Now it comes to most important and enjoyable part - choosing what to grow in Hydroponics
If you have ever asked, probably the answer is you can grow any plant in Hydroponics. That's true but many will flourish in a water-based environment while many will be burdensome and cannot bring similar yields as in the soil counterparts.
So it's recommended you choose one that fits. There are a variety of factors that decide what can be grown, including types of plants, the spaces, what Hydroponics can offer, and so on.
Sound not easy, isn't it?
That's why I am going to share with you a list of some edible easy to grow plants that work very well with the Hydroponic cultivation.
They are perfect places to start if you are a beginner with Hydroponics.
In case you don't have the time to read the entire post, we have made a detailed infographic about plants (vegetables, fruits, herbs) that work well in Hydroponics
Lettuce, the perfect ingredient for the salad sandwich in your kitchen, is probably the most common vegetable that is grown in Hydroponics. They grow super fast in a hydroponic system and are fairly easy to take care of. Lettuce is usually grown in a nutrient film technique system. Lettuce is no doubt a great plant if you just start with Hydroponics.
Many types of tomatoes, including traditional and cherry ones, have been grown widely by Hydroponic hobbyists and commercial greenhouse. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit, but most people whether sellers or consumers consider it as vegetables. One thing to keep in mind is that tomatoes require much light. So be prepared to purchase grow light system if you are to grow indoors.
Another plant that makes a good flavoring mix with other vegetables. Radishes are definitely one of the easiest vegetables to grow - either in soil or hydroponics. It's better to start from seeds and you can see seedlings within 3 - 7 days. Radishes thrive in cool temperatures and do not need many lights.
Kale is a very nutritious and delicious-flavored plant for home and restaurant dishes. It is definitely a great vegetable for a healthy person with proven health benefits. The great news is that people have grown Kale hydroponically for so many years, so definitely you can do it in the water system. And in fact, it's easy to grow and thrive well in this system.
Cucumbers are a very popular vining plant that is grown at home and in a commercial greenhouse. They enjoy a rapid growth under sufficient condition and hence give very high yields. There are several types and sizes of cucumbers, including the thick-skinned American slicers, long thin-skinned seedless European, and the smooth-skinned Lebanese cucumbers. All can grow well in Hydroponics. Cucumber is a warm plant so be sure to supply it with enough light and temperature.
The popular vegetable that can be either eaten raw or cooked in your meal does grow well in the water-based environment. Spinach is a cool plant, so it does not require too much light when growing. You can harvest it all at once or tear off some leaves. You are able to get up to 12 weeks of continuous harvesting under a good condition of climate and growing environment.
One of the most productive and low-maintenance vegetables that can be grown hydroponically. Some of the most popular types of beans to choose include green beans, pole beans, pinto beans, lima beans. If you grow with pole beans you will need a trellis or something to support the plants. Seed germination usually takes 3 - 8 days. Harvesting begins after 6 - 8 weeks and you can continue the harvesting for 3 - 4 months.
It's easier to grow chives from a plant in a Hydroponic system. So better to get them from your local garden supplies. Under the normal growing condition, it takes six to eight weeks before it is fully mature. Then you can harvest it regularly - it needs 3 - 4 weeks later to fully regrow. Chive requires lots of light, 12 - 14 hours of light each day.
Basil thrives very well in a hydroponics system and it is indeed among the most grown herbs in Hydroponic. You can grow basil in NFT or Drip system. Once this plant reaches the mature stage, you harvest and trim it weekly. Basil needs lots of lights. It will undergo a poor growth when you do not provide it with over 11 hours of lightning.
Mints, mainly peppermint and spearmint, have been grown extensively whether in soils and hydroponics. Their aromatic compounds in mints are refreshing, and pungent, which proves their use as a flavor for food and beverages. Mint roots spread so quickly, making it ideal to grown in Hydroponics where plants are placed in separate spaces.
Strawberries are definitely well suited for hydroponic growing. They have been grown in large scale in NFT system by the commercial farm for so many years. However, you can enjoy enough fresh delicious berries to feed all your family by growing strawberries at home and harvesting the fruits all year long.
Blueberries, a great fruit high in vitamins for your meal, can be grown well in Hydroponics. This plant takes longer to bear fruits than strawberries, often to the second years. They and are usually grown in an NFT system. It's hard to plant blueberries from seeds, so transplants are recommended.
Peppers need the same hydroponic growing condition like tomatoes - warm temperature and good amounts of lights. Peppers often take two to three months to mature
You can either start growing them from seeds or from plants from the local garden supplier. Recommended varieties for hydroponically growing are jalapeno, habanero for hot peppers; mazurka. cubico, narobi, fellini for sweet peppers.
Harder to grow
Again this does not mean that you cannot grow these types of plants, they are just more difficult to grow in Hydroponics. But experienced growers have planted them in their soilless systems for years and enjoyed great results.
Plants that take up large spaces.
If space is limited, it's best to avoid squash, melons, pumpkins, corn and other large plants. This is not to say that you can grow these plants but in a narrow area, it's harder to take care of plants and the yields are not as good as other places where these plants have rooms to grow.
Deep Root veggies
Again, it's hard to care for plants that need a lot of depth for root. So this is not recommended for beginners.
Potatoes, carrots, turnips fall into these types.
For root crops, you need a substrate with large and high depth to support the roots. And these types of plants tends not to give as good results as they are in the soil.
If you have a large growing environment like a greenhouse, patio, you can set up a more advanced system and grow large plants, root veggies, and other hard-to-grow ones. That environment is perfect for you to try with any plant.
As someone totally new to Hydroponics, it would be smart to go with easy to grow plants that enjoy rapid growth. We have mentioned many examples above. As a consequence, you can get the result and learn the experience fast, then feel inspired to move to something harder.
Experienced Hydroponic gardeners may have the acceptable knowledge of the Hydroponics systems and the plants' type they are going to grow. They can strive for other plants like tobacco, large melons, pumpkins, sunflowers, and so on. There are no limits.
A garden requires patient labor and attention. Plants do not grow merely to satisfy ambitions or to fulfill good intentions. They thrive because someone expended effort on them.
— Liberty Hyde Bailey
Choosing a plant to grow in your Hydroponic garden is just the first step. You will need proper knowledge to set up the system. And most importantly, the plants depend on you for their survival. That requires regular huge attentions and persistence until you get the yields, just like anything worthwhile in life.