What Fruits Can Be Grown Hydroponically?

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If you’re asking what fruits can be grown hydroponically, there are quite a few to note. Hydroponics is one of the best ways to grow fruits and vegetables since it’s environmentally-friendly. Strawberries are ideal to start with because they grow well in hydroponics.

You’ll also produce quite a high yield of plants in a shorter period than with soil. Some grow better than others. 

Best Hydroponic Fruits

Our top recommendations for fruits that you can grow hydroponically are:

growing strawberries in hydroponics
Strawberries grow very well in hydroponics ~ Image credit: 41330, Pixabay

1. Strawberries

There’s nothing like a big bowl of berries on a warm summer afternoon or a strawberry cobbler in the winter. Growing strawberries hydroponically, you can have them year-round. One of the most significant advantages of using hydroponics for strawberries is they come out big and juicy. 

Fortunately, growing strawberries in a hydroponic system will be simpler than you’d think. Because they are good for beginners, strawberries are a good choice when choosing what fruits can be grown hydroponically. With their beginner-friendly nature, they’re also some of the most popular fruits for hydroponic farmers to cultivate commercially. 

There are two main types of strawberry hydroponic fruits to know before starting.

  • Day-neutral: Hydroponic farmers typically use day-neutral berries because they’re easy to manipulate.
  • Short-day strawberries: Strawberries grown outdoors are typically short-day berries, which means they flower for less than 14 hours.

Since they are grown under strict controls, these strawberries can grow out of season with the right amount of light and warmth.

When it comes to deciding on a specific type of hydroponics setup for strawberries, you can use relatively any kind. However, the most popular option is the nutrient film technique (NFT) since it allows the fruit to be supported and adequately fed. You’ll want to make sure you use clean plants in an NFT system because it helps prevent the likelihood of root disease.

How Do Strawberries Pollinate?

Another essential factor to consider with hydroponically growing fruits is how they are fertilized. Fortunately, strawberries are self-pollinating plants, which is what makes them ideal for this type of growth.

They will require a little bit of extra support that bees or wind would typically provide to outdoor plants. Most horticulturists would need to brush flowers together regularly to allow the transfer of pollen throughout the plants.

The more often you do this, the higher your fruit set will become, leading to very impressive yields.

Best Day-Neutral Strawberries

As with any other plant, there are many other varieties to consider. Since you’ll be working with an indoor hydroponics setup, we highly recommend the following day-neutral varieties:

  • Tribute: Produces medium-to-large berries
  • Seascape: Good size fruit with a sweet flavor
  • Albion: Superior taste and large fruit
  • Mara de Bois: Highly productive, firm, and excellent flavor
  • Quinault: Wide berries and highly self-pollinating
what fruits can be grown hydroponically
Strawberries are an easy fruit to grow with hydroponics.

2. Watermelons

Having a watermelon hydroponic garden lets you enjoy this highly popular summer fruit throughout the year. Many think they’re impossible to grow with this setup simply because of how large and heavy they are. But they grow quite well hydroponically, as long as they have adequate weight support and light access.

The vast majority of hydroponic systems are perfectly designed for watermelons, especially ebb and flow systems. With an ebb and flow hydroponic system, you’ll have one reservoir with nutrient-solution, allowing you to feed multiple plants simultaneously.

Also, you can spend less time maintaining the setup since the water is reusable.

When designing your watermelon hydroponic setup, you’ll also need to take growth medium into account. Clay pebbles and coconut coir are typically the most popular options because they are heavy-duty and great for beginners. These mediums are also ideal for retaining water and ensuring nutrient distribution throughout the plants.

How to Properly Support Watermelons

One of the most important things to have in a hydroponic setup for watermelons is growing lights. On average, melons will need up to ten hours of direct light daily, which is critical to note for indoor setups.

You’ll surely have to invest in unique indoor grow lights since traditional lighting isn’t sufficient for these plants.

Another essential aspect of supporting melons is to make sure you trim their leaves regularly. If the leaves are too large and blocking light to the watermelons, you need to cut them.

It’s also important to consider the weight of the fruit when you’re designing your hydroponic system. Unlike lighter plants, you won’t be able to support your melons in traditional net pots.

You will surely want to invest in a heavy-duty yet accessible space, such as a trellis or DIY support structure. This structure can either be horizontal or vertical, as long as you support the melons through their entire growth cycle.

3. Hydroponic Berries

Besides strawberries, there are a few other berry species that you can grow in your hydroponic garden. These fruits include:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cranberries

Even though they are less likely to be grown hydroponically, it is possible in a controlled environment. Ideally, you’ll want to make sure the berries are grown in an elevated system above the floor. This positioning will allow their stems to fall and enable you to have easy access to the plants for pruning.

One of the most significant concerns with growing berries is exposing their roots to too many nutrients, so opting for a drip-fed system is your best bet. Through the system, you can customize the number of nutrients that are fed. You can also guarantee that the roots gently and slowly receive the nutrient-rich solution.

You’ll also want to make sure the solution’s pH falls between 5 and 6 to produce the healthiest plants.

Growing Blueberries

When you decide to grow blueberries hydroponically, you’ll want to find varieties that do best in wet conditions. The most crucial factor to remember with these fruits is their pH since blueberries will not grow in alkaline conditions. These fruits require very acidic conditions with a pH between 4.5 and 5.8.

You’ll also find that if the solution isn’t acidic enough, the plants won’t be able to use any hydroponic nutrients. To make the healthiest blueberry plants, you’ll need to provide between 12 and 16 hours of light daily.

Also, sulfur is an incredibly essential nutrient to consider since it is typically lacking in hydroponics. Unlike other fruits, blueberries require more than 80 ppm of sulfur to assist with their growth.

It’s a great idea to consider investing in sulfur prills since this can ensure your plants are getting enough nutrients. Another thing to watch for when growing blueberries hydroponically is their nitrogen levels.

A more organic approach is to plant your blueberries next to garlic because garlic produces sulfur, which can be absorbed by the blueberries.

Growing Raspberries

There are two main types of raspberries to consider:

  • Floricane
  • Primocane

Floricane provides berries in the summer, while primocane varieties are fall-bearing.

When working with a hydroponic garden, you’ll want to opt for primocane because they provide an exemplary number of berries throughout the year.

Another advantage of growing primocane raspberries is that they require less space, making them ideal for hydroponic setups.

It’s highly recommended to opt for raspberry transplants rather than seeds since they are easier to grow.

They will need up to 12 hours of light daily, but can also survive with a minimum of six hours.

You also need to maintain a pH balance between 5.8 and 6.5 with room temperatures between 71.6 and 75.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

With healthy raspberry plants, you can expect to harvest them 12 months of the year.

Growing Cranberries

If you want to try a unique method for growing fruit, we recommend growing cranberries hydroponically. Although they are bound to require more space than other types of berries, they can provide extremely high yields.

Another difference is that cranberries require far more acidic conditions than other fruits, with a pH of around 4.5.

As we mentioned earlier, cranberries are best grown when elevated, so you might want to consider a wick or aeroponic setup. See types of hydroponic systems.

You’ll also want to make sure that you begin feeding them the nutrient-rich solution at the beginning of spring and autumn.

Special Care for Berries

Unfortunately, growing berries hydroponically isn’t as simple as planting them in your system and letting them do their job. You will need to pay close attention to their environment for the best possible fruit production.

Berries prefer indoor temperatures between 72°F and 74°F during the day and from 68°F to 70°F at night.

They will also require chilling hours, although hours may vary depending on the berry species you’re working with.

Raspberries and blackberries will typically require up to 800 hours of chilling at temperatures below 45°F.

Blueberries will require up to 600 chilling hours below 45°F, and once these hours are finished, you can introduce the plant to the hydroponic garden.

The entire premise behind chilling is to help the plants into their active growth cycle for the highest possible yield.

4. Grapes

Grapes are a delicious and versatile snack to enjoy throughout the year, especially in a hydroponic garden. Considering hydroponics is known as “farming of the future” by NASA, it’s no wonder why vineyards are thinking of hydroponic wine grapes.

As a fruit that fares quite well in these setups, you can grow them in compact spaces with little worry of fruit-rot disease.

One of the essential parts of your hydroponic setup is to make sure your grapes have strings, trellis, or wires for their climbing vines.

Ensuring you have enough support to hold the weight of the fruit will promote juicier and healthier fruits.

You also won’t have to worry about space since something as small as a Dutch bucket is more than enough space for grapes.

The best system for growing grapes is drip irrigation since it will maintain a comfortable moisture level while allowing the roots to dry afterward.

Most grapes grown in a drip irrigation setup will have a high sugar level with better quality skin and juicier texture.

Like many of the berry varieties discussed above, you’ll want to consider growing your grapes from cuttings rather than seeds.

You’ll also want to make sure you surround the roots with a substrate that can quickly drain, such as coco fiber or perlite. Another option is to opt for a flood and drain hydroponic system (also called an ebb and flow hydroponic system) since it nourishes the roots without drowning them.

Training Grapes

Making sure you train your grapevines is essential to their success.

You’ll be responsible for making sure they have a reasonable restriction on their growth to keep the vines under control. Otherwise, they can easily take over the rest of your garden or indoor space.

The two main options for training grapevines are the fan and cordon methods.

Fan Method

With this option, you have to train the shoots of your grapevine, so they’re prepared to grow in a fan shape. You’ll want to place the primary step against the wall or trellis, with two shoots placed vertically and one shoot horizontally.

As the vines grow, you’ll need to cut them back by approximately three buds, which will promote new shoots to form.

Cordon Method

If you want a more straightforward option, the cordon method requires only two steps, and you’ll need far less space. You’ll want to make sure you allow two steps to grow into your desired trained position.

Once the side shoots begin to develop, you’ll want to remove up to two buds from the main stem.

This process helps make sure the leaves and grapes will grow on the side shoots, making them easier to cultivate. You won’t have to go digging through leaves and vines to keep an eye on your grapes.

what fruits can be grown hydroponically
Grapes are a good choice to grow hydroponically, especially indoors so insects don’t get them first. They’ll need a trellis or support structure.

5. Cantaloupe

Arguably one of the most popular melons in the world, growing cantaloupe hydroponically isn’t as challenging as you’d think.

You can also use the same cantaloupe-growing method with other tropical melons, known as muskmelons.

These fruits will typically require temperatures between 72 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity and temperature will have a big impact on fruit set.

You’ll want to establish a similar circadian rhythm since they would experience outdoors in nature. It’s a good idea to consider lowering the temperatures at night when their lights are turned off.

Another great tip is to make sure their roots are slightly colder than the rest of the fruits. Opting for a deep water culture hydroponic system is best for cantaloupes because of their broad leaves.

These fruits also require ample oxygenation near their roots, ensuring the melons get more than enough nourishment.

Ensure that you install a bubble stone to provide excess oxygen to the roots, especially with deep water culture.

The most significant downfall to cantaloupe is that their seeds are some of the most expensive. You’ll want to make sure that once you plant the seeds, you won’t have to worry about transplanting them later.

One of the top recommendations is to germinate your melon seeds inside Rockwool to allow for ample moisture.

Training Cantaloupe

Like grapes, you have to make sure you train the vines of your cantaloupe. Otherwise, they may choke the other plants you have growing in your hydroponic garden.

Make sure you have access to a heavy-duty trellis to assist with managing the tendrils and stems.

It’s also likely you’ll have to spend time trimming back excessive tendrils because they’ll multiply.

You’ll want to take the time to make sure the stems grow out in directions away from other plants. When considering what fruits can be grown hydroponically, others that grow well are hydroponic tomatoes.

Can You Grow Fruit Trees Hydroponically?

Berries are by far the most popular fruits, but can you grow fruit trees hydroponically, too? Interestingly enough, it is possible to grow fruit trees hydroponically, as long as you do it correctly.

Unlike some of the other plants you’ll find, these require a thorough understanding of hydroponics. You certainly won’t be able to grow full-size trees, such as oak trees, hydroponically.

Hydroponics for fruit trees

It’s best if you’re able to find dwarf species that will handle hydroponic systems well without choking. You’ll also want to make sure you choose the perfect growing system to ensure the roots are adequately fed.

The best hydroponic systems for growing fruit trees are drip systems and the ebb and flow systems. Make sure you’re using the right growing medium such as Rockwool, perlite, or rice husk.

You’ll also need to consider plenty of other factors, such as temperature, lighting, humidity, ventilation, nutrients, and pollination.

When growing a fruit tree in hydroponics, expect to wait a minimum of 2 – 3 years for it to mature and fruit.

Best Fruit Trees to Grow

The top choices for hydroponically grown fruit trees include:

  • Mini cherry trees
  • Dwarf banana trees
  • Mini lemon trees
  • Dwarf apple trees

How to Grow Fruit Trees Hydroponically

Although it might not be the preference for landowners, it is possible to grow fruit trees hydroponically. The most crucial factor to remember is that you will need to mimic the conditions they’d experience in soil.

Meaning, you will need to ensure they are kept in a warm environment and have access to plenty of lights.

Here are a few essential things to remember when growing fruit trees hydroponically:

Preparing Lighting

There’s no way to get around the fact that your fruit trees need an ample amount of light. Typically, you will want to provide between 12 and 16 hours of light daily, although they could have a minimum of eight hours.

You would need to invest in lighting, such as high-pressure sodium lamps, LED growing lights, or metal halide lamps.

Choosing Seeds vs Starter Trees

The next thing to consider is whether you want to grow your trees from seeds or starters from your local garden center.

For someone venturing into growing fruit trees hydroponically for the first time, it’s a good idea to consider a starter. It will take much less time to yield fruit, and it can also be easier to maintain over the years.

However, if you’d prefer to use seeds since they’re more cost-effective, there are a couple of things to consider.

First, you will want to ensure the seed is germinated inside a wet napkin until the external coating is thoroughly soaked.

You will then want to remove the coating and ensure that you plant it with plenty of space to allow for substantial growth.

One of the essential factors of opting to grow fruit trees hydroponically is that they can take up to five years to mature.

This is an important consideration when choosing what fruits can be grown hydroponically because the other fruits — not on trees — will produce faster.

Finding Containers

The size of the container you choose for your tree or seed will determine your tree’s size.

Since opting for a dwarf version of your favorite fruit tree is best, you’ll want to make sure you have at least five gallons worth of space.

Although you can expect the fruit tree to be smaller than what you would grow in your backyard, it will still provide full harvests.

Selecting a Hydroponics Setup

Drip irrigation is one of the top-recommended hydroponic setups for your fruit trees. It requires ten times less water than soil gardening. Hydroponics vs soil

You’ll also want to make sure the roots are surrounded by rice husk, perlite, or vermiculite. To ensure your trees are getting enough nourishment, you’ll want at least three drip emitters per tree.

Another popular choice is flood and drain, especially if you are concerned about the development of algae.

With flood and drain, the water-based solution will wash over the roots, allowing the trees to absorb enough nutrients.

The water then drains, preventing algae from forming, which can cause disease and kill your trees. Hydroponic greenhouse systems kits

Protecting the Roots

Above all else, ensuring that you take the necessary steps to protect the roots of your fruit tree is essential. Many growers find that using a net pot or root bag can ensure that the root ball stays moist and nourished.

You’ll want to make sure the roots are pampered well since it will lead to a healthier and tastier harvest.

What Fruits Can Be Grown Hydroponically?

Some plants are bound to fare better than others with hydroponic setups. If you’ve ever wondered what fruits can be grown hydroponically, there are plenty to choose from.

As long as they have the perfect environment, you can produce high yields of fruit, far more than soil farming. You’ll use less water as well.