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Choosing the Best Plants for Indoor Hydroponic Gardens

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 plants inside. There are many plants which can be grown hydroponically indoors including many herbs and vegetables.

Imagine being able to pick fresh herbs whenever you need them. How much would that benefit not only your cooking but also the health of 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 which 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 growing with correct plant nutrition and adequate lighting and be harvesting faster than you would from an outside vegetable garden.

Among the plants which I feel 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 it growing stronger and faster, you know you are going to get a healthy pl
Miracle-Gro AeroGarden Ultra (LED) with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit
Miracle-Gro 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 which grow well, but don't think you have to stop at growing only kitchen herbs. 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 able to grow in a smaller space. Remember as long as you are feeding your plant and giving it light, it will grow.

Although I support 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?

Don't get confused by the terminology used as there's jargon specific to various cultivation techniques. There are many people who use the words interchangeably which further leads to the puzzlement. In fact, the term aquaculture includes water plants so you can see how people are easily misled by that jumble of jargon. Let's clear up what we are talking about.

Hydroponics

Growing plants in water which has minerals and nutrients added. For larger plants, often clay pepples 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 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 really, 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 do it.

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 in the paper about GMO foods or toxins in the water from farms. By growing it yourself you know what your eating and you know what has been used to nourish that plant your bringing to your table.

If you are 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?

  • I'd love to have a hydroponic garden in my home.
  • I'll stick with gardening outside, in the earth, like I always have.
  • I might consider it but only when I can't be in the garden.
  • Other, I'll leave you a comment and explain more.
See results without voting

A Video About Hydroponics

Below is a video about growing plants in a hydroponic system. He uses rockwool insulation to suspend the lettuce seedlings in the plastic basket in the water. Although his setup is larger than you may want, I included it because you can see how quickly your plants will grow and how healthily 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 vertically near their 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.

More by this Author


As always, I love to hear your comments. 11 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 weeks 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.


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 3 weeks ago from Brazil Author

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

Thanks for reading.


Mizbejabbers 3 weeks 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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 3 weeks 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!


Blond Logic profile image

Blond Logic 3 weeks ago from Brazil Author

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.


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 2 weeks 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 image

Blond Logic 2 weeks ago from Brazil Author

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


Nell Rose 12 days 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 image

Blond Logic 11 days ago from Brazil Author

Hi Nell,

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

Pleased you enjoyed it.


AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 10 days 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 image

Blond Logic 10 days ago from Brazil Author

Hi Alicia,

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

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