Get a small tea pot, kettle, or anything clean with a spout, and use to water Her as it is easier to control the flow and also easier to maneuver. City water is full of chemicals, but if drawn in a bucket and let sit over night, the chemicals will evaporate out– be sure the bucket is not a corrosive metal (no aluminum vessel should be used) as that would permeate the water. After the bucket has sat over night, aerate it by pouring it from one bucket to another, allowing it to free fall through the air for a distance. This process gets more of the chlorine out and also allows air into the water. If you can water her with filtered water, this is best.
By using the teapot method you can avoid the danger of over watering, exposing Her roots by washing soil away, and knocking branches trying to water Her. As was said earlier, the watering of Srimati Tulasi-devi is not a mechanical process and will come with practice. Feel the soil by pushing your finger in Her pot. Is She dried out? Then pour slowly, seeing how much She will absorb in just a few seconds. Never leave a puddle of water still above the soil, this means that She is saturated and can not accept more. Balance it so She is just dry on top by the next morning, not still soggy or so dry that She has drooped. If the sun is out, and it is going to be a hot day, She will need more water, and the converse is, if it is a cloudy day She will not need much. Afternoon sun is very intense and taxing, so always check Her again around 2-3 p.m. Every afternoon, spray Her off as explained in the “Diseases” section. At least once a week, water Her until the water drains out the bottom.
Over-watering causes diseases in the soil, mold, faded and curled leaves, rots the soil, and causes root diseases. A sign or over watering is when She turns a pale green and apparently perfectly healthy leaves drop. She will go limp, if under-watered.
She breathes through the soil and over the process of time the soil tends to become packed. This causes uneven water absorption and poor ventilation. The cure is to break up the soil with a fork or a spoon handle. Dig down about 1/2 inch, breaking up and turning over the soil in small clods. This can be done as needed in accordance with the rate it becomes packed. Be cautious of Her roots.
There is really no need for artificial feedings. In fact, some foods (certain mixtures of 20-20-20) will actually build up toxins in Her soil and cause great damage. Stick with a little cow manure every 3 or 4 weeks, and once a month a feeding of iron. This, combined with the perpetual replanting in fresh soil, are enough to keep Her in fine health. Try a powdered iron solution:
1 teaspoon to 2 gallons water
1/4 cup every 2 weeks
Stay away from chemical fertilizers, as they build up toxins in the soil and slowly deplete it of certain elements. Use cow manure, and a good brand of organic compost is essential. The compost should be cultivated into the soil every few weeks, along with a little manure. Watch out for ground-up bone material in the compost though, which should always be avoided.