Basil is a popular herb and a staple in most households around the world. It goes well with many dishes, making it one of the most in-demand herbs. While it is readily available in stores, it is a great idea to have a fresh supply from your hydroponics garden.
In this article, You will find a comprehensive guide on how to grow hydroponic basil. The article highlights the materials you need, the practices you should adopt, and tips for successful growth.
- 1 Hydroponic Basil: Getting Started
- 2 Creating a Conducive Environment for Hydroponic Basil
- 3 Tips for Growing Hydroponic Basil Successfully
- 4 The Bottom Line
- Before starting a hydroponic basil garden you need to choose the variety, the system to use, and whether you will start with seeds or cuttings.
- Providing a conducive environment as far as temperature, pH and light will contribute to the growth of the basil.
- Regular pruning and harvesting contribute to high yields; ensuring a consistent supply of fresh basil.
Hydroponic Basil: Getting Started
Getting started can seem overwhelming, but with a suitable variety of basil and the right hydroponic system, you can create something in no time.
Choosing the Variety of Basil to Grow
Any variety of basil can grow in a hydroponic garden. However, if you are looking for a variety that will take a short time to grow with little attention, consider sweet basil or bush basil .
These two varieties are easy to start with and do not need a lot of space to grow. Also, they perform well both indoors and outdoors, giving you different options to explore.
Seeds or Cuttings?
What are you going to start with? You can grow hydroponic basil from cuttings or store-bought seeds. If you choose seeds, you will need to germinate them for a few days before transferring them to the hydroponic garden.
The best germinating environment for basil seeds is the temperature in the 23 degrees Celsius range.
If you choose to start with cuttings, identify an already growing healthy basil plant to get your cuttings from. Snip off your cuttings to clone and ensure the stems have nodes and multiple leaves.
Choosing the Hydroponic System
Like other hydroponics plants, basil can grow in any system as long as it is well set up and fully functional. The guiding factor is ensuring the system you choose allows you to access all the plants. This is to enable easy pruning, which is essential for optimal growth and high yields.
Creating a Conducive Environment for Hydroponic Basil
Like other plants, basil requires a favorable environment with the proper parameters for optimal growth. These are the growing medium, temperature, nutrients, pH, spacing, and light.
You need a water and nutrient solution mix as part of the growing medium for basil. In addition, the plants will require physical support as they grow taller and wider. The best growing medium is Rockwool blocks, as they last longer and provide adequate support.
The best temperature range to grow hydroponic basil is between 18 to 26 degrees Celsius. This is neither too hot nor too cold for basil, regardless of whether you choose to grow indoors or outdoors. But, it is a good idea to use a temperature controller to ensure the temperature remains in that range .
It can be challenging to control the pH of your hydroponics system, but as long as it leans towards a neutral pH, it should be okay. Therefore, aim for a pH between 5.5 and 6.5.
The spacing requirements for basil depend on the variety of basil you choose. But generally, a spacing of 9 to 12 inches is adequate to provide enough room for basil to grow well. The idea is to encourage lateral growth to maximize yields, especially if you intend to use up more.
Basil needs adequate light to grow; however, it is one of the herbs that can survive in low-light situations. That said, you can grow basil indoors under fluorescent light. You can use this kind of light from start to finish as you only need basil in its vegetive stage.
If you intend to grow other leafy greens in addition to basil, you can invest in LED grow lights to ensure adequate provision. At the very least, ensure your basil plants get 14 to 16 hours of light every day for productive growth.
Basil does not need many nutrients to grow and produce, but like other plants, it needs support, especially when growing it in water. The basic nutrient basil requires is nitrogen; therefore, nutrient solutions with this compound work great.
You could also add magnesium and calcium into your nutrient regimen to meet the demand, just like other vegetative plants.
Related post: How to grow hydroponic lettuce
Tips for Growing Hydroponic Basil Successfully
Growing basil is not difficult; however, it does require continuous supervision and regular maintenance. Here are some tips you can apply to ensure optimal growth and productivity.
Ensure Air Circulation
Generally, growing hydroponic plants requires constant circulation of air to ensure optimal humidity for growth. You want to ensure air does not stay stagnant, preventing the growth of mold and mildew.
Use a fan to circulate air around your basil plants and ensure the humidity does not go under 60 %.
Basil can grow uncontrollably, making it harder to manage. It is, therefore, advisable to prune regularly using sharp shears. You may need to monitor the plants daily as it is one of the herbs that grow fast.
If you are a beginner in growing hydroponic basil, start pruning as soon as the second leaf node develops. Additionally, get rid of any drying leaves to create adequate space and light for the healthy ones.
As mentioned, basil can grow uncontrollably, requiring regular harvesting to create room for sprouting leaves. When harvesting, you can cut off the top to prevent vertical growth and encourage lateral growth. This will encourage more shoots, increasing the number of leaves that sprout .
The Bottom Line
Hydroponics basil is easy to grow, especially if you have limited space. As easy as it sounds, you will still need to regularly take care of the plant to ensure proper growth and production. With the right system, environmental conditions, and maintenance, you can build a fresh supply of basil.