Basil is one of the most commonly grown hydroponic plants because of its everyday use in the kitchen.
However, can you transfer hydroponic basil to soil too? We will answer this question in detail with all the necessary information needed to grow the basil in either medium.
Basil leaves are a part and parcel of a number of dishes across all cultures, making it a household culinary herb.
Now you won’t want such an important ingredient to be loaded with pesticides and chemicals, right?
This is the reason why it is such a widely grown hydroponic plant. Growing it at home ensures that it is completely natural and also that it never runs out of stock.
Hearing these benefits must have made you grow basil at home too, but how to do that effectively? What if any problem arises? Well, here’s the complete guide to make your hydroponic basil transfer to soil hassle-free, and how to solve any related issue.
Can You Plant Hydroponic Basil In Soil?
Now the basil has been grown in the hydroponics, but due to some reason you need to shift it to the soil, can it be done?
Yes, you can grow hydroponic basil in soil without halting its growth. However, there are a few factors like soil fertility, nutrient contents, water levels, and pH that you must keep in mind before changing plant medium.
How To Transfer Hydroponic Basil To Soil?
Transferring basil grown hydroponically to soil is not as simple as just picking it up and planting it in the soil.
Since the growth medium, one of the most important factors in plant life, is different. We need to ensure that everything else the plant needs is as similar as possible.
This avoids transplant shock which can cause poor root growth, less nutrient uptake, and slow growth. These situations can even lead to wilting and dying.
To prevent your hydroponic basil from this unfortunate fate, follow these steps describing how to plant hydroponic basil in soil.
Choose a well-established hydroponic basil
Choose a hydroponic basil from which you can already harvest leaves. Though you can select a younger plant too, one that is already healthy enough to grow large leaves has a better chance of staying healthy in the soil too.
Prepare the soil for the hydroponic plant
Hydroponics and soil differ in many ways. And this sudden change in growth medium does not always sit right with the plant.
So, you better try to imitate the hydroponic conditions in the soil.
Till the soil good enough for hydroponic roots to reach as much depth as possible. Keep the soil moist before transferring the plant.
Instant uptake of water after the transformation helps the plant continue its functions; which otherwise might get halted due to lack of water in its body.
Hydroponic plants are used to perfect concentrations of the best hydroponic nutrients for their ideal growth.
The same conditions would definitely be difficult to replicate in the soil. However, try to add all the necessary nutrients before making the transplant.
Use Stakes For Support
In hydroponics, plants do not develop roots for anchorage, but only as nutrient-absorbing organs.
Hence, the plant may need stakes to stand straight in the soil in the beginning. Soon, the plant will adapt to the new environment.
Habituate The Basil Gradually
It is advised to not expose the plant to different soil factors right after the transplant.
Rather, let the plant be habituated to the new environment by gradual exposure to changing factors.
Being grown in hydroponics make their metabolism get accustomed to the soilless environment.
When they are shifted to a different environment, they can face obstruction in getting nutrients from the new medium.
To avoid any complications, do not place the plants in direct sunlight for a few days. Also, water the plants only when you see the topsoil layer dried up
Same External Factors
After the basil has habituated to the new environment, then the environmental factors should be the same as they were in a hydroponic system.
Different factors like temperature, pH, light intensity, and light duration must be the same as those provided to basil grown in the soil right from the start.
Ideal conditions for basil plant growth are 27-32 °C temperature in the soil with pH 6 – 7.5, and 6 – 8 hours of bright sunlight in a day.
After that, just enjoy your supply of fresh basil nearer to you than your doorstep.
Some Common Problems & Their Solutions
Though it may sound uncomplicated, which it is too in a sense, given that each hydroponic system and each garden is different, there can arise some problems while transplanting hydroponic basil into the soil.
The solution to those problems is the following.
Ever suffered from homesickness? It’s the worst feeling, but it does go away if you take good care of yourself outside your home.
However, if you stay careless, it can pretty much mess you up. You can call transplant shock as homesickness of plants.
The most common transplant shock is root shock since they are adapted to a liquid medium. This can be coped with by gently cleaning the roots and pruning them from their tips.
Then the new roots grown will be habituated to the soil instead of water.
Water Contents Difference
The level of water that the hydroponics will get is controlled strictly, and they receive no less nor more than what they need.
However, in the soil, the water uptake depends not on the plant, but on the soil water contents level.
If not cared for, the plant can wilt, either due to lack of water or due to overwatering.
If the leaves turn yellow before wilting, then the soil is overwatered, and if they turn brown before wilting, then the soil water contents are too low.
This can be coped with always and only watering the soil when you see the topsoil layer dried up.
Nutrients Contents Difference
Just like water, the nutrient contents in the hydroponic medium are strictly regulated.
All the nutrients are provided to the plant in adequate concentration. However, soil nutrient level is rarely ideal naturally.
You’ll always need to add a few or more nutrients to the soil if you want to get the same results as hydroponics.
Otherwise, nutrient deficiency will show up in the results one way or another.
Temperature and Light
Natural temperature and light might be good for plants, but it is not as regulated as in hydroponic systems.
When hydroponic plants are transplanted into the soil, you need to make them habituated to this change as gradually as possible.
Hence, the natural light must be provided to them only indirectly; placing them in a greenhouse is best especially in the starting days, as direct sunlight might be harmful to them.
If a greenhouse is not available, placing them on the window sill will be enough, as high-intensity direct sunlight will still not hit them.
Moreover, this indirect sunlight provides the right amount of heat that they need for growth.
With each passing day, your plants will start getting habituated to the new environment.
After they’ve accepted soil as their new home, you can just treat them as any other garden plant that needs sustenance-level care.
Hydroponic Basil Or Soil Grown One?
Growing basil hydroponically vs soil has its own benefits and limitations, and then the choice is dependent mostly on personal choice and taste.
However, one might wonder, is there any difference in the basil grown hydroponically as compared to one grown in soil? Let’s break that down
The nutrients in the soil are not always in readily available form. Rather, they are first broken down in simpler form by several enzymes released by roots or plant-friendly fungi or algae.
There is nothing wrong with this process; however, when compared to the hydroponic system, the conventional one seems slightly inefficient.
In a hydroponic system, the growth medium is water instead of soil. And the nutrients are added in an easily absorbable form; not needing any further processing before being taken up by the plant. This increases the hydroponic basil’s nutrient contents.
Plants grown in soil face all kinds of weather, those that they like and those that are harmful to them as well.
Such mild inconveniences though do not pose any threat to the production of fruits or vegetables. However, other small factors, like taste, might take a toll on these harmful conditions.
Taste might not be of any importance to the plant, but is of great importance to us.
A fruit grown in natural conditions will definitely taste natural, which can be both tasty and bland. However, a fruit grown in ideal conditions such as in hydroponic will always give the ideal taste; however, you’d like it to taste.
This is also true for basil. Just find the perfect balance of variants, and proportion of nutrients to get your ideal taste in your hydroponically grown basil.
In soil medium, plants’ growth rate is relatively slower due to the fact the nutrients are not in readily available form. In a hydroponic medium, the nutrients are easily absorbed by the plant roots, hence enhancing plant growth at a greater rate.
The basil plant in a hydroponic medium can start giving vegetation for your kitchen in about 28 days. The same basil plant, when grown in soil, is fully developed in about 40–45 days.
So Which One, Then?
Growing basil either way, hydroponically or conventionally, is not a complex task. However, hydroponic basil comes off as a much more preferred option by regular growers.
Besides the ease that comes with growing basil hydroponically, the yield is also higher when compared to the very less space that hydroponic basil takes.
However, with ease comes expense. Hydroponic equipment is definitely way more expensive than soil, which is probably lying free in your garden (if you have a garden).
So, better to consider your budget before making the decision. If you are not fond of investing any money in this hobby or home-grown diet; then growing basil the traditional way is a better option for you.
Now that you know if you can grow hydroponic basil in soil or not, all that remains to do is to actually grow it. So, you Better get to it now, so you can garnish your dishes with tasty home-grown basil ASAP.