Best Indoor Plants to Grow in Hydroponic System

Starting a hydroponic garden opens up new possibilities for plant lovers and city farmers. This method doesn't use soil, making growing plants simpler and more eco-friendly. With hydroponics, you can grow various plants indoors all year round by providing them with water and nutrients. From tasty greens to fragrant herbs, hydroponic systems are perfect for growing lots of plants in a small space. In this guide, we'll look at the best indoor plants for hydroponics, considering how fast they grow, what nutrients they need, when to harvest them, and the pH levels they prefer. Let's dive into the world of hydroponic gardening and discover how to create a thriving indoor garden.

Best Indoor Plants to Grow in Hydroponic System
Credit: Darwel

    Which fruits and veggies are great for growing in a hydroponic garden?

    Hydroponic gardening is a wonderful way to grow fruits and veggies without soil. Instead, they're grown in water with nutrients, which helps them grow well and often faster. Here's a clear guide on the best fruits and veggies for hydroponic gardens:

    Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)

    • Optimal pH Level: 5.5 – 6.5
    • Harvesting Time: 3-6 weeks
    • Lighting Requirements: 12-16 hours daily
    Lettuce is perfect for new hydroponic gardeners because it grows fast and gives lots of produce. Types like butterhead, romaine, and loose-leaf work well in hydroponic setups. To harvest lettuce, just cut the outer leaves and let the rest keep growing.


    • Optimal pH Level: 6.0 – 7.0
    • Harvesting Time: 4-6 weeks
    • Lighting Requirements: 12-14 hours daily
    Spinach grows swiftly in hydroponic systems and is packed with nutrients like vitamin K, iron, and calcium. It's ideal for salads, smoothies, and cooked dishes. Harvest by trimming the outer leaves to allow the plant to keep producing.


    • Optimal pH Level: 6.0 – 7.0
    • Harvesting Time: 6-8 weeks
    • Lighting Requirements: 12-16 hours daily
    Kale is another leafy green that thrives in hydroponic gardens. It's rich in vitamins and can be harvested in a similar manner to lettuce and spinach.


    Tomatoes are a popular hydroponic crop and can produce juicy and flavorful fruits. They require a bit more care and support as they grow but can be very rewarding.


    Peppers, like tomatoes, thrive in hydroponic gardens. They need good support and can grow different kinds, from sweet to spicy.


    Cucumbers can become big and give you lots of produce when grown in hydroponic gardens. They also need support as they grow up.

    When you're starting your hydroponic garden, make sure to think about what each plant needs, like the nutrients they need, how much light they require, and the pH levels they prefer. With the right setup, you can have a variety of fresh fruits and veggies all year long! Just keep in mind that while hydroponics can be set up almost anywhere, it does need some know-how and money at the beginning. But the fresh, sustainable produce you'll get makes it a great choice for lots of gardeners.

    Which herbs are the easiest to grow hydroponically?

    Growing herbs hydroponically is a clean and efficient way to produce your own fresh herbs. Here are some of the easiest herbs to grow in a hydroponic system, along with a few tips for each:

    Basil (Ocimum basilicum)

    Basil is a favorite in many kitchens, especially for Italian dishes like pesto. It thrives in hydroponic systems, growing lush and aromatic leaves. You can choose from over 60 varieties, including Thai basil, which has a hint of anise, or lemon basil for a citrusy twist.

    Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

    Parsley is versatile, used in American, Middle Eastern, European, and Brazilian cuisines. It's rich in flavor and nutrients, making it a great addition to any hydroponic garden. The nutrient film technique or Kratky method are suitable for growing parsley hydroponically.


    Mint is incredibly easy to grow and can quickly take over a hydroponic system, so it's best to grow it separately. It's perfect for adding a fresh touch to drinks and desserts.


    Chives are a mild onion-like herb that's excellent for garnishing and flavoring dishes. They require minimal maintenance and grow well in hydroponic setups.


    Dill, with its feathery fronds and distinctive taste, is great for pickling and seasoning fish. It's also relatively easy to grow hydroponically.


    A staple in Mediterranean cuisine, oregano is another herb that adapts well to hydroponic cultivation. It's perfect for pizzas, pasta sauces, and more.


    Thyme is a robust herb with a pungent, earthy flavor. It's commonly used in soups, stews, and meat marinades. Hydroponically grown thyme can be very aromatic and flavorful.


    Known as coriander in some parts of the world and cilantro in others, this herb is essential in many Asian and Latin American dishes. It prefers a cooler hydroponic environment to thrive.

    Which Hydroponic Systems Suitable for Herbs?

    While most herbs will grow in any hydroponic system, some are better suited to specific types. For instance, the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and the Kratky method are excellent for herbs like basil and parsley.

    Which Plants Are Not suitable for a Hydroponic System?

    Hydroponic systems are a great way to grow plants without soil. They use water with lots of nutrients instead. But not all plants are good for this way of growing. Let's talk about which plants usually don't do well in hydroponic systems and why:

    Plants with Large Root Systems:

    • Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes: These require soil to mature quickly and healthily. Hydroponics isn't cost-effective for them because they take up a lot of space and the roots need room to expand.
    • Large Root Vegetables: Just like potatoes, big root veggies like carrots and beets have long roots that need space to grow. They do better in soil where they can spread out.

    Tall or Vining Plants:

    • Corn: It grows quite tall and can be impractical in a hydroponic setup due to height restrictions.
    • Vine Crops: Plants such as squash, zucchini, and melons grow fast and spread out a lot. In a hydroponic system, they can easily take over because they like to sprawl.
    • Pole Beans: These climbing beans need a lot of vertical space and support, which can be challenging to provide in a hydroponic system.

    Plants Requiring Special Conditions:

    • Fruit Trees: Trees like figs have deep root systems that anchor them into the ground and access nutrients from the surrounding soil, which is not possible in a hydroponic setup.
    • Plants Relying on Mycorrhizal Relationships: Certain plants rely on a special friendship with soil fungi, but in hydroponic systems, these fungi aren't there. So, these plants might find it hard to grow without their natural friend.
    In short, while hydroponics is flexible, plants that need lots of room, have big roots, or like certain soil aren't ideal for hydroponic gardens. It's better to pick plants that do well in the controlled setup of hydroponic systems.

    Tips for Growing Plants in Hydroponic Systems

    • Monitor Nutrient Solutions: Make sure to check the nutrient levels in your hydroponic system often and adjust them as needed to keep your plants growing their best.
    • Control Light Exposure: Most hydroponic plants require 14-16 hours of light per day. Use grow lights if natural light is insufficient.
    • Maintain Proper pH Levels: The pH level of your water can affect nutrient uptake. Regularly test and adjust the pH as needed.
    • Prune Regularly: Pruning helps to encourage fuller growth and can prevent disease.
    • Watch for Pests and Diseases: Even though hydroponic systems reduce the risk of soil-borne pests and diseases, you should still monitor your plants for signs of trouble.
    Hydroponic gardening is a rewarding endeavor that can yield fresh produce year-round. With the right setup and care, you can enjoy a variety of plants that grow faster and healthier than they would in soil. Start with these recommended plants and enjoy the fruits (and vegetables) of your labor!


    Starting a hydroponic garden lets you grow many fruits, veggies, and herbs without soil, making gardening easier and eco-friendlier. Lettuce, spinach, kale, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, basil, parsley, mint, chives, dill, oregano, thyme, and coriander/cilantro are all great for hydroponics. But plants with big roots, tall vines, fruit trees, and those needing soil fungi aren't good for hydroponics. Keep an eye on nutrients, light, pH levels, prune often, and watch out for pests and diseases when growing hydroponically.

    References & Resources

    (1) 21 Plants Perfect for a Hydroponic Indoor Garden - The Spruce

    (2) 11 Best Herbs To Grow in Hydroponics (with Pictures)

    (3) 17 Herbs to Grow in Hydroponics (Complete Guide)

    (4) 15 Best Vegetables to Grow Hydroponically - Complete List

    (5) Best Plants To Grow Hydroponically - 26 Easiest Plants - WhyFarmIt

    (6) What Cannot Be Grown Hydroponically: Do’s and Don’ts

    (7) Hydroponic Hurdles: What Plants Don't Do Well in Hydroponics? (2023)

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