20 Best Plants to Use for Hydroponic Farming

20 Best Plants to Use for Hydroponic Farming
Contributor
Contributor
External Guest Writer
June 6, 2022

What is a Hydroponic System?

Hydroponic gardening, also known as the hydroponic system, is a type of gardening and farming technique where plants are grown in a water and nutrient solution or water-based growing medium instead of soil. Nutrients are delivered directly to plant roots, encouraging the healthy growth of leaves, crops, and fruit.

Hydroponic systems are water-reliant systems that may or may not make use of a soilless medium like perlite or coconut fiber. It is a solution to grow crops in nutrient soil-deprived areas, or in agricultural lands where soil nutrients have been depleted. Through hydroponics, commercial growers are growing plants with less space, less resources, and less wastage.

The 20 Best Plants to Grow in Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponic Plants - Herbs

Mint

All varieties of mint are suitable to grow as hydroponic plants as they love moisture and natural light, and the vines grow quickly. Cut back the vines to keep the plant bushy, and to have a thriving mint supply all year round.

Oregano

Oregano plants require plenty of light, which is perfect for setups with artificial grow light or in an outdoor garden. They have no problems growing among other herbs, but prefer well-drained potting medium so best to use an active hydroponic system for oregano. Used in culinary dishes, oregano can be cooked fresh, topped on dishes, or dried and stored as a spice.

Basil

Basil grows best in moisture-rich mediums with plenty of nutrients and light to help the plant grow large leaves with bright flavor. Dry conditions stress plants, leaving them susceptible to fungus and pests like aphids, scales, and mealybugs. A hydroponic growing setup is ideal for basil, especially when grown indoors and under grow lights.

Tarragon

Tarragon cannot grow from seeds using the hydroponic farming system, but they can be propagated through cuttings from matured plants. Tarragon works well in high-moisture systems, and grows quickly when given the right balance of nutrients.

Rosemary

Rosemary is a fairly easy herb to care for, as all the plant needs to grow are sunlight and water. A timed hydroponic grow light can control the amount of sun the herbs get, and the water reservoir allows for the herbs to get only the water they need.

Dill

Dill is a popular herb used with lemon and spices to flavor fish and meat. The herb can be grown in a hydroponic system, but will need to be planted regularly for a steady supply as dill does not grow back after cutting.

Thyme

Thyme may be drought-tolerant plants, but they grow best in damp, well-drained potting medium. Thyme loves heat, sunlight, and will thrive well in a nutrient film system. Hydroponic systems tend to control all these factors to keep them consistent as the herbs grow, making thyme a good herb to cultivate.

Parsley

Starting parsley from seeds is a slow, tedious process as the seeds will need ample light and consistent moisture to grow. The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) system would be able to keep these factors consistent, so the herb can continue to grow at a slow but steady pace.

Stevia

Stevia, the popular natural sugar alternative, can be grown indoors using hydroponics. Stevia is considered a low-maintenance plant, and can adapt well in a hydroponic garden. The ebb and flow system will ensure that the plant grows quickly and consistently for a steady supply of the natural sweetener.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has the scent of fresh lemons, but is not part of the citrus family at all. It is a delicate variety of the mint family that can be grown using the hydroponic method to create large, flavorful leaves.

Crop Vegetables and Fruits

Romaine Lettuce

Lettuce plants, like romaine lettuce, can survive with just water, but for large, succulent leaves, the plant must be supplied with essential nutrients it needs to grow. Romaine lettuce is the most common plant to use in the hydroponics method, and is a perfect starter plant to grow in any hydroponic garden setup.

Tomatoes

Two factors that tomatoes love are heavily moist medium, and full sunlight - both of which can be supplied by hydroponic gardens. As the plants grow, the farmer must provide a trellis or cage to support the plants.

Beans

Nearly all varieties of beans can be grown in just water, forming thick roots that signify plant health. Growing beans hydroponically is a common practice as the plants don't take up much space, but have high harvest yields.

Celery

Another vegetable that can be grown in plain water is celery, which grows quickly and continuously replenishes after harvesting the stalks. Celery grown hydroponically results in crunchier, thicker stems, lush leaves, and better flavor.

Spinach

In traditional farming, spinach is grown in waterlogged environments, making the plant easily adaptable to growing conditions in the hydroponics system. The deep water culture allows for optimal root growth, while the plant takes in adequate nutrients from indoor hydroponics solutions.

Watercress

Like spinach, watercress can be found in areas where there is an excess water supply. Watercress will thrive and grow lush leaves in hydroponic setups, with or without the use of a potting medium.

Strawberries

Hydroponic strawberries exist in commercial farms, as the berry can be easily grown with optimal light, moisture, and temperature that may be difficult in humid environments since the plants prefer cool to frosty temperatures. Perennial plants like strawberries require more advanced systems of hydroponics, but it is possible to grow them hydroponically.

Blueberries

Similar to strawberries, blueberries grow best in cool environments. A hydroponic blueberry can grow large fruit as the consistent moisture, controlled temperature, and full light contribute to the health of the plant - all of which can be controlled by growing the plants hydroponically.

Bell Peppers

Bell pepper plants are hardy, grow quickly, and require little care when it comes to thriving indoors. However, the hydroponic method takes out the guesswork and allows the plants to produce succulent and sweet peppers.

Chives

Chives are some of the easiest plants to cultivate, and can be grown indoors in just a cup of water. However, to fully maximize the flavor of chives, the plants require some nutrients they need to produce the best flavor. The hydroponic method takes care of the nutrients the plant needs to grow.

The Benefits of Growing Plants Hydroponically

There are plenty of benefits to growing any type of herb or plant hydroponically. Growing indoors, the hydroponic method makes use of alternative pots like net pots, an air pump, growing lights, and water to grow many plants with higher yields. It is a sustainable method of growing, and increases the success of gardening indoors.