How To Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive – Store Bought or Home Grown

Welcome back gardening friends. Today, we continue to explore the world of hydroponics, specifically focusing on the fragrant, versatile, and utterly delightful basil. This may be the most common first crop home growers choose when transitioning to hydroponics, and it may be with storebought basil. Your next natural question would be, how do I keep this plant alive? Basil grown from cuttings, seeds, transplants or from the grocery store can be kept alive by following the same principles, monitor the water, light and nutrition of the plant, and make adjustments as necessary to give it the best chance to thrive.

This article is your comprehensive guide to growing basil hydroponically, packed with expert advice, tips, and tricks to help you master this green thumb challenge. So let’s get started!

Basil Transplants, one hydroponic, one soil

The Basics of Growing Basil Hydroponically

To start, you need to grasp the basic principles of hydroponics. The absence of soil means that your basil will rely entirely on the nutrient-laden water you provide. Therefore, the first step is to set up your hydroponic system, which can range from a simple jar with a water-nutrient solution to more complex systems involving pumps and timers. The key is to ensure that the roots of your basil have constant access to both water and air.

The next step is to provide your basil with the right environment. Basil thrives in warm temperatures, between 70-80°F (21-27°C), and needs a good amount of light—either from a sunny windowsill or artificial grow lights. Remember, hydroponic basil is a bit of a sun worshipper, so make sure it gets its daily dose of light!

Planting your basil comes next. You can start with seeds or cuttings, though I personally prefer the latter as it’s quicker. Once your basil starts to grow, monitor its progress, making sure that it’s getting the right amount of nutrients and light. This brings us to the heart of our topic: how to keep hydroponic basil alive.

Essential Tips on How to Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive

Keeping any plant alive requires a blend of patience, care, and a little bit of trial and error. For hydroponic basil, the same principles apply. Here are some essential tips to help you out.

Firstly, pay close attention to the nutrient solution. It’s the lifeblood for your basil, providing all the essential nutrients it needs. Make sure you’re using a high-quality hydroponic nutrient mix, and change the solution regularly, usually every two weeks, to prevent nutrient build-up and pH imbalances.

Secondly, monitor the pH level of your nutrient solution. Basil prefers a slightly acidic environment, with a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. An imbalance in pH can hinder nutrient absorption, leading to poor growth or even plant death.

Lastly, don’t forget about pruning. Regular pruning encourages bushier growth, resulting in more leaves for your kitchen concoctions. Prune above the leaf node (where the leaves sprout from the stem), and your basil will respond by growing two new stems from that node.

The Benefits of Growing Hydroponic Basil from Grocery Store

Now, here’s a cool tip: you can actually start your hydroponic basil garden using cuttings from grocery store basil! Not only is this method cost-effective, but it’s also a great way to reduce food waste. Plus, it’s pretty thrilling to watch something you bought from a store take root and grow.

To do this, simply take a healthy, fresh basil stem from your grocery store purchase and remove the lower leaves, leaving only the topmost leaves. Place the stem in your hydroponic setup, ensuring that the cut end is submerged in the nutrient solution. After a week or two, you should start to see roots developing. Congrats, you’ve successfully grown hydroponic basil from grocery store cuttings!

Common Challenges in Keeping Hydroponic Basil Alive and Their Solutions

Growing basil hydroponically isn’t without its challenges. One of the most common issues is nutrient deficiency, which can manifest as yellowing leaves or stunted growth. This can often be resolved by adjusting your nutrient solution or checking the pH.

Another challenge is overwatering. Remember, while your basil needs constant access to water, the roots also need access to air. Overwatering can lead to ‘drowning’ your plant or causing root rot. Ensure your hydroponic system allows for proper aeration to avoid this problem.

If your basil is wilting, check out this article addressing common issues why your basil may be wilting.

Pests can also be a nuisance, even in indoor hydroponic setups. Keep an eye out for common pests like aphids and spider mites, and tackle them early with organic pest control methods to prevent an infestation.

Expert Advice for Thriving Hydroponic Basil

The best tip I can give you is this: know your plant. Understanding the needs and behavior of basil will help you create the best environment for it to thrive. Don’t be disheartened by initial failures—remember, every successful gardener has killed a few plants along the way!

Also, consider investing in a good quality hydroponic system. While DIY setups can be fun and cost-effective, a professionally designed system can provide optimal conditions for your basil to thrive, with less hassle for you.

The Role of Light and Temperature in Hydroponic Basil Growth

As we touched on earlier, light and temperature play a vital role in hydroponic basil growth. Basil loves warm temperatures and plenty of light. If you’re growing your basil indoors (which is likely, considering it’s a hydroponic setup), you’ll need to ensure it gets at least six hours of light per day.

Investing in a good grow light can be a game changer for your hydroponic basil, especially during winter months when natural light is limited. As for temperature, try to maintain an environment around 70-80°F (21-27°C). Basil can tolerate lower temperatures, but it may slow its growth.

Water and Nutrient Requirements of Hydroponic Basil

We’ve mentioned the importance of the nutrient solution, but let’s dive a little deeper. The water you use in your hydroponic setup should ideally be filtered or purified to remove any potential contaminants.

As for nutrients, your basil will need a blend of macro and micronutrients. The macro ones include nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, while micronutrients include elements like calcium, magnesium, and iron. Most hydroponic nutrient solutions will provide a balanced mix of these essential elements.

Remember to change your nutrient solution every two weeks, and monitor the pH level to ensure optimal nutrient absorption.

Basil Grown In Coco Transplanted to Hydroponics

Hydroponic Basil Harvesting and Usage Tips

Once your basil plant is lush and green, it’s time to start harvesting. The best part about hydroponic basil is that it grows much faster than soil-grown basil, so you’ll have fresh leaves ready in no time.

When harvesting, remember to snip from the top, leaving some leaves on the plant to continue growing. Also, it’s best to use your basil fresh, as that’s when it has the most flavor. However, if you have an overabundance, you can dry or freeze your basil for later use.

Conclusion: The Rewards of Successfully Growing Basil Hydroponically

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of successfully growing your own food, and hydroponic basil is no exception. It’s an exciting challenge, an efficient way to grow herbs, and a fantastic conversation starter when guests notice your indoor garden.

Growing basil hydroponically provides a constant supply of fresh, fragrant basil for your culinary creations. It’s an engaging hobby, and a great way to introduce yourself to the world of hydroponics. So why not give it a try?

Remember, it’s not about having a green thumb—it’s about patience, knowledge, and the willingness to get a little wet along the way. Happy gardening!


Located in Portland, Oregon, Tim started gardening in his 20's and after a couple of decades felt like he had some things to share.

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