Growing herbs using hydroponic systems means that you can grow herbs regardless of the season or the climate outside. Hydroponics enable you to simulate the best possible environment for your herbs plants, provide it with the right nutrients at the right time and thus allow them to grow quickly and healthily. This mix of the right environment and the right nutrients at the right time, with virtually all pests and diseases, removed means that you’ll get great tasting, healthy herbs with an increased yield in a shorter timeframe than conventional gardening. There are a wide variety of herbs that grow well in hydroponic systems and growing herbs hydroponically is quite simply the easiest and best way to start growing edibles hydroponically. Here’s our guide to the best and easiest hydroponic herbs to grow.
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What Are Hydroponics?
The concept of hydroponics is really rather simple. You grow plants without the need for soil or compost. You provide the water and nutrients directly to the roots of the plant, cutting out the need for the soil middleman. Providing these nutrients directly at the optimum level for plant growth and yield means that your plants grow faster, bigger and produce more. Hydroponic systems include the nutrients, the water, and even the light needed to grow the best herbs, fruits and vegetables.
This guide to on how to grow herbs hydroponically is a series of articles that we’ve put together about hydroponics – so there are many more details on
- The benefits of growing hydroponically
- The best hydroponic starter kits
- The best fruits to grow hydroponically
- The best vegetables to grow hydroponically
- Hydroponics for Beginners
But for now, in this guide to the best herbs to grow hydroponically, settle in and let’s get started!
The Easiest Herbs to Grow With Hydroponics
Herbs are one of the easiest types of plants to grow with hydroponic systems and there are a wide variety of herbs that thrive when grown hydroponically. It’s easier to keep your hydroponic herbs healthy and there are some studies that have even shown that hydroponic herbs are more aromatic and flavorful than those grown conventionally.
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting which herbs to grow hydroponically, as there are a good number of easy herbs to grow hydroponically. Coriander, Basil, Chives, Dill, Mint, Parsley, Oregano, Rosemary and Thyme are all great UK herbs to grow hydroponically.
These are great hydroponics systems to grow herbs with
- The Aerogarden Bounty Elite – check details and buy now
- The IDOO Hydroponic Starter System – check details and buy now
- The Click & Grow Starter Hydroponic System – check details and buy now
Growing Coriander Hydroponically
Coriander can be difficult to grow conventionally – it requires the exact right conditions – we write about them here – and that in itself makes coriander a great candidate for growing in a hydroponic system, where you have a huge amount of control over the environment. From seeding to harvesting with coriander grown hydroponically it’s about 60 days and in a hydroponic environment it’s very low maintenance, you don’t need to trim it until you’re ready to harvest. If you’re a big user of coriander (like us), then we recommend succession planting every 6 weeks. Hydroponic coriander tastes and acts exactly the same as coriander grown in compost or soil.
Growing Mint Hydroponically
Mint was one of the first plants to be grown hydroponically and is very well suited to be grown in a hydroponic system. If you’re growing mint hydroponically, it tends to have bigger and fuller foliage than mint which is grown conventionally. about growing mint convenYou can transplant it using cuttings. Our guide to growing mint conventionally is here. There are no special rules on harvesting mint when you’ve grown it in a hydroponic system, simply snip what you need. When you’ve grown your mint you’ll WANT to make this amazing fresh mint icecream.
Growing Oregano Hydroponically
Oregano is part of the mint family and is a great staple in cooking. Hydroponically Oregano grows slowly, taking about 8 weeks from transplant to harvest. Oregano loves full sun, so a good lighting system is key when it comes to growing oregano hydroponically. Oregano will grow better when its next to basil and is also a good companion plant for both peppers and tomatoes.
Growing Thyme Hydroponically
Thyme grows extremely well in hydroponic systems. You can propagate thyme through stem cuttings and it requires little work to grow hydroponically.
Growing Basil Hydroponically
Basil has got to be one of my favourite herbs to grow. I have a Thai Basil plant and a Genovese Basil plant on the windowsill in front of me now, both of which I’ve grown from cuttings. Basil is a very prolific herb and is an excellent choice for growing hydroponically. You can trim and harvest basil weekly once the plant is mature. Some varieties don’t need much space at all and the pH levels that Basil needs (between 5.5 and 6.5) mean that it grows well alongside other herbs. Basil is grown extensively using hydroponics for commercial purposes in Europe, where it accounts for around half of the total herb market. This kit from Click & Grow comes with Basil included – read more about it here.
Growing Dill Hydroponically
Fresh Dill with boiled or roasted potatoes is quite simply divine. Growing your own dill hydroponically is an excellent way to have it on tap for this Moorish dish. Dill is actually from the celery family and is pretty easy to grow hydroponically. Dill can, however, grow up to 90 centimetres tall, so watch your plants! Harvesting is easy, just cut off the leafy foliage when you need it. Once the stems start to go brown remove them.
What other herbs can be grown hydroponically?
The following herbs are also easy to grow hydroponically – Chamomile, Lemon Balm, Marjoram and Watercress (excellent for salads!). Fennel and Parsley grow well too, as do Sage and Tarragon. Try also anise, catnip and chervil. Rosemary grows well hydroponically, but can take up to 12 weeks – we find that a rosemary bush in a pot in the garden is the best way to grow rosemary though.
Why Grow Herbs with Hydroponics?
There are a huge number of benefits to growing herbs hydroponically, and we’ve covered this in great detail in our article on the benefits of hydroponics – so head on over there to find out more detail. For here and now, you should grow herbs with hydroponics because
- Hydroponically grown herbs are a great efficient use of space
- If you have no suitable outside space you can grow hydroponic herbs
- There’s none of the mess of compost or soil with hydroponic herbs
- On average hydroponic herbs grow 30% faster than traditionally grown herbs
- Hydroponic herbs tend to have higher yields than traditional herbs
- There are fewer pests around your herbs with hydroponics
What’s the Best Hydroponic System to use for Growing Herbs?
There are two different hydroponic systems for growing herbs. We cover these in much more detail in our beginner hydroponics guide here.
- N.F.T (Nutrient Film Technique) – this is where you put your herb plants in a pot of net so that the roots are hanging. Your grow trays are set on an incline and the nutrient solution is pumped around continuously.
- Ebb and Flow – gravity is used to flood the nutrient solution around the roots of the herb plant which remain submerged in growing medium and nutrient solution.
In commercial herb growing hydroponic systems, you will most often see NFT, but Ebb and Flow tends to be most commonly used by us home users. Both are good and we discuss the pros and cons in our guide on hydroponics for beginners. If you’re just getting started, then you don’t need to worry about what system it is – all the hydroponic starter kits come with complete instructions and all the bits and pieces that you need to get started.
Final Words on the best Hydroponic Herbs to Grow
It’s technically possible to grow any herbs hydroponically, but you’ll get the most success in hydroponic herbs growing if you go for herbs that are the easiest to grow. Luckily with herbs, you have a lot of choices! When you’re growing herbs hydroponically you don’t need to worry about the climate outside, the season or even how much daylight there is. Hydroponic systems simulate the BEST environment for your plants and enable your herb plants to maximise their growth, flavour and yield. We hope that you’ve found this guide on how to grow hydroponic herbs at home useful. It’s simple to get started growing herbs hydroponically and the only thing you’ll ask yourself is why you didn’t start sooner!
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