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Which Type of Hydoponics System is Right for You?

There are many types of hydroponic systems, each with its advantages and disadvantages. In this post, we will cover the different types of hydroponic systems regarding their;

  • Designs and features

  • Advantages and disadvantages

  • Which is Ideal for what types of plants

and we will try to guide you through your decision on which to choose for your evergreen hydroponic garden!

Which Type of Hydoponics System is Right for You?

Types of Hydroponics Systems

Hydroponics is a type of agriculture that does not use soil. Instead, the plants are grown in a water-based solution.

The advantages of hydroponics are that it is easier, quicker, and less expensive to grow. It preserves our precious water up to 90% while preventing soil pollution.

The disadvantages are that many people do not have the space or area to cultivate hydroponics and relatively higher installation costs. Another critical issue of hydroponics is that plants will require more attention than plants grown in soil. However since it is more controlled and contained, the success rates, yields, and product quality are high while the vulnerability to external factors is much lower.

Deep Water Culture

Deep water culture systems also known as DWC are the most common type of hydroponics system. They are also the simplest and cheapest to set up. It is a closed system where plants are grown in a nutrient-rich solution without soil. However, to keep the water oxygenated, it’s necessary to use a submersible pump to wet the upper roots and keep the water flowing.


Aeroponics is a type of hydroponics that involves spraying roots with nutrient-rich mist instead of submerging them in water or growing them in an inert medium such as gravel or sand. This type of system requires an air pump, misting nozzles, and other components that are needed to maintain. Since there’s no media to keep the roots wet, it’s a bit more tricky than other systems, and it is less tolerable to system failures. The advantage of this system is that the roots have constant access to oxygen which allows them to grow faster than they would in any other type of hydroponics system.

Nutrient Film Technique

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is an efficient way to grow crops indoors with limited space and resources. This method has been used for decades by commercial growers who want to maximize production while minimizing the use of natural resources. It is based on the idea to flow nutrient-rich water through a canal in which the plant roots are submerged.

Nutrient Film Technique

Ebb and Flow System

This relatively low-maintenance system operates on the concept of flooding and draining of the plant's roots with water and necessary nutrients. Dutch buckets are the most well-known version of this system. Hydroton or perlite is used to support the plant roots as media. Being one of the most error-tolerant systems at hand, even beginners or intermediate users can handle their own at home easily. This system supports the plant roots well and at the same time, it offers oxygen-rich conditions for the roots.


Aquaponics is a type of hydroponic gardening that combines conventional aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (cultivating plants). The two systems work together to create an ecosystem where fish waste fertilizes plants, and plant roots filter the water for the fish. It needs way less nutrient support however maintenance of the entire system is a bit trickier. Rather than being a subsystem like DWC or NFT, aquaponics is a main branch of hydroponics based on the idea of creating a self-sufficient ecosystem.

Choosing the Right Type for Your Plants

Although low-statured and leafy plants like lettuce, parsley, arugula, rocket, dill, and basil do well nearly on every hydroponic system, NFT or aeroponic systems are mainly preferred for this type of plants due to their availability for vertical structures. Vertical structures can accommodate yields up to 10 times more than conventional farming techniques in a limited area.

Medium to high-statured or vined plants like tomatoes, pepper, eggplant, cucumber, and squash do extremely well on ebb and flow systems like Dutch buckets. Because they are not very suitable for vertical applications Dutch buckets are not the optimal systems for small and leafy plants. However, they offer solid support for the roots of the plant with hydroton or similar media used.

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