Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. It allows one to farm almost any vegetables, fruits, or herbs. But which plants are the most effective to grow? In this article you will find a list of plant species that will be best for hydroponic systems and guarantee commercial success.
Hydroponics is a fantastic choice for those who want to grow plants all year round. Unlike open-field systems, indoor hydroponics does not rely on weather conditions and works at any latitude. All thanks to environmental factors control, such as temperature, lighting, and humidity. It is possible to farm with hydroponics systems even in small spaces while obtaining high yields. Moreover, the solution uses up to 95% less water than traditional methods and eliminates the use of crop protection products nearly to zero. Hydroponics allows one to get the desired crops with exceptional taste and properties.
Can food produced with hydroponics provide ingredients and minerals that conventional soil-based cultivation does? Absolutely! They are healthier, tastier, and full of vitamins. Hydroponic plants can even surpass their conventionally grown counterparts. In addition, they are free from the presence of harmful chemicals that are often present in ones produced using conventional methods.
The list of plants you can grow with hydroponics includes vegetables, fruits, and herbs. You can produce lettuce or parsley, as well as melons or pineapples. The possibilities are almost endless, but it is important to note that the production of certain species may be more profitable than others. It all depends on the crop cycle length and species requirements. Some plants are easier and more advantageous to produce, which is vital for those who grow crops commercially.
The possibilities that hydroponics gives in farming are massive. However, plants differ in their reproductive cycles, environmental requirements, pruning, and harvesting. It is crucial to choose the proper growing parameters for the given species to get optimal results. Another important thing is to maintain the appropriate pH level of water. For most plants, the optimal pH is slightly acidic. To ensure the profitability of your food production, you should consider all these factors. Setting the correct parameters will result in healthy and abundant crops.
The best crops for hydroponics are the ones with relatively low light requirements and a short growth cycle. Small and light plants no longer than 30 centimeters are the best match. That includes leafy vegetables, herbs, or micro leaves. You can find the list of the best options below.
Growing leafy green is the easiest and most labor efficient. It is a smart option for those who want to achieve quick returns on their investments. Such crop production allows one to achieve high yields in a short period. Year-round production is another advantage for farmers who can deliver fresh food directly to their customers.
Optimal pH: 6.0 – 7.0 | Temperature: 7 – 24°C
Varieties: Butterhead, Romaine, Oakleaf, Iceberg.
It is one of the most popular veggies to grow hydroponically. Lettuce is an excellent choice for beginners thanks to the easy production and wide selection of varieties. The great advantage is a short growing cycle and multiple harvests per year. Their small size allows for economical use of space. Also, their leaves are easier to clean and harvest. The time from germination to harvesting takes 5 to 8 weeks, depending on the variety.
Optimal pH: 6.0 – 7.5 | Temperature: 16 – 21°C
A product that is known for healthy properties and high iron content. It also contains high levels of vitamins K, A, C, and B12. Spinach is also reasonably easy to grow and works well with NFT systems.
It can be harvested whole or in part. We recommend using proper exposure and fertilizer dosage because of the plant’s tenderness. Spinach is ready for harvesting as early as 4 to 6 weeks after the beginning of the cultivation cycle!
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.5 | Temperature: 10 – 23°C.
Its slightly tangy flavor makes it a great and healthy addition to salads, pizzas, or sandwiches. In addition to its rich flavor, arugula is also easy to produce. The way this vegetable is grown is similar to lettuce. It is ready for harvesting from the 6th to the 8th week of growing.
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.5 | Temperature: 7 – 29°C.
Examples of varieties: curly, decorative, Tuscan
Kale is full of nutritional value. It will work well both as a side dish and as a part of the main course. Among its numerous nutritional values, this leafy green is rich in protein, fiber, and vitamins, especially C and K, and B vitamins, as well as important minerals such as magnesium, iron, zinc, and phosphorus. Kale is an easy crop to produce. In the early stages of harvesting, you can use kale baby leaves for salads or wait until they achieve full size so they can be a great addition to dishes or fruit cocktails. The plant is ready for harvesting in 6 to 8 weeks.
Herbs are another excellent choice for hydroponics due to their rich flavors and properties. Most of them have a short growing cycle and low requirements. By controlling growing conditions, you can enjoy the herb’s fresh taste and aroma all year round. For best results, it’s good to combine hydroponics with vertical farming to achieve high yields while using less space.
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.5 | Temperature: 18 – 32°C.
Varieties: sweet, lemon, greek, thai sweet, dark opal
Known and appreciated worldwide, basil is especially popular in Mediterranean cuisine. Several flavorful varieties create considerable opportunities for farming. This plant needs a lot of light and can be harvested at different phases of growing cycles. Basil is quite delicate, so growing it in a controlled environment will produce the best quality crops. This herb is ready for harvesting 7 to 9 weeks after starting cultivation.
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.5 | Temperature: 10 – 27°C
An aromatic herb is known for its health-promoting properties and rich flavor. Coriander is an easy herb to grow with a hydroponic system. But it’s delicate, so choosing proper parameters is very important. It is ready to harvest in 7 to 9 weeks.
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.5 | Temperature: 13-24°C.
Varieties: peppermint, green, lemon, field, moroccan.
Mint has a refreshing taste and aroma. It is a great option for food, as well as drinks. The roots of this plant grow fast. In addition, it is easy to care for and harvest. All this makes mint a perfect choice for hydroponic systems. It can be harvested from the 8th to the 10th week after starting cultivation.
Growing fruit crops is different from producing vegetables or herbs. Fruits need specific lighting and have high nutrient requirements. Their reproductive cycles are much longer. The production itself requires more skill and labor as well. However, if cultivated correctly and under favorable conditions, it yields incredible benefits in the form of year-round and local fruits with rich nutritional value and flavor.
Optimal pH: 5.5 – 6.2 | Temperature: 18- 24°C
Growing fruits, such as strawberries, is impossible during the winter seasons in most countries. However, with indoor hydroponics systems, it’s possible to grow all year round. Due to their low off-season availability and short shelf life, it is more worthwhile to have a local production. Strawberries can smoothly adapt to hydroponic systems and are one of the most popular fruits used in this farming method. The first harvest of strawberries is possible 7 to 10 weeks after germination.
Choosing the right plants for a hydroponic system is the first step to starting your own food production. Having the right experience and equipment is essential. It’s also good to consider vertical farming solutions as an option for the most effective crop yields.
Although it’s possible to grow virtually any plant species, due to the high energy costs associated with indoor hydroponic farming it might not be profitable to grow some of them. Smaller species, which tend to grow fast and produce high yields are the best choice for hydroponic crop production.
What questions should you ask yourself before starting to grow?
➤ What plant species are in demand in my region?
➤ Do I have a stable power connection?
➤ Do I have adequate infrastructure?
➤ Do I want to grow one or more plant species?
If you have questions about hydroponics or vertical farming, feel free to contact us via form or email at email@example.com. Our specialists will be happy to answer your questions and provide more information about the crops that can be grown with Hydropolis technology.