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15 Best Plants to Grow Hydroponically (With Pictures)

beefsteak tomato plant

It might seem a bit counterintuitive, but tons of plants grow just fine without soil! Whether you’re looking to grow herbs, fruits, vegetables, or just a regular houseplant, you can do it all hydroponically!

Here, we highlight the best options out there for each category, so you can get started in no time!

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The 15 Best Plants to Grow Hydroponically

1. Basil

Basil Plant
Image Credit: tookapic, Pixabay
Plant Type Herb
USDA Hardiness Region 10–11
Sun Requirements Partial or full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
If you’re looking to try growing something hydroponically for the first time, basil is one of the best choices. It’s super easy to grow, as long as you’re doing it indoors. It doesn’t take a ton of space, and even better, it does well in both partial and full sun.

That opens up a ton of locations where you can put your setup, and it handles novice care well. While it’s still essential to get a basil plant all the nutrients that it needs, it’s nowhere near as picky as some other popular hydroponic plants.

Pros
  • Easy to grow
  • Does well in both partial and full sun
  • Goes in a ton of recipes
  • Doesn’t take up much space
Cons
  • Limited USDA range

2. Lettuce

lettuce being planted
Image Credit: Filmbetrachter, Pixabay
Plant Type Vegetable
USDA Hardiness Region 2–11
Sun Requirements Partial
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Lettuce has a finicky growing season when outdoors, which is why it’s such a great choice to grow hydroponically indoors! This means you can grow lettuce no matter where you live. Lettuce is already a water-hungry plant, so growing it hydroponically is a bit easier than growing it traditionally.

It only requires partial sun, which gives you more flexibility in its placement. That’s important because you’ll need to have a slightly larger setup if you want a decent yield. Luckily, lettuce grows quickly, so it’s not a huge yield for the space that you need to dedicate to it.

Pros
  • Easy to grow hydroponically
  • Delicious results
  • Doesn’t require full sun
Cons
  • Limited yields

3. Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers
Image Credit: KaiPilger, Pixabay
Plant Type Vegetable
USDA Hardiness Region 9–11
Sun Requirements Full sun
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Bell peppers taste delicious, and if you have the space to grow them hydroponically, they’re an outstanding choice. Some bell pepper plants can reach 6 feet in height, but there are dwarf varieties available, and if you’re growing your peppers indoors, those are probably ideal.

Growing bell peppers hydroponically helps reduce the number of pests that you need to deal with, and if you have an open window for them, they’ll grow phenomenally!

Pros
  • Controlled setting reduces pests
  • Easy to grow
  • Does great in a window
Cons
  • Needs a large amount of space

4. Spinach

spinach
Image Credit: Angeleses, Pixabay
Plant Type Vegetable
USDA Hardiness Region 5–10
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Spinach is similar to lettuce when it comes to growing it hydroponically. Producing just one head of spinach doesn’t take up a ton of space, but if you want higher yields, you’ll need to dedicate a larger swath of space.

Spinach grows extremely fast, though, so you can grow it from seeds and be eating it in almost no time. It does require full sun, though, so ensure that you pick a location where the sun can beat down on the plant for the best results.

Pros
  • Doesn’t take much space
  • Quick to grow
  • Easy to grow
Cons
  • Not a high yield

5. Strawberries

Strawberries
Image Credit: keem1201, Pixabay
Plant Type Fruit
USDA Hardiness Region 5–10
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? No
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
If you’re growing strawberries hydroponically, all you need is one plant. It’s a bit more of a challenge because you can’t start them from seeds, but once you get it in place, it’ll last year after year.

Even better, unlike some veggies, strawberries will self-pollinate to bear fruit. It does better with external pollination, but if you don’t want to put in the extra work, you don’t have to.

Pros
  • Perennial plant
  • Tons of delicious fruit
  • Can move them outside most of the year
Cons
  • Not the easiest to get started
  • Need to pollinate them for the best results

6. Oregano

Oregano
Image Credit: HansLinde, Pixabay
Plant Type Herb
USDA Hardiness Region 5–10
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes

Herbs are among the top choices to grow hydroponically, and that’s primarily because they don’t take up much space. Oregano is one of the top choices if you’re starting to dip your feet into hydroponic herb gardening.

Oregano goes in a ton of different recipes, and if you dry it out, you should be able to get enough off one or two plants to last a typical family an entire year. However, you should only pull from oregano once or twice a year, so there is a limited harvest time with this herb.

Pros
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Goes in tons of recipes
  • Lasts for years
Cons
  • Limited harvests

7. Rosemary

rosemary herbs in garden
Image Credit: pilialoha, Shutterstock
Plant Type Herb
USDA Hardiness Region 7–10
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Rosemary is an herb that doesn’t take much space, and this hardy plant can live for up to a decade.

The only real drawback to rosemary is that it’s not in as many recipes as other herbs. But if you keep an open mind, the recipes are out there, and if you’re using fresh rosemary, you’re sure to love it.

Pros
  • Doesn’t take up much space
  • Easy to grow
  • Can live for over a decade
Cons
  • Not in that many recipes

8. Spider Plant

Plant Type Houseplant
USDA Hardiness Region 9–11
Sun Requirements Partial
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
The spider plant is a prime example of a houseplant that you can grow completely hydroponically. It can live for up to 20 years, so once you get it started, there’s not much that you need to do.

You may not be able to eat a spider plant, but since they only need partial sun, there are tons of places where you can put one of these beautiful houseplants in your home.

Pros
  • Only needs partial sun
  • Easy to grow
  • Lives for up to 20 years
Cons
  • Inedible

9. Tomatoes

Tomatoes
Image Credit: kie-ker , Pixabay
Plant Type Fruit
USDA Hardiness Region 5–8
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Tomatoes taste delicious and are great to grow hydroponically. They completely self-pollinate, so if you are growing them indoors, you don’t need to worry about pollinating anything to get fruit.

This makes the plants easy to grow, and they’ll deliver tons of produce as a result. However, keep in mind that tomato plants require full sun, and they can get quite large. Just ensure that you have the space for them to fully grow before you get started.

Pros
  • Completely self pollinates
  • Easy to grow
  • Tons of delicious fruit
Cons
  • Takes up a large amount of space

10. Cucumbers

Cucumbers
Image Credit: krzys16, Pixabay
Plant Type Fruit
USDA Hardiness Region 4–12
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Cucumbers are technically fruit, but what’s important is that they grow extremely well hydroponically. When you grow them indoors, you don’t need to worry about as many pests, but there are other problems that you’ll need to deal with.

First, they require a bit of work to pollinate. Each plant has its own female and male parts, and you’ll need to do the hard work of pollinating them if they don’t have access to insects.

Second, cucumber plants are huge. They can quickly grow up to 8 feet, so ensure that you have plenty of space for them before you start.

Pros
  • Get cucumbers year-round
  • Limited pests if grown indoors
Cons
  • A bit challenging to pollinate
  • Huge plants

11. Peppermint

Peppermint
Image Credit: manfredrichter, Pixabay
Plant Type Herb
USDA Hardiness Region 5–10
Sun Requirements Partial or full
Can Grow From Seeds? No
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
If you’re new to hydroponic growing, start with herbs. Peppermint is a great choice, but keep in mind that you’ll need to start with cuttings, not seeds.

On the plus side, it doesn’t take up much space, can thrive off both full or partial sun, and deters spiders and other pesky insects! Growing peppermint hydroponically is a win-win-win.

Pros
  • Easy to grow
  • Deters insects like spiders
  • Grows in both partial and full sun
Cons
  • Can’t start from seeds

12. Celery

Celery
Image Credit: McJapid, Pixabay
Plant Type Vegetable
USDA Hardiness Region 2–10
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Celery is one of the trickiest plants to grow outside due to its cool temperature requirements, but when you grow it hydroponically indoors, you eliminate all those concerns. Compared to other vegetable and fruit plants, growing celery doesn’t take up that much space.

However, it does require full sun, and compared to other vegetables, it takes a while to grow. To fully mature a celery plant can take up to 140 days, so don’t expect to harvest anything anytime soon!

Pros
  • Easy to grow
  • Doesn’t take up much space for a vegetable
  • Allows you to control the climate
Cons
  • Takes a while to grow

13. Bok Choy

Bok Choy
Image Credit: Jing,Pixabay
Plant Type Vegetable
USDA Hardiness Region 2–11
Sun Requirements Full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
Bok choy is a leafy vegetable that you can grow in the right hydroponic setup. It grows quickly, from sprout to harvest in just 45 days, and since you can grow it indoors, you can meet its temperate climate requirements.

However, just like lettuce and spinach, if you want a larger harvest, you need a wider hydroponic growing setup. Considering that bok choy needs full sunlight, it takes a near-perfect setup to get a decent harvest.

Pros
  • Grows quickly
  • Easy to grow
  • Easier to grow in temperature-controlled climates
Cons
  • Requires a wide space to produce decent amounts

14. Peace Lily

Peace Lily
Image Credit: HOerwin56, Pixabay
Plant Type Houseplant
USDA Hardiness Region 11–12
Sun Requirements Partial
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
You don’t need to eat everything that you grow, and peace lilies are perfect examples of that. They’re easy to grow hydroponically and they live for years. Like most houseplants, they only need partial sunlight, which makes it a bit easier to find a place for them.

Even if you can’t eat them, peace lilies have air-cleansing properties, along with plenty of other reasons to grow them!

Pros
  • Lives for years
  • Only needs partial sunlight
  • Air-cleansing properties
  • Easy to grow hydroponically
Cons
  • Inedible

15. Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm
Image Credit: MAKY_OREL, Pixabay
Plant Type Herb
USDA Hardiness Region 3–7
Sun Requirements Partial or full
Can Grow From Seeds? Yes
Can Grow From Cuttings? Yes
While you’re likely not eating a ton of lemon balm, it’s a versatile product that you can use for many other reasons.

It thrives in both partial and full sun, but compared to many other herbs, lemon balm can grow quite big: about 2 feet high and about 3 feet wide. It takes up a ton of space, but it also gives you a beautiful hydroponic plant in your home!

Pros
  • Unique plant to grow
  • Thrives in both full and partial sun
  • Versatile product
Cons
  • Takes up a great deal of space for a herb

divider 1Final Thoughts

With so many great choices to start your hydroponic garden, the only real question that you need to answer is which one to pick first! So, find a spot, get everything that you need, and get started! You might find that growing plants hydroponically is easier than you thought, and it might just be your new favorite way to grow things.


Featured Image Credit: SimonG_MK, Pixabay

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