Being a hopeless drowner of plants, I decided to experiment with hydroculture. I drown plants, so I want to grow them in water? Am I crazy? But supposedly, it's harder to root rot plants in clay pellets, which allow for more aeration, never compact, and wick the water up from the bottom as needed.
So I set about converting my basil to hydroculture. This involved very carefully washing all the soil off the roots, potting it in clay pellets, placing a plastic bag over it to keep up the humidity, keeping it out of direct sunlight, and waiting a month.
Amazingly, it survived. A lot of its bottom leaves went yellow and fell off (which is normal), but the top half seems relatively healthy, a few brown crispy edges notwithstanding. And I started to see new water roots peeking out the bottom of the pot. So I was pretty happy about it, until I noticed that a bunch of ants were building their nest in the pot. Ants!
This morning I noticed swarms of ants very obviously crawling in and out of the clay pellets. I submerged the entire pot in a bucket of water, and was horrified to see dozens and dozens of the little blighters swimming for their lives, amazingly, carrying their little white eggs and their big fat queen with them. Boyfriend squished the queen for me. I had to unpot the plant, drown the remaining ants clinging to the roots, pour boiling water over the clay pellets, scrub out the pot, and then re-pot it. This time, I set it in a moat. It's official. Plants hate me.