25 of the Best Plants for Indoor Hydroponic Gardens

Updated on December 10, 2018
Blond Logic profile image

Living on a farm in Brazil, I've gained local in-depth knowledge of food, plants, and traditions, which I share through my articles.

Indoor Hydroponic Gardening
Indoor Hydroponic Gardening | Source

Hydroponic Herbs and Vegetables

Even if you don't consider yourself a gardener or don't have an outside space for gardening, you can still enjoy the benefits of growing your own plants. There are many that can be grown hydroponically indoors including both herbs and vegetables.

Imagine being able to pick fresh herbs whenever you need them. Think how much that could change not just the taste of your food but also the nutrient content in the dishes you prepare for your family. Even if you don't have a passion for gardening but would like to have a little green in the house (and especially in the kitchen), I have put together 25 plants that are easy to grow in water or hydroponically. Although many plants will root and grow well in just a glass jar and a little water you can accelerate their growth with correct plant nutrition and adequate lighting and be harvesting faster than you would from an outside vegetable garden.

The plants which are ideal, to begin with, are various herbs, vegetables and also some houseplants. Most of these you will already know but may not be aware they can be grown without soil. If you're ready, let's get started.

Herbs Well Suited To Hydroponics

Common Name
Latin Name
Seeds
Cuttings
Tarragon
Artemisia dracunculus
no
Yes from spring shoots
Peppermint
Mentha piperita
no
Yes
Green Mint
Mentha
difficult
yes
Oregano
Origanum vulgare
yes
yes
Basil
Ocimum basilicum
yes
yes
sage
Salvia officinalis
yes
yes
Stevia
Stevia rebaudiana
yes
yes
Lemon Balm
Melissa officinalis
yes
yes
Rosemary
Rosmarinus officinalis
yes
yes (preferred method)
In my research of herbs for hydroponics almost without exception, although you can plant from seeds in most cases, taking a cutting is the preferred option. This not only gets the plant growing stronger but faster as well.
AeroGarden Ultra (LED) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit
AeroGarden Ultra (LED) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit

Every outside gardener knows the heartache of tending to seedlings and then coming out in the morning to find something has eaten them in the night. It's enough to make you throw in the trowel (see what I did there).

That is just one of the reasons I love indoor hydroponic gardening. No pests. Plus, I hate the waiting for things to grow, with this you can almost see these grow overnight. The combination of the food in the water and the lights make growing conditions perfect.

No mulching, no digging, no weeding! Need I say more? If you ever wondered how the supermarket buys perfect looking herbs and lettuces, this is the answer.

 

7 Hydroponic Vegetables

Above are the herbs that grow well, but don't think you have to stop at growing only kitchen herbs for your cooking and healthy teas. There are many more types of plants you can grow in a water-based growing medium.

Many of these are the same as you would grow in your outside garden and others are a variety specifically suited to growing in a smaller space. Remember as long as you are feeding your plant and giving it light, it will grow.

For support of my larger plants, such as tomatoes, I prefer to use clay pebbles as they allow the roots to have a firm hold on something. Here are just some of the vegetable plants you can grow hydroponically.

  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Bok Choy
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Celery

Hydroponic Tomatoes
Hydroponic Tomatoes | Source

What's The Difference Between Hydroponics, Aquaponics and Aquaculture?

It's easy to get confused by the terminology as there's jargon specific to various cultivation techniques. There are many people who use the words interchangeably which further adds to the confusion. In fact, the term aquaculture includes water plants so you can see how people are easily misled by the tangle of terminology. Let's clear up what we're talking about to shed some light on the subject.

Hydroponics

Growing plants in water that has minerals and nutrients added. For larger plants, often clay pebbles, coir, Perlite or gravel is used to support the roots. There is no soil.

Aquaponics

This combines the two areas of aquaculture and hydroponics. Using fertile waste water from fish or other aquaculture activity to enrich the water for the plants. Often plants will be grown on top of a tank, aquarium or lake with fish swimming (and defecating) below.

Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the raising of fish, crustaceans, mollusks, aquatic plants, and algae. Fish farming, which we have done on our farm, comes under this category.

Benefits of Home Hydroponic Vegetables

When you go to the grocery store do you feel like you are forced to buy what they have? Of course, you could go to a farmers market and shop around at some of the specialty shops, but let's be realistic, who has the time to do that. Especially if you have a family and a job, there just aren't enough hours in the day to be as conscientious as we wish.

We all want to provide healthy good quality food for ourselves and our family. Every day there seems to be a new article either online or on the news about GMO foods or toxins in the water from farms. By growing it yourself you know what you're eating and you know what has been used to nourish that plant you're bringing to your table.

If you're a traditional gardener, you may balk at the thought of growing plants in what some say is an artificial environment. I felt the same until I did some research.

It turns out hydroponically grown vegetables have an equal amount of vitamins as those grown in the ground.This, of course, is dependent on the quality of the nutrients you are putting in their growing water. However the same can be said for soils. If you grow a plant in a poor soil, if it grows at all it will be lacking in flavor. The nutrition you receive from it will also be lessened.

Organically grown vegetables can also vary in vitamin content as well.

Another bonus is you know there are no insecticides being used on your plants if you are growing them inside.

Growing lettuce in Water
Growing lettuce in Water | Source

Hydroponic House Plants

Below is a list of house plants which are ideal to grow without soil. These will quite happily grow in a hydroponic system.You may know many of them and be growing them already. Why not use a cutting and begin growing it in your new system. Not only are houseplants beautiful to have in a home, they help clean the air, by absorbing CO². Which of these will you try cultivating in water?

  • Devils Ivy: Epipremnum aureum
  • Arrowhead Plant: Syngonium podophyllum
  • Philodendron:
  • Peace Lily : Spathiphyllum:
  • Chinese Money Plant: Pilea
  • Female Dragon: Dracena:
  • Dumb Cane or Leopard Lily: Dieffenbachia: Cut the young tips and put them in the water, but be careful of the sap as it is caustic!
  • Chinese Evergreen : Aglaonema: You can grow it in whole or in individual branches.
  • Spider Plant: Chlorophytum comosum:

Arrowhead Plant in Water
Arrowhead Plant in Water | Source

Would you like to grow hydroponic plants?

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A Video About Hydroponics

Below is a video about growing plants in a hydroponic system. The gentleman in the video uses Rockwool insulation to suspend the lettuce seedlings in the plastic basket in the water. Although this setup is larger than you may want, I've included it because you can see how quickly your plants will grow and how healthy they look.

The lighting for water system plants can vary. Some people use fluorescent bulbs, as the man in the video has. Other use LED lights, and still, other people use natural light. When using natural light, often the gardener will have their plants lined up vertically near their a window. This is known as window farming or window gardening.

Some systems use a small air pump, the type used in an aquarium to keep the water moving and to keep the water aerated. You may find you don't need one if you are adding water every couple of days along with your fertilizer.


Why Not Give Hydroponics A Try?

I can think of no reason not to try using a hydroponic system, even if you use it in conjunction with your normal gardening. This means you can have fresh food when you want it and the food miles work out to about 6 feet depending on the size of your kitchen. It sure beats having it flown in from a country thousands of miles away.

Kids will love seeing the plants growing in front of them. They may be more receptive to eating their greens if they have helped grow them.

Questions & Answers

© 2016 Mary Wickison

As always, I love to hear your comments.

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    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      11 days ago from Brazil

      What I would suggest before you consider investing any money is look into solar lighting. On YouTube there are videos that show how to make these using soft drink bottles, mineral water, and bleach. Although people are using these in their homes, you may be able to use them in your warehouse.

      Once installed you will be able to better assess whether they will provide enough light to grow lettuce.

      The cost is minimal.

    • profile image

      Bilal Habib 

      11 days ago

      Hi, i would like to start a commercial hydropoincs set up. I have a 10,000 sqft building, with no direct sun light. Can I grow Iceberg lettuce indoors/without sunlight/hydroponically? I read your article, mentioning Lettuce as an indoor plant, but later, you mention "IF YOU GIVE IT LIGHT." LED for 10,000 sqftt would be way too expensive.

      In Pakistan, there is a huge demand for Iceberg lettuce, so i was wondering if I would be able to grow it in the already existing building.

      Any input would be greatly appreciated.

      thanks

      Bilal

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      6 weeks ago from Brazil

      Hi Joy thanks for your question.

      The answer is yes, you can grow cauliflower in an tower. You may find a variety with a smaller head will work better. Some cauliflower heads are huge and they would require supporting if you decide to grow those.

    • profile image

      joy 

      6 weeks ago

      can you grow callflower in a tower

    • Summyroy01 profile image

      Summy Roy 

      2 months ago from Lajpat Nagar

      Very nice! Its really very useful for health.

    • profile image

      Aixa Powell 

      4 months ago

      Very useful and interesting information.

    • profile image

      NAGA Prabhu Kondaveeti 

      6 months ago

      Very useful information.

      Thank you.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      8 months ago from Brazil

      I think once people try it and grow something successfully, they are hooked and can see the benefits of hydroponics. It is just getting people to understand there is a different way.

      I liken it to everyone believing the Earth was flat, that was all they knew so didn't question it.

      Thanks for telling us about your experience.

    • aerogardenaddict profile image

      Shawn 

      8 months ago

      Great article. I only grow in an Aerogarden and love my peppers, herbs, lettuce and flowers. It is nice to find articles for Hydroponics.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      13 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Gina,

      It could be any one of various things including PH, food, light, and even the chlorine in tap water. It also could be the plant itself.

      Just as planting in soil, some plants take off and others can be weak.

      Of course, airborne cleaning chemicals or air fresheners could be the culprit and care should be taken when using them around any plants.

      There are also types of fungus and bacteria which will cause transparency in the leaves of the arrowhead plant. It is worth mentioning, that once you have a plant growing well in the nutrient-rich water, the plant be more resistant to diseases than one which is growing in soil.

    • profile image

      Gina N. 

      13 months ago

      Thank you for this article. I never planted before. I bought an arrowhead plant in soil pot. I rinsed the roots and put in a clear vase as instructed by your article. It's a success!!!! I was so excited. Thank you.

      Now, I need help. My arrowhead leaves turn into transparency. Does the plant need food/light or get damaged by household chemical?

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      14 months ago from Brazil

      Hi Amy,

      Thanks for the question. I think you could grow dandelion and clover but not the plantain. Here in Brazil, we grow bananas and although they like a continually moist soil, they don't like the roots in water.

      Thanks again for your question and let me know how you get on.

    • profile image

      Amy Arndt 

      14 months ago

      This may sound like a strange question, but do you think this would be a good way to grow weeds? Dandelion, plantain, clover, etc? I would like to keep a winter indoor weed garden for my tortoises and this seems like it would be a good way. Thank you for your time.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      15 months ago from Brazil

      You're right, supporting plants can be problematic for tomatoes. It does depend on finding a system that works best and staying adaptable to looking for better ways.

      I have seen some ingenious ways people get around a problem.

      As you say, light too can be a problem. Erect and vine plants need space and more thought before growing them in a hydroponic system.

      Often if people start with the compact plants such as lettuce, and become confident with their system, this helps them try others. Once you have had a few successes, it makes you begin to think, "what else can I try?".

      I think we will begin to see more and more grown hydroponically as it opens up areas which, for whatever reason, were not able to be cultivated in a traditional way.

      Thank you for your comment.

    • profile image

      Indoor Hydroponics 

      15 months ago

      Nice article. I've found that growing tomatoes in an indoor area is impractical due to the need to support them as well as the difficulty in ensuring that they consistently get enough light across the entire vertical length of the plant. Similar issues with cucumber. Other, non-vine plants have worked well for me, though, including lettuce, bok choy and peppers.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Alicia,

      It means gardening can be year round, no more waiting for spring. Thanks for reading today.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thanks for sharing this useful information, Mary. I'm going to think about growing a few plants hydroponically. It's certainly a tempting idea!

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Nell,

      Thanks, I think a bit of greenery in the home can make all the difference, especially during winter.

      Pleased you enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago

      This is so cool! If I had the money and the space this is the way that I would go! fascinating read! and great idea!

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Dora,

      I'm glad you liked it. Gardening, be it indoors or outdoors, is a wonderful activity which brings people together. It's perfect for your strong community.

      Hi Nancy,

      Some might think you have the best of both worlds but I can see the problems you might have if you are moving between the two properties. Each environment has its own set of problems, insects and planting schedule. I can see where a hydroponic system could work for you. A portable one would be best. "Have plants, will travel." can be your new motto!

      Thanks for reading

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 

      2 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      This is my dream to have a hydroponic garden. Owning 2 homes, one in northern and one in Southern US, I find it difficult to grow in either climate. I have begun to grow herbs in my home and hope to expand to other vegetables. Your article inspires me to do more.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      Hi Mizbejabbers,

      Yes, but on a larger scale. We had ours in our lakes during the time we were raising tilapia. We used fish cages and floated the plants in those. With 10,000 tilapia providing the free fertilizer.

      We have sandy soil here and it is a struggle to keep it nutrient rich. We are seeing more and more hydroponically grown vegetables in our supermarket here.

      I know exactly how you feel about the cost. I feel the same about it every time I water our soil based vegetable garden.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the vocabulary lesson and also for all this great information and demonstrations you share. I just had someone else in the house look at your article. Quite interesting and useful!

    • profile image

      Mizbejabbers 

      2 years ago

      This is a good well-researched article -- in theory. Have you tried this for yourself because it is much more easily said than done? We finally gave up because we raised the most expensive tomatoes in town.

    • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

      Mary Wickison 

      2 years ago from Brazil

      You are good at DIY, there are some set ups using PVC pipe which aren't costly. Plus, no weeding!

      Thanks for reading.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I really wish I had the money to set up a system like this. I'm fascinated by the theory and application, but it appears to be fairly expensive to sit up initially. Still, thanks for the information.

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