Greens are the most favourite to grow in a hydroponic system. Hydroponic basil is one of them. Hydroponic enthusiasts all over the world like to grow spinach, lettuce, kale, and other types of green vegetables in their home hydroponic gardens. Greens are easy to grow and harvest and also don’t demand much nutrients and are rough and tough plants as compared to some other hydroponic crops.
Hydroponic Basil can be easily grown by using the Kratky method. We will be using fresh hydroponic basil seeds to germinate them first and then transplant them into the hydroponic system once the roots are developed. All the steps from germination to harvesting and how to take care of your hydroponic basil will be covered step by step.
I have also mentioned some FAQs at the bottom of this article to clear all your queries. We will be using the Kratky method (easiest) to grow hydroponic basil continuously.
Basil is a type of mint and holds importance in various cultures of the world. For example, people in India grow basil plants in their homes to bring them luck and keep them away from negative energies. Scientifically, basil is from the family of oreganos, rosemary, thyme, and other herbs.
If you are new to hydroponics then don’t forget to read our “21 Best Hydroponic Gift Ideas” and gift yourself a little something to get started! 😀
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Starting Hydroponic Basil Seeds
So, the first step in growing hydroponic basil is going to be starting basil seeds. I am assuming that you don’t have any basil plants at your home, otherwise, you can also directly plant basil cuttings in the hydroponic system.
If you are new to hydroponics and don’t know much about starting hydroponic seeds. Do check out my other short article on Ways to Start Hydroponic Seeds.
For starting the basil seeds, you require:-
|Items Required||Check Price on Amazon|
|1. High-quality basil seeds||Link|
|2. Rapid Rooter seed starter plugs||Link|
|3. Seed Starter tray with Humidity Dome||Link|
|4. Nutrient – Flora Micro/ Cal-Mag||Link|
|5. Grow Media – Rockwool cubes||Link|
|6. LED Grow Light||Link|
|7. Gardening Pruner||Link|
One-Click Amazon Shopping List for Hydroponic Basil (All items included)
Now, if you are using Rockwool cubes then you have to soak them in water so that they are hydrated and toxins are removed. Starter plugs are a better choice to start a seed as they are easy to handle while transplanting.
So, firstly you need to put the starter plugs inside the seed tray holes. Now, with the help of a pointing object or clippers, put 2 to 3 hydroponic basil seeds inside the starter plugs. Once done, cover up the seeds with some more grow media and then spray some water on the starter plugs placed inside the seed tray holes.
This will grip the seeds within the starter plugs and also provide the moisture required for germination.
After doing this, if you have a humidity dome then you can place your seed tray inside it otherwise no worries you can use polyethene and wrap your seed tray with that, DIY humidity dome right?
Keep checking and if required pour some water into the seed tray and again wrap it. The seeds will start to pop out within 3-5 days. 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature range for successful basil seed germination.
Let’s talk about other things that you will need before transplanting the hydroponic basil.
Hydroponic Nutrient Solution
If you have ever grown lettuce in a hydroponic system then you know how much green vegetables love nitrogen. Nitrogen is a major requirement along with calcium and potassium to grow basil hydroponically.
You can use any solution with a high nitrogen percentage available at your nearby hydroponic store.
If you are looking to buy online you can either use General Hydroponics Flora Micro (5-0-1) or Cal-Mag plus. This will fulfil all the nutrition requirements for your hydroponic basil.
Remember that we have to keep our basil plant in a vegetative state as we want it to keep growing continuously so that we can harvest basil leaves every week. So, bloom nutrient or seed nutrient won’t work here.
As with every hydroponic plant, you require some medium to support the plant growth. With basil, you can use any neutral grow media for example expanded clay pellets, or Rockwool will also work great.
When using Rockwool, be sure to soak it up for at least 10 minutes in water and rinse softly before putting it inside the net pot.
If you are not sure what is growing media, then I recommend you to give a quick glance at 13 Best Hydroponic Grow Media Types
Grow Light for Hydroponic Basil
Although I will recommend you to not use a grow light for basils. You can easily grow them in natural sunlight as well. But if you want to use a grow light then keep in mind that basil doesn’t require intensive lighting so the spacing will be crucial otherwise you can burn the plant.
Also, basil requires at least 14 to 16 hours of daylight. Any drop in light exposure will reduce the growth by 10-20%.
You can buy a T5 Lighting fixture to support your hydroponic basil system. You can also buy cheap LED Grow lights from amazon that have blue and white lights. They will work just fine.
Transplanting Hydroponic Basil
Once the basil leaves pop out of the soil it is an indication that the roots have been formed. Now your basil is ready to be transplanted into a bigger pot. As we are using the Kratky method here, we will put the basil plants in a reservoir filled with hydroponic nutrient solutions.
You can either choose to place all the plants in one big grow tub or you can place them in individual glass jars as well. The Kratky method will work for that too.
In case you find that your roots are becoming yellowish and greasy, it can be a symptom of root rot.
If you are planting all the plants in one big reservoir then make sure to give 10 inches average space to each basil plant for perfect growth.
STEP 1 – Prepare your Kratky hydroponic system by putting the growing medium into the net pots and formulating the nutrient solution.
STEP 2 – Now, plant the germinated seeds into the net pots and put some more grow media to support the plant.
STEP 3 – Pour the hydroponic nutrient solution into the jar or reservoir up to the level so that it just touches the bottom of the net pot and our Rockwool or expanded clay pellets can start their wick action to provide moisture and nutrients to the roots.
Pruning Hydroponic Basil
This is the most important step if you want to grow your hydroponic basil perpetually. You will have to learn the art of hydroponic basil care.
With regular pruning, you can achieve boosted growth and your basil tower will expand rapidly. The basic idea of pruning basil is to remove the stems that are top-heavy i.e. more leaves growing vertically. This helps in creating lateral growth.
HH Tip – Make sure to cut the stem from just above the point where lateral buds are starting to grow. This way you will save your time and energy to start over with basil.
What is the best height to prune the Basil?
The best height at which you should start pruning your Basil is around 5 – 6 inches. As the Basil grows more, you need to prune it closer to the stem but above the nodes so that they get proper space to grow out. With time the Basil plant will become bushier and hence regular pruning is required. Just make sure to not prune more than 30% to 40% of the leaves at once.
How to eliminate bitter basil?
Basil leaves grow bitter if they are not pruned or harvested in time. You have to cut the stems if you are observing some flower growth in the stem. This is one signal that your leaves are ripening and turning bitter.
Remove any old or burnt leaves. There may be some ruined leaves attached to the plants that could lead to the bittering of other leaves nearby. Keep the plant clean with only fresh and healthy basil leaves.
Also, Read “Best Method to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce at Home“
Hydroponic Basil Care
Now once you have pruned the basil exactly as told and now you have a bunch of basil leaves that you want to save for 2-3 days. But you see that the leaves are ruined the next day itself.
But you kept them in a refrigerator? Right? Yes, basil leaves turn pale when kept in a refrigerator. That is because of the rapid cooling the leaves are not accustomed to that weather.
Instead, keep them sealed and packed at a temperature range of 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This will keep the basil leaves fresh and intact for at least the next 7-10 days.
If you have kept it in a polybag or a moisture locked packet then make sure to keep the temperature steady otherwise moisture will develop inside the packet running your hydroponically grown basil.
How do you keep hydroponic basil alive?
Hydroponic basil will be alive if you supply the perfect nutrient solution (nitrogen, calcium, and potassium). Also, regular pruning is necessary. Try to cut the stems with vertical growth and induce lateral growth. After harvesting, keep your basil leaves in an airtight pack at 55-60 degrees temperature to preserve them for 7-10 days.
How do you take care of a hydroponic basil plant?
By pruning the top-heavy plants regularly, you will get more lateral and sustainable basil growth. The humidity should not exceed 70% otherwise the leaf tips will absorb more moisture and become heavy. The ideal humidity for hydroponic basil is 40-60%.
How do I make hydroponic basil?
You can make hydroponic basil by starting basil seeds hydroponically and then transplanting them into a bigger system. You can use the Kratky method of hydroponics which is the easiest. You can grow basil leaves for a lifetime with this method. I have used this method to explain how to grow hydroponic basil in this article.
Can you plant a hydroponic basil plant in the soil?
Yes, you can also plant hydroponically grown basil in soil. You can easily clone the basil and plant it on the soil.
What should be the ideal temperature for hydroponic basil?
The ideal temperature for hydroponic basil should be between 65-95 degrees Fahrenheit. Your basil plant may produce fewer leaves or the leaves may start to crumble in case the temperature increases or decreases.
What should be the pH level and EC for hydroponic basil?
The ideal range of pH levels for hydroponic basil is between 5.5-6.5. This range can be maintained by using a neutral grow medium and Masterblend, cal-mag or Flora micronutrient solution. The ideal EC range is between 1.6-2.2.
What is the best height to prune the Basil?
The best height at which you should start pruning your hydroponic basil plant is 5 to 6 inches. Prune close to the stem as plants grow more. Do not prune more than 40% of the leaves at once and make sure to prune above the nodes.