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I recently went home for the winter and left my Tulsi with a generous neighbour. They watered her daily, but when I returned after 5 weeks, I found that she had lost all her leaves.

Here's a picture from just before:

Tulsi, healthy

And here's what she looks like now:

Tulsi with leaf loss

What could have gone wrong? My guess is over watering, but how can I be sure? And more importantly, can she still be revived?

If it helps in the diagnosis, I live in Pittsburgh, US and it's been a fairly cold winter. My neighbour's room is well heated (with temps above 70 °F) but poorly ventilated.

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    The "before" picture shows wilting leaves, looks to be in big trouble already. Not your neighbors fault. Feb 14 at 23:10
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Is there any draining system in the pot? If not, then over watering might have done the harm. Whatever it is we will never know. Also I would like to ask the age of your plant. Tulsi can die anytime between 1.5 years to 3 years. At least in my place I have seen so, but obviously after flowering and producing seeds.

Now, coming back to your question, are the remaining leaves still green or are they turning brown? From your picture it can't be understood if the petiole of the leaves are still somewhat strong. To be sure if your plant if still alive or not, sharply cut a stem and scratch it with something pointed. If it is green inside, chances are your plant is still alive.

If it is still alive, you can try re-producing it by planting a stem from it. Though I have not tried this method but all these sites suggest you can do so, provided if your plant is still alive.

Follow all the procedures mentioned in those sites like drainage system, sun light, pruning and it is likely that it will re-grow.

If your plant is dead already, I am afraid you will have to collect Tulsi seeds and plant them. More information is here.

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  • Thanks for the response! The pot does have good drainage. The remaining leaves are all very dry and crisp, even though somewhat green at the moment. Thanks for the suggestions. I will follow them to see if she is alive or not. Feb 14 at 19:35
  • Also, she is 1.5 years old. But the change seems too abrupt! Feb 14 at 19:45

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