Hydroponics – Basil is a very popular herb. It is one of the most widely used in the kitchen. In fact, it is often called Italian seasoning because it is so common in Italian cooking.
Basil is a perennial plant that can be grown from seeds or cuttings. It grows in a variety of conditions and climates, including dry soils and acidic soil.
Basil can be grown indoors in pots or outdoors in the ground. And although basil is a woody plant, it can be grown hydroponically for this reason.
How to Grow Basil Hydroponically
If you want to grow your own basil using hydroponics, the best method is to grow it in a soilless medium.
The most common mediums are bark, peat, rockwool and perlite. But some people argue that growing basil hydroponically is not worth the effort because of the work it takes to create the medium (which can be very time consuming) and because growing basil in this way is less efficient than growing it in soil.
However, there are three things you can do to improve basil’s growth rate which will increase its yield.
- The first thing you can do is buy pots with larger holes than you need.
- The second thing you can do is use a container with several trays inside each other which will allow more light to reach the plant roots.
- And the last thing you can do is use more than one plant which will create competition among the plants for nutrients and water thereby increasing the yield further.
Why We Grow Basil Hydroponically
The reason hydroponic gardening works so well for basil is that basil has a very basic nutritional requirement: nitrogen.
In soil, it’s easy to have too much or too little of one thing. In hydroponics, you don’t have those problems, because you can control your nutrient levels as needed.
You can also control the environment as needed. If you want to grow basil indoors, grow it in pots and use a heating pad to keep it warm, which will encourage faster growth. Or, if you want to grow basil outdoors during the winter months, let the basil get a few weeks of exposure to direct sunlight before harvesting.
Ideal Conditions for Grow Basil Hydroponically
- EC: 1.6–2.2
- pH range: 5.6–6.6
- Temperature: 65–95ºF
Step-by-step Grow Basil Hydroponically
There are two main ways to grow basil hydroponically: from cuttings and seeds.
Growing basil hydroponically from cuttings isn’t as complicated as you might think. Here’s all equipment/tool you needed:
- An LED array
- Mason jars
- 3” net pot
- Liquid hydroponic basil nutrients
- Rooting hormone for quick plant cloning
- Rockwool grow cube
- Hydroton clay pebbles
- Large jar to mix up your liquid nutrients
- Eye-dropper for measuring nutrients
- Squeeze bottle for easy nutrient distribution
- Clear plastic drinking cups
- Start by rinsing the Hydroton clay pebbles in a sieve, and set them aside.
- Create your liquid nutrient blend. Start by measuring out your nutrients, checking the back label for more detailed instructions. Add your nutrients to your large mixing jar using the eyedropper. Mix it well.
- Add some of your solution to your squeeze bottle.
- Grab your Rockwool grow cube and the plant you want to clone.
- Next, you’re going to snip off your cuttings to use for cloning. Look for healthy stems with nodes that have multiple leaves. Snip about halfway between the node and the main stem of the plant.
- Using your squeeze bottle, apply some of your nutrient solution to the hole in your Rockwool cube.
- Dip the stem of your cutting into the rooting hormone gel. The gel will help clone the plant quickly.
- Place the stem of your cutting into the hole in the Rockwool cube.
- Place the cube and plant into the net pot.
- Fill the pot (all the way up to the top) with the clay pebbles.
- Fill your Mason jar about a third of the way with your mixed nutrient solution.
- Place your net pot into the mouth of the jar. It should fit perfectly and rest just above the water solution.
- Using the squeeze bottle, add more nutrients until the water covers the bottom of the net pot.
- Place the plastic cup over the plant and top of the jar to create a humidity dome. This will help your plant grow roots.
- Leave the humidity dome in place for about a week.
Check the status of your root growth. Once your root system is established, you can transfer your basil to a separate mason jar to continue its growth.
Growing basil hydroponically from seeds is easier than from cuttings. It takes just a few simple steps. Here’s all equipment/tool you needed::
- Humidity dome or seed sprouting kit
- Heat pad
- Rockwool cubes
- Hole-less seed tray
- Place your Rockwool cubes into the hole-less seed tray.
- Soak your Rockwool cubes in water (while in the tray), and let them sit for about five minutes.
- Next, add your seeds to the holes in the Rockwool cubes. For basil, add about six seeds per cube.
- Grab your humidity dome or seed sprouting kit. It should have a tray and a dome.
- Place your heating mat onto the bottom tray of the humidity dome.
- Sit the hole-less try (with the Rockwool cubes) on top of the heating mat.
- Plug the heating mat in, or place your seeds next to a warm window.
- Place the humidity dome on top.
- Once your seeds have sprouted and grown their first adult leaves, add some diluted fertilizer (half strength works best) to the tray with your cubes to get things moving.
Keep your plants in this setup for about 2-3 weeks or until they are established. Then, you can move them into their permanent hydroponic system.
Tips for Growing basil hydroponically
A hydroponic system is very effective, but it does require ongoing supervision and maintenance.
To grow basil in the hydroponic system, you will need to keep the system well-balanced by adding or removing nutrients as needed. For best results, it is important to follow a detailed schedule for feeding your system.
When feeding your system with nutrients, you will need to make sure that the liquid nutrient solution you are adding is a liquid at a specific concentration. This is done by adjusting the amount of liquid nutrient solution added to your system.
In small systems, it may also be necessary to provide oxygen through bubblers during the day. In larger systems, bubblers can be turned off at night as they may contribute to algae growth and may make the water cloudy as well as providing some oxygen for plants.
Your system needs to be carefully monitored and tended throughout its life cycle. This means maintaining a program of regular watering and fertilizing throughout the growing cycle of the plant. The more you monitor your project, the less likely you will have problems with organisms such as fungus, algae, mold and bacteria that cause disease and rot your plants.