How to Make Tulsi Plant Bushy: Expert Tips for Lush Growth

  • By: Michael Barnes
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a versatile and popular plant revered for its medicinal and spiritual qualities. If you’re interested in growing a full, bushy tulsi plant in your garden or home, there are several tips and tricks you can follow to help your plant thrive. By understanding the key factors that contribute to plant growth, you can achieve a lush and healthy tulsi plant that not only looks beautiful, but also provides a host of benefits.

To start, one of the most important aspects of cultivating a bushy tulsi plant is proper pruning and pinching techniques. By carefully pinching the new small leaves, you can encourage more branching and promote a bushier appearance. In addition to pruning, maintaining healthy soil composition and monitoring for pests will also play a vital role in your tulsi plant’s growth. By taking these steps, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a vibrant and bushy tulsi plant.

Tulsi Plant Varieties

In this section, you’ll learn about the different varieties of tulsi plants. Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, is a revered plant in Hinduism and is known for its numerous medicinal properties. There are primarily three types of tulsi: Rama Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi, and Vana Tulsi. Each variety has distinct characteristics that set them apart.

Rama Tulsi

Rama Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum) is the most common variety of tulsi. It’s known for its green leaves and light purple flowers. Rama Tulsi has a milder flavor compared to the other varieties and is used mainly for culinary purposes.

When growing Rama Tulsi, ensure that it has ample sunlight and well-drained soil. Regularly pinch small leaves from the plant for a bushier appearance. Pinching helps encourage more branching and ultimately results in a stronger stem and a longer-living plant.

Krishna Tulsi

Krishna Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) is characterized by its dark purple leaves and deep purple flowers. This variety has a stronger flavor and is commonly used in traditional Ayurvedic treatments. Krishna Tulsi is also known to have a higher concentration of beneficial compounds than Rama Tulsi.

For a bushier Krishna Tulsi, make sure to regularly pinch off the growing tips and maintain it in a sunny location with well-drained soil. Be vigilant for signs of pests such as aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. If detected, treat the plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Vana Tulsi

Vana Tulsi (Ocimum gratissimum) is a wild variety of tulsi that grows primarily in Africa and Asia. It has bright green leaves and features a robust, woody flavor. Vana Tulsi is often used in herbal teas and traditional medicine.

Similar to the other two varieties, provide your Vana Tulsi plant with ample sunlight, well-drained soil, and periodically pinch off the growing tips to maintain a bushy growth. Keep an eye out for pests and address any infestations promptly.

By learning about the different tulsi plant varieties and their unique characteristics, you can choose the best variety for your needs and maintain a bushy, thriving tulsi plant.

How to Make Tulsi Plant Bushy

Ideal Growing Conditions

Climate and Sunlight

Tulsi plants thrive in warm, sunny climates with temperatures ranging from 65 to 80°F (18 to 27°C). Whether you’re growing tulsi indoors or outdoors, ensure your plant receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight daily. If growing indoors, place your plant near a sunny windowsill or in a room with ample natural light. You can also supplement sunlight with LED grow lights as needed. For greenhouse settings, make sure tulsi has sufficient ventilation to prevent overheating or humidity accumulation.

Soil and Pot Requirements

Tulsi plants prefer well-draining, fertile soil with a neutral to slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Here are some simple steps to meet the soil requirements for your tulsi plant:

  1. Mix equal parts of garden soil, sand, and compost to ensure proper drainage and nutrient availability.
  2. Add several handfuls of perlite or coco coir to improve aeration and water retention.
  3. Check the soil pH with a test kit and adjust as needed, using lime to raise pH or sulfur to lower pH accordingly.

When choosing a pot for your tulsi plant, opt for one with drainage holes and made of terracotta or ceramic material, which facilitates good air circulation around the roots. A pot size of 8 to 14 inches in diameter is suitable for a single tulsi plant, allowing space for root growth and bush development. Remember to use a saucer under the pot to catch excess water and prevent root rot.

By providing the right climate and sunlight conditions, as well as meeting the soil and pot requirements for your tulsi plant, you’ll help it grow bushy and healthy, maximizing its growth potential.

Planting and Germination


To start your Tulsi plant, first plant the seeds in a shallow pot in a sunny location. Sow them in seedbeds about 6 to 12 weeks before the last frost. Once you’ve sown the seeds, they will typically germinate within 8 to 12 days. Water them gently and slowly, as watering too vigorously could wash away the seeds.


Another method of propagating Tulsi is through cuttings. To do this, take a healthy stem cutting from a mature Tulsi plant. Remove the lower leaves, leaving just a few at the top, and then plant the cutting in a mixture of moist soil and perlite. Keep the cutting in a warm, well-lit area, and maintain moisture in the soil. In a few weeks, the cutting should have developed roots and can be transplanted to a larger pot or directly into the garden.


When your Tulsi seedlings have grown to about six inches tall and have at least four sets of small fresh leaves, they are ready for transplanting. To encourage a bushy growth, pinch off the growing tips just above the leaves. This promotes more branching and a stronger base stem. Gently transplant the seedlings into a larger pot or garden bed, taking care not to damage the roots.

To help your Tulsi plant thrive, ensure that it is placed in a sunny location with well-draining soil. Pinch back the growing tips regularly to encourage a bushy plant habit which will increase yields. A Tulsi plant can continue to produce for several years if harvested gently, by single leaves or branches.

How to Make Tulsi Plant Bushy

Watering and Moisture

When it comes to keeping your Tulsi plant bushy and healthy, proper watering and maintaining the right level of moisture are crucial.

First, ensure that you water your Tulsi plant only when the top inch of the soil is dry. You can check this by inserting your finger into the soil; if it feels dry up to your first knuckle, it’s time to water. This method helps prevent overwatering, which can lead to root rot and a less bushy plant.

While watering your plant, make sure you’re giving it adequate water and avoiding waterlogging the soil. Tulsi plants thrive in consistently moist soil but can suffer if the soil becomes saturated and muddy. To prevent this, water your plant slowly and allow the water to be evenly absorbed by the soil.

Here are a few tips to help you achieve the right balance of moisture for your Tulsi plant:

  • Water your plant in the early morning or evening, avoiding the hottest part of the day, to ensure the water doesn’t immediately evaporate.
  • Monitor the humidity around your plant; Tulsi prefers a humid environment, so consider using a humidity tray or misting the leaves occasionally.
  • Make sure your plant is in well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes for excess water to escape and prevent root rot.

Remember, proper watering and maintaining ideal moisture levels are key to keeping your Tulsi plant bushy, healthy, and thriving.

Fertilization and Soil Amendments

Organic Fertilizer

Providing your Tulsi plant with the right nutrients is essential for its growth and overall health. Using an organic fertilizer every couple of months will supply the necessary elements for the plant’s development. Some organic fertilizers you can consider using are compost, worm castings, or seaweed extracts. These will not only enhance the soil’s quality but also prevent the risk of over-fertilization.

Epsom Salt

Another effective soil amendment for your Tulsi plant is Epsom salt which is rich in magnesium and sulfur. These minerals play a crucial role in the plant’s photosynthesis process and overall growth. To use Epsom salt, dissolve a tablespoon of it in a gallon of water and apply it to the soil once every three to four weeks. This practice will also help prevent any magnesium or sulfur deficiencies in your Tulsi plant.

Cow Dung Manure

Cow dung manure is a traditional and highly effective organic fertilizer for Tulsi plants. It is packed with nutrients, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that greatly contribute to the plant’s growth. Adding cow dung manure to the soil surrounding your Tulsi plant not only releases these essential nutrients but also improves soil structure and moisture retention.

To apply cow dung manure, mix it with the topsoil around your Tulsi plant. Make sure it is well-composted before using it to avoid any harmful pathogens. Regularly incorporating cow dung manure in your Tulsi plant’s soil care routine will help ensure a bushy and healthy plant.

Pruning and Maintenance

Pinching and Weeding

To encourage a bushy growth in your tulsi plant, it’s crucial to practice regular pinching and weeding. When your tulsi plant is about six inches tall, with around four sets of small fresh leaves on top, pinch off the tips just above a leaf node. This action will stimulate branching and result in a bushier plant with more leaves and a stronger base stem.

Weeding is equally important for the health of your tulsi plant. Make sure to remove any unwanted weeds and plants that might compete with your tulsi for nutrients and space. Regular removal of weeds keeps your tulsi plant’s surroundings tidy, as well as helping maintain nutrient-rich soil for optimum growth.

Pest Control

Keeping your tulsi plant free from pests is essential, not only for its appearance but also for its overall health. Common pests that infect tulsi plants include aphids, spider mites, and whiteflies. Be vigilant for any signs of these pests, and at the first sight of an infestation, treat your tulsi plant with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect your tulsi plant for any damaged or diseased leaves. Removing these leaves promptly prevents the spread of disease and maintains the visual appeal of your plant.

By following these simple steps on pinching, weeding, and pest control, your tulsi plant will thrive and continue to grow bushy and healthy.

Harvesting and Uses

Culinary Uses

Tulsi, also known as holy basil or sacred basil, is a versatile herb with several culinary uses. Here are a few ways you can incorporate Tulsi into your cooking:

  • Add fresh Tulsi leaves to your salads for a unique flavor.
  • Use Tulsi leaves to garnish your favorite dishes.
  • Create a delicious Tulsi tea by steeping fresh or dried leaves in hot water.
  • Incorporate Tulsi leaves into your stir-fries, soups, and curries.

Medicinal Uses

Tulsi has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and it has various medicinal properties. Some of the potential health benefits of Tulsi include:

  • Enhancing immunity: Tulsi contains powerful antioxidants that can help boost your immune system.
  • Reducing stress and anxiety: The adaptogenic properties of Tulsi help in managing stress and anxiety.
  • Supporting respiratory health: Tulsi may help in treating respiratory problems such as asthma and bronchitis.
  • Promoting healthy digestion: Tulsi can aid in maintaining a healthy digestive system by reducing gas and bloating.

When it comes to Tulsi plant care, it’s essential to ensure your plant remains healthy to reap these benefits. Fertilizing your plant and keeping it pest-free are vital steps in maintaining its bushy and robust growth.

Remember that while Tulsi offers various health benefits, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before using it as a treatment for any medical condition.

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