Tulsi, Temperate — Holy Basil (Ocimum africanum) seeds, organic

(15 customer reviews)

$3.95$350.00

PLEASE NOTE:  This seed is ON SALE until 1_15_2024–all sizes significantly reduced in price.  This offer is made to encourage growers to buy bulk quantities and direct-seed.  Holy Basil is one of your best tea herbs to dry and put up for longterm use, Also a great seller at the farmstand.  Enjoy!

Family:  Mint (Lamiaceae)

Annual, harvest at 40 days and ongoing to frost.  For the purpose of seed-saving, it takes 120 days from direct-seeding to winnowing.

Note to those wishing to grow their own tulsi tea.  Unless you live in a very warm zone, are a very experienced propagator, or are particularly attached to growing the tropical-type tulsis (Krishna, Amrita, Rama and Vana) then I really council you to grow this temperate tulsi instead.  The germination is far easier, the growth faster, the productivity  greater, and the overall experience more likely to bring happiness.

(Temperate Tulsi)  The plant is a bushy annual tea basil with small leaves, purple flowers, powerfully aromatic.  This plant is of East African origin, and India is right across the way.  Among all basils (including Ocimum basilicum) in my experience, this one is the shortest season, most frost-hardy cultivar. I’ve also seen these self-seed over the seasons, which is unusual among basils.  We tested this cultivar and confirmed the presence of essential oils linalool, nerol, geraniol, citral, icocaryophyllene, humulene, etc.  Also ran it for genetic analysis to confirm identity as Ocimum africanum.  This is the holy basil my wife and I grow for ourselves to make into tea.  We find it very satisfying, with aroma most appealing.   Traditional usage (Ayurveda): stress, anxiety, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and dementia.  Drinking tulsi tea in the morning is a fantastic way to get started.  Prepare a flat of potting soil or a fine seedbed in spring and scatter seeds on surface, then press in and keep evenly moist and warm until germination, which is rapid.  Transplant or thin to 1 foot apart.

Packet contains 50 seeds
1 g contains ~1,580 seeds
5 g contains ~7,900 seeds
10 g contains ~15,800 seeds
100 g contains~158,000 seeds

Certified Organically Grown

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5 out of 5 stars

15 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Question

    Lynn (verified owner)

    Which tulsi is called Kapoor ? There’s so many names

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Lynn, Kapoor was a misnomer that was given to Temperate Tulsi (Holy Basil) Ocimum africanum. Some seed sellers still insist on using that name. Richo

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  2. Question

    Ian (verified owner)

    Hi richo,

    In the book it says barely cover then here I see scatter on top. I did a mix of both methods. Wondering which is better. Had a big rain storm a few days ago. Hopefully they didn’t wash out. What’s the germination rate for direct sow? There is a common weed look alike that is popping out near where I planted and can’t tell which is tulsi. Thanks!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Ian,
      The seed is small, the seeds are many, the germ rate is always adequate, the planting depth is not real crucial. I generally swirl them around with my fingers so that some are deeper and some shallower, just to be sure. A good tamping after planting is critical, especially if rain is going to want to dislodge the seeds. You can check the galleries for what these look like when they germinate–the typical baby’s butt cotyledons, it won’t be long before you can do a pinch and sniff to be sure you have the right thing. Direct seeding temperate tulsi is pretty effective. If the people don’t do it, the plant does. Richo

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    • Angie

      I have it popping up all over the herb garden. I rub a leaf between my fingers and smell if I think it might be this and then mark it so it doesn’t get weeded.

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  3. Question

    Susan James (verified owner)

    One other question about Tulsi. I left her in the container after the leaves and flowers died back in Winter. Z9. Now Calif Z9 is in Spring. Will Tulsi grow back or should I plant new seeds?

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  4. Question

    Susan James (verified owner)

    sorry for the typos, from the iPhone. Here’s the question again.

    Can the purple tips of the Holy Basil be used for tea? Or, do we keep those for the birds and bees?

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi susan, yes, the plant may be cut back by 1/3 in early flowering stage, the cuttings dried and made into tea. richo

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  5. Question

    Susan James

    I’m in California, Z9, and want to try growing wonderful Tulsi by seed. I have beds inside a shade cloth structure, and would like to plant Tulsi seeds in a bed, after the last California frost. Right now, we’re in Winter with temps in the low 30’s. I don’t think Tulsi will survive in these Winter temps? How many seeds per plant? thank you.

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    • 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Susan, Thanks for getting in touch. Your enthusiasm is great! Remember that tulsi needs to be surface sown on fast-draining soil with full light at a minimum of 75 degrees F to germinate, and even at that takes 7 to 10 days to come up. That is why most of us start the seeds inside under lights or at least in an unshaded greenhouse for best results. I usually plant 3 per cell and thin to the most vigorous plant. Richo

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  6. Claudio

    Cual es el verdadero tulsi el medicinal el original de la india

    Claudio

    Cual es el verdadero tulsi el original de la india

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  7. One person found this helpful
    Lana

    Cheerful and so fragrant

    Lana (verified owner)

    I am growing this tulsi in pots on my apartment balcony here in zone 8 Texas. My plants are small yet, so I am reluctant to pick any leaves, but every morning I enjoy gently brushing the plants with my hands to breathe in the fragrance. Just wonderful.

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi lana, thanks for writing. i just wanted to agree that even the fragrance of these herbs is medicinal to the soul. you get it. good for you! richo

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  8. One person found this helpful

    Question

    khadija

    Hi there from the Hudson Valley–Stone Ridge, NY (6b) to be specific. I am wanting to try to grow all 4 varieties of tulsi this year. Wondering if you have any tips for those of who don’t have grow lights, greenhouses, or heat mats.

    1) Is it possible to start tulsi indoors when you don’t have the season extension tools or is it better to just wait until the last frost and direct sow?
    2) If you were to suggest one season extension tool to get a jump start on sowing tulsi indoors, which would you suggest?
    3) I know temperate tulsi is my best shot at success, but have you seen success with the tropical varieties without season extension tools?

    Thanks so much for your guidance richo!

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  9. Chris Cohen

    A Garden Must Have

    Chris Cohen (verified owner)

    I plan on trying 2 other tulsi types this year, all from “Strictly Medicinal” but tulsi temperate is definitely a keeper. Wonderful smell without having to burry your face in the plant or crush leaves. Quality taste, good for food, good for tea, bountiful bloom which attracts insects.

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    • 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi chris, you’re right about bee attraction. i’ve seen a lot of bees on a lot of plants, and i do think this one takes the cake (or the honeycomb as it were). r

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Khadija,
      Thanks for writing. Actually I see all the different types of tulsi self-seeding in the summer garden when the first seed is dropped from the large plants that we set out early. And some of these seedlings go on to be the best plants. So if you’re willing to wait until the soil really warms up, then you can direct-seed. Use a rich soil, full sun, barely scarify the seed, press in and keep moist. Remember these are stimulated by light. They are fast-growers, and although you probably won’t get a seed crop if you start late like that, you’ll be likely to get plenty of tea. Regarding the best season-extending tool, I’d have to say a T-5 grow light, because it supplies both light and heat. Avoid heat mats and those silly plastic hoods they sell. Make sure you have drainage and good air circulation. Richo

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  10. Question

    Lynn

    Hi Richo, I couldn’t find a definitive answer to this question in Making Plant Medicine. Is it better to tincture fresh or dried tulsi, or are they equally effective? These are beautiful plants, and the seeds you sent germinated nearly 100 percent!

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi lynn, right, because it can be used fresh or dried. with herbs like this, that rely largely on essential oils, you get better extraction by drying first, because otherwise the plant water gets in the way of essential oil release. so dry it for strongest medicine. richo

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful

      Lynn

      Thank you! Am really enjoying the book, cover to cover.

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  11. 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    Jacob Kaylor

    It's everywhere!

    Jacob Kaylor

    Richo, thank you for this wonderful plant. It’s been a year since I first planted them and they’ve self-seeded like mad. Even my watermelon patch way on the other side of the yard from my herb garden has tulsi popping up in it. Many thanks from Kentucky!

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  12. Question

    Jena (verified owner)

    Will this cross pollinate with other basils? I’d like to try saving the seed if there’s time before frost, but I’m growing 2 culinary basil varieties in my garden as well.
    I’m fairly new to seed saving so I hope this isn’t a silly question. Thank you!

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    • 6 out of 6 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi jena, thanks for letting me know what other basil types you’re growing. this one won’t cross with them. slightly off subject but it came up for me anyway, is that temperate tulsi is a very stable cultivar that will come true from seed. This is a good argument against those that claim its a hybrid. Once hybrids stabilize they may be thought of as species plants. r

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  13. One person found this helpful

    Question

    laine_2009

    I think I read the comments correctly that this variety is the same as Ocimum sanctum? I bought some from a different company (hadn’t heard of yall yet) thats what they called it. Wanted to get varieties i didn’t have from this site since you seem to know your stuff better.

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    • 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi laine, thanks for contacting. yes, a lot of sellers did offer this plant as Ocimum sanctum. Its a really great name but it isn’t right. The plant turns out to be Ocimum africanum. Many call it “holy basil.” Beyond the name confusion it is a good one, easy to grow in the temperate north, great for bees and teas. We seeded a 100 foot bed of it yesterday–it is a good choice for direct-seeding spring and early summer. richo

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  14. Question

    Jyot

    Is this plant tolerant to zone 9 winter?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Jyot, The Ocimum africanum is an annual even in the tropics, so it won’t overwinter regardless of zone. However I suppose if you started it, say, in August, it might overwinter in a zone 9–that’s pretty warm. Richo

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  15. Question

    Julie James

    This may be a stupid question but I’m wondering , ive got an herbal book tht says use holy basil which ive been kinda looking out for since a couple months bsck when I got the book. Is this r these all the version to make tinctures , etc for medicinal purposes ? I’m in Ms in zone 7 . Too late to start one this year probably . Also looking for ashwagandha… any help is appreciated.
    Ty , Julie

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    • One person found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Julie, The temperate tulsi is a good choice for direct-seeding now. It is a very fast grower and you won’t be disappointed. It makes great tea. It is late to start ashwagandha. We have all these seeds and plants and we encourage you to go to “richo’s blog” to find out more about them, also “making plant medicine” and our youtube channel. richo

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    • One person found this helpful

      Annie Ryan (verified owner)

      Richo, Instead of composting the thick woody stems this year, can I dry and use the outer and inner bark to burn for homemade incense?

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    • 5 out of 5 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi annie, this is a good idea. this will purify the surroundings. the stem and or root can also be cut into short sections, may need to be drilled out, and made into necklaces. in ayurvedic tradition the tulsi beads are commonly worn to connect to all that is good. r

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  16. Question

    Caroline Yates

    Hi Richo, wondering if you will have some Temperate Tulsi seeds soon, these are on my wish list…thanks so much

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  17. 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
    mary

    Grow extra plants...

    mary

    …your friends will want some! The seeds germinated like a “chia pet” (this dates me, I know) in flats, indoors at 65F under grow lights in April. Seedlings transplanted well outside in June – most in a production plot for tea with some along the path for their sweet fragrance as one brushes against it when passing. By far the most fragrant of the three tulsis I’ve grown (Amrita and Vana being the other two) so far. It was also the only tulsi that bloomed during our short Zone 3 season. I harvested it twice when it went to flower and a third time just before the first killing frost – a great producer! This tulsi has a milder flavor than the other two tulsis when brewed as a tea, according to friends I subjected to tulsi tea tasting trials. I’ve found that a blend of the temperate tulsi and either the Amrita or Vana tulsi produces a fragrant and flavorful tea, most worthy of sharing with friends. After reading others’ comments about this tulsi reseeding, I will let a few plants go to seed next year and see if the seeds survive our cold winters and germinate in the spring. Regardless, tulsi has earned a large space in my garden.

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  18. Question

    Nancy Taylor (verified owner)

    Just recieved my Ocimum africanum in the mail, very excited. Can I use it for cooking or only for making tea?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Nancy, You can use it for tea and cooking as well.
      If using for cooking, don’t expect a deep basil aroma/taste–the tea basils are closer to using a clove than using standard basil. Richo

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  19. Question

    Ashley

    Are you currently shopping internationally? NZ for example.
    Thanks, Ash.

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  20. 3 out of 3 people found this helpful
    Annie

    Seeds are amazing

    Annie (verified owner)

    Planted for the first time on Memorial Day. Almost every seed took which I was not expecting so I have quite a crop. So happy with the health, ease of growing and flavor of temperate tulsi.

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  21. MV Paul Worland

    Sacred tulsi

    MV Paul Worland

    About 16 years ago I bought this tulsi basil (then marketed as Rama tulsi). It has self seeded year after year. A great delight and bees love it. It makes a true medicinal honey along with ashwaganda flowers which the bees also love. Wondering if it will hybridize if I plant other basils in the garden such as Thai or genovese basil.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Paul, Yes, my apologies, this plant was misidentified in the marketplace as “Ocimum sanctum” and since it was green-stemmed, we jumped to the incorrect conclusion that it was rama tulsi. Since then we’ve learned a ton about basil nomenclature, and know now that the plant (temperate tulsi) is Ocimum africanum. It doesn’t hybridize with standard basil (Ocimum basilicum), it is a different species, and anyway we’ve never seen it cross. Richo

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    • omshivani (verified owner)

      When is the right time to begin harvesting temperate Tulsi?
      Thank you Rico, my plant is thriving and I can’t wait to try the tea as you recommended!
      🙂

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi shivani, one way to do it is to cut back as soon as the plant goes into early flower, never more than 1/3 of the plant, and let it flower again, and cut again in early flower, and so-on, maybe 3 or 4 cuttings a year. its really the dried leaf you’re after, although the flower is very pretty. r

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  22. Question

    Tammie Winkler (verified owner)

    I love this plant! I had fantastic germination and I believe I’m ready to use the leaves for tea. What’s the best way to harvest? And am I to wait for flowers? Thanks (I’m still learning!)

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    • MV Paul Worland

      Harvest the leaves on a waxing moon and good constellation. Very medicinal healing qualities all the way into winter in SoCal.

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  23. Question

    Pyewacket

    What is the predominant flavor of this variety when used in a tisane? Krishna tastes predominantly of pepper, Rama of clove, and Vana of anise. Where does this variety fall on the flavor profiles?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hello Pye,
      I would say that the Temperate Tulsi tastes like tutti-frutti. Many people really like it best!
      Richo

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    • MV Paul Worland

      Not sure what tutti fruiti tastes like, but the variety we bought from Richo about 16 years ago has self seeded every year and is very Spicey – clove cinnamon like strong mixture of fragrant leaves……

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    • Lee Anne

      To me, it’s a cross between juicy fruit gum and basil. I love it. I am not a hot tea person, but I was thoroughly impressed with this. It is a good stress reliever.

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  24. One person found this helpful
    mariecantu88

    Easy growing plant with a gorgeous scent

    mariecantu88 (verified owner)

    I can’t say enough good things about this tulsi. It grew beautifully in my PNW 8b herb garden (in a cool rainy summer), the bees were obsessed with its flowers (to the point where I would stagger my flower head removal so there were always at least four plants in bloom for them!), and the scent was my favorite in the garden – strong, sweet, and almost marshmallow-y. The flowers and leaves both made delicious tea and powerful tincture, and only now at the beginning of October am I thinking about taking the plants out before frost. They still look amazing and are blooming continuously though! This lovely plant has a permanent place in my herb garden now.

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    • Christine (verified owner)

      I have not had good fortune with my tulsi seeds in my hot, dry Mediterranean climate. Is it normal for them to drop small black poppy like seeds now?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Christine,
      The tulsi normally keeps its seed inside the pericarp, it doesn’t uaually drop, and the seed is somewhat smaller than a poppy seed, and black. If you strip the seedhead you can rub it between your palms and you will see the real seeds.
      Richo

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  25. Question

    Karen (verified owner)

    I started my Ocimum africanum a bit late, so I didn’t get much harvest from it before it began to flower. I thought I’d try letting it go to seed, but now I’ve had to clear the bed. I kept all the plants. My question is — can I use the flower and seed stalks for tea?

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  26. Question

    Brock (verified owner)

    Ok so when you say Ocimum africanum, do you mean Ocimum x africanum?

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    • Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      People don’t like to see the x and in this case O. africanum is an accepted name so we’re going with that.

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  27. Question

    Andrew Legge

    So the Tulsi variety that I’ve grown is O. sanctum or O. americanum, and those seem to be the varieties offered by the seed companies I buy veggie seeds from. Do you know if there is a lot of variation in the medicinal qualities of the various varieties? Thanks!

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    • 2 out of 2 people found this helpful
      Richo Cech

      Admin Richo Cech

      Hi Andrew,
      Well, what you’ve been offered is probably the so-called “Holy Basil” which has been misnomered so many times as to approach absurdity. But the plant itself is very nice. We have now identified this as “Temperate Tulsi” to try to give it a functional name, and the Latin is Ocimum africanum, not Ocimum sanctum or Ocimum americanum.
      Richo

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  28. blazej

    Great Tea Herb!

    blazej

    thank you for the seeds!

    Nice seed germination and growth. Very aromatic with a sweet note. Makes great tea when used fresh. I boil water, allow the water to cool for a few minutes then i pour the water over the herb, which has been placed in a mason jar, i cover the jar and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes. I even sometimes wait until it cools and then i have a real strong tea. I sometimes combine with fresh lemon balm as well!

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  29. One person found this helpful
    Mistie Clark

    Mistie Clark

    I am in love with this. I purchased the Lifeline Medicine packet and I am very happy that I did. The Holy Basil is by far one of my favorites. The smell is the mix of a sweet grass and fruit. Beautiful!!!

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    • Ingrid Mueller

      Hello. I would like to cultivate Tulsi. Since I am in Michigan is it best to wait for spring or can I begin now indoors and grow it thru the winter. Thank you.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Ingrid, Best to start tulsi after the winter solstice. I make my main plantings starting in February. If you want an easy indoor grower, choose “Vana.” The temperate tulsi would just bolt–the temperate tulsi is best to direct seed in the spring garden. richo

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    • Nikki

      Does O. Americanum share the medicinal properties of the other varieties? It tastes exactly as you describe the Temperate variety?

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hi Nikki,
      Thanks for getting in touch and we can all be sorry that basil nomenclature is in such a state of disarray. O. americanum is certainly a misnomer as there are no basils at all native to the americas. But it was a name given to Ocimum africanum at one point. therefore you are right, the temperate tulsi and something you might have bought as “O. americanum” are the same plant. This is a great tea herb and easy to grow. it is not as potent as Tulsi (Ocimum tenuiflorum), the tropical type. We just tested our Krishna tulsi to 99% germ–I recommend it to anyone who wants a truly potent holy basil and is capable of creating the conditions required for healthy propagation of the tropical tulasi. Richo

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    • Kishori Singh

      Hi I want to grow Rama tulsi or Krishna tulsi indoors as we stay in Minnesota
      When is the best time to sow the seeds

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      Hello Kishora, OK, and please note that this message was left on temperate tulsi, you’ll have to click around to find rama and krsna. The tropical tulsis require much light and warmth to thrive. Start them under lights in March in Minnesota. Richo

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    • donna devadoss

      I am in zone 5 and bring in several plants for winter- you can start new plants from stem cuttings if your season is too short, but they always seem to flower for me.Bee’s love them.

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    • Michael Monaghan

      In Central North Carolina planted 40 seeds in raised beds and this is a good looking product. many at 3 inches and climbing fast, took a taste nice basil flavor. May 15, 2022 and well on its way to be awesome. Most all came up, did’nt really count, but many branches at 3 inches is good. Been drinking Holy basil for years and have noticed many benefits. This is going to be good. Thank you for the seeds Richo

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    • Bryan

      Sorry if you already answered this. Can you suggest a tea recipe(s), including the stage of picking and brewing method.

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    • Richo Cech

      Richo Cech

      hi bryan, thanks for contacting. tulsi works best when picked just prior to flowering. Dry the herb, rub out the stems, and use a teaspoonfull of dried herb to a cup of hot water. Cover, let steep 4 minutes, strain and drinks. richo

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