Hydroponics can completely replace the traditional soil-plant growing and harvesting, and you can even use this technique to grow plants indoors. However, one main question raises above the practicality of the method – what can you grow hydroponically?
In this guide, you will find out the answers on the topic, to get the most out of your indoor plant growth. To give you a small hint, you can grow leafy vegetables, flowers, and even fruit hydroponically. With home-grown lettuce, potatoes, and carrots, you will no longer need soil harvesting, so let’s head straight into it.
Best Plants To Grow Hydroponically
Some species simply grow with more efficiency using the hydroponic methods than the others. In essence, you should be able to grow just about any plant, fruit, or veggie with the right nutrients and a specific hydroponic system that suit the exact species.
However, there are some groups of plants that can benefit more from hydroponics, and advance much faster in growth than others. These are some of the groups we’ll discuss:
- Berry fruits
- Dwarf fruit species
- Leafy veggies
- Herb plants
There’s a slight catch with certain species of these kinds, so we’ll get into the specifics without any delay. Certain conditions have to be met and these include your nutrients, growing style, and hydroponic techniques used.
Berry Fruit Hydroponics
You’ve probably heard of the term hydroponic vegetable garden in commercial use, but did you know you can grow fruit indoors the same way? Some fruit species grow faster with hydroponic systems, and the growing difficulty can be as easy as with veggies.
In particular, you can grow strawberries hydroponically as one of the easiest and fastest-growing fruits. They are quite easy to plant and you just want to make sure that all the soil from the roots has been removed. The best method for growing strawberries hydroponically is the Ebb and Flow technique.
Strawberries are small-sized plants so there’s no point in using the deep water culture method. Instead, with the Ebb and Flow, you can leave their roots coming out of the basket just long enough for the nutrients to reach them from the reservoir. You can even grow strawberries indoors with this system, as it switches the flood and drain cycles with a nutrient solution using a timer.
Blueberries and Raspberries
Similar to growing strawberries hydroponically, blueberries and raspberries succeed easily with this method. Due to their similar needs to strawberries, you can even group them, but it might not be the best idea since they need a bit more time to develop.
Instead, you can pair blueberries with raspberries and the best hydroponic technique to grow these two berry fruits is Ebb and Flow. You can also pair the two in a Drip system where drip emitters will transfer the nutrient solution directly from the tank to spray it on roots. These two berry types can grow indoors hydroponically.
Dwarf Species And Other Fruits
Unlike growing hydroponic vegetables, you will have a difficult time growing larger fruits, especially for your household use. However, you can still plant dwarf fruit species like dwarf apples and dwarf bananas.
You can grow most dwarf fruit species with water alone, and the best hydroponic method for this task would be the Ebb and Flow. You also need appropriate growing mediums, and perlite, coconut husk, and Rockwool work best for mini fruit trees.
One thing to note with fruit threes in hydroponic growth phases is that they need more light than berries. So you might want to consider having outdoor growth trays with these fruits. It’s also possible to grow cherries and lemons this way. Watermelon, on the other hand, advances rapidly with hydroponic systems.
They are among the fastest-growing fruits hydroponically and they just require a proper system like the Drip technique to keep the roots fed with nutrients. They require outdoor sunlight as well, and can succeed in just about 10 weeks from the seedling phase! Not to mention that watermelons planted this way taste much better than soil-based ones, IMO.
Growing Leafy Veggies Hydroponically
Hydroponically grown vegetables are the best species to fit with these methods. Leafy veggies are even easier to grow, and many hydroponic farmers state that they are the easiest to grow. Growing lettuce with hydroponics is easy even indoors, with the deep water culture method and UV lamps.
With their roots deeply submerged in water with a nutrient mixture, you can even group similar leafy veggies with lettuce. Combining it with kale, spinach, and celery will make you an astonishing hydroponic vegetable garden that’s easy to care for. So, how do you grow hydroponic lettuce and other leafy greens?
They swiftly develop with the deep water culture or the NFT system. The nutrient film technique is primarily developed for leafy greens and it’s easy as you don’t need growing media due to the air gap. This system helps you with growing vegetables indoors hydroponically as the water circulates back to the nutrient reservoir. The film then brings it back into the growth tray where it reaches the roots of leafy plants.
Growing Herbs And Vegetables
Besides leafy greens, you can also grow herb plants with this method. The best herb plants for hydroponic growing are basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and mints. You can even group them with the NFT method as the recommended one for herbs. Also, the wick system works great for herbs.
They usually fully grow within 6-8 weeks, and you can even grow them indoors. Growing carrots hydroponically might be a bit tougher, though. You will have to properly give them space and not group them to reduce the chances of deformed development.
You should avoid DWC and similar systems for carrots, and use the spraying techniques like Aeroponics for the best growth. On the other hand, the best hydroponic system for tomatoes is a Drip system or deep water culture with liquid nutrients. Tomatoes require a constant flow of nutrients, so any system with an air pump should suffice.
Growing Potatoes Indoors
One of the best veggies for your hydroponic vegetable garden is potato and you can grow it with the Wick system or Ebb and Flow. Potatoes don’t need to have their roots submerged in the water at all times, so these systems should work great even for indoor growing.
The best method for hydroponics pepper is deep water culture and Wick systems. The most convenient one for beginners is the water culture system. It takes from 50 days to 80 days to grow peppers this way, and you can even combine them with herb plants via Wick systems.
Growing vegetables indoors hydroponically is one of the best ways to create your veggie garden without any soil. Some hydroponic vegetables like leafy greens work better with water alone, while you can even grow some fruit and herbs.
It all depends on picking the best system for the plants’ needs and hopefully, you can follow our lead to get it done right.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
Is growing vegetables hydroponically healthy for the plants?
Some veggies like leafy greens prefer this type of planting and growing lettuce with hydroponics is the best indicator. They develop swiftly and you can even plant them indoors.
What can you grow with hydroponics?
You can grow different plant types such as vegetables, dwarf fruits, berry fruits, herbs, and some flowers with hydroponic methods.
Can you grow plants indoors with hydroponics?
Growing potatoes indoors is possible with just water and the right growing media, and so is the case with other veggies like tomatoes and leafy veggies.
What’s the best method of growing veggies and herbs indoors?
You can grow vegetables indoors with the NFT system for leafy veggies, drip system for regular veggies, and wick system for herbs and peppers.