Caring for Tulasi in the Home Environment

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How to care of Tulasi devi at home


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Srimati Tulasi Devi:

Srimati Tulasi Devi Caring for Tulasi in the Home Environment

Caring for Tulasi:

Caring for Tulasi I Worship II Environment III Light IV Water V Soil, Substrates & Pots VI Pests & Problems

I Worshipping Tulasi:

I Worshipping Tulasi Who is Srimati Tulasi devi Tulasi is only meant for Krishna Caring for Tulasi = worship Performing Puja Picking Leaves & Manjaris Srila Prabhupada on Tulasi

Who is Srimati Tulasi devi?:

Who is Srimati Tulasi devi? An expansion of Vrinda devi Vrinda devi is the guardian of Vrndavana (Vrinda devi’s forest) No one enters Vrndavana without Tulasi devi’s permission Rani means queen, Tulasi is Maharani Aside from Radharani, Vrinda devi is the only gopi called Queen of Vrndavana

A Confidential Servant of Sri Sri Radha & Krsna:

A Confidential Servant of Sri Sri Radha & Krsna Tulasi is worshipped every day in every Vaishnava temple worldwide Tulasi manifests herself in this world to allow us to serve her and gain access to Goloka Vrndavana

Tulasi Used in Worship:

Tulasi Used in Worship There is nothing else required for worship, yet all offerings must have Tulasi leaves Advaita Acharya called to Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu with only Tulasi leaves and Ganges water Devotees wear Tulasi on their bodies at all times Devotees chant the Holy Names while touching Tulasi

Tulasi is only meant for Krishna:

Tulasi is only meant for Krishna Tulasi is not to be made into a tea, or a drink, or as an herb Tulasi is only offered to Krishna, or Vishnu Devotees only accept Tulasi leaves or manjaris (flowers) as prasad

Caring for Tulasi = Worship:

Caring for Tulasi = Worship In Her form as a plant, Tulasi requires various types of care Caring for Tulasi (the plant) is identical to personally serving Tulasi devi (the gopi Vrinda devi) in Vrndavana Tulasi devi can be bathed, dressed, offered articles and food, but is traditionally cared for as a plant, with leaves used for offerings to Krishna

Tulasi Prayer Translation::

Tulasi Prayer Translation: O Tulasi, beloved of Krsna, I bow before you again and again. My desire is to obtain the service of Sri Sri Radha and Krsna. Whoever takes shelter of you has his wishes fulfilled. Bestowing your mercy upon him, you make him a resident of Vrndavana.

Tulasi Prayer Translation::

Tulasi Prayer Translation: My desire is that you will also grant me a residence in the pleasure groves of Sri Vrndavana-dhama. Thus, within my vision I will always behold the beautiful pastimes of Radha and Krsna.

Tulasi Prayer Translation::

Tulasi Prayer Translation: I beg you to make me a follower of the cowherd damsels of Vraja. Please give me the privilege of devotional service and make me your own maidservant. This very fallen and lowly servant of Krsna prays, "May I always swim in the love of Sri Sri Radha and Govinda”.

Performing Puja:

Performing Puja Offer obeisances to Tulasi devi Perform Arati Sing Tulasi prayer Circumambulate Tulasi devi Water Tulasi devi Again offer obeisances to Tulasi devi

Picking Leaves & Manjaris:

Picking Leaves & Manjaris You can use leaves that have fallen Don’t pick oldest leaves unless yellow May end up with bare branches Pick Manjaris, including 1-2 sets of leaves Leave 3-4 sets of leaves on the main branch Leaves can be separated from manjari if more are needed

Picking Leaves & Manjaris:

Picking Leaves & Manjaris Don’t let branches get long and droopy - pick growing tips and leaves Leave 3-4 sets of leaves on the stem (No manjaris means lack of light and/or lack of phosphorus) One Tulasi plant is sufficient If manjaris are not picked you could have many Tulasi plants

Tulasi picture:

Tulasi picture

Srila Prabhupada on Picking:

Srila Prabhupada on Picking “…First utilize the dead leaves or leaves which have fallen down, and if more leaves are required for worshiping Krsna, you may take them from Tulasi plant in this way: First approach Tulasi Devi and offer your obeisances, requesting her that for worshiping Krsna you want to take some leaves. Then if she allows you may take. ”

Srila Prabhupada on Tulasi:

Srila Prabhupada on Tulasi “Although flowering plants like the mandara, kunda, kurabaka, utpala, campaka, arna, punnaga, nagakesara, bakula, lily and parijata are full of transcendental fragrance, they are still conscious of the austerities performed by Tulasi, for Tulasi is given special preference by the Lord, who garlands Himself with Tulasi leaves.” - Srimad Bhagavatam 3.15.19

More Quotes and Information:

More Quotes and Information Many more quotes are available at The above site has additional information on all the subjects in this presentation Other websites also have good information

II Tulasi’s Environment:

II Tulasi’s Environment Cleanliness Sound & Atmosphere Air and Ventilation Temperature & Heating Humidity


Cleanliness Keep Tulasi clean Clean pots, pick up leaves Spraying leaves Keep area clean Wash tools and utensils Sterilizing Needed with disease or insect pests Personal cleanliness The more the better At least do acamana

Sound and Atmosphere:

Sound and Atmosphere Transcendental sound Vibrating the Holy Names Atmosphere around Tulasi Just like a temple Indoor and outdoor atmosphere Outdoors should be same as indoors Decorating Decorate on holy days

Air and Ventilation:

Air and Ventilation Fresh air Regular ventilation Heat and AC Should not be directly blowing Wind Natural wind is good, unless very strong

Temperature & Heating:

Temperature & Heating Avoid temperature extremes No colder than 40 F, > 50 is best No hotter than 105 F in the shade Advantages of cooler Less insect pests Advantages of warmer Faster growth


Humidity Tulasi likes higher humidity Methods to increase indoor humidity: Manual methods Room humidifiers Whole-house humidifiers Humidity and pests

Sample Humidifier:

Sample Humidifier

III Light:

III Light Light spectrum Sunlight Artificial light Distance from light Types of lights

Light Spectrum:

Light Spectrum Humans versus plants Effects of different spectrums Different bulbs have different spectrums


Sunlight Sunlight is best source, when available Keeping Tulasi outside Too much summer sun can burn leaves Keeping Tulasi inside home Sunlight intensity varies with the season For winter: large south-facing window with no shading from trees Artificial lighting is also recommended

Summer vs Winter:

Summer vs Winter

Artificial Lighting:

Artificial Lighting Light intensity Wattage is power rating, not intensity Bulb efficiency (Least to most efficient: incandescent, halogen, fluorescent, HID, LED) Different types of bulbs produce different spectrums

Distance from Light:

Distance from Light Doubling the distance reduces light by four times Lights should be as close as possible, but not so close that: Leaves get dry or burned Area covered is too small Consider bulb type Heat, direction, etc.

Light Intensity vs Distance:

Light Intensity vs Distance

Using Light Spectrums:

Using Light Spectrums Get “plant lights” or “grow lights” Otherwise get “full spectrum” If not available get “cool white” Blue spectrum is for growth, red is for flowering Pick one with both Example: (HID) MH versus HPS

Types of Bulbs:

Types of Bulbs Incandescent - not suitable ! Halogen – good, but use more electricity Fluorescent – very good, different types HID lighting – very good, higher wattage Metal Halide (MH) High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Light Emitting Diode (LED) – most efficient in terms of energy and spectrum control

Types of Fixtures:

Types of Fixtures Compact fluorescent and halogen use common threaded socket Tube fluorescent need special fixture Ballasts and starters Most HID lights need special fixture LED lights need special fixture

Using Lights:

Using Lights Need a method to put lights above Tulasi Pole lamps for CF or halogen Hanging fixtures work well, especially if height is adjustable Tube fluorescents, HID, LED Most LEDs can be put directly in branches Light should be directed downward

Pole lamps:

Pole lamps

Tube lights:

Tube lights

Halogen bulbs:

Halogen bulbs

LED Lights:

LED Lights

Least Expensive:

Least Expensive Compact flourescent with pole lamp If possible, get good lights for plants OR Tube light fluorescent fixture with two or four bulbs Hang from ceiling with hooks and chain Buy fluorescent light bulbs meant for plants Total cost could be under $40

IV Water:

IV Water Temperature and quality Watering during worship Watering Tulasi

Water Quality & Temperature:

Water Quality & Temperature Water quality Know your tap water Most municipal water is ok, but: Usually has chloramine – best if removed Good idea to filter Most under-sink filters work well (carbon block) Water temperature Time of year Winter water can be cold

Watering during Worship:

Watering during Worship How many people will be watering? Each person can put a few drops Avoid using the same Tulasi plant if many people are watering every day

Watering Tulasi:

Watering Tulasi Proper watering and light are most critical! Watering is based on soil type, pot type, pot size, size of plant, amount of light, temperature, humidity, and root volume How frequently – only as needed May be only 1x/week indoors, but as needed! How much water It’s ok if some runs out the bottom of the pot

Watering Tulasi:

Watering Tulasi Varies considerably with soil type Loose soils: moisture consistent throughout Compact soils: interior is always wetter Soil should be dry 2-3 inches down Roots need air If soil is completely dry, water many times a little at a time Test different section/depths to see if dry Poke holes to distribute water

Over-watering vs Under-watering:

Over-watering vs Under-watering Both have similar symptoms Leaf curl, wilt, leaves dropping Under-watering: water slowly, thoroughly Over-watering: Remove top layer of soil (also increase light) Keep hydrologic connection with lower soil In severe cases, remove Tulasi and soil from pot and place on dry newspapers

V Soil, Substrates and Pots:

V Soil, Substrates and Pots Soil Microbial population Fertilizing Pots Transplanting


Soil Use soil mixed with coarser material Most potting soil needs additions Don’t use clay, compact, or heavy soils Exception: if no nitrogen fertilizer, don’t put uncomposted matter into soil It absorbs nitrogen while breaking down Example: glass jar with marbles Finest particles will fill all space

Soil Additions:

Soil Additions Soil additions Compare: granigrit, turface, vermiculite, perlite, expanded shale Wood chips: best is uncomposted pine bark Tulasi greenhouse: 2-2-2-1 of soil, perlite, pine bark, granigrit Soil and organic matter will become more fine and dense over time Can also use mix with no soil

Microbial Population:

Microbial Population Symbiotic relationship with plants 10-20 layers of microbes on healthy plants They make minerals available in soil How to feed them Sprinkle some grain meal on the soil Spray leaves with 1 tbspn milk per gallon Things to avoid Inorganic pesticides

Fertilizing Tulasi:

Fertilizing Tulasi Purchased fertilizer Use an all-purpose plant fertilizer Using liquid fertilizers Soil should be moist, follow directions Soil amendments Don’t add too much of one type Manures/compost - fully composted


Pots Clay versus plastic Depends on soil mix, humidity, temperature, watering conditions, etc Always consider the environment Other factors Clay is heavy Plastic has more drainage holes Composite – has benefits of both


Transplanting When to transplant Tulasi’s size, signs of being root-bound Transplant in cool weather, in shade, water afterward, avoid light for 24 hours Always keep soil and roots wet or moist Use same or lighter soil Tease roots out a little Transplant bare root if old soil is a problem Keep Tulasi the same depth in new soil

VI Pests and Problems:

VI Pests and Problems Pets Cultural Controls Common Insect Problems Common Diseases Other Problems


Pets No pets! Animals should not be allowed in the room where Tulasi is kept Keep pets away outdoors Fencing Spraying repellants Watch out for nearby trees Keep Tulasi on a stand

Cultural Controls:

Cultural Controls Temperature, humidity, fresh air, good lighting, good soil, proper soil moisture When problems occur, always include cultural / environmental controls Increase lighting to 15-16 hours a day For pest problems decrease the temperature, if possible

Common Insect Problems:

Common Insect Problems Caterpillars Fungus gnats White fly Mealy bugs Scale Spider mites


Caterpillars Symptoms – chewed leaves, missing leaves, usually toward ends of branches Cultural controls – find them, dispose Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (Btk) spray on leaves, wait a day before picking Neem oil Spray on leaves, use minimal dose

Caterpillar Picture:

Caterpillar Picture

Fungus Gnats:

Fungus Gnats Look like fruit flies, sometimes larger They like wet soil and dry air Cultural controls Let soil dry before watering, increase air flow around plants Use looser soils: add perlite, etc. Water with BT (Mosquito dunks, Gnatrol) Yellow sticky traps

Fungus Gnat Picture:

Fungus Gnat Picture


Whitefly Symptoms – whiteflies & eggs underneath leaves, whiteflies flying when disturbed, leaves yellowing or dropping Can spread diseases Cultural controls - increase lighting, decrease temperature, decrease humidity Use various methods in combination for a severe infestation

Whitefly Picture:

Whitefly Picture

Whitefly Biological Controls:

Whitefly Biological Controls Ladybugs, Green Lacewings Eat many other insect pests Pirate bugs Parasitized whitefly eggs Attach to branches Yellow sticky traps Don’t use with parasitized eggs

Spraying for Whitefly:

Spraying for Whitefly Using sprays Always spray undersides of leaves Remove all dead leaves from soil Spray every 3-4 days, only adults are killed Insecticidal soap, Safer soap Neem oil – use diluted if multiple times Non-organic sprays – not necessary except as a very last resort

Mealy Bugs:

Mealy Bugs Small whitish oval bugs, slow moving, produce cottony masses Cultural controls - increase lighting, decrease temperature if possible Use insecticidal soap and/or neem oil Spray with hose, and clean off leaves and stems Mealybug destroyer – Australian lady bug

Mealy Bug Picture:

Mealy Bug Picture


Scale Small oval bumps on stems and leaf joints like mealybugs but brown & do not move Increase lighting, decrease temperature Use insecticidal soap and/or neem oil Use insecticidal soap and soft toothbrush Commercial sprays such as Safer Soap

Scale Pictures:

Scale Pictures

Spider Mites:

Spider Mites Very tiny red insects on underside of leaves, fine webbing between leaves, speckled leaves Increase lighting and humidity, decrease temperature Use insecticidal soap and/or neem oil Horticultural oils or predatory bugs

Spider Mite Pictures:

Spider Mite Pictures

Common diseases:

Common diseases Root Rot Black Spot Black Sooty Mold

Root Rot:

Root Rot A primary reason Tulasi dies in winter! Too much moisture retained in the soil Primarily caused by heavy, dense soil Too much moisture retention is also from: Overwatering, surface mulch, or lack of growth due to: insufficient light, pests, or insufficient fertilizer Easiest solution – good substrate mix

Root Rot Picture:

Root Rot Picture

Black Spot:

Black Spot Black spots on a few leaves Fairly large spots, black or brown Leaf may be crinkled around spot Spreads easily Remove all leaves with any spots Dispose of leaves carefully, very far away Wash hands

Black Spot Picture:

Black Spot Picture

Black Sooty Mold:

Black Sooty Mold Black mold, mainly on leaves Causes: high humidity, insufficient air circulation, honeydew from pests Increase lighting, decrease humidity, increase air circulation, deal with pests Spray leaves with insecticidal soap, let sit 5-10 minutes, spray with plain water Remove covered leaves cut off badly infected areas

Black Sooty Mold Picture :

Black Sooty Mold Picture

Other Problems:

Other Problems Why Tulasi does not do well Insufficient light Poor soil mix Improper watering No fertilizer Insect pest problems Solution: good lighting, proper soil, fertilize And learn how to deal with insect problems

Haridas Thakur’s Instructions:

Haridas Thakur’s Instructions “Chant the Hare Krsna mantra continuously and render service to the Tulasi plant by watering her and offering prayers to her. In this way you will very soon get the opportunity to be sheltered at the lotus feet of Krsna.” - Caitanya Caritamrta, Antya Lila 3.137

Srimati Tulasi devi ki Jaya!:

Srimati Tulasi devi ki Jaya! Questions and Answers

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