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Is my Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) dead?

Posted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:31 pm
by shantanurama
I started growing a Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) and it grew very well in last 7 months.
I didn't even pluck the leaves for use as I nourished it very passionately.
But now it experienced fall season. I am not sure what to do.
It looks like its dead. Please help.
Should i cover it or there is no hope left for it.. All suggestions are welcomed.

It used to be big and green with lots of leaves.

Now it looks like : current image:
https://i.imgur.com/fthWJJP.jpg

Location: Sunnyvale, California, US

Re: Is my Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) dead?

Posted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:52 am
by pepperhead212
That definitely does not look good, as I don't see any leaves left on it. And, while holy basil (and others) does live for 7 months, by that time it will have gone to seed, and is pretty much done for, as far as any harvesting. Basils are improved by harvesting; I have often cut back my Thai and holy basils, even when I didn't need any, to stop the bolting, and they take off with a bunch of new growth.

So start some more from seeds (or buy a plant, if available locally, and you want it sooner), and with your next plant, as soon as you see it beginning to bolt, trim it back, and eventually, set some of the cuttings to root, as this is much faster than seeds, for getting new basil plants.

Re: Is my Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) dead?

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:28 pm
by shantanurama
I think new plant is coming up from the seeds which might have fallen on the soil. check out the pic: https://imgur.com/a/3fP6f

Re: Is my Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) dead?

Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 12:25 am
by Rayan
Holi Tulsi is US frost zone 9 or 10 and warmer. So there really is not much of USA that it can be left outside all year around in.
I have friends who have successfully grown it outside from around April through to Oct, and bring the pots inside for winter. Some people struggle to keep them alive when over-wintering, but I think the key thing is to cut back around 30% of the plant when bringing back in during fall, and to not water them too much. I got mine last year and so far they survived the VA winter - but looking 500% happier now outside! Herbs are amazing - good luck with yours!

Re: Is my Holy Basil(Tulsi / Ocimum sanctum) dead?

Posted: Mon May 29, 2017 4:36 am
by rainbowgardener
shantanurama wrote:I think new plant is coming up from the seeds which might have fallen on the soil. check out the pic: https://imgur.com/a/3fP6f
Sorry, but I think the little seedlings are just weeds. Basil seedlings even from the seed leaves have much rounder leaves:

Image

Basil does not self seed readily and of course it couldn't have dropped seed unless it bloomed and the flowers remained on the plant for the long time it takes them to make seed and then to finally release it.

Basil is an annual. Its genetic programming is to sprout, grow, bloom, set seed, and die all within a single growing season. If you keep it cut back and don't allow it to bloom, you can extend its life somewhat, but over time it tends to get woody (as yours apparently was) and less productive.

Unfortunately, you didn't do your plant any favors by not harvesting it. What you want to do is not pluck individual leaves but to cut stems back to just above a leaf node. Cutting back helps keep it not only from blooming, but from getting so woody. It rejuvenates it a bit. But even if you had been cutting it back, basil is not a plant you can keep for years.

So yes, I think your plant is dead and past reviving. But that is mostly the course of nature. Start a new one and this time don't be afraid to harvest it (once it is big enough that you are not taking more than a third of its leaves). :) Every stem you snip will branch into two at the cut point, so it will get much bushier, with lots more leaves.