Hydroponic gardens do well both indoors and outdoors. Many gardeners with limited space use hydroponic gardening as an alternative to traditional outdoor gardens. The lack of soil reduces digging, requires less space and avoids soil insects. Growing hydroponics requires maintaining the proper environment to make certain plants thrive in water, as opposed to soil.
Indoor hydroponic gardens require plant grow lights. Traditional household lights do not offer the different types of light rays required for optimum growth. The Virginia Extension Service recommends using metal halide or sodium vapor lamps for indoor hydroponic gardens. Leave lights on according to the number of recommended hours for the specific plants in the hydroponic garden.
Air circulation is important to prevent mold and fungi growth on hydroponic plants. Plants pull carbon dioxide from the surrounding air for photosynthesis to grow, bloom and produce fruit. The Virginia Extension Service recommends placing a small fan near indoor hydroponic gardens to increase air flow. Modern hydroponic grow systems come with a fan feature for air circulation.
Traditional gardening provides nutrients to plants through a soil medium. Hydroponic gardens require regular pH testing and fertilization for the proper water-nutrient balance. The Virginia Extension Service recommends using liquid fertilizer specifically made for hydroponic gardening. The pH levels should remain constant between 5 and 6. Gardeners can recycle old hydroponic water on houseplants or outdoor plants. Plants that grow rapidly, such as vegetables, need frequent fertilization to sustain growth and crop production.
Many types of plants do well for hydroponic growing, given the proper growing environment. Many home gardeners like to grow vegetables, herbs or flowering plants in this type of garden. EduBook recommends novice hydroponic gardeners try basil, lettuce, spinach and tomatoes for their first hydroponic plants.