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Hydroponic Plants: Growing Plants Without Soil!

Growing plants hydroponically has never been easier.

There are dozens of hydroponic systems that are perfect for not only the experienced commercial grower but also the inexperienced household gardener.

In today’s article, we’re going to take a look at the best plants to grow hydroponically.

We’ll start with the easy stuff and work our way up to more difficult plants – like specific berries – which may be somewhat of a headache!


Table of Contents:

  1. Easy Hydroponic Plants
  2. Hydroponic Herbs
  3. Hydroponic Vegetables
  4. Hydroponic Berries
  5. Resources

Easy Hydroponic Plants

If you’re just starting out with hydroponics, don’t get too ambitious right off the bat; avoid growing berries or exotic plants.

Stick with the basic herbs and vegetables that we list below.

Herbs can be grown in small, automated or DIY Aeroponic or Deep Water Culture (DWC) units while berries almost certainly need an elevated hydroponic unit where plant stems are facing downwards.

Hydroponic Herbs

HerbsGerminateCuttings
1. BasilPossibleEasy
2. DillPossibleEasy
3. BoragePossibleEasy
4. SorrelPossiblePossible
5. CilantroPossible Easy
6. TarragonNoEasy
7. MintPossibleEasy
8. RosemaryPossibleEasy
9. LavenderPossiblePossible
10. ParsleyPossibleEasy
hydroponic herbs

Growing herbs hydroponically is relatively easy. You can use an automated hydroponics kit or create a very simply DIY design using mason jars or a soda bottle.

Because herbs are relatively small, it makes them a great first plant for any style of hydroponics – whether you’re using an Aeroponic, Deep Water Culture, or Nutrient Film Technique system.

herbs in an aerogarden growing
Thyme, Basil, Mint

When experimenting with a hydroponic technique that I’m not familiar with, I’ll often start with Basil, Cilantro, and Mint.

These are diverse herbs that are remarkably easy to grow from either seeds or cuttings.

For hydroponic herbs, you want to use a growing media that is lightweight, porous, and supports plant roots against the force of recirculating nutrient solution water.

Ideal Growing Media for Hydroponics:

  1. Coconut Coir
  2. Rockwool
  3. Parboiled Rice Hulls

Hydroponic Vegetables

VegetablesGermintateCuttingsBest Technique
1. LettucePossibleEasyAeroponics
2. MustardPossibleEasyDWC
3. CeleryPossibleEasyDWC
4. CucumberPossibleEasyAeroponics/DWC
5. TomatoPossible EasyAeroponics/DWC
6. OnionPossiblePossibleDWC
7. RadishPossibleEasyDWC
8. CollardPossibleEasyAeroponics/DWC
9. FennelPossibleEasyAeroponics/DWC
10. PeasPossiblePossibleNFT
hydroponic vegetables chart

Oh, by the way, a tomato is considered to be both a fruit and a vegetable.

In technical terms – as a botanical classification – the tomato is a fruit.

But most of us (including nutritionists) regard it as a vegetable. So for this article, the tomato is a vegetable!


Like herbs, vegetables are a breeze to grow hydroponically.

If you’re just a household gardener, I’d recommend using either an Aeroponic or Deep Water Culture (DWC) system.

For commercial growers, the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) can be ideal, although, this system does take up a lot of space and sucks up a lot of energy.

how the nutrient film technique works
Nutrient Film Technique

Lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes are a surprisingly simple grow – peas and onions can be somewhat of a headache and are fairly water-intensive.

Hydroponic Berries

BerriesGerminateCuttingsBest Technique
1. StrawberriesYes, From RunnersYesEbb & Flow
2. CranberriesNoYesDrip
3. BlueberriesNoYesDrip
4. RaspberriesNoYesDrip
hydroponic berries

Due to the specific water needs, the way that plant roots need to be positioned, and the time needed for proper development, berries are by far the most difficult type of plant to grow hydroponically.

However, strawberries are perhaps the easiest to cultivate hydroponically out of all the berries that we’ve listed. Here’s why:

  1. They’re fairly small.
  2. Are widely available as runners (pre-conditioned).
  3. And are inexpensive.

Cranberries, raspberries, and blueberries on the other hand are very rarely grown hydroponically but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be.

These berries must be grown in an elevated setting, usually with some kind of drip system, like the NFT technique.

With that being said, the NFT technique takes up a lot of space and is fairly difficult to set up – it’s certainly not beginner-friendly – it’s for this reason that most berries should simply be cultivated with soil.

Resources

  1. Hydroponic Systems
  2. Aeroponics 101
  3. DIY Hydroponic Systems
  4. Hydroponic Berries

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