eliminate unwanted pests from damaging your Tulsi plants. However, store-bought pesticides are made with harsh chemicals that can sometimes cause more harm than good to your plants.
Additionally, if you have children at home, you don’t want your children to come into contact with store-bought pesticides.
Here is a guide on making a homemade neem spray that you can use as an organic pesticide to eliminate pests in your plants.
You won’t have to worry about your plant suffering damage or your children’s safety with this organic pesticide mixture:
What you will need
One liter of filtered water (warm)
A spray bottle
Half a teaspoon of eucalyptus castile soap (organic)
Half a teaspoon of 100% pure neem oil
Add one liter of filtered warm water and half a teaspoon of pure neem oil and eucalyptus soap in a spray bottle. Mix well and spray on your Tulsi plant.
Furthermore, keep your infected Tulsi plant away from other plants, and also, make sure you prune any leaves that show signs of pest damage and infestation.
Regularly spraying your plants with soap water or adding pesticides to the soil during fertilization can help you avoid pest infestations.
Adequate Exposure to Sunlight
Keeping the Tulsi plants near a sunny windowsill for a few hours is the secret to growing Tulsi during the winter season.
Doing so can help the plant thrive since it requires at least four to six hours of sunlight to stay in optimal condition.
However, be careful when placing it in direct sunlight since the direct sunlight in summer months may scorch the plant. A protective covering, like a curtain, between the sunlight and the Tulsi plant will help you avoid this.
If you live in an area that lacks sunlight, you don’t need to worry since you can keep growing Tulsi plants and ensure they stay healthy by providing them with artificial light.
Tulsi plant owners can also make DIY lamps that they can search for on YouTube, or invest in heat lamps to keep plants warm in winter.
Doing so will help you keep your Tulsi plant thriving even in extreme climate conditions.
If you need to use artificial lighting indoors, consider hanging fluorescent fixtures and tubes above and surrounding Tulsi.
If you don’t know which lighting to use, type full-spectrum indoor lighting for plants in the search bar of a store like Amazon, and you will find an array of choices.
Therefore, when choosing a light for plants, make sure to depend on reviews before you hit complete purchase to avoid spam fraud and abuse. You can also focus on managing your privacy settings or download tools online to track outages and protect against spam fraud.
Avoid distraction from a website’s homepage and tailored ads since they are influenced by things like audience engagement and site performance.
Instead, conduct proper research before you order light for your plant since some low-quality lights may not provide optimal energy to your plants and cause their condition to deteriorate.
The plant lighting’s effectiveness is limited to a 6-inch radius, after which its potency drops to zero. If you don’t place the lighting close enough, your Tulsi may become “leggy”.
A few characteristics of a “leggy” Tulsi are thinner stalks, fewer leaves, longer stems, and a cluster of foliage only at the peak—which is the closest to the lighting.
Since the leaves don’t get much energy from the lighting due to the range, they may also begin to wilt and drop off.
A delicate and top-heavy Tulsi plant is the end product. Install one pair of lighting over Tulsi, as near to it as possible, to avoid this issue.
Keep the Humidity Levels in Check
Tropical climates have an abundance of humidity; thus, controlling the humidity levels is critical while growing holy basil plants. The Tulsi plant may contract disease, become dry, and get infested with pests like spider mites in low-humidity areas.
Try to maintain approximately 60% humidity level around Tulsi plant in winter.
One way to save Tulsi plant from becoming dry and promote optimum growth is to use a humidifier within a confined location, such as a tiny room or grow tent, and place your Tulsi plant there when the wintertime approaches.
You can also prevent your Tulsi plant from drying out in cold weather by spraying a few drops of water on its aromatic leaves.
Making a frame out of a thick wire or a hanger and placing it above the Tulsi plant pot is another great way to offer the appropriate humidity levels to the plant. A colored plastic bag should be used to conceal the frame.
Some of the blistering sun rays would be filtered off by the tint from the bag.
Next, put wet sponges within the enclosed frame at both the top and bottom. As the moisture evaporates, the humidity will increase. Keep Tulsi in the shade or the morning sun.
Pruning can help promote the growth of new leaves and help a plant get rid of old or damaged leaves. You can prune your Tulsi plant when every stem has four to six pairs of foliage. All you have to do is clip off the tips.
The secret to bushy Tulsi plants is pruning; however, be careful not to over-prune.
A Tulsi plant may become top-heavy as it develops, resulting in a long stem that struggles to hold the leaves at the top.
When the plant reaches a point where the buds have three or more joints, removing the highest portion of the bud can help you avoid this.
If you pay close attention, you’ll see that the lower cluster of buds sprouts every time the upper bud is removed.
The Tulsi plant’s upward surge is delayed as a response, and the nutritions utilized for growth are instead directed at producing the lower portion of the buds and fortifying the stems, which causes the Tulsi to become bushier.
Avoid wasting fresh leaves and use them for cooking or making tea. Individuals worldwide harvest Tulsi plant’s aromatic leaves and use Tulsi seeds to make Tulsi water to promote healthy digestion.
Appropriate Pot Selection
If your Tulsi plant outgrows its pot during the winter, repotting might help it thrive and stay healthy. Choosing the incorrect-sized pot or a pot without sufficient draining is a death sentence for a Tulsi plant.
If your Tulsi plant pot lacks a proper drainage system, the roots of your plant may perish due to excess water accumulation during the winter months.
Furthermore, consider opting for a larger container in each repotting session since the larger pot you use, the better your Tulsi plant will be able to thrive.
How to Keep Tulsi Plants from Dying in Winter Season
Even though the tips mentioned above can help you keep your Tulsi plants condition from deteriorating, you might need additional guidance in an emergency when your plant is on the brink of death.
In such cases, you may have to take immediate measures if you don’t want to see your Tulsi plant die. Getting to the bottom of why your Tulsi plant’s deteriorating can help you find a solution and save it.
To do so, consider where you might have gone wrong, e.g. if you returned from a vacation and had left your Tulsi plant outdoors in the cold winter months, frost is likely the cause of your Tulsi plant deteriorating.
You can bring your holy basil plant indoors and place it in a confined location with a humidifier and a lot of sunlight.
Also, consider pruning any dead leaves and adding fertilizer to the soil of the plant to give it the nutrition it needs to recover from the damage from being left out in cold temperatures.
You can also consider repotting your plant with new soil and in a larger pot if your Tulsi plant shows signs of deterioration. Sometimes, repotting is all you need to revive a Tulsi plant and keep it from dying.
The abovementioned tips on how to care for Tulsi plants in winter can help you maintain your Tulsi plant even in extreme weather conditions.
Adequate temperature, water, lighting, humidity, pest control, fertilization, and pruning are all you need to maintain a healthy Tulsi plan during wintertime.