Do you know we can grow plants without soil? Sounds suspicious right? Yes, there is a way through which we can grow plants without soil. And today we are going to talk about best plants for hydroponics.
Let’s go back to the chapters of the reproduction of plants in school. Photosynthesis was the process through which plants grow. It requires sunlight, carbon dioxide, and water. It actually doesn’t require soil to grow plants. It requires water and nutrients basically to grow plants.
And this is possible through a method called Hydroponics. So it is a subset of hydroculture. This method allows plants to grow without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. It is also beneficial as it allows the nutrients to uptake the process to be more efficient.
According to research, there are various types of growing techniques for hydroponics like Nutrient film technique (NFT) or Continuous-flow solution culture, Wicks the system, Ebb and flow (flood and drain), Water culture, Drip system, Aeroponics, Static Solution culture, Fogponic and Passive sub-irrigation
best plants for hydroponics
Most of us are wondering what plants will be best suited to grow indoors and hydroponically. Since many of us are researching what plants to grow hydroponically or which will be the best way to grow them, then these are some top best plants which can be grown hydroponically.
Spinach is a leafy green vegetable which is scientifically known as Spinacia oleracea. This is one of the plants best suited to hydroponic production and also can be grown indoors.
To grow such a plant well, we should submerge the roots in the nutrient solution. The nutrient solution should be filled into the hydroponic frame in a minimum of 5 inches of depth.
For mature plants, cultivars should have downy mildew resistance to grow. Since it is a cool plant, it requires less light. The plant can be harvested for continuously 12 weeks under a good condition of climate and it requires cool temperature for growing.
A lettuce is an annual plant of the daisy family, Asteraceae which grows as a leaf vegetable. It may well be the most famous choice among hydroponic gardeners.
It is really easy to grow them as they grow super fast in a hydroponic system and can be harvested continuously so that you get a continuous supply of fresh lettuce. They can be grown in any hydroponic system which includes the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), Aeroponics, Ebb & Flow, etc. It has to be grown in a cool temperature.
It is a certain cultivars of cabbage (Brassica oleracea) which is grown for their edible leaves. The type of hydroponic system used to grow Kale is a water system and people have grown this plant for years.
It is really easy to grow and can be taken care of using this system. And since it can be grown indoors, you don’t have to worry about pesticides either. Kale can be grown in cool as well as warm temperatures.
It is a culinary herb of the family Lamiaceae (mints). This is another plant which can be easily grown in a hydroponic system. We can start off by buying basil seedlings at a garden centre and transplant them into the hydroponic container.
Before that, we should make sure to rinse the soil off the roots. You can either grow them in Drip system or NFT. Basil requires lots of light and should at least get over 11 hours of lightning. Its favourable temperature is warm.
Also known as Mentha is a genus plant in the family Lamiaceae. Hydroponically, mints like peppermint and spearmint are mainly grown. Basically, they used in food and beverage flavouring for their aromatic compound. It is ideal to grow in a hydroponic system as its root spreads quickly. The ideal temperature is warm.
Chives are basically edible species of the genus Allium, scientifically known as Allium schoenoprasum. Chives are can be easily grown in a hydroponic system. It takes six to eight weeks to grow before fully getting matured and also should be grown under standard conditions.
After that, it can be harvested regularly for more three to four weeks until it is fully grown. Sunlight is very important for these plants and needs 12-14 hours of it daily. It grows best under warm temperature.
It is a dark, leafy green which is part of the same family as kale. It makes it ideal for the hydroponic garden as it is a water-loving plant. It can be grown from seeds just by sowing the seed in pots. This semi-aquatic plant thrives best in slightly alkaline water.
These plants should be grown at a low temperature. Watercress stems can be simply cut from the plants and slotted into new planting holes to start a new crop.
Also known as Nelumbo nucifera is a type of water plant. Young lotus rhizomes should be planted in tubs or pots of a substrate such as coarse sand or gravel. It requires a minimum of at least 1 ft. of solution. Normally Lotus is grown in warm temperature but it can still withstand cool conditions.
Strawberries are a widely grown hybrid species of the genus Fragaria. It is cultivated for its fruit. Well-suited for hydroponic growing, it is also one of the famous grown plants in hydroponic production.
The system used by the commercial farms to grow these plants is an NFT system. Weather is really not a factor for Hydroponic strawberries as it allows us to harvest in all year long. But it does require a lot of natural light hence sunlight is very important. The preferred temperature for strawberries is warm.
It is a perennial flowering plant which is cultivated for the fruits and grows blue-or purple coloured berries. They are classified in the section Cyanococcus. It is well suited to grow hydroponically. The system used to grow them is an NFT system. Transplants of the plant are more preferred as it is hard to plant seeds. Its favourable temperature is warm.
It is a plant from the family of Solanaceae. Commercial growers and hydroponic hobbyists have given their interest in growing tomatoes hydroponically. These plants require lots of light and have to be given proper sunlight and should be taken care of under good conditions. The hot temperature is more favourable to grow these plants.
Do’s and Don’ts of Hydroponics
It can either be fairly simple or implicitly complex to grow hydroponics depending on how to grow plants and also how to set up the hydroponic system. That being said, there are some basic principles we need to follow while planting a hydroponic plant. No hydroponic system will be able to thrive without the basic dos and don’ts. So here are the top dos and don’ts of hydroponics.
Research very well
This is the first, do of hydroponics right. We should always research well before starting. We should always make sure to look for available system types and the kinds of maintenance and special considerations they require. So for example, for Wick system, we really don’t need a pump but can choose to use one and if we go for a NFT or EBB and Flow system, we definitely need a pump. These small and minor things should be kept in mind before starting off with the system.
Then you should research on what plants you want to grow hydroponically and what kind of hydroponic system to use for them. Then you should learn about their ideal pH and nutrient levels and also adding them to the necessary temperature, humidity and light requirements. You should always maintain the plant well and see to its appropriate requirements and needs.
Make lighting a priority
Though some hydroponic gardeners use natural sunlight for growing their plants, but still, that medium is not enough for the hydroponic plants. While growing plants hydroponically, it can be easy to see the water supplements and focus on the water more and tend to ignore lighting. Even if the growing area is really light but still you will need supplementary lighting.
Special growing lights have to be installed to either supplement natural light or completely provide a new light for the plants. Growing lights are totally affordable and come in a variety like LED, halogen and HID.
You should always place them near the growing plants to be more effective and not too close but placed efficient enough for the plants. Some plants might receive less light or plants placed in the corners or behind other plants should be taken care of and see that they are getting an adequate amount of light. The light deficiency will fail the growth of the plant.
Water is the very crucial part of the hydroponic system and we need to make sure that the plant is getting an adequate supply of water or not. If not then it will be very difficult for the plant to grow. And most importantly, you should change your water appropriately.
If you miss out on changing water appropriately, it can lead to diseases and chemical burns on plant roots. Being appropriate is an important factor here. Also, very importantly, over changing of water is as bad for the plant as under changing it. You should know the correct factors for changing the water.
How to change the water correctly? Different systems run through water reservoirs and systems differently and evaporate differently as a result. We can maintain the routine from this rule of thumb: When the water reservoir is lower, you should add the clean and new water to top it up by keeping the amount in mind.
Water will be typically needed to be topped up every few days or less. When the amount that you have added will be half the total amount then you need to drain the water and replace it with fresh water.
Understanding the nutrient solution
We need to understand some important things about the nutrient solution. As different plants have different nutrient requirements to grow, many nutrient solution mixes are sold as general “plant food” or claim to be safe for the plants. But we should make sure to focus on NPK nutrients (N-Nitrogen, P-Phosphorus, and K-Potassium). These are the three main nutrients to focus on for the needs of the plants which they cannot obtain from water or oxygen.
Shouldn’t use regular fertilizer
We shouldn’t use regular fertilizers because it will be difficult for them to dilute properly when pumped through a hydroponic system. It can be damageable for the plant as well to the system.
People might get excited about this system and get carried away with planting but that can be bad for the system. You can also end up with more than the system can sustain. Even if the system is able to handle with lots of plants but it can be an issue for the plants to handle so much of crowding. The overplanting can give rise to more problems like not getting a sufficient amount of lighting and roots getting tangled and can also lead to serious problems like the plant dying.
You should never neglect the growing environment of the plant. You should need to pay special attention to the growing environment and area. You cannot always rely on ambient temperature and humidity levels to fit the bill and should always take care of the surrounding. You should keep a focus on temperature, lighting, etc. So basically the plants should get a very comfortable environment where they can grow well.
Shouldn’t ignore the plants
Plant maintenance is the key to healthy hydroponic planting. You should never ignore the plants and their conditions. You should always need to trim and prune the plants, remove dead leaves, stems and flowers. Also should appropriately change the water and should observe the plants for any signs of illness or infection. Regularly checking on the plants will make it a healthier system and will grow effectively.
The purpose of the whole article is to give the viewers an idea about what is hydroponic plants and what are the well-suited plants for the system. And also to give s brief description of what are the things to do and what are the things we shouldn’t do in the system. This is to determine if the use of water and nutrient solution is more effective and convenient than using soil.