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Can we keep Tulsi plant at window?

Tulsi, also known as holy basil, is an aromatic plant that is commonly grown in many Indian households. It is considered a sacred plant in the Hindu religion and is known for its medicinal properties. Many people like to grow Tulsi plants indoors near windows, as it can thrive well in pots and requires minimal maintenance. However, there are some important factors to consider when deciding whether a Tulsi plant can be successfully grown at a window.

Light Requirements for Tulsi Plants

Tulsi plants need bright light to grow well. In their native outdoor environment, Tulsi receives full sun for many hours a day. When grown indoors as a potted plant, Tulsi still requires at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight daily. Windows can provide sufficient light exposure, but only if they face south, west or east. North facing windows will not give enough light.

Position the Tulsi pot right next to an east or west facing window so it gets good morning or afternoon sun. For south facing windows, keep the plant a few feet back to avoid scorching the leaves in the hot midday light. Rotate the pot occasionally so all sides of the plant get equal sunlight.

Using Grow Lights for Tulsi by Windows

If your windows don’t provide adequate sunlight, you can supplement with artificial grow lights. Use full spectrum LED grow bulbs and place the lights a few inches above the Tulsi plant. Keep the lights on for 12-14 hours per day. Make sure the grow lights don’t overheat the area around the Tulsi pot.

Ideal Day and Night Temperatures

Tulsi prefers warm daytime temperatures between 70-85°F (21-29°C) and cooler nights around 65-70°F (18-21°C). This means it does well in typical indoor conditions. Make sure to keep the Tulsi away from drafty windows in winter where temperatures may drop too low at night. Move it to the warmest spot in the room and supplement with a plant heating pad placed under the pot if nights are cooler than 65°F.

Using a Humidifier

Indoor heating in winter can make the air too dry for Tulsi. Its leaves may start to brown and curl from inadequate moisture. Place a humidifier nearby and aim for 40-50% humidity around the plant. Check the soil daily and water whenever the top inch feels dry to the touch.

Watering Requirements

Tulsi needs a regular supply of water to look its best. Water requirements depend on factors like pot size, soil type, temperature and humidity levels. Here are some general guidelines for watering Tulsi at a window:

  • Water whenever the top 1-2 inches of soil feel dry.
  • Pour enough water so it drains freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
  • Avoid letting the plant sit in standing water which can cause root rot.
  • Water less often in cool weather when growth slows. In hot weather, plants may need water every 2-4 days.
  • Let the top half of soil dry out between waterings in winter.

Adjust your watering schedule based on the specific conditions in your home. Always check soil dryness before watering rather than sticking to a fixed schedule.

Type of Water to Use

Tulsi responds best when watered with room temperature water. Avoid cold water straight from the tap which can shock the roots. If your tap water is alkaline, let it sit overnight before using so the chlorine can dissipate. Water that is high in minerals can cause leaf tip burn in Tulsi over time.

Ideal Potting Mix and Drainage

Tulsi needs a potting mix that drains well and doesn’t stay too wet. Heavy garden soil or 100% peat moss can hold too much moisture. The best potting mixes for Tulsi contain:

  • 1 part peat moss or coco coir
  • 1 part perlite or vermiculite
  • 1 part compost or composted manure

You can also purchase a general houseplant potting mix from a garden center. Make sure the pot has several drainage holes at the bottom to prevent soggy soil. Add an inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the pot to improve drainage.

Repotting Tulsi Plants

Repot Tulsi every 2-3 years in early spring before the growing season begins. Move it to a slightly larger pot and refresh the potting mix to encourage new growth. Prune away any diseased roots before repotting.

Ideal Fertilizer for Tulsi

Like most herbs, Tulsi is not a heavy feeder and doesn’t require frequent fertilizing. But applying a diluted balanced fertilizer every 2-3 months can keep plants growing vigorously. Use a fertilizer where the three numbers on the label are equal, such as 10-10-10 or 20-20-20.

Good options include:

  • All-purpose water soluble houseplant fertilizer
  • Balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength
  • Slow release pellet fertilizer applied as directed
  • Compost tea once a month

Avoid over-fertilizing Tulsi, as excess salts can burn the roots. Flushing the soil monthly with plain water prevents salt buildup.

Signs your Tulsi Needs Fertilizer

Watch for these clues that your Tulsi would benefit from fertilizer:

  • Pale leaves
  • Lackluster growth
  • Few new shoots and leaves
  • Leaf drop
  • Stunted growth

If the plant is showing these signs, apply a diluted balanced fertilizer and wait 2 weeks. If there is no improvement, the issue is likely not related to fertilizer needs.

Ideal Pruning and Maintenance

Trim Tulsi plants regularly to keep them bushy and compact. Pinch off flower buds as they form to encourage more leaf growth. Removing flowers also ensures the leaves keep their flavor since the plant won’t be directing energy toward seed production.

Prune Tulsi in a few different ways:

  • Pinching – Use your thumb and forefinger to pinch off growing tips and flower buds.
  • Leaf stripping – Remove the lowest 2-3 sets of leaves any time the plant gets leggy.
  • Cutting back – Cut overgrown stems back by 1/3rd their length.

Conduct major pruning sessions 2-3 times per year during active growth periods like spring and summer. Remove any dead, diseased or insect damaged parts of the plant as soon as you notice them.

Rotating Tulsi Plants

Rotate the Tulsi pot once a week to ensure even growth on all sides. You can also prune one side of the plant harder to keep growth even if a window favors one side.

Ideal Temperature for Tulsi

Tulsi thrives in warm temperatures between 70–85°F (21–29°C). Cooler temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can make the plant prone to pest problems. Here are some tips to keep your Tulsi happy in your indoor conditions:

  • Keep Tulsi away from drafty windows
  • Move to the warmest room in winter
  • Place on a seedling heat mat if room is cooler than 65°F
  • Provide ample humidity with humidifier
  • Ensure daytime temperatures are at least 65°F

As long as night temperatures don’t drop below 50°F, you can help the plant cope by providing very bright light and warmth during the daytime.

Signs of Temperature Stress

Watch for these signs that the Tulsi plant is too cold or hot:

  • Cold damage – Leaves turn purple, plant grows slowly
  • Heat damage – Wilting, dry leaf margins, leaf scorch

Adjust the temperature gradually and monitor the plant. It may take a few weeks for it to rebound from temperature stress.

Ideal Humidity for Tulsi

Tulsi appreciates 40-60% relative humidity. In homes heated or air conditioned, humidity levels tend to plummet below 40%. Low humidity causes several problems for Tulsi:

  • Dry, brown leaf tips
  • Curled, wrinkled leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Leaf drop

Increase humidity around your Tulsi with these methods:

  • Use a humidifier
  • Set pots on a pebble tray filled with water
  • Mist leaves daily with a spray bottle
  • Group Tulsi with other plants to create a humid microclimate

Signs the Tulsi Needs More Humidity

In addition to dry leaves, watch for these signs your Tulsi would benefit from increased humidity:

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Curled under leaves
  • Crispy leaf edges
  • Leaves falling off

Ideal Air Circulation for Tulsi

While Tulsi appreciates ample humidity, it also needs good air circulation. Stagnant air can lead to fungal diseases. Use a small fan to keep air gently moving around the plant. Circulating air also helps distribute humidity evenly.

Aim the fan to blow above the Tulsi, not directly on it. Airflow over the leaves will also strengthen the plant tissues. Just be sure cold drafts are avoided.

Rotate the pot regularly so all sides get exposed to moving air. This prevents just one side from getting too much air movement.

If growing multiple Tulsi plants grouped together, space them 2-3 inches apart for air to flow between. Avoid crowding them too closely.

Signs of Insufficient Air Circulation

Watch for these issues that indicate a need for increased airflow:

  • Powdery white mildew on leaves
  • Increased pest problems
  • Fungal leaf spots
  • Leggy, weak growth

Ideal Pest and Disease Prevention

Tulsi is prone to several insect pests and fungal diseases, especially when grown as an indoor potted plant. Maintaining proper growing conditions is the best preventative measure. Here are some additional tips:

  • Isolate new plants to prevent bringing in pests
  • Disinfect tools between uses with diluted bleach
  • Remove insect-damaged leaves immediately
  • Avoid overhead watering to limit fungal disease
  • Apply neem oil weekly as a natural pest repellent
  • Use horticultural soaps and oils to control pests
  • Apply fungicide sprays after pruning and during wet weather

Inspect Tulsi carefully each day for signs of problems. Catching issues early makes treatment easier. Quarantine affected plants until they recover.

Common Tulsi Pests

Watch for these common Tulsi pests:

  • Aphids – Small soft-bodied insects that cluster on stems and undersides of leaves. They leave a sticky residue on foliage.
  • Mealybugs – White fuzzy insects that leave cottony deposits on stems and leaves.
  • Thrips – Tiny winged insects that cause silver streaking on leaves.
  • Spider mites – Microscopic pests that form thin webs and stipple foliage.

Common Diseases

These diseases may affect Tulsi:

  • Botrytis – Also called gray mold, causes fuzzy gray lesions on leaves in humid conditions.
  • Powdery mildew – Creates a white powdery coating on leaves, often from poor air circulation.
  • Root rot – Caused by overwatering, roots turn brown and mushy.
  • Bacterial leaf spot – Angular water-soaked lesions on leaves spread rapidly in wet weather.


Tulsi is an easy-care herb that can thrive indoors on a sunny windowsill when its needs are met. Provide plenty of light, warmth, humidity and air circulation. Water thoroughly when the soil dries out but don’t allow standing water. Pinch off flowers to encourage leaf growth. Check new plants closely for pests and treat any issues promptly. With proper care, Tulsi makes an attractive and useful addition to an indoor herb garden.