Add some zest to your life by learning how to grow hydroponic basil. This herb grows great hydroponically, and you'll finally be able to whip up that batch of homemade pesto!
Growing basil in itself is not complicated - and growing basil hydroponically can be just as simple.
Once you learn how to grow basil hydroponically, you’ll find that the process is easy, convenient, and affordable, allowing you to produce large quantities of this herb no matter where you live.
Ready to get started? In this article, we'll tell you everything you need to know about hydroponic basil care and planting.
We'll start with the benefits of growing this herb in hydroponics, along with which varieties to choose. Then, we'll share what exactly you need to get started, and provide you the know-how to get your garden up and running.
Can Basil Be Grown Hydroponically?
A popular herb for conventional gardens, basil can also be grown hydroponically. It actually thrives in such a system since it loves warm weather and humid conditions.
Because most hydroponic growers choose to grow indoors, selecting basil will also mean that you can have a handy supply of fresh, fragrant basil at hand whenever you want to add it to your favorite recipes.
There are more than 150 different pieces of basil, including sweet basil, Genovese basil, and lemon basil, but all of them can be grown indoors in a hydroponic environment.
What Are The Benefits Of Growing Basil Hydroponically?
There are countless benefits to growing basil hydroponically. For one, it can help conserve water. You’ll use just 10% of the water you’d use in a more conventional garden.
It will be easier for you to control nutrient delivery and prevent things like pests and diseases, too.
This is a cleaner method of growing, as there are no dirt or weeds involved. And, you can grow herbs year-round, something that is often not possible when you are growing in a traditional garden.
When you grow basil hydroponically, you get a clean, delicious herb right in the comfort of your own home. Your yields will be greater, and the taste purer, since you're growing in the clean environment that is a hydroponic system.
How Long Does Basil Take To Grow Hydroponically?
Basil matures quickly from seed to table. In most cases, you’ll find that it matures in just eight to ten weeks, and you can continue cutting leaves until your plant bolts or goes to seed.
That's one of the great things about basil - this herb is "pick and go", so you can pluck a few leaves here and there for dinner, and let the plant recover and grow fresh leaves in their place.
Choosing Your Hydroponic Basil Variety
You can grow any variety of basil in a hydroponic environment. Some of the best kinds of basil to consider growing are sweet basil, Genovese basil, lemon basil, and Italian large leaf basil. Other Popular cultivars include “Siam Queen,” “Greek,” and “Emerald Towers.”
Sweet basil, in particular, is a good variety for hydroponics because it grows in a compact, bushy fashion.
How To Grow Basil Hydroponically - Step By Step Guide
Ready to get started growing basil in your hydroponic environment? We know you're excited after reading some of the benefits and learning how easy this style can be.
But make no mistake - there is a learning curve with hydroponics. You will need to be more dilligent about monitoring your grow, maintaining the reservoir, and being accurate in your dosing.
If you are new to hydroponics in general, we encourage you to start with our hydroponics 101 guide. It's a great crash course into this non-traditional method of cultivating plants.
But, if you feel conifident in your abilities, we can move onto the first step in growing basil hydroponically - choosing the right system.
What Hydroponic System Is Best For Basil?
There are several kinds of hydroponic systems you can use for growing basil and other herbs. Two of the most popular are ebb and flow and hydroponic drip systems.
Hydroponic Ebb & Flow Systems
Although there are several different types and styles of ebb and flow (also known as flood and drain) systems you can choose from, these systems are ideal for growers who want to maximize the amount of space they have available.
Just as the name implies, ebb and flow systems work by first flooding the roots of your plants with nutrients and water, allowing the solution to fully saturate them for around 10-15 minutes, at least four times per day.
Then, the nutrient solution will drain back out. The entire system is equipped with a timer to help automate the process, so you don't have to lift a finger.
There are ebb and flow systems to suit all budgets, available space, and levels of experience, so be sure to shop around. We have a wide range of options available for novice and advanced growers alike in our hydroponic ebb and flow category at Hydrobuilder.
Hydroponic Drip Systems
Another one of the most popular hydroponic systems for growing hydroponic basil is a hydroponic drip system.
With a drip system, you’ll feed your plants’ roots the nutrients they need via drippers. This is a gentler alternative to flooding and draining with an ebb and flow system, which can sometimes prove to be too much all at once for plants.
This method is sometimes referred to as a hydroponic irrigation system and is perfect for larger operations.
You can find complete hydroponic drip systems shopping this category at Hydrobuilder.
How To Start Hydroponic Basil - Seeds vs Clones
When it comes to starting hydroponic basil, you have few options. You can start it from seeds or clones.
Germinating seeds will take anywhere from three to ten days and require temperatures in the 75-degree range. This deters some growers who just want to get started ASAP.
Basil is surprisingly easy to clone. You can skip the difficult steps associated with germinating seeds and increase your success rate this way.
Of course, you can always purchase mature basil plants from the store and transplant them into your hydroponic system.
If you choose to start from seed, germinate the seeds in warm conditions, ideally using seed starter plugs.
You will find everything you need for planting hydroponic basil, including seed starting and cloning supplies, at Hydrobuilder.
How Much Light Does Hydroponic Basil Need?
Although basil likes to be kept warm, it doesn't need to be subjected to super-intense light. In fact, although you can use an LED grow light (which may prove to be more efficient) you don’t have to.
A T5 fluorescent light will work just fine. You can use the same bulbs from start to finish, too, since you are only going to be growing basil in its vegetative (leafy) state.
Ideally, your basil should receive around 14 to 16 hours of light each day.
Hydroponic Basil Care - Taking this Herb From Seed To Harvest
Basil is simple to care for, as are most herbs. Once you get them planted and your system running, you have few responsibilities to take the plant from seed to harvest.
However, you do need to manage the reservoir, changeout nutrients, and prune the plants as needed.
Hydroponic Basil Nutrients Requirements
Nitrogen will be the most important nutrient since you will be growing it in its vegetative state.
You will want to use a hydroponic nutrient solution high in nitrogen and formulated specifically for hydroponic growing.
Occasionally, you may find that you need to add some supplemental calcium and magnesium, too. Cal-Mag is a simple solution you can use.
In terms of reservoir management, you need to constantly monitor the pH and the EC of your reservoir to ensure there are not only enough nutrients, but the pH is balanced so as to allow your plants to access these nutrients.
Using the right pH & EC meters can make this really simple. Our guide on how to measure and adjust pH is another must-read for any new grower.
Spacing & Pruning Your Basil Plants
Other than changing out your nutrient solution every few weeks, you’ll just want to make sure your plants are appropriately spaced and pruned.
Provide at least 10 inches of space between plants so they have room to grow. Prune the plants regularly to encourage new growth.
You can cut up to a third of the plant at once, with shoots producing additional leaves for a continuous harvest.
Mind The Growing Environment
When planting hydroponic basil, also keep in mind the ideal temperature range. Basil grows best when it’s kept at temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees.
It also needs a fair amount of humidity, so you may find that you need to mist the leaves of your plants with a spray bottle every now and then.
Final Thoughts On How To Grow Hydroponic Basil
Now that you know how to grow hydroponic basil, the sky's the limit with how much you decide to produce!
Many of the tips we’ve given you in this article can also be applied to other herbs grown in a hydroponic setup, such as parsley and mint.
You can shop everything you need for your indoor hydroponic herb garden - and for growing basil hydroponically - by shopping our extensive hydroponics collection at Hydrobuilder.
We offer affordable prices, easy-to-understand instructions, and a wide selection of the best hydroponic basil care and planting equipment. Get started today!