Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil?5 min read

 Grow Lush Basil Hydroponically: A Beginner-Friendly Guide 

Imagine the heady aroma of fresh basil wafting from your kitchen year-round. With hydroponics, you can ditch those flimsy supermarket packages and enjoy a continuous supply of this beloved culinary herb. Basil absolutely flourishes in hydroponic systems, rewarding you with incredibly fast growth, vibrant leaves, and robust flavor.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or new to hydroponics, growing basil without soil is surprisingly easy.  Say goodbye to battling soil-borne pests and diseases, and instead enjoy a cleaner, more controlled environment for your plants to thrive.

Ready to transform your kitchen into a fragrant basil haven? Let’s get growing

 Why Basil Loves Hydroponics 

  • Fast Growth: Basil is a naturally quick-maturing herb, but hydroponics kicks its growth into overdrive!  By receiving a continuous supply of water and perfectly balanced nutrients directly at its roots, your basil will become a lush, leafy powerhouse.
  • Ample Harvests:  Hydroponically grown basil plants are incredibly productive.  With optimal conditions, you’ll be harvesting handfuls of aromatic leaves on a regular basis, ensuring a steady supply for all your favorite pesto, pasta, and salad recipes.
  • Easy to Propagate:  Hydroponics makes it a breeze to turn one basil plant into many.  Simply take cuttings from a thriving plant, root them in water, and you’ve got a whole new generation of basil ready to fill your hydroponic setup.

Note:  While basil is a fantastic choice for hydroponic beginners, paying close attention to a few key details (like nutrient balance and light requirements) is still important for

 Getting Started 

  • System Choices – I recommend a couple, but my favorite is simply the Farmstand by Lettuce Grow. They have a dummy proof system, which is great for me! It is seriously the best one to get started on, or upgrade to if you have been considering that.

Shop the 36 Plant Farmstand – For Households w/ 4+ People

  • Kratky: The Beginner’s Best Friend:  This “set it and forget it” method is incredibly low-maintenance.  No pumps, no electricity – just a container, some nutrient solution, and your basil plant. Perfect for starting out.
  • Deep Water Culture (DWC): Supercharged Growth: DWC systems use a simple air pump to oxygenate the nutrient solution, leading to even faster growth and larger plants.  It’s a fantastic option for those wanting abundant basil harvests.
  • Starting from Seed vs. Cuttings:
  • Seeds: The Budget-Friendly Route:  Basil seeds are inexpensive and germinate quickly.  However, you’ll need a little more patience before enjoying your first harvest.
  • Cuttings:  Get a Jumpstart:  You can root fresh basil cuttings from the grocery store or an existing plant directly in water and then transfer them to your hydroponic system for almost instant gratification.
  • Essentials:
  • Growing Container: Mason jars work perfectly for Kratky, while buckets are the go-to for DWC.
  • Net Pots: These hold your plant securely, allowing the roots to dangle in the nutrient solution.
  • Growing Medium (Optional):  While not essential for DWC, clay pebbles or Rockwool can provide support for young plants in both Kratky and DWC systems.
  • Hydroponic Nutrients:  Choose a fertilizer designed for leafy greens or herbs.
  • pH Kit: Keep an eye on your nutrient solution’s pH for optimal basil health.

 Tips for Success 

  • Plenty of Light:  Basil is a sun worshiper!  Ensure it receives at least 6-8 hours of bright light daily. If growing indoors, investing in quality grow lights is crucial.
  • Regular Pruning:  Don’t be shy about harvesting! Frequent pruning encourages bushy growth, prevents your basil from becoming leggy, and leads to a bushier plant with even more delicious leaves.
  • Watch the pH:  Basil prefers a slightly acidic growing environment. Aim to keep your nutrient solution pH within the range of 6.0 – 6.5. Test regularly and use pH adjusters (up or down) as needed.
  • Fresh Air: Good airflow helps prevent issues like powdery mildew. If growing indoors, a small fan to circulate air around your plants is beneficial.
  • Don’t Let it Flower (Usually): Once basil flowers, its flavor changes and leaf production slows down. To keep the harvest going, pinch off flower buds as they appear.

Bonus:  Experiment with different basil varieties!  There’s a whole world beyond classic Genovese – try Thai basil for a spicy kick, lemon basil for a zesty twist, or purple varieties for a pop of color in your dishes.


Growing basil hydroponically is a simple and incredibly rewarding way to enjoy this beloved herb year-round. With its rapid growth, bountiful harvests, and ease of care, hydroponic basil is sure to become a staple in your kitchen.

Don’t be afraid to start small and expand as your confidence grows. Whether it’s a single basil plant in a Kratky jar or a larger DWC setup, the fresh flavor you’ll experience makes the effort well worth it.

Ready to get your hands a little wet?

  • Start Simple:  Try a mason jar Kratky setup with a basil cutting – a fun and accessible project.
  • Join a Community:  Seek out online hydroponic forums for troubleshooting advice and to see what other basil varieties people are loving.

 FAQ: Your Hydroponic Basil Questions Answered 

  • How often do I need to change or add to the nutrient solution?
  • Kratky:  As your plant drinks, just top up with a diluted nutrient mix.  Full changes are less frequent (every few weeks).
  • DWC:  Top up regularly. A complete change every 1-2 weeks depending on your reservoir size is a good guideline.
  • Can I grow basil with other herbs hydroponically?
  • Yes!  Choose herbs with similar light and nutrient needs.  Mint, parsley, chives, and cilantro can be good companions for basil.
  • My basil leaves have brown spots, what’s wrong?
  • There are a few possibilities:
  • Nutrient burn: Your solution may be too concentrated.
  • Calcium deficiency:  Supplementing with a bit of calcium can help.
  • Fungal issue:  Check for other signs of disease, improve airflow.
  • Help! My basil is tall and spindly.
  • This usually means it’s not getting enough light.  Increase light intensity or duration.
  • Can I grow hydroponic basil outdoors?
  • Absolutely! Just protect it from extreme temperatures and consider some shade if you live in a very hot climate.



Recent Posts