Gardening is one of the most therapeutic activities on the planet. After all, caring for a plant, helping it grow, and watching it flower and reaping fruit is quite a satisfying process. However, many aren’t convinced. When they think of gardening, they think of things like dirt, roots, bugs, and are turned off just by the hassle of growing a plant.
But what if we told you that gardening can be none of those? It doesn’t have to be messy, gross, or labor-intensive — and that’s exactly what hydroponic systems have to offer. These systems are clean, easy, and have a much lower risk of failure as compared to traditional growing methods.
The difference between traditional growing methods and hydroponics is simply soil. The former relies on it, while the latter uses a nutrient-rich liquid solution instead to grow. Science has shown that hydroponics is not just easier to deal with, but they also lead to stronger plants that grow faster and produce better fruit.
Moreover, these hydroponic systems are affordable and easily available in stores and online. Not sure where to look? Here are the top five hydroponic planters you can find and get started with today.
1. IKEA Vaxer Planters
Indoor growing planters are plenty in IKEA’s store, including cultivation units, lighting, fixtures, and more. For instance, the Vaxer series has plenty of options sold separately if you choose to start your own hydroponic system from scratch.
However, the most convenient option is the grow kit which comes with eight pots, together with sprout inserts and pumice stones as the growth medium. This is an excellent choice for a growth medium as it soaks up water well and allows for great airflow around the roots of the plant. The kit also comes with a nursery lid to help air circulate in the setup, retaining just the right amount of heat and moisture inside for optimal seed growth. To help all beginner gardeners, there is also a water gauge to monitor the water levels and a funnel so you can top up the solution whenever needed.
Perhaps most impressive is the LED cultivation light that it comes with. At 50 cm long, it’s more than enough to span the whole nursery and provide just enough light to help every plant grow.
2. Hydromerce Grow Tub
Love lettuce? This tub allows you to grow your own five times over, for a total of 10 heads of lettuce. The lovely part about this tub is how easy it is to set up, even by hydroponic standards. There’s none of that setting up of filters, air pumps, chemicals — simply set it up and leave it where there’s plenty of sunlight. You don’t have to touch it or water it until a few weeks later when it’s time to reap your “hard-earned” lettuce.
The only downside is that it does not come with an LED lighting system and relies 100% on natural sunlight. This keeps costs down and works well where there is strong sunlight, but it also means that having too much shade or rain might spoil the process altogether. We’d recommend that you get this in the summer months for the best results, as winter tends to be too cold and dark for the plants to really thrive as it should.
3. Akarina 01 Starter Pack
If anything, this hydroponic system trumps in terms of aesthetics. It looks like a cute bowl under an umbrella light, and the minimalist white makes it a welcome addition to any living room. It looks like a simple device, but in fact, it actually includes three irrigation tray covers and three culture trays in addition to the main unit. There are also 14 plastic closure caps, 30 rooting sponges and a 100ml bottle of plant fertilizer — truly a complete set that means you literally don’t have to get anything else.
Additionally, the set comes with an integrated timer function, meaning that you can set it to automatically turn off and on as and when needed. Perhaps even more intriguing is the dimmer function, so it effectively acts like a house lamp and garden all in one. How cool is that?
4. Seed Pantry Grow Pod
This home set up promises no soil, no mess, and no hassle, and it remains true to its promise. With a 1.2 litre reservoir and two grow pots, it’s a great size for amateur gardeners looking to take the first step into hydroponics. Making it even more attractive to beginners is the full user manual and smart controller that it comes with. This notifies owners whenever it’s time to top up the water, essentially self-regulating with little to no maintenance required.
The set comes with an LED grow light with a timer, so it can turn off automatically in the daytime when there’s sufficient natural light. Apart from this, there’s also seed packs you can choose from, including cherry tomatoes, chillies, and basil herb seeds. There’s nothing like reaping and tasting the fruits of your own labor in the kitchen, so this is definitely worth a shot.
5. DIY Hydroponics
Yes, this means do-it-yourself. Hydroponic systems are actually rather easy to build, so doing it yourself is viable. It’s also cheaper and customizable, so you know exactly what goes into your setup and adjust it to benefit your plants according to the specific environment they’re in.
All you really need is a large 5-gallon bucket, a net cup, a growth medium, and a hydroponics formula mixed with plenty of water. Perhaps the hardest part is finding a good LED lighting source to supplement the growth of your plant, but you don’t have to worry about that until your plant sprouts. Other than that, the rest of the equipment can be easily found in any gardening store and can be assembled within an hour.
Hydroponic systems have changed the way people look at gardening, and it makes growing your own food and plants seem that much more attainable a goal. With no soil and no mess, you can introduce it anytime in your home, so why not start today?