Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (2023)

Modern industrialized agriculture produces a lot of food, but it’s also destroying the planet. With its over-reliance on pesticides and other agrochemicals, mechanization, and mono-cropping, it’s depleting our topsoil and aquifers, polluting our water and air, and destabilizing our climate. And climate change could make it harder to grow food in the years ahead, with droughts, floods, and extreme weather threatening food security for billions of people around the globe. So are there options emerging that address these downsides and might set up our food system for a more sustainable future?

Yes, there are.

Proponents of regenerative agriculture, permaculture, and other emerging sustainable food production methods point out that we can sequester carbon in the soil, create more nutrient-dense food, reduce or eliminate reliance on agrochemicals, and create more nutrient-dense, resilient, and sustainable food systems. These and other low-tech solutions work with the laws of nature and seek to enhance rather than exploit natural living systems.

But what about hydroponics? At first glance, it sounds anything but natural. But does it work? And could it be part of the solution?

What Is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (1)

Hydroponics is a type of agriculture or gardening method that doesn’t use soil. The term comes from the Greek words “hudor” for water and “ponos” for work, so in translation, it essentially means “water-working.”

If there’s no soil, you may be wondering, then what do the plants grow in? While we’re still just scratching the surface in our quest to understand how complex our soil microbiome is, it’snow widely believed that there are just 16 nutrients that plants require in order to grow. Three of them — carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen — are accessible through air and water exchange. The rest, along with growth hormones designed to mimic traditional soil-based systems, can be dissolved in water that circulates around the plant’s roots. Hydroponics seek to use science and engineering to efficiently mimic the vital elements of a plant’s natural environment, delivering precise quantities of nutrients at precise times.

While modern agriculture is only recently utilizing hydroponics on a large scale, growing plants without soil isn’t actually a new concept. The sometimes disputed Hanging Gardens of Babylon were considered one of the seven wonders of the world and may have been one of the earliest examples of hydroponics. Egyptian hieroglyphics also indicate that water gardening was used as ancient civilizations developed along the Nile River. And the Aztecs employed hydroponics in their floating gardens in Mexico, planting crops on rafts floating on the surface of Lake Tenochtitlan. Farmers trained the roots to trail beneath the raft, accessing lake nutrients that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Sprouting seeds and eating the sprouts, which people have been doing for thousands of years, is also technically a form of hydroponic agriculture. If you enjoy broccoli or mung bean sprouts (or alfalfa, sunflower, or any other sprouts), you’re a hydroponicist! And I just made up a word!

Modern Hydroponics

William F. Gericke, a biologist at Berkeley, brought hydroponics into mainstream consciousness in the 1930s. He first made waves with a 1929 paper titled “Aquiculture—A Means of Crop Production” that was published in the American Journal of Botany. His claim — that farmers and gardeners could grow plants in water, without soil — inspired derision and disbelief from scientists and growers alike. He might as well have insisted that humans didn’t need to breathe air.

But Gericke didn’t back down. Instead, he did what any self-respecting scientist would attempt to do — he proved it. In 1936, Gericke showed off tomato plants grown without the benefit of soil that were up to 25 feet tall and yielded up to 17 pounds of fruit per plant. He was able to harvest nearly one ton of tomatoes in just 10 square feet, which makes me hope that he had lots of neighbors who enjoyed spaghetti. With that astounding demonstration, and its publication in the prestigious journal Nature in 1938, hydroponics captured the imagination of farmers and scientists who saw this technology as a chance to revolutionize farming and feed the world more fully and efficiently.

Modern hydroponics — highly precise, data-driven, automated, and scalable to dimensions unimaginable by Gericke (though not, perhaps, to the Aztec farmers who cultivated crops on top of a 2,100 square mile lake) — benefited from advances in chemistry, data science, and computing. Today, according to estimates from the Associated Press, food produced using hydroponic technology is worth $32 billion in sales — and is increasing quickly.

Benefits of Hydroponics

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (2)

Like it or not, hydroponics is likely to continue expanding and evolving as time goes on. And in parts of the world that are being devastated by drought and topsoil erosion, it presents some appealing advantages.

(Video) What Is Hydroponics And How Does It Work?

High Yield

Hydroponics offers a higher yield of calories per growing area. This is one of the reasons the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is helping to implement the use of hydroponic farming in areas of food shortages to help produce more crops and feed more people. Plus, plants grown hydroponically can grow at least 20% faster than their soil-bound counterparts.


Unlike growing in soil, where there are so many different influences (pH, light, air temperature, microorganisms, tilth, and so on), hydroponic growing can be almost completely controlled. This is because it effectively removes the plant from a natural environment and instead creates what is, at least in theory, an optimized ‘ecosystem’ designed to grow in the absence of soil. The plants are fed a nutrient solution that can come in many forms, but usually, it’s water with a mix of fertilizers and minerals or trace elements that plants require for food.

Less Water

At a large scale, hydroponics consumes less water — up to 90% less than traditional field crop watering methods — because most hydroponics use recirculation techniques to minimize waste. In conventional farming, water is lost due to evaporation, inefficient irrigation, and soil erosion among many other factors. Because hydroponics is removed from the natural water cycle, it can cut down on losses in these areas.

Regional Diversity

Hydroponics allows farmers to grow food pretty much anywhere. For instance, hydroponic systems can be set up in homes, greenhouses, or any indoor space. Even desert climates, like in Egypt and the Middle East, can support hydroponic agriculture at a scale capable of addressing local food needs. Scientists are even attempting to utilize the technology on the International Space Station — in a facility called “Veggie” — to grow food for astronauts so that they can stay in space for longer missions. In fact, after a lot of testing, astronauts were able to eat space-grown leafy greens in 2015.

Continuous Production

Hydroponic technology offers continuous production as well. Unlike conventional agriculture which primarily utilizes large outdoor crop fields, hydroponics growers don’t have to worry about the changing seasons. Crops can be grown and harvested year-round, increasing supply and reducing the need for preserving food.

Fewer Toxins

While conventional agriculture relies heavily on chemical herbicides and pesticides, hydroponic systems do not require much if any of these toxic applications.Because there’s literally no soil for pathogens to live in, few pests or diseases can survive in a properly-maintained hydroponic setup. And although chemicals are sometimes still a part of hydroponic growing, most at-home systems can remain free of pesticides and other harmful agrochemicals.

Downsides of Hydroponics

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (3)

Along with those considerable benefits, hydroponic agriculture comes with some challenges and problems, too.

Environmental Impact

Hydroponic growing can save water, but it can also require significant infrastructure since it’s typically done in an indoor setting. And the vast amount of tubing, as well as containers for the growth media, typically require large amounts of plastic. Over time there may be less resource-intensive methods developed, but for now, this is a big drawback. And some hydroponic systems depend on grow lights that use significantly more energy than outdoor soil-based agriculture. Some also use chemical fertilizers that are non-renewable, too. And while hydroponics can save a lot of water when implemented on a large scale with recirculation techniques, smaller-scale home gardeners may not experience these water savings.

In addition, hydroponics represents something of a missed opportunity to practice one of the most hopeful opportunities that holistic regenerative agriculture offers, which is to sequester carbon and replenish soil.

System Vulnerability

Hydroponic systems can get highly sophisticated. And if one of the pieces — like a pump, string, or timer — should fail or be installed incorrectly, the entire crop yield is at risk. Like all scalable systems, hydroponics can sacrifice resiliency for efficiency.

Economic Control

Large-scale hydroponic farms require a significant infrastructural investment that comes with a hefty price tag that can run into millions. This can make it harder to access unless growers have deep pockets or are backed by investors. If scaled up, is it possible that it could wind up marginalizing small-scale farmers and putting our agricultural systems more in the hands of large companies and venture capitalists?


The nutritional value of hydroponically grown foods can vary, although vitamin levels tend to be similar whether a vegetable is grown hydroponically or in soil. Overall, hydroponic plants can be just as nutrient-dense as conventionally soil-grown plants. But not all hydroponically grown plants have the same mineral content, which depends mainly on the nutrient solution used. Furthermore, more research needs to be done to fully understand whether or not hydroponic fruits and vegetables can produce the same secondary plant metabolites as conventional produce — which can affect everything from taste to medicinal potency. This lack of research is fueling concernthat plants grown in water rather than soil may be missing some unknown plant nutrient. This could lead, over time, to unforeseen micronutrient deficiencies in food grown this way.

(Video) Advantages and Disadvantages of Hydroponics

Organics, Ethics, and Labeling

You may be wondering, can hydroponically grown foods be certified organic since most don’t use pesticides? This is a controversial topic. Many organic farmers say no. They explain that the centerpiece of organic farming is building healthy soil (which can also be a way of sequestering carbon from the atmosphere).

Jim Cochran, owner of Swanton Berry Farm, one of the oldest certified organic strawberry farms in California, tells us: “While I welcome the work that my friends in the hydroponic industry are doing, hydroponic production does not conform to the soil-building precepts of organic farming. I would be perfectly happy to have my strawberries compete with properly distinguished, hydroponically-grown strawberries, without the latter piggybacking on an organic label that has taken more than 30 years to develop and establish in the minds of consumers. Certifying hydroponically-grown crops as organic devalues that label.”

But the USDA sees it differently and has ruled that hydroponically grown food can be certified organic, so long as it is free from GMOs, chemical pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and sewage sludge. For better or for worse, as of this writing, the USDA has certified at least 41 hydroponic operations as organic.

And while some retailers do label hydroponically grown foods, they aren’t required to do so. Commercially-produced foods that are most likely to be grown hydroponically are leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, watercress, celery, and some herbs.

Types of Hydroponic Systems

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (4)

There are 7 basic types of hydroponic systems. Here’s how each of them works.

1. Wick System

This system, named for its functional resemblance to a candle wick, is the simplest setup. Nutrients are pumped from a water reservoir, via a string, up to the growing medium that holds the plants. This approach is a popular choice for home gardeners who want to give hydroponics a try. But it isn’t great for larger plants because a string isn’t able to provide enough water for them. And an incorrect setup or material use can be fatal to the plants.

2. Deep Water Culture System

Also called the Kratky Method, after its creator, the University of Hawai’i horticulturist B. A. Kratky (who, and I am not making this up, received a degree in “Weed Science” from Purdue University in 1971), this system works by placing plants in pots on top of a floating holder so that the roots are in the growing medium. It recirculates water, reducing waste, and is inexpensive and very low maintenance. However, this method isn’t a good fit for large plants either, or plants that have long growing periods because they have to be lightweight enough to be well supported by the floating raft.

3. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) System

This system is used in many vertical farms, which are essentially plant skyscrapers. Some can house thousands of square feet of hydroponic growing systems. NFT is also the most common type to use in home, lab, and commercial settings. It works by allowing a continuous nutrient flow to the plant and back to the reservoir using a slightly downward-facing tube. This design has two advantages: it doesn’t require a timer because the pump runs 24/7, which is one less thing to set up (but could be problematic in a power outage). And it does away with the need for a growing medium. But it’s a little more high maintenance as growers have to watch that the plant roots don’t grow in a way that clogs the system. And they have to periodically make sure the pump is working properly, so the plants are getting adequate nutrients.

4. Ebb and Flow System

This method uses a pump on a timer to regulate nutrients going from the reservoir to the growing tray. The nutrients drain back into the reservoir after they have thoroughly encompassed the plant roots. This system can be customized to fit the grower’s needs, and efficiently uses water and energy, but requires a significant amount of growing medium.

5. Drip System

This system uses a timer that controls when the nutrient solution is transferred through a group of drip lines to provide tiny drops of water for the plants. It’s relatively inexpensive and gives more control over the schedule. But it’s probably overkill for a small garden at home and can waste a lot of water.

6. Aeroponics

Aeroponics seems to be one of the most complex hydroponics options. Plants are suspended in the air, requiring no growing medium. And a timer controls a spray system to frequently deliver nutrients to the roots. As such, the roots are exposed to more oxygen using this system.

7. Aquaponics

In aquaponics, fish — and sometimes other aquatic animals like snails, prawns, and crayfish — and crops are combined into one symbiotic system. Waste products that can be harmful to fish in high concentrations are filtered out of the system by the plants, which use them for their own nutrition. While fish farming is often environmentally disastrous, not all fish farms are the same. Aquaponic farms are unique because they combine fish farming with hydroponics, and the two work together to create what at least has the potential to be a more sustainable system in which each element can benefit the whole.

(Video) All about Hydroponics

What About Growing Hydroponically At Home?

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More and more people are taking an interest in home-based hydroponic gardening. And there are some good reasons for this — most significantly that it allows them to grow food year-round, with high yield per square foot. Some of the best foods to grow hydroponically include health champions like spinach, lettuce, herbs, peppers, cucumbers, bok choy, and celery. And, of course, tons of tomatoes!

A basic hydroponic gardening system needs a nutrient-rich water solution, a light source — whether sunlight or grow lights — seeds or plants, and a growing medium.

If you want to dive in deeper, you’ll find an overview of how to grow food hydroponically at home, and some resources to help you take the next step, here.

And in case you want to try it yourself, here’s a video that shows you how to set up a basic hydroponics system using a 27-gallon container and a PVC pipe spray system.

Hydroponic-Friendly Recipes

Whether or not you ever grow or eat food that’s grown hydroponically, we hope to inspire you with some fresh and nutritious recipes featuring herbs and veggies that can be grown hydroponically.

Super Easy (and Tasty!) Mint Chutney is a light and refreshing condiment you can keep in your refrigerator to use in meals all week long to add a pop of flavor and lots of nutrients. Tired of the same ol’ salad? Then use your homegrown veggies to create the satisfying, hardy, and heavenly Lemon Basil Farro Salad with White Beans, Arugula, and Tomatoes. And make the Simple Cucumber and Radish Salad early in the week because the flavors get better each day the veggies marinate. Happy hydroponic growing (and eating)!

1. Super Easy (and Tasty!) Mint Chutney

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (6)

(Video) Hydroponics 101 Explained in Detail

Use at least one (mint) and up to three (mint, cilantro, and jalapenos) of your hydroponically grown herbs and vegetables to make this flavorful chutney that can be used on top of bean burgers, as a veggie dip, or in grain bowls. It’s as easy to make as the produce is to grow — just add all of the ingredients to a food processor and blend!

2. Lemon Basil Farro Salad with White Beans, Arugula, and Tomatoes

Hydroponics: How It Works, Benefits and Downsides, & How to Get Started (7)

Use ingredients from your hydroponic garden to create a colorful, delightful, and satisfying salad made with basil, arugula, and tomatoes — all veggies that can be easy-to-grow with a hydroponics system. Growing more than just those three veggies? No problem. The salad and dressing are versatile enough that adding a variety of flavors and textures can only add to this delightful dish.

3. Simple Cucumber and Radish Salad

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The longer you let this dish sit (preferably overnight), the more intense the flavor becomes, so it’s a perfect make-ahead choice. When you use fresh produce from your garden, the flavor is even more amplified. That’s the beauty of growing your own produce! While we suggest cucumber, radish, and asparagus, you can add just about any vegetables you have on hand (or that you’re growing) to the marinade. This dish can make a crunchy snack or a light side to your main meal.

An Agricultural Movement to Watch

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Hydroponics can be an efficient method for growing food indoors or in small spaces, allowing for more control over how a plant is grown without the need for soil. And in large-scale commercial agriculture, it may have advantages, especially in regions with extreme climates or inadequate rainfall. As our world faces increasing challenges with desertification and climate change, hydroponics may play a valuable role in feeding humanity.

But hydroponic agriculture also generally relies on large amounts of plastic and other non-renewable components. And some commercial hydroponic operations use chemical nutrients that are not sustainable, and that may even lack important minerals. Perhaps most concerningly, hydroponic agriculture is a missed opportunity to use agriculture to sequester carbon and enhance soil health.

But despite its benefits and downsides, hydroponic agriculture is probably here to stay and is expected to expand in the times to come. And whether or not you choose to use hydroponics to grow your own food, or eat food that’s grown hydroponically, is a personal choice with many factors to consider.

Editor’s Note: Getting started with a garden, especially indoors or with limited space, can be daunting. But if you’re interested in growing your own food, and don’t want the hassle of trying to figure everything out yourself, you can simplify much of the process with a self-contained hydroponics system. The Tower Garden offers a vertical, aeroponics-style gardening system that allows you to grow a variety of herbs, greens, or even fruits and vegetables, all within less than three square feet of space. (With their Family Garden package you can grow up to 84 plants at once!)

If you want more peace of mind when it comes to the food you’re feeding your family, the Tower Garden is a compelling option that can allow you to enjoy the literal fruits of your labor just weeks after planting. If you want to find out more about the Tower Garden and get started growing, click here. (If you make a purchase using this link, a portion of the proceeds will benefit FRN’s work. Thank you!)

Tell us in the comments:

  • What do you think? Do you want to eat hydroponically grown crops?
  • Are hydroponics a good thing, or a bad thing?
  • Have you ever eaten hydroponic plants?
  • Have you tried to grow your own hydroponic plants at home?

Feature image: iStock.com/LouisHiemstra

(Video) Advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics farming - 2020

Read Next:

  • How to Start an Indoor Garden
  • What Will it Really Take for Vertical Farms to Succeed?


Is hydroponics good for beginners? ›

A hydroponics setup at home also can be an ideal solution for people who don't have an outdoor garden. Three hydroponics systems are suitable for beginners: wick, water culture, and ebb and flow. More advanced systems include the nutrient film technique and the aeroponic system.

What do you need to get started with hydroponics? ›

To grow hydroponically, you need plants, a container, water, a way to anchor the plants, nutrients and a light source. It is possible to grow vegetables hydroponically both outdoors and indoors. If growing indoors, artificial lighting will help faster growth.

What is hydroponics and how does it work? ›

Hydroponics is the cultivation of plants without using soil. Hydroponic flowers, herbs, and vegetables are planted in inert growing media and supplied with nutrient-rich solutions, oxygen, and water. This system fosters rapid growth, stronger yields, and superior quality.

What are the 6 requirements for hydroponics? ›

The six things needed are light, air, water, nutrients, heat and space. Hydroponic growing can be done indoors or outdoors. In either setting, plants will need five to six hours of light per day, access to electricity and an area that is level and without excessive wind.

How often should you change the water in a hydroponic grow? ›

Full Water Changes

The best time to change your hydroponic water entirely is after you've topped it off enough times to fill it fully. For an average-size hydroponic system, you'll likely need to change your water every two to three weeks.

How much does it cost to start a hydroponic farm? ›

$1,000 to $5,000

Small farmers hoping to invest in hydroponic technologies can expect to spend somewhere within this price range. You can afford to build either an indoor or outdoor hydroponic garden with this budget, but you might not be able to yield a high quantity for mass-producing.

How much money is required for hydroponics? ›

Because of this, the water pump's output is affected by the size of the hydroponic farm. Therefore, it will cost between Rs. 10 lakhs and Rs. 14 lakhs to regulate the temperature of one acre of hydroponic agriculture.

What plants do not do well in hydroponics? ›

Crops that cannot be grown hydroponically
  • Corn. Corn has extensive roots and requires plenty of natural light or sunlight. ...
  • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes. ...
  • Large Root Vegetable. ...
  • Vine Crops. ...
  • Cabbage. ...
  • Pumpkin and Other Gourds. ...
  • Squash and Melon. ...
  • Space Consumption.
4 Jul 2022

How do you maintain a hydroponic system? ›

How to Maintain Your Hydroponic Reservoir
  1. Pay Attention to Temperature. The temperature of your nutrient solution is important. ...
  2. Change Out the Water. Stagnant water is not helpful water. ...
  3. Use an EC Meter. ...
  4. Ensure Proper Aeration. ...
  5. Get a Filter and Clean It. ...
  6. Set up a Regular pH Check System.

Can you do hydroponics with just water? ›

So to answer the original question…can you use tap water for hydroponics? Yes, yes you can – if you treat it properly beforehand! If it has a high PPM, consider running it through a filter or mixing in distilled or reverse osmosis water to dilute the concentration.

How often do you water hydroponics? ›

Your goal is to provide the optimum amount of water so your new plant can start growing. Aim to keep your growing media moist, but not damp. This could require anywhere from 1-15 waterings per day, depending on your grow environment.

Are hydroponics high maintenance? ›

Due to the higher growth rate of crops grown in hydroponics, plants require greater maintenance, compared to crops grown in soil. Trellising, pruning, harvesting and nutrient solution monitoring are some of the maintenance factors which need to be checked frequently in hydroponics.

Why hydroponic is not popular? ›

Hydroponics is still not a widely-practiced technique in India, owing to the traditional nature of farming, high-initial set-up cost, lack of technical know-how, lack of awareness and the complexity of the technology.

What is the easiest plant to grow in hydroponics? ›

The easiest fruits and vegetables to grow hydroponically:
  • Leafy greens – lettuce, kale, spinach, bok choy, watercress.
  • Spinach.
  • Tomatoes (require lots of light)
  • Radish.
  • Beans – green beans, pinto, lima.
  • Herbs – chives, basil, mint, cilantro.
  • Strawberries.
  • Blueberries.
28 May 2022

Do I need air pump for hydroponics? ›

Plants need oxygen to survive. That's why it's super important to give them enough of this in water systems like hydroponics or aquaponics. If so, an air pump is your best friend.

Do hydroponic nutrients expire? ›

Beginners often wonder if hydroponic nutrients go bad. They also worry if they've wasted their money. Most of the high-quality and big-name nutrients will last for YEARS and won't deteriorate in quality. The fact there's no expiry date is a good thing – it shows they're robust and effective for ages.

How many hours of light do hydroponics need? ›

1 Artificial lighting for a hydroponic garden should imitate direct and indirect sunlight requirements. Allow for at least 14 to 16 hours of artificial light, followed by 10 to 12 hours of darkness every day for annuals.

Is hydroponic farming tax free? ›

Hence, income earned from growing of rose employing hydroponic system is qualifies as agricultural income under section 10(1) of the Act. Further, as held in the CIT(A) order, the Assessee had established proper nexus between agricultural land, agricultural operations and income earned from such activities.

How much land is required for hydroponics? ›

Prerequisites for hydroponics systems:

A space of 10X10 feet on your balcony or the rooftop. An initial investment of about Rs 10,000 for this space. An assortment of vegetables you want to grow.

Where can I learn hydroponic farming? ›

  • List of Best Hydroponic Training Centres/Institutes in India. We have listed the top training centres/institutes that provide training for hydroponic farming. ...
  • Sai Swayam Society. ...
  • Tichxelons Agrotech. ...
  • Kerala Agricultural University. ...
  • Hydrilla. ...
  • Future Farms. ...
  • Bellesiri – Hydroponics Training & Consultant.
23 Mar 2022

What is the most profitable hydroponic crop? ›

Herbs and greens are the most appropriate crops for indoor farming, and they are also some of the most profitable plants to grow hydroponically.

Is hydroponic a good investment? ›

Hydroponics farming has a bright future and can be quite profitable in the long term. You may generate money in your business by selling your green commodities, plants, and products to potential clients.

What is the cheapest way to start hydroponics? ›

For the absolute cheapest method of growing put your hydroponic system outside and take advantage of the sunlight. If that doesn't work for you, move your plants indoors and hang a four-foot fluorescent shop light just a few inches above the plants.

Do hydroponic gardens attract bugs? ›

Although hydroponic systems have a lowered risk of pests, insects can still find their way into your home. Hang sticky traps in your grow tent. This will help you quickly identify any pests for quick evaluation and treatment of infestations. Use a blue stick card for thrips and a yellow card for gnats and whiteflies.

Why are hydroponic plants not healthy? ›

If you want to ensure a safe and healthy growth cycle, you have to be mindful of the nutrient solution temperature. Hydroponic plants have different temperature requirements than soil-grown plants, and if you fail to maintain the optimal climate, you may find yourself with wilted plants or spoiled fruits.

Is hydroponic toxic? ›

Hydroponic nutrients are safe to use. Unlike natural growing methods, hydroponic plants aren't exposed to pesticides, chemicals, diseases, and pathogens. Hydroponic nutrients are a highly controlled and extremely effective method of feeding, especially when paired with additives, substrates and proper equipment.

How do you purify hydroponic water? ›

One of the simplest, most cost-effective ways to purify hydroponic water is with the use of a reverse osmosis (RO) water filter. Reverse osmosis is a water purification process whereby harmful particles are separated from the water molecules and eliminated.

What are 4 types of hydroponic systems? ›

There are six main types of hydroponic systems to consider for your garden: wicking, deep water culture (DWC), nutrient film technique (NFT), ebb and flow, aeroponics, and drip systems.

Can hydroponics be done without sunlight? ›

Final answer: Yes, hydroponic plants need sunlight.

How often do you fertilize hydroponics? ›

If you drain, clean and remix the nutrients every 7 to 10 days, it's okay to top off with fresh water daily. As plants consume nutrients and water, the nutrient strength in the hydroponic reservoir will change. GENERALLY, nutrient strength should run between 800 to 1500 parts per million (ppm).

Can you do hydroponics with any plant? ›

Crops. Although almost any crop can be grown hydroponically, the most common are leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, watercress, celery and some herbs. One key factor in system design for a particular crop is how it is supported in the nutrient solution.

Do hydroponic plants need darkness? ›

Indoor gardens, whether they're hydroponic or soil-based, need light to fuel the process of photosynthesis, which creates the energy a plant needs to grow. Additionally, your garden will require you to supply it with nutrients, water and a growing medium.

How long do hydroponics take to grow? ›

When you put them in a hydroponic system, they're practically supercharged with growth. Some leaves will be ready as soon as three weeks. Lettuce (Iceberg and other head lettuce) – These veggies have a longer in-soil growth time but still do well in a hydroponic system. Look for them to be ready in six to eight weeks.

Does hydroponic food taste different? ›

There is a stigma about hydroponic crops having little flavor or are “watered down”, but this is no longer the case. The truth is that crops grown in a local hydroponic vertical farm are, in fact, better in taste and safer than the food you might find farmed otherwise.

How hot is too hot for hydroponics? ›

With that light comes heat, and too much heat can be a problem for your plants, especially if the hydroponic nutrient solution gets too warm. The ideal temperature for your nutrient solution is between 65 degrees F and 80 degrees F. If it gets too hot, it loses oxygen and chokes your plants.

Can you do hydroponics without electricity? ›

This is where the Kratky method shines. It's a technique that allows you to grow hydroponically without electricity, pumps, or wicks of any kind. In fact, you don't even have to change your reservoir or add nutrients. It's as close to a completely “hands off” growing technique as I've ever seen.

Why are my hydroponic plants rotting? ›

What Causes Hydroponic Root Rot? A fungus—known as Phytophthora, a water-borne organism that thrives in damp, oxygen-poor environments—causes root rot. The fungus grows on the roots, preventing the plant from absorbing nutrients and gradually killing the plant altogether.

How difficult is hydroponics? ›

Hydroponics sounds like a highly complex way of growing crops, but it's surprisingly easy. So easy that even a beginner won't have trouble skipping the soil to grow plants indoors, including different herbs.

What is the easiest thing to grow hydroponically? ›

The easiest fruits and vegetables to grow hydroponically:
  • Leafy greens – lettuce, kale, spinach, bok choy, watercress.
  • Spinach.
  • Tomatoes (require lots of light)
  • Radish.
  • Beans – green beans, pinto, lima.
  • Herbs – chives, basil, mint, cilantro.
  • Strawberries.
  • Blueberries.
28 May 2022

Is it hard to do hydroponics? ›

Hydroponic growing is a more technical skill than growing plants in soil. You can learn a lot from reading books and articles, and watching instructional videos. However, one of the best ways to learn is from our mistakes. Thankfully, I've made plenty of mistakes while growing plants with hydroponics over the years.

Is hydroponic hard to grow? ›

Growing hydroponically requires 20 percent less space than the same amount of plants in soil, and you can grow year-round. The amount of labor involved with hydroponic gardening is significantly less once everything is set up and going.

Does hydroponics use a lot of electricity? ›

Pumps and other machines used in hydroponic gardening consume relatively little electricity when compared to lighting costs. Still, even the least-used devices will add to utility bills. Ultimately, the consumer inherits the high electricity costs of hydroponic gardening.

What Cannot grow hydroponically? ›

Carrots, turnips, and beets are examples of root vegetables that do not do well on a hydroponic farm. These vegetables need loose soil so their roots can spread out and grow properly. In a hydroponic system, the roots would be confined to a small space and would not have enough room to grow.

Are hydroponics noisy? ›

For most cases, we say, no, they are not very loud. If your system is behind a closed door, you probably won't notice it. When you're in the same room, it will be a constant companion.

What is the best type of hydroponics? ›

Aeroponic systems have a number of benefits over traditional hydroponics. These systems use 95% less water than traditional growing, and 20% less water than other hydroponic systems. The fine misting of an aeroponic system allows for laser accuracy of nutrient application.

What grows well in hydroponics? ›

Although almost any crop can be grown hydroponically, the most common are leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, watercress, celery and some herbs.

What is the most profitable hydroponic crop to grow? ›

What are the 9 Most Profitable Crops to Grow Hydroponically
  • Basil. Basil is one of the most loved herbs in India- it has a great fragrance and adds the perfect flavor to any cuisine. ...
  • Cilantro. ...
  • Lettuce. ...
  • Spinach. ...
  • Peppers. ...
  • Spring Onion. ...
  • Mint. ...
  • Cucumber.
27 Oct 2021


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