Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil? (Best Guide Ever!)

Basil is an annual herb that comes from the mint family and is closely related to oregano, rosemary and thyme. An annual herb is one that performs its entire life cycle within a single growing season, from seed to flower, then back to seed. Using hydroponics to grow basil can make the task a lot simpler and more enjoyable. 

Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil
Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil?

There is a range of great basil types that are suitable for a hydroponic system. These include Genovese basil, sweet thai basil, red and purple basil, and Italian leaf basil. 

In addition, basil is better suited to hydroponics than soil. 

Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil in Soil?

Basil is an amazing herb to grow using hydroponics. It is also a staple herb for the majority of gardens. The question is, though, can the plants be transported from a hydroponic setup to soil, whether that be a garden or pot or something of that nature. The simple answer is yes, but if not done in the correct manner, it can and, in most cases, will kill the plant. 

The biggest problem with transferring a basil plant from a hydroponic system to soil is transport shock. This is the shock that the plant goes through as it tries to adapt to different surroundings. 

Think about it this way; the plant is sitting there in its place with the perfect nutrients flowing to its roots. It’s warm and cozy. It doesn’t have to do anything but eat, sleep and grow. 

Then all of a sudden, its food supply is cut off. It becomes uprooted and heads out into the big wide world. It must compete with weather changes, new soil, a different food supply and, of course, food-frequency. 

That’s the only real downfall to transferring basil from hydroponic to the soil. Otherwise, it is a skill well worth learning. If this process is something that doesn’t phase you, then you should definitely go for it!

What is Hydroponic Transplant Shock? 

If you are asking the question “Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil?” you really need to know about transplant shock before.

As we just touched on, transport shock is the adjustment period your plant(s) goes through whilst transferring between your hydroponic system to the soil. It is also the number one threat to your plant when moving it between the two mediums. 

Intuitively, plants grow varying root systems depending on how their nutrients are delivered to them. When using hydroponics, the root system of a plant is much more delicate. The plants that grow this way also create thinner and shorter roots because the water that delivers the nutrients to them does all of the work. 

What is Hydroponic Transplant Shock? 
What is Hydroponic Transplant Shock? 

Water is one of the best deliverers of nutrients for plants. The plants just dip their roots in and soak them all up! 

On the other hand, when planted in soil, a plant will build a stronger root system. They are usually much thicker and more robust. They need to be able to really dig down and stabilize themselves. They reach out and feel around to obtain their nutrients. This is why taking extra care with the change in the growing environment is essential for the survival of a transferred plant. 

Transport shock can be avoided by:

  • Knowing when to transplant (The right time of year/season).
  • Taking as many roots as possible.
  • Trying not to disturb any roots.
  • Watering the plant carefully once re-planted.
  • Removing any dead growth.
  • Just keeping a general eye on them and tending to them as often as necessary.

Hydroponic System vs Soil for Basils: What to Choose and Why?

Hydroponics is typically used by growers who want to get a bit of an extra jump start in spring. They often choose this method to avoid any unnecessary time constraints, weather conditions and the potential mess that traditional gardens can create. 

It’s a great system for reducing the time it takes to grow from seed to plant. Hence the uprise in popularity. On the other hand, mother nature did give us all we need to grow just about anything. The right knowledge and setup can reap great rewards. 

What is the better method to grow basil, though? 

Growing your plants indoors and optimizing their yield is just one of the many perks of using a system like this. Some other advantages of hydroponics are:

  • It uses less water.
  • It can produce more in a lot less space (Hydroponics can be stacked vertically).
  • Faster growth in a shorter period of time (often 30-50% faster).
  • Often sheltered from the harsh elements (heat and chill).
  • Optimizing and controlling nutrients administered to plants.
  • Easier to control pests and disease.
  • A lot less effort when it comes to digging and weeding.
  • The ability to master, rinse and repeat due to the exact same setup each and every time you grow.

This is not written to knock back growing in soil but to talk about the advantages of growing using hydroponics vs soil. 

How to Replant Hydroponic Basil on Soil (Step-By-Step Guide)

Replanting a hydroponically grown basil plant into the soil can be tricky. It doesn’t have to be, though. As long as you have some easy to follow steps, the process can be achieved without any difficulty at all. 

How to Replant Hydroponic Basil on Soil

Step 1: Lowering the water level of the hydroponic system

When planning a transfer, every little bit of strength gained by your plant will help with the replant. Due to the fact that your basil has had its food delivered to it without effort, it hasn’t needed to grow long and strong roots yet. 

During a transfer, it’s a good idea to lower the level of water in the hydroponic system to force it to work a little for its food. Begin lowering the level a week before transfer. 

This will, in turn, strengthen its roots in anticipation of what it is about to go through. By the time it is to be replanted, it will have the strength needed to establish itself and search for nutrients in the soil. 

Step 2: Preparing the pot

The best-sized pots to use for a replant is 4-6 inches in diameter. Fill the bottom inch with a fine compost/manure mix. Fill the rest of the pot up with some quality soil.

Step 3: Removing the plant Safely

Have a bit of a look at your basil plants to see if any are intertwined by root, stem or even leaves. It’s possible to have started growing one plant, and over time, a second or even third could have sprouted up from the root and got tangled. If they are, you will need to gently try to separate them. This step requires a steady hand. 

Step 4: Trimming

You want to make sure that when transferring, all of the new nutrients can be distributed to a smaller area. This can be hindered if the plant has overgrown. If this is the case, It’s a good idea to trim back any dead stems or leaves. Aim to leave around 6-8 inches of foliage for optimal regrowth.

Step 5: Transplanting the basil into the pot Carefully

By this stage, you should have a perfectly manicured basil plant ready to move to its new potted home. Using your thumb, push a 1-2 inch hole in the center of the soil mix of each pot. (Push enough space for the lower portion of the stem as well as the roots) Cover upto the lower stem with soil and use a light patting motion to stabilize the base of the plant into the soil. 

Step 6: Watering the Transplanted Basil

Any plant that is transferred from hydroponics to soil isn’t used to establishing its roots amongst soil. Its root system will be smaller and shorter as it has been spoon-fed by the hydroponic system. 

To get it used to its new home and avoid transport shock, you will need to make sure that it gets adequate water. This will help its roots grow stronger and deeper into the soil. The plant’s roots will be used to being constantly moist, so aim to water it between 5-7 days. 

Give it a decent amount without flooding the soil. It needs to be moist but not soaked. After 5-7 days, you should be able to reduce the frequency to a more stable watering schedule. A good indicator for giving your plant some water is when the top inch of the pot’s soil is dry. 

Step 7: Put it in a well-lit room or Place it Near Direct Sunlight

The location of your plant(s) at this stage will play a major role in its survival. They really need a comfortable transition area to help them adjust before moving them around too much. 

Leave them in a warm and/or sunny area like a window sill or on top of a refrigerator, for example. The window sill can offer sunlight, and the refrigerator usually offers a warm spot for your plants to go through their ‘hardening phase’ This phase should take around a week. 

Step 8: Plant it in your garden

Once your plants have hardened, it’s time to plant them in your garden. The roots and stems should have by now become a lot more sturdy. This process is similar to the transfer from hydroponics to pot. Only this time, prepare some planting mounds about 12-16 inches apart. 

Dig down a little more than the depth of your pots into each mound. Plant each pot, one pot per mound and cover the lower area of the stem that protrudes through the ground with soil. Give it a gentle pat to stabilize the plant into the ground. Give the plants 1 inch of water per week. Again, don’t drown the plants but try to keep them moist.

How Do You Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive? 

As long as you treat it right, basil is one of those plants that just keeps on giving. If you don’t give it what it needs, then it will more than likely wilt and die. 

How Do You Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive? 
How Do You Keep Hydroponic Basil Alive? 

The good thing is, there are a few simple guidelines or steps that you can follow to make sure that your hydroponic plant stays in good health and can consistently produce. 

The Right Light

When growing in a hydroponic setting, it’s recommended 14-16 hours of LED light for an optimal outcome. As an outdoors plant, basil needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day.

Balanced Nutrients

Controlling nutrients in a hydroponic setting can give varying results. In order for a basil plant to release oil and flavor, aim to balance the potassium and calcium ratio at 1:1. For a more leafy plant, adjusting nitrogen levels can aid this result. 

Magnesium is required to help produce an overall aroma. 50 PPM is a well-rounded nutrient amount for magnesium. The key is balance. Once you work out the desired nutrient levels, note them down, rinse and repeat for similar results. 

Balanced pH

Hydroponic basils’ optimum pH range is between 6.5 and 6.8. Although, it is possible to grow with a pH as low as 5.5. Balancing the pH level will reduce the risk of nutrient deficiency. E.g., If the pH is alkaline or above its optimal level, it can stop the nutrients from being consumed, which can result in deficiencies. 

Not Too Hot Or Cold

Basil thrives better in warmer environments. Its recommended to keep your plants at around 70-80° F (21-27° C) and no lower than 65° F (18° C). Regardless of your setup’s location, try to obtain optimal airflow to avoid funghi complications. Effective airflow will also assist with the transpiration process. (Evaporation of excess water)

Plant Maintenance

Using a quality pair of pruning shears, aim to clip off any dying leaves, broken stems or discolored old growth. The love and care that you give to your plant will reward you with an abundance of new stems and leaves. Routine checks are a must for consistent results. 

Evenly Spaced

In general, keeping your basil plants 6 inches apart at a minimum is a great spacing arrangement. Although, if you do have the luxury of an abundance of space, then 9-12 inches is even better. 

This will allow your plant to grow some thick and bushy leaves. When considering spacing your plants, keep in mind that basil doesn’t mind huddling amongst other plants of its kind. Its stems are longer and shoot upright, which allows for more room to grow outwards.


Humidity is a very important factor to consider because basil loves to suck in as much moisture as it can. Keeping the levels at around 60-65% is optimal for a basil plant growing within a hydroponics system. Too high humidity for too long of a time period can cause calcium deficiencies. Symptoms include stunted plant growth, leaf curling and if left unattended, death of the plant.

I found this video really helpful when I tried growing basil for the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

01. How often should you water basil plants?

Basil absolutely loves water. That’s not saying to flood your plant, but at least 1 inch of water every week will keep your basil very happy. The idea is to make sure that the soil stays moist so the root system can grow thick and deep.

This will ensure sustained growth in a plant that can produce what feels like an infinite supply if grown in optimal conditions. Overwatering can cause mildew and rot, so keep an eye on the soil, so it isn’t too moist. You will need to water your basil more frequently if they are growing in pots or containers. 

02. How Long Do Hydroponic Basil Plants Live?

Even though basil seems like its supply is endless, they generally live around 2 years. When grown under the right conditions, though, it is possible that they can last even longer.

Setting up your hydroponics away from cold weather and frost will give the plant a really good chance of proving its longevity. They are sensitive to those factors, so it is wise to keep them in mind.

03. Do Basil Plants need direct sunlight to grow?

Basil loves basking in the sun as much as it loves a good amount of water. It’s ideal to try to plant your basil where it can get at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. Of course, this will depend on your location. 

If you live somewhere where the sun punches out some serious blistering heat, then it’s a good idea to move your basil plant into a shaded area. 

At least during the periods of the day that are most warm. Furthermore, if you are growing basil using a hydroponic system, then your plant doesn’t ‘need’ sunlight. This is because it gets light artificially. That’s more of a technicality, though. 


If you are up for the challenge, then this method of transferring your basil will suit you. Some people prefer the idea of doing things the way mother nature intended, even though there are a slight few hindrances. Others choose the indoor method due to space, time and patience levels. 

It all boils down to personal choice and/or circumstances. The bottom line is that it is possible to plant hydroponic basil in the soil, so everyone’s a winner! So, If you were wondering Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil? I hope I have been able to answer that.

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