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3 Best Hydroponic Systems For Herbs & Veggies

Why buy herbs if you can grow your own? While this may sound easier said than done, the best hydroponic system for herbs will set your indoor growing on the right footing. You can even grow fruits and veggies while you’re at it! For this post, I reviewed three hydroponic systems that I swear by, so you can start your journey as an indoor grower.

Take note that hydroponic growing doesn’t need a large space. It can thrive on your countertop or a small corner of your kitchen. In just a few months, you’ll have a source of fresh herbs with no artificial fertilizers. See which of these hydroponic systems match your needs:

HYDROPONIC SETBRANDEXPERT RATINGCHECK PRICE
 Our Top Pick! 
AeroGarden Bounty Elite
Hydroponic Herb Garden
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Moistenland Hydroponics
Herb Growing System
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iDOO 12 Pods Hydroponics
Herb Growing System
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Pros and cons of growing hydroponic herbs

Just like any indoor growing method, hydroponics has its pros and cons. So before you start growing, it’s important to understand these points:

Advantages of hydroponic herbs

  • Faster growth rate. Indoor growers observed that hydroponic plants grow twice faster than those planted in soil. This means you’ll have fresh herbs in a shorter span of time.
  • Fewer or no pesticides. Hydroponic herbs use minimal to no pesticides. What you get are organic herbs that will spice up your food all year long.
  • No weeds. Soil-grown herbs often compete with weeds in terms of nutrition. This problem will be eliminated if you start growing through hydroponics.
  • Efficient nutrition. Hydroponics use nutrient-filled water to ensure that your herbs will thrive. You also have full control over the nutrition of your herbs.
  • Can be grown indoors. Since hydroponics use water and not soil, you can easily grow it inside your home. You don’t have to think about soil pests that could attack your plants.
  • Improved yields. Herbs grown in hydroponic systems have higher yields. This is attributed to the increased oxygen level that promotes root growth as well as nutrient uptake.
  • Lower water consumption. Unlike watering soil, hydroponic plants use less water. In fact, you only have to change the water solution every two to three weeks, which saves a lot of water, especially for large systems. 

Disadvantages of hydroponic herbs

Hydroponic herbs also have their share of disadvantages. Here are some that you need to know:

  • Expensive. There’s no denying that hydroponic systems have a higher price than setting up potted herbs. But over time, it will pay for itself in terms of yields, convenience, and plant quality.
  • Requires a lot of attention. Hydroponic systems need ‘babysitting’ to ensure that the herbs have the right electrical conductivity, pH level, nutrient content, and temperature. You also need to replace the water solution regularly, which requires a lot of effort.
  • Prone to waterborne diseases. Hydroponics are highly prone to water diseases and can spread quickly if you’re not careful. In some cases, a waterborne disease can kill your entire herb growth.
  • Susceptible to power outages. Hydroponic systems are electrically powered, so when a power outage occurs, all their components will shut down. This includes lights, heaters, pumps, aerators, fans, and so on. And during the winter or summer season, power outages can kill your herbs.

Best Hydroponic System For Herbs – Our Top 3 Picks

OUR #1 CHOICE

OUR TOP PICK: AeroGarden Bounty Elite Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden
best hydroponic system for herbs

Product Name: AeroGarden Bounty Elite Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

Product Description: If you’re looking for the best hydroponic system for herbs, look no further than the AeroGarden Bounty Elite. This hydroponic herb garden is perfect for cultivating peppers, salads, tomatoes, and herbs without soil. Moreover, this system is equipped with adjustable 50-watt grow LED lights for optimal growth. The best part is that this is equipped with smart features to easily control and monitor your herbs. The AeroGarden Bounty Elite has water and plant food reminders as well as one-step light dimming. There’s also a high-res touch-screen control panel for setting changes on the fly. This is also compatible with Amazon Echo and the AeroGarden app.

Offer price: $$$

Availability: InStock

  • Capacity
  • Growth Success
  • Features
  • Value for Money
Overall
5

Summary

Aside from that, you can pick a setting for a specific span of days, so you can go on vacation while still growing your herbs. It takes the guesswork out of hydroponic herb growing. Overall, it has enough room for 9 types of herbs and a maximum growth height of 24 inches.
You’ll also receive AeroGarden’s Gourmet Herb Seed Kit. It includes herbs like parsley, Thai Basil, mint, dill, chives, and more. This is also formulated with the proprietary Miracle-Gro liquid that’s enough for one full season of growing. It’s aside from the 6-inch trellis to support your growing herbs.
All you have to do is put everything together to start growing. You can also get this in versions that include Heirloom Salad Seed Kit for leafy greens.

Pros

Smart functions for easy growing
Automated settings, no need to babysit your herbs
Adjustable built-in grow lights
High-resolution control panel
Bundled with a seed kit

Cons

Some of the seeds didn’t sprout
The Wi-Fi connection is a little dodgy.


RUNNERS-UP

Moistenland Hydroponics Herb Growing System

best hydroponic system for herbs

If you want to grow more herbs at the same time, you should get the Moistenland Hydroponics Growing System. This can house up to 12 herb pots using biodegradable coco coir. It has a four-liter capacity that remains compact for countertop use.

Moreover, this has a 23-watt grow light that offers full-spectrum lighting to meet the needs of your herbs. You can run the light for 24 hours or set it in a 16-hour on and 8-hour off cycle. This way, your herbs will have optimal root growth.

Aside from that, this has a built-in water circulation system with an embedded fan to prevent the panel from getting hot. Meanwhile, the air circulation mimics the natural breeze to help spread proper oxygen levels.

With this hydroponic system, you’ll enjoy two growing modes. You can switch between Flowers & Fruits and Vegetable modes, depending on the plants you’re growing.

Unlike the one from AeroGarden, this Moisteland system doesn’t have smart features or app connectivity. Still, it’s a complete kit, which is more than reasonable for its price.

My only gripe is that this unit is a bit cumbersome to clean and empty. Also, it has a shallower depth than other systems, which may limit other herbs from growing. And if you’re looking for a long list of features, this unit may not be the best pick.

Pros
  • Two growing modes for fruits and veggies
  • 12 plant capacity
  • Built-in water and air circulation systems
  • Full-spectrum lighting
  • Four-liter capacity
Cons
  • It’s quite heavy and not easy to clean.
  • No smart features, which can be a bummer if you want to automate the entire growing process.

iDOO 12 Pods Hydroponics Herb Growing System

My last pick for this roundup is the iDOO 12 Pods Hydroponics Herb Growing System. This has two growing modes that can accommodate 12 herbs at a time. It can also house up to 11.02 inches of growth, which is more than enough for most herbs.

Aside from that, this has 23-watt LED lighting that simulates the natural sunlight spectrum. It will turn on and off automatically, so you don’t have to do it manually.

You’ll also receive a complete germination kit that’s easy to set up. This is aside from the 4.5-liter water tank capacity equipped with a fan for optimal air circulation. I also like the tank window where you can easily check the water level of the system.

Another thing I like about the iDOO Hydroponic System is the super quiet water pump. It’s a self-watering system that can be automated for hassle-free growth. There’s also a water-filling port, so you can easily top up the solution.

Moreover, this hydroponic system for herbs is bundled with iDOO’s plant food with A&B nutrients. Overall, this system is excellent for beginners since it has a high success rate in terms of growth.

Pros
  • 12-plant capacity
  • 23-watt LED lighting for optimal growth
  • Water tank window to check the water level
  • Quiet water pump and fan
  • Bundled with plant food
Cons
  • I wish they could make the power cord longer.

How to choose the best hydroponic system for herbs

There are many hydroponic systems in the market. If you’re a first-time indoor grower, the following points will help you choose:

Hydroponic system type

The first thing you have to think about is the type of hydroponic system you’re going to get. Below are the major hydroponic system types you can find in the market:

🍃Deep water culture (DWC)

Deep water culture is considered the ‘godfather’ of hydroponics. In this system, the plants are suspended in a nutrient solution, so their roots will efficiently suck in the nutrients. The net pots in DWC are submerged all the time, and there should be no gap between the water solution and the plant itself.

However, this system makes the plants prone to drowning if you’re not careful with the oxygen level. You can either use an air pump or an air stone to solve this problem.

Despite this, DWC remains a top choice among indoor growers since it only needs a small space and is simple to set up. You just have to ensure that the herbs will not experience root rot. 

Aside from that, you should consider light herbs when using a DWC system so that it won’t get too submerged in the water.

🍃Ebb and flow

Also known as flood and drain, the ebb and flow hydroponic system is a versatile choice and offers more configurations than a DWC system.

With this system, the roots are drowned with nutrient-filled water in intervals. After that, the solution will flow back to the reservoir underneath.

🍃Kratky

If you’re a total beginner, you can start with the Kratky method. This hydroponic system doesn’t use pumps or electricity, but it’s only suitable for small-time growing. If you’re thinking of a lush herb garden, Kratky isn’t the right method to use.

Many growers describe Kratky as a set-it-then-forget-it system, but you have to pay attention to its pH levels. Overall, it’s an easy choice for beginners.

🍃Drip

This is somewhat similar to the ebb and flow, but the water remains oxygenated and supplied with nutrients. It uses a perforated hose that supplies nutrients to the plants. With this system, it’s best to sprout your seeds in a different container then transfer them once it’s on the ‘teenage’ stage.

Overall, a drip hydroponic system for herbs is easy to set up. However, if you plan to recycle its water, it will take multiple processes.

🍃Nutrient film technique (NFT)

With the NFT, there’s a pump system and a reservoir. The nutrient-filled water will be pumped into the reservoir, which is tilted to one side for draining. As the water flows down back into the pump system, it feeds the roots with nutrients. This ensures even growth and optimal nutrient absorption among the herbs.

However, this system is quite complex and suits tech-savvy growers best. The idea is to give the plant roots a thin film of nutrients and water, thus the name. However, this same setup also means that if your pump bogs down, the roots will dry and die if you’re not around to fix it immediately. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can herbs grow in hydroponics?

A: Hydroponic systems are a good way to grow herbs indoors. You can grow basil, oregano, thyme, mint, parsley, and more. With proper care, these herbs will thrive and produce a lot of leaves for your cooking. You should also ensure that the herbs are supplied with enough nutrients and oxygen.

Q: Do hydroponic herbs taste better?

A: Hydroponic herbs have a different taste than soil-grown types. It can be good or bad, depending on the water growing technique you used. The good thing is that hydroponic growing allows you to influence the taste of the herbs.

Q: How can I make my hydroponics taste better?

A: If you want your herbs to have more flavor and odor, you should increase the sulfur levels of your hydroponic system. The nutrient film technique is often the best method to use when cultivating hydroponic herbs since it allows the fertilized water to flow down the roots for optimal nutrient absorption.

Q: Can I use rainwater for hydroponics?

A: As long as you filter it, rainwater will be good for your hydroponic plants. However, you should know that rainwater has its risks since it could carry diseases and parasites. If you’re not skilled in filtering rainwater, it’s best to stick to clean and potable water.

Q: How often do you change the water in hydroponics?

A: In most cases, growers change their hydroponic water every two or three weeks. It depends on the size of your system, the number of herbs you’re cultivating, and the nutrients you’re using. It’s crucial to follow a schedule for this to ensure that your herbs are growing properly.

Q: Do hydroponic pumps need to run continuously?

A: It depends on the hydroponic system you’re using. For example, the ebb and flow type only run the pump in intervals or specific periods. With this, you need a timer so that the pump won’t run all day long. Aside from that, there are hydroponic systems that don’t use pumps.

Final words

With the best hydroponic system for herbs, you’ll have fresh supplies of thyme, parsley, rosemary, and more all year round. The automated features of the system also take the guesswork out of the process – from germinating to harvesting. It’s a worthwhile introduction to indoor growing for beginners who want to test their green thumbs.

What do you think of these hydroponic systems? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

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