Hydroponic gardening is a technique of growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil. This is an excellent way of growing vegetables, fruits, and flower plants organically, and you can enjoy a bountiful crop even in a small indoor hydroponic setup. Hydroponic farming has become widely popular across the world for the several benefits it provides, and both professional farmers and amateur gardeners are using this technique to grow their own greens. While hydroponics is used to grow a wide range of vegetables and fruits, some plants are better suited for this system than others and grow well in this carefully curated environment.
So, if you have recently installed a hydroponic setup at home and are wondering which plants to start with, here is a list of the best indoor hydroponic plants that will kickstart your hydroponic garden. These are easy to grow, demand minimum maintenance, and give a healthy yield at the end of their growth cycle.
Top ten indoor hydroponic plants to grow for a bountiful harvest
Spinach is one of the most popular and best indoor hydroponic plants that grow swiftly in a hydroponic system. It grows well in the Nutrient Film Technique or other systems that maintain a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. It consumes less water in these systems as compared to soil-based gardening and germinates easily. Its full growth cycle is around 40 days giving you the option of harvesting it several times a year. The one thing to keep in mind is that spinach is typically a winter crop, so maintain the right temperature (between 65 degrees F and 72 degrees F, especially for sweet spinach) and pH level (6.0 to 7.5) for maximum growth.
Most leafy vegetables like lettuce are ideal for growing indoors in a hydroponic system as they have a shallow root system. For this reason, they can be grown well in smaller setups, in limited space as well. To grow a healthy lettuce crop, all you need to take care of is that you change the nutrient solution regularly and provide it with the right amount of light and temperature. Lettuce usually grows within a 30 day grow cycle, so if you plant the seeds in a staggered manner, you can have a continuous supply of fresh lettuce throughout the year. It can grow quickly and in all seasons is what makes it one of the most popular hydroponic plants indoors.
Watercress is a water-loving plant, and that’s what makes it an ideal choice for hydroponic systems. It flourishes in aquaponic technique as well. Watercress is best used fresh as they don’t store too well. Most of the watercress varieties that you find in the market are already wilted because these plants don’t last too long once they have been harvested. Hence, growing watercress in your indoor hydroponic system will yield freshly grown crops throughout the year. Their seeds can germinate between 7 to 14 days, and they flourish in an alkaline atmosphere. Maintain a pH level of 5 to 7 and provide them with a few hours of sunlight every day in addition to your grow lights for the best growth.
Cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest and highest-yielding non-leafy vegetables to grow in a hydroponic system. One important thing to keep in mind here is that they require a lot of light to grow well. So, you might want to install a dedicated grow light panel for cherry tomatoes so that their growth is not stunted in an indoor environment. Use deep water culture for growing these lovely veggies while maintaining a temperature of 12-18 degrees Celsius. The ideal pH level is between 5.8 to 6.3. A disbalance in the pH level or insufficient nutrient solution can hamper the crop.
Cucumbers are yet another great hydroponic indoor plant as they grow well in hydroponic systems, provided they get enough light. One important thing to keep in mind when growing cucumbers is that they require a comprehensive support system like a wire cage or trellis as the cucumber vines get big and dense. If you don’t have enough space in your indoor setup, you can choose to grow bushy cucumbers as they require less space compared to the normal ones.
Bell peppers make for a fantastic choice when it comes to indoor hydroponic plants. They require a lot of light for growth stimulation, so ensure you have the right lighting panels installed in your indoor garden to create a suitable environment for peppers to grow. While peppers are most commonly grown in outdoor systems, you can choose chili peppers or other smaller varieties to ensure you get a satisfactory harvest.
One of the healthiest and easiest vegetables to grow in a hydroponic system, kale has fast become a grower’s favorite. They can be grown best in nutrient film technique or deep water culture in temperatures ranging between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Kale seeds can germinate in 4 to 7 days if the right temperature, pH level (between 5.8 to 6.3), and nutrient solution (try to maintain low nitrogen level) are provided.
Strawberries are a farmer’s delight when grown hydroponically. Hydroponic systems like ebb and flow and deep water culture are most suitable for growing strawberries. Their crop comes out fresh, bountiful, and can be grown all year round. They grow faster when grown from plants instead of seeds. Growers can enjoy a healthy crop by providing the right temperature (between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit), correct pH level (between 5.8 and 6.2), and an appropriate amount of light (8-12 hours per day).
Mint is mostly known to grow well in soil. But orange mint and peppermint can be marginally classified as semi-aquatic plants, making them ideal hydroponic indoor plants. It is a hassle-free plant that doesn’t require too much care. It can be easily grown in a normally balanced nutrient solution with 12-14 hours of light every day.
Basil is yet another herb that grows well in a hydroponic system. Make sure you rinse the seedlings properly and sow to germinate. With an ideal temperature between 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, a general mix of nutrient solution, and 14 hours of light, basil plants will flourish.
Growing hydroponic plants indoors is an efficient way of growing organic crops in a small space. If you choose the plants wisely, you are sure to get a bountiful crop with minimum effort. Hydroponics has become popular for the several benefits it provides, and several growers are choosing this technique to enjoy a bumper harvest all year round.