Hydroponic Flowers

Do you want to grow flowers but you don’t have land to grow them? Would you believe me if I told you that there is not just a solution, but a way of growing them faster than if you grow them in your garden? You will have to believe it, because hydroponic gardening gives faster and higher yields than soil gardening. And that includes flowers as well.

In fact, when you go to buy a bunch of flowers from your local florist, the chances are that some of them have been grown without soil and hydroponically. With the average yield between 2 and 5 times higher than soil gardening, experts forecast that hydroponics will grow very fast.

But if you think that this technique is only for expert professionals, you are mistaken. You can easily grow many flowers even with a small hydroponic garden the size of a shoe box. What’s more, ready-made kits are available at very affordable prices indeed.

The question is, however, which flowers are more suitable for hydroponic gardening? While most flowers can be grown with a hydroponic system, some are better, and here are 10 best flowers to grow hydroponically.

  • Orchids
  • Amaryllis
  • Iris
  • Daffodils
  • Freesia
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Gerbera
  • Carnations
  • Peace lily
  • Hyacinth

1. Orchids


Who can resist the exotic, elegant and original beauty of this wonderful flower? With between 20,000 and 30,000 species to choose from, orchids offer a whole world of amazing shapes and colors to turn every home or office into a special place.

These flowers spell “beauty” in a unique way and, you will be pleased to know, many are naturally suited to hydroponic gardening.

“Why is it so,” you may wonder? The reason is that many orchids are epiphytes, which means that they grow their roots in the air and not in the ground. They also like high levels of humidity, and their root system is absorbs nutrients directly from the atmosphere.

In fact, many people are now transferring their orchids from soil to hydroponics. As long as you can offer steady conditions of warmth and humidity, these plants are perfectly suited to aeroponics as well, a branch of hydroponics where the nutrient solution is sprayed onto the roots of your plants.

Tips For Growing Orchids

  • Giving orchids perfect lighting is essential. Plenty but diffused is what they need, and you should at all costs keep them away from direct light.
  • Make sure that your grow tank is transparent with epiphytic orchids. Their roots need to receive light as photosynthesis in these plants is in both the leaves and roots.
  • If you use a Kratcky, wick, or deep water culture system, use a growing medium, like expanded clay or coconut coir.
  • Also leave a safe distance from the water level to the tip of the roots, that should never be left in stagnant water.
  • Of course this means that your grow tank will also need to be very deep.
  • Make sure the air humidity never falls under 50%. If necessary, spray them in the evenings to keep the air moist.
  • With genera like Phalaenopsis (moth orchid) that grow inflorescences on stems, do not cut the stem to the base at the end of the blooming season. Instead, cut it at about ½ inch above a node and do it at an angle. If you cut the whole stem, the plant will take a long time to produce a new one. If on the contrary you save the old stem, it will grow a new bloom from one of the nodes you have saved.
  • In the weeks after you have done this, sprinkle water on the stem to preventing it from drying up after you have cut it.
  • Orchids actually need a fungus to germinate and grow; you can even look at orchids as a partnership of a plant and a fungus, a symbiotic being. These fungi, called orchid mychorriza, in some cases actually enter into the plant itself and keep living within your beautiful flower.
  • This means that you can grow orchids from saplings, but growing them from seed is almost impossible.

2. Amaryllis


If you love massive flowers that can become the focus of all your guests’ attention during the cold season, then amaryllis is perfect for you.

Mainly grown as a houseplant in temperate regions, this flower that comes in many varieties and cultivars feels at home with its “toes in the water”.

It is even better to use hydroponics to get the big and round bulbs of these plants too root even if you want to plant them in soil later on.

In fact, and there is no reason why you could not keep growing it till its huge blooms shine like star in your living room.

Amaryllis will adapt well even to a rudimental Kratcky method, which is when you put a plant in a jar with its roots in the water and from the base of the stem up it is dry.

A simple deep water culture system will do too. In fact you can plant the bulb in the growing medium (like coconut coir or expanded clay) in a small inner mesh pot and add water and nutrients to an outer and deeper pot will do.

This means that even if you do not have a state of the art hydroponic system, you can easily grow this gorgeous flower.

Tips For Growing Amaryllis

  • Caring for the bulb is essential; keep the bulb dry at all time and only allow the roots to dip into the nutrient solution.
  • Understand the life phases of your amaryllis. When it is dormant, you only have the bulb. This is followed by the reproductive phase, with flowers and leaves. To this then follows a vegetative phase where the leaves produce nutrients to store in the bulb.
  • When the leaves wilt and dry off, allow your bulb to dry before putting it away.
  • If you want your amaryllis to blossom, the best temperature is between 70o and 75o Fahrenheit during the reproductive phase (21o to 24oC).
  • In the vegetative phase that follows, the best temperature is between 50o and 55o Fahrenheit (10o to 13oC).
  • In the dormant phase, which should last up to three months, keep the bulb in a dark and dry place, ideally at about 40o to 45o (5o to 7oC).
  • Use a low nitrogen organic fertilizer or nutrient mix; too much nitrogen may prevent blossoming.
  • In order to encourage root growth from the bulb when you want it to sprout, use a simple Kratky hydroponic system and place it above a heater for a fortnight. Just make sure you put the bulb on the mouth of a jug with water in it so that it does not fall in.

3. Iris


Iris, with its distinctive inflorescence usually with three flowers, is one of the most adaptable plants you will ever know. You will find some species growing in tough clay soil, in boggy swamps and even directly inside water ponds.

From there, the step to hydroponics is short. Some species are more naturally inclined to grow in water, like Iris variegata, Iris tectorum or Iris versicolor, as well as cultivars like ‘John Wood’, ‘Between the Lines’ or the fairly recently developed and beautifully named –and colored – ‘Sun Moon Lake’.

Irises are very special flowers indeed; they have been cultivated for millennia, the Egyptians already grew it in their gardens, so did Ancient Indian cultures.

The flowers too are quite distinctive, and they even have specialized names for the different petals. So, the three petals that turn upwards are called “standards”.

The one that looks like a tongue in the middle is not a petal, but a sepal and it is called a “fall”. This sometimes has hairs on it, known as “the beard”.

Tips For Growing Iris

  • There are two types of iris plants: bulbous rises (with bulbs) and rhizomatous irises (with rhizomes). Most bulbous irises will go into the dormant phase after blossoming and lose their leaves. Rhizomatous species, instead, will be evergreens.
  • Despite the fact that many irises can grow in water in the wild, especially bulbous ones, you will need to make sure that only the roots dip in the water, and not the bulb itself.
  • To encourage growth and bloom, keep the bulbs in a cool and dry place for about 13 to 15 weeks. The plants need this fresh dormant period to germinate. 

4. Daffodils


In many countries, daffodils are synonymous with spring. Celebrated in the eponymous poem by the Romantic poet William Wordsworth, when we see these flowers “tossing their heads in sprightly dance,” it is as if the Sun had sent harbingers to announce the warm season… and we cannot but smile with them.

These flowers can be found in meadows in Europe, North Africa and Asia, but they are native of the Mediterranean Basin.

Even a child will recognize them from the corona, that modified central petal that looks like a crown, which sometimes is of different color from the other six tepals and their unique scent.

Narcissus, as this flower is known to scientists, has been a favorite hydroponic plant, as you can easily grow it even with a basic Kratky method thanks to its short vegetative span, and because, let’s be honest, it looks stunning in a small and elegant vase or even in a humble jug.

Tips For Growing Daffodils

  • While in the soil you can leave the bulbs in the earth when the plant goes dormant. If you grow it hydroponically, you will have to store it somewhere cool, dark and dry.
  • There is no need to dead head the flower once it has wilted, but if you do, your plant will invest more energy into fattening the bulb.
  • Allow all the leaves to have dried up before removing the bulb from your hydroponic garden or from the vase.te. 

5. Freesia


One of the flowers with the most beautiful and distinctive sweet smell of all, freesia is another bulbous flower that can easily grow in your hydroponic garden. If you want to bring a touch of spring joy, its flowers can be white, yellow, purple, orange and red.

Walking into a room with freesias, you are immediately caught by their strong scent, then your eyes are drawn to the very elegant inflorescences and long, linear leaves.

The classy elegance of this plant can transform a well kept, tidy room into an artistic stage set, especially if you set it against a neutral background.

Tips For Growing Freesias

  • Keep the corm (the bulb like part of the plant) dry at all time and only allow the roots to touch the nutrient solution.
  • The best nutrient solution has NPK (the three main elements: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium) at the ratio of 25-50-75.
  • You can break the dormancy of the corms by keeping them at about 86o Fahrenheit (30o C) or similar temperatures for 12 weeks. This reproduces the hot and dry summer conditions of their natural habitat in South Africa.

6. Chrysanthemums


If you are from a western country, you will associate chrysanthemums to death. On the other hand, they are the national flower of Japan. So, who’s right? I would say the Japanese…

The sad connotation they have in western countries is only due to the fact that they blossom around All Souls Day, so florists filled stalls outside churchyards and cemeteries with them.

In reality, in flower language, this very generous and easy-to-grow close relative of daisies symbolizes joy, happiness, love and, (hear, hear!) longevity.

Tips For Growing Chrysanthemums

  • The trick with chrysanthemums is that they decide when to blossom according to the hours of light and darkness they receive. This is called “photoperiodic response”; when this plant has between 12 and 7.5 hours of light, it will bless us with its many flowers.
  • You will achieve the best results in terms with number and size of your flowers when your chrysanthemums have 9 hours of light and 15 of darkness. So… set the grow lights timer to 9 hours a day…
  • Chrysanthemums are perennials, but in hydroculture, they risk developing Phytium infections (a parasitic alga) within 3 years. So, take cuttings after 2 years and grow them using peat moss as a hydroponic growing medium.

7. Gerbera


While many people may prefer annuals or bulbous plants for their hydroponic garden, when their blooms are long, even perennials can be very appealing. And the flowers of gerbera, a member of the Asteraceae family that look a bit like rather exotic daisies, last for weeks.

This plant from tropical areas all over the world gives you a stunning choice of colors, ranging from white to dark purple through yellow, pink, orange and red. You can also find flowers of two colours if you like contrast.

This too is a generous flowering plant that likes water, and it has found hydroponic gardens ideal as places to call home.

Tips For Growing Gerbera

  • Do not grow them near plants that produce ethylene, like apples, broccoli, eggplant, lettuce, sweet potatoes and cucumber. The ethylene they give off will make the flowers wilt faster.
  • Keep the temperature between 40o and 70o Fahrenheit, which is roughly 5o to 20oC.
  • Keep your plants away from direct light; it will burn the leaves and even ruin the flowers. Instead, half shade or diffused light are best for these plants.

8. Carnations


Following the trail left by sweet scented flowers in this article, we find one that is the epitome of beautiful and strong perfumes: carnation. These plants have some of the longest blossoms of cut flowers and they are very suitable for an indoor hydroponic garden.

There are many varieties and species of carnations, known as “divine flowers” to the Ancient Greeks, the “gillyflower” as it was once called, is a fragrant presence all over cottage gardens, where “old fashioned pinks” have been witnesses of love stories since the times of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

But there is no reason why you cannot grow it hydroponically in at home.

Tips For Growing Carnations

  • The best systems to grow carnations are ebb and flow, deep water culture or a drip system with individual tanks, a.k.a. the “Dutch bucket system”.
  • Luckily, they do not need many hours of light, between 5 and 10. This means that growing these flowers indoors is convenient even if you use grow lights.
  • The best pH for your nutrient solution is 6.0
  • The electric conductivity that will give you optimal results is between 2.0 and 3.5.
  • Carnations like to stay fresh in a mild climate. The best temperature for Dianthus is between 55o and 65o Fahrenheit during the day (13o to 18oC) and 40o to 45oF at nighttime (5o to 7oC).

9. Peace Lily

Peace lily

If you just want a beautiful house plant to grow hydroponically, then an all time favorite Spathiphyllum.

This exotic plant takes its name from that modified leaf, usually white but sometimes red, called a “spathe”, which makes a wonderful backdrop to the “spadix”, a long inflorescence that rises like a candle from its middle.

Its leaves too have a great decorative and architectural value. You must agree that they match the flowers with their deep green and waxy, beautifully veined and rich dark green chordate shaped leaves.

If you have a white collar job you will know that peace lilies can turn even the most boring office space into an exotic and interesting place.

Hydroponic peace lilies are becoming very popular indeed, maybe because a well defined ornamental glass container can really bring their beauty to another level.

Tips For Growing Peace Lilies

  • To start with, be aware that peace lilies are very vulnerable to chlorine. So, make sure you do not use chlorinated water for your nutrient solution. If all you have is tap water, however, don’t worry; just put it in jug and leave it there for about 30 minutes and the chlorine will evaporate.
  • You will most likely find them in soil pots. If this is the case, make sure you rinse the roots thoroughly before moving them to your hydroponic system.
  • You can grow them easily with the Kratky method (a jug with the nutrient solution in), which means that you can make the best of that beautiful jug you have kept on top of the cupboard for years.
  • Be careful, however, to allow only the roots to dip in water and no part of the aerial body of the plant.

10. Hyacinth


An easy plant to grow hydroponically, so much so that doing it can be an excuse for some quality time with your children and –why not – a chance to teach them about nature and flowers, hyacinths will have as sweet a fragrance if you grow them hydroponically as if they were in your garden.

Maybe the advantage of using hydroponics for this flower is that you will not need to take the bulb out of the soil when the dormant phase starts. In fact, in most temperate countries, the bulbs of hyacinths will not stand the cold season in the ground.

Their short but intense vegetative phase makes them ideal for a simple hydroponic method like the Kratky one; a simple quarter liter wine jug will be perfectly fine for them.

Tips For Growing Hyacinths

  • Make sure that the nutrient solution never runs out.
  • The bulbs are quite delicate; when the bloom is over, cut the stem ½ inch under the inflorescence to make sure that the plant diverts all its energy back into the bulb.
  • Hyacinths are very quick at developing seeds; avoid this by cutting the stalk as soon as the flowers wilt away. If you don’t, next year you will have less vigorous bloom.
  • Once the stalk has gone dry, you can cut it all off. Don’t rip it off though.
  • The bloom of these charming flowers is fairly short; adding some organic blooming fertilizer will make them last longer.

A World Of Flowers In Little Water

Now, look at that corner of your home that looks so sad and empty… can you see it blossoming with flowers of all shapes, colors and sizes? Or maybe you came here because you want a big, maybe even professional flower garden…

Well, if that’s your case, don’t worry about how much water you will need: hydroponics use less water than soil gardening – 90% less in fact!

In any case, you can paint your home, terrace, garden or greenhouse with all the colours of the rainbow growing flowers hydroponically, just add your personal touch, your favorite colors and you can turn that white (or gray…) canvass into a masterpiece to match Monet’s Water-Lily Pond.

Adriano Bulla

Written By

Adriano Bulla

After many years as an academic in London, Adriano Bulla became a writer, publishing books like A History of Gardening, Organic Gardening and Elements of Garden Design; he then decided to become a gardener, following his childhood dream, and has been following his dream writing and gardening professionally in Southern Europe, where he has specialized in new and innovative organic gardening fields and techniques, like permaculture, regenerative agriculture, food forests and hydroponics.

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One Comment

  1. Avatar photo pravin bhedurkar says:

    Can I get nutrient recipe for this.