Plant Profile

Family : Lamiaceae, Labiatae

English Name: Holy Basil, Sacred Basil

Indian Name : Ajaka , Manjari(Sanskrit),
Tulsi (Hindi, Bengali,Malyalam)

Distribution : India, Andaman and Nicobar

Uses : Culinary purposes, Drugs,
Flavoring, Insecticide,

Species and
Varieties : Sri Tulsi, Krishna Tulsi

Basil Species and Varieties
Name Flower Leaves Comments

Ocimum basilicum Sweet Basil White Deep green Excellent in salads, vinegars, pesto
O. basilicum 'Crispum' Lettuce-leaf Basil White Very large, crinkled Excellent in salads
O. basilicum 'Green Ruffles' Green Ruffles Basil White Lime grean, serrated, ruffled, much longer than sweet basil Excellant omamantal good accent plant, borders
O. basilicum 'Minimum' Bush Basil White 1-1 1/2 in. Dwarf, compact foml; good for pot culture and borders
O. basilicum 'Purple Ruffles' Purple Ruffles Basil Lavender Dark maroon, shiny Striking omamental; good accent plant, borda, excellent in vinegar and as a garnish
O. basilicum 'Purpurascens' Dark Opal Basil Lavender Deep purple, shiny Striking omamantal; excellent in vinegar and as a garnish
O. basilicum 'Thyrsiflora' Thyrsiflora Basil White and deep lavender Bright green, smooth Very sweet fragrance; used in Thai cooking
O. kilimandscharicum Camphor Basil White, red anthers Green Camphor scented; tea taken for stomachaches and colds; not used in cooking
O. sanctum Holy Basil Lavender Gray-green, coarse Sweet fragrance; excellent omamental; not used in cooking

Origin and Distribution:
It is indigenous to the lower hills of Punjab and Himachal Pradesh and is cultivated throughout India. It is also cultivated in Southern France, Egypt, Belgium, Hungary, and other Mediterranean countries and also in USA.

Description of the plant:

• Erect, herbaceous, much-branched, soft hairy.

• Height of the plant is nearly 30-75 cm high.

• The leaves are elliptic-oblong, acute or obtuse, entire or serrate, pubescent on both the side.

• Flowers are purple to crimson in colour.

• Nutlets are subglobose or broadly elliposoid.


• Rich loam to poor laterite, saline and alkaline to moderately acidic soils are well syited for cultivation
• Well drained soil aid better vegetative growth.
• Water-logged condition cause root-rot and result in the sunted growth.


• Grow under partially shade condition but yield less oil.
• Flourishes well under high rainfall and humid condition.
• Long day and high temperature is favorable for the plant growth and oil production.
• Tropical and subtropical climate (at altitude up to 900m) are good for cultivation.


Nursery can be raised in the third week of February and transplanting is done in middle of March

Land preparation:

It is laid out in the field as per the convenient sizes for irrigation. It is preferable to add 15 t/ha of FYM during the preparation of the land.


• Sow seeds thinly in a warm location in pots or directly in the soil after danger of frost has passed.
• Sow evenly, covering with 1/4" of soil and keep moist and free of weeds.
• Germination will occur within 5 - 8 days. Once seedlings have developed, they can be thinned or transplanted to stand 6" - 12" apart.
• Seeds can also be sown indoors 6 - 8 weeks before planting outside.

Nursery Rising:
• Raised seed-beds of 15' X 4' X 9'' size should be maintained by the addition of FYM.
• 200g to 300g seeds are enough to grow per hectare of land.
• Seeds are sown 2 cm deep in the nursery bed.
• A thin layer FYM is spread over it and irrigated with a sprinkler-hose.
• Seeds germinate within 8-12 days.
• Within 6 weeks the seedling are ready to transplant at the 4-5 leaf stage.
• A spray of 2% urea solution on the nursery plants 15 to 20 days before is good for the healthy growth of plant.

• Recommended distance between two seedlings is 40 cm X 40 cm, 40 cm X 50 cm, 50 cm X 30 cm for high oil-yield per hectare.
• Seedlings get well established by the second irrigation.

Fertilizer application:
The application of 120 kg/ha N, each of P2O5 and K2Ois recommended for saline and alkaline soils at Lucknow. The optimum fertilizer dose recommended for this crop is 120 kg N and 60 kg P2O5 /ha. Half the dose of N and entire dose of P2O5 is given as a basal dose. The application of micronutrients Co and Mn at 50 and 100 ppm concentrations, reports high oil-yield.

• Depends on the moisture content of the soil.
• In summer 3 irrigations per month is necessary.
• About 12-15 irrigations years are sufficient.

• Pick or snip leaves when young and as they are needed
• If whole stem sections are being harvested, cut just above a pair of leaves.
• Snipping the leaves actually encourages new growth and can be seen in less than a week.
• First harvest is obtained after 90-95 days after planting.
• Next after 65-75 days' intervals.
• The crop should be cut 15-20 cm above the ground level.

Table 1. Yield of 'Italian Large Leaf' sweet basil at the Western Agricultural Research Center, 1998
Oil (lb/a) Dry weight (lb/a)*
Harvest 1 0.8 581
Harvest 2 2.8 855
Harvest 3 5.5 1,850
Total 9.1 3,253
* Weight includes stems
Table 2. Yield of three cultivars of sweet basil at the Western Agricultural Research Center, 1999
Cultivar Oil (lb/a) Dry weight (lb/a)* Dried leaf (lb/a)
Sweet Dani
Harvest 1 0.8 213 147
Harvest 2 3.6 1,099 758
Harvest 3 5.8 1,287 862
Total 10.2 2,599 1,767
Harvest 1 1.5 144 99
Harvest 2 5.2 1,112 767
Harvest 3 4.6 1,020 627
Total 11.3 2,276 1,493
Italian Large Leaf
Harvest 1 5.2 1,180 887
Harvest 2 2.9 1,221 859
Total 8.1 2,401 1,746
* Weight includes stems

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