6 Hydroponic Vegetables (You Can Grow Successfully Indoors)

Growing hydroponic vegetables has many benefits.

To me, one of the most important advantages is being able to minimize and control the water usage.

Good quality hydroponic systems are sometimes even able to produce crops 3 to 10 times faster than traditional agricultural methods.

In this article I’ll share with you the best hydroponic vegetables to grow indoors and what all the advantages can be.

We are an affiliate
We earn a small commission from some of the links on this page. Clicking such links doesn’t change the price or anything else for you as the visitor. See our Affiliate Disclosure.

6 Hydroponic Vegetables

You control the climate, for me this is one of the things I love most about growing hydroponic vegetables. When growing outdoors you have to rely on many uncontrollable factors, such as temperature, wind and pests.

Growning hydroponically puts everything back in your control!

Although the majority of veggies will root well in a plain glass of water, adding the correct balance of nutrients and light can really accelarate plant growth.

So, what are the best vegetables to grow in a hydroponic system?

1. Lettuce

Lettuce is an annual plant (which means it completes it’s life cycle from germination to the production of seeds within one life cycle and then dies).

Generally, lettuce is eaten raw on salads, however it can be cooked and eaten too.

Lettuce requires low temperatures to prevent it from flowering too early. With that being said, it can also be bothered by numerous nutrient deficiencies.

Growing Advice

Growing hydroponic lettuce is usually pretty easy. I reccommend giving your lettuce 18 hours of light and 6 hours of darkness every day.

I also recommend keeping temperatures around 68 and 75°F (20 to 23°C) for best results.

Common Growth Problem

  • Tip burn caused by incorrect calcium levels

Best Growing Mediums

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • 5.6–6.2

Nutritional Content:

  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Folate
  • Iron

2. Tomatoes

hydroponic vegetables

Technically a fruit, the tomato is an edible berry from the plant Solanum lycopersicum, more commonly known as the tomato plant.

It was the Aztecs who included the tomato in their cooking during the time of the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire.

Thereafter, the Spanish ended up bringing the vegetable back to Europe where it slowly made it’s way into other parts of the European-colonized world.

Growing Advice

Like the lettuce, growing hydroponic tomatoes is quite easy, they just want to grow as big as possible.

Depending on your tomato strain, I recommend your plants should have on average 8 – 10 hours of direct bright light per day. With that being said, many tomato plant varieties excel with 12 to 18 hours of light each day.

Your hydroponic tomato plants will require a temperature between 59 to 89°F (15 to 32ºC) to survive. Ideally you don’t want your temperatures more than 80°F or your tomato will begin to suffer.

Common Growth Problem

  • Blossom end rot cause by low calcium levels, incorrect pH levels or uneven watering habits.

Best Growing Mediums

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • Between 5.5 and 6.5, however they thrive best between 6 and 6.5.

Nutritional Content:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Potassium
  • Lycopene

3. Cucumbers

hydroponic vegetables

Cucumbers are great, they originate in South Asia and consist of 95% water, with some growing up to 24 inches (64 cm) long.

Here’s a fun fact for all those keystone species lovers. Without bees, cucumbers would likely seize to exist, they need cross pollination from bees or bumblebees in order to form seeds and fruit.

Growing advice

Cucumbers are a great vine growing alternative or attribution to tomotas. Just like growing any hydroponic vegetable, with cucumbers you need to pay attention to genetics.

It is important that you select the correct cultivars for hydroponic production. Only select the standard long or cocktail-sized, thin-skinned English or Dutch varieties or the slightly thicker-skinned beit alpha varieties.

Like most vine crop, hydroponic cucumbers love their food. During propogation, you will use a more dilute feeding solution. However, towards the end of the cycle you’ll want to use and maintain a nutrient solution of between 2 and 3 mS·cm–1. 

Once your cucumber vines are fruiting, you can increase the potasium concentration in the fertilizer by up to 50% more than the nitrogen concentrations.

Common Growth Problem

  • Round white powdery spots and coating on leaves. Caused by high humidity. Avoid over watering and pick off infected leaves.

Best Growing Mediums

  • Coconut coir, stone, or mineral wool,

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • 6.0 to 7.0

Nutritional Content:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium

4. Spinach

Spinach is a leafy green flowering plant native to Western Asia and is one of my favorite hydroponic vegetables to grow and eat.

The crop is thought to have originated about 2000 years ago in ancient Persia. In 647 AD it was introduced to India and ancient China as the “Persian Vegetable”. In 827 AD the Saracens introduced the vegetable to Sicily and the rest is history.

Growing Advice

Growing hydroponic spinach is defintely more tricky than other sorts of leafy greens like lettuce. There is much room for error which can result in bitter tasting spinach or overall failure of the crop.

My advice is the following, always use fresh seeds when growng spinach hyroponically. Sow 4 to 5 seeds per hole, heavy sowing guarantees atleast 1 strong healthy plant per growing cube. Always make sure you keep the spinach seedlings moist, poor germination rates are the result of seeds drying out during germination.

Finally, as a cool winter crop make sure your growing temperatures are between the 65- and 70-degrees F. (18-21 C.) range and the night time temperatures are in the 60- to 65-degree F. (16 -18 C.) range.

Also, make sure to give this hydroponic veggie 12 hours of light from a light in the blue color spectrum, this promotes leaf growth.

Common Growth Problem

  • Seedlings fail to emerge, this is caused by the seeds drying out during germination. make sure to keep the moist.

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • 6.0 to 7.0

Nutritional Content:

  • Iron
  • Calcium
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Magnesium

5. Bell Peppers

best hydroponic vegetables

Another “fruit” on our best hydroponic vegetables list, Bell Peppers are classified as berries however, they are commonly used as a vegetable ingredient in many different types of foods.

I personally love to make a sauce with bell peppers by grinding them up with coconut milk and adding spices, delicous!

Peppers are originally native to Mexico, and were exported into Spain in the late 1400″s, from here they spread through Europe.

Growing Advice

Bell Peppers tend to be a slightly more advanced hydroponic vegetable to grow. I recommend that you don’t allow them to grow to their full height. Instead, prune and pinch plants when they are at about 8 inches to fuel pepper growth. 

Peppers also grow best with about 18 hours of light and prefer temperatures of between 70 to 84 °F (21 to 29 °C).

Common Growth Problem

  • Leaves roll downward without yellowing or stunting. Simply maintain an even watering cycle. No other attention needed.

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • 6.0 to 6.5

Nutritional Content:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Iron

6. Celery

Celery is in fact a marshland plant part of the Apiaceae family. It began by being grown as a winter/early spring vegetable.

People considered it to be a cleansing tonic to counter all orts of deficiencies brought on by a winter diet (which usually consisted of salted meats without any fresh vegetables).

Growing Advice

Celery can be produced well in a hydroponic growing environment. Celery is best grown in cooler environments of between 59 to 73°F (15 to 23°C). Because it takes longer than most other crops (up to 140 days) I suggest you start earlier with this crop.

As for nutrients, I suggest adding a mineral supplement consisiting of calcium and magnesium, or alteranitvely humic acid. Both calcium and magnesium will increase the stalk strength.

Lighting is pretty relaxed with these vegetables, they’ll do just fine with about 6 hours of light a day.

Common Growth Problem

  • Plants produce lots of leaves but no stalks, growth is very slow. This is generally caused by sudden temperature fluctuations during early growth. Make sure temperatures don’t drop too low.

Best Grow Light

Preferred pH levels

  • 5.8 to 6.8

Nutritional Content:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K
  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Folate

Are hydroponic vegetables healthy?

This all depends on the nutrient solution the vegetables are actually grown in.

Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University had this to say: “I’ve seen hydroponic producers who have tested their leafy greens for key nutrients, and the amounts fall well within normal limits for their crop and are sometimes even higher.”

As with the natural cycle of things, traditional plants get their nutrients from the surrounding soil. Hydroponic plants get their nutrients from the solution that you feed them.

Vegetables create thei rown vitamins, so the vitamin value does not change whether grown in soil or hydroponically.

It’s rather the nutrient levels in plants that require soil or nutrient solution in order to develop. This means vegetables grown hydroponically with insufficent nutrient levels can lack in sustanance.

However, because you control the nurtient solution, you could enhance a plants nutrient levels by adding whatever you wanted, whether this be calcium or magnesium.

You could even grow nutrionally superior vegetables by adding other minor elements such as zinc or iron.

Do hydroponic vegetables taste different?

Yes, growing vegetables hydroponically can affect the overall taste. This is the same for vegetables grown in different types of soil.

With hydroponics though, you may be able to make certain crops taste better by adjusting certain elements and nutrients.

Is growing hydroponically worth it?

This all depends on the individual grower. Growing crops hydroponically has invariant pros and cons. Cons usually translate into costs. The initial setup can be quite costy, with all the lighting and nutrient solutions that go into a successful hydroponic system.

However, there are other environmental factors to consider, such as water usage. Hydroponics on average uses one third of the water compared to traditional agriculture. If you live in a water stressed country, this is a heaven-sent.

Another pro is the ability to control the grow environment and take advantage of having all sorts of climates at any time of the year.

Are hydroponic vegetables organic?

What is the classification of organic? Well, it’s is producers who rely on natural substances and biological based farming methods.

The same goes for hydroponic vegetables, if it’s grown using solutions that are completely natural then yes, it can be classified as organic.

Although you do get organic hydroponic vegetables, most producers use hydroponic systems and soultions that are not organic.

Do hydroponic vegetables have pesticides?

Pesticides are used to control or ward off pests such as mosquitoes, aphids, ticks, rats and mice. This allows the farmer to grow their crop free of worry.

However, pesticides also contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation.

Hydroponic vegetables can be grown both outdoors and indoors. Outdoor growers are more likely to use pesticides to ward of said pests. If a growers hydroponic system is setup indoors in a controlled environment, there is a much lower chances that they use pesticides on their vegetables.

What nutrients should I use for hydroponic?

This is a good question and it varies vegetable to vegetable.

However, the general rule of thumb is that you’ll want these three nutrient mixes to regularly fertilize your system: N-P-K mix, calcium and epsom salt (magnesium sulfate).

Other nurtients you can include in your setup are:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Sulphur (S)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)

You can do some shopping here to find all the right nutrients that you are looking for.


Conclusion

Growing vegetables hydroponically have many advantages, but ultimately it comes down to individual taste and resources. Costs are usually a heavy off put for most interested first time growers.

However, with some ingenuity and creative thinking, many will find cheaper DIY alternatives to offset that cost while keeping quality of crop high.

Let us know if you have any experience with growing vegetables hydroponically in the comments section below.

Further reading:

2 Comments
Show all Most Helpful Highest Rating Lowest Rating Add your review
  1. HYDROPONIC is the best system for mordern day solutions to our ever growing population.Its a job well done.Kudos to the researchers.

    Leave a reply

    ClimateBiz
    Logo