Hydroponic Basil, How Quickly Can I Eat It?

One of the really cool things about growing plants hydroponically is that they CAN grow really fast… I mean, really fast! Basil is one of those crops. When you plant a seed in soil, it can be a couple of months before it’s ready for some harvest, but if you’re wondering how long does basil take to grow hydroponically? In most hydroponic applications, it’s generally recognized that you can have basil ready to harvest in as little as 4 weeks, or 28 days. But there are a lot of factors that influence how quickly you’ll be able to pull off that first batch of delicious leaves, plus a lot more goes into getting the most of your basil so read on and we can grow some together.

Hydroponics has revolutionized the way we grow plants, offering a soil-less and efficient method of cultivation. When it comes to growing herbs like basil, hydroponics provides an ideal environment for faster growth, higher yields, and healthier plants. In this article, we will delve into the timeline of growing basil hydroponically, exploring the different stages and factors that influence its growth.

How Long Does it Take For Basil To Grow?

Stage 1: Germination (5-10 days)

The journey of growing basil hydroponically begins with the germination stage. Basil seeds are relatively small and can be sown directly into a growing medium or starter cubes designed specifically for hydroponic systems. Place the seeds in a warm and moist environment, ensuring they receive sufficient light. Germination typically takes around 5 to 10 days, but this may vary depending on the variety of basil and the growing conditions.

Stage 2: Seedling Growth (2-3 weeks)

After germination, the basil seeds will sprout and develop into seedlings. At this stage, they require ample light and a nutrient-rich solution to encourage healthy growth. Ensure that the hydroponic system provides adequate lighting, such as full-spectrum grow lights, to support the seedlings’ photosynthesis. Monitor the nutrient solution closely, ensuring the pH levels and nutrient concentrations are optimal for basil growth.

During the seedling stage, it’s crucial to provide sufficient air circulation to prevent damping-off disease, which can occur due to excess moisture. Aim for a temperature range of 70-75°F (21-24°C) for optimal growth. Within 2 to 3 weeks, the basil seedlings will establish a strong root system and develop their first set of true leaves.

Can Basil Grow Longer?

Yes, as the seedlings mature, they enter the vegetative growth stage. During this phase, basil plants focus on leaf development, producing a dense canopy of aromatic foliage. The duration of the vegetative growth stage may vary depending on various factors such as the basil variety, light intensity, nutrient availability, and environmental conditions.

For robust vegetative growth, basil thrives under approximately 12 to 16 hours of light per day. Maintaining the appropriate temperature and humidity levels, ideally around 70-75°F (21-24°C) and 40-60% humidity, respectively, is crucial for healthy growth. Regular monitoring of the nutrient solution’s pH and nutrient concentrations is essential to support optimal nutrient uptake and prevent deficiencies.

During this stage, you may need to provide support such as trellising or pruning to encourage upright growth and prevent the plants from becoming top-heavy. Basil plants can grow rapidly during this phase, and regular pruning promotes branching and helps maintain a compact, bushy shape.

After the vegetative growth stage, basil plants transition to the flowering stage. Flowering is a natural part of the basil plant’s lifecycle, but it can impact the taste and quality of the leaves. To promote a longer harvest period and prevent premature flowering, some growers choose to pinch off the developing flower buds. This practice, known as “de-flowering,” encourages the basil plants to channel their energy into leaf production rather than reproductive growth.

Depending on the variety, basil plants typically reach maturity for harvesting around 6 to 8 weeks after sowing. The leaves should have a vibrant green color and a strong aroma. Harvesting basil leaves can be done by pruning individual stems or harvesting the entire plant. Regular harvesting helps maintain a steady supply of fresh leaves and stimulates the plant to produce new growth.


In conclusion, growing basil hydroponically offers numerous advantages, including faster growth and higher yields compared to traditional soil cultivation. Understanding the timeline of basil growth in a hydroponic system allows you to plan and manage your crop effectively. From germination to harvest, the journey of cultivating basil hydroponically takes approximately 10 to 12 weeks, depending on various factors such as the basil variety, growing conditions, and desired leaf size.

With careful attention to lighting, nutrient management, and environmental conditions, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh and flavorful basil leaves year-round. Whether you’re an aspiring hydroponic gardener or a seasoned enthusiast, growing basil hydroponically is a rewarding and fulfilling experience that will elevate your culinary adventures to new heights.


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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