Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Horticulture (MS)

Degree Level





Ryan Dickson

Committee Member

Michael Evans

Second Committee Member

Elena Garcia

Third Committee Member

Garry McDonald


Basil, DFT, Greenhouse, Horticulture, Hydroponics, NFT


Two controlled-environment greenhouse experiments evaluated (1) plant growth and morphology of basil (Omicum basilicum L.) grown in three different hydroponic and soilless substrate systems and (2) seedling tray cell-count and transplant date into hydroponic culture effects on basil growth and yield at harvest. For the first experiment, four basil cultivars (‘Genovese’, ‘Mrs. Burns Lemon’, ‘Sweet Thai’, and ‘Cinnamon’) were grown in deep flow technique (DFT) hydroponics, nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponics, and a novel shallow aggregate ebb-and-flood (SAEF) soilless substrate system and were harvested after 21 d. Plant yield and morphological characteristics measured at harvest included shoot fresh mass, shoot dry mass, leaf SPAD chlorophyll content, total leaf area per plant, plant height, node number, and internode length. For the second experiment, seedlings of ‘Genovese’ basil were germinated in a soilless peat-based substrate and grown in trays with cell-counts of 32, 50, 72, 105, and 162 and corresponding root volumes of (in cm3) of 98.1, 50.2, 38.5, 19.6, and 16.3, respectively. Basil seedlings for each tray type were transplanted in NFT hydroponic systems at 14 d, 21 d, and 28 d after sowing seed. Plants were harvested from NFT systems 35 d after sowing seed, and collected data at harvest included shoot fresh mass, shoot dry mass, plant height, and substrate pH and electrical conductivity (EC). Plant growth and morphology of basil cultivars differed between hydroponic and soilless culture systems, and harvested yields were overall greater for basil produced in DFT hydroponics compared to NFT hydroponics and SAEF soilless substrate systems. Basil seedlings grown in low cell-count trays and transplanted at earlier dates into NFT systems had greater yields compared to basil grown in high cell-count trays and transplanted at later dates. The combination of growing seedlings in trays with low cell-counts and early transplant into hydroponics likely increased yield by reducing potential for root restriction, increasing nutrient and water availability per plant, and increasing individual plant spacing for greater accumulation of photosynthetic light.