Hydroponic gardening means to grow plants without soil in inert mediums like water, gravel, sand, perlite and rockwool. You can grow fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers in your indoor hydroponic garden, as long as you feed the plants species-specific nutritional supplements, provide adequate light and begin with the right growing medium.
Select the Correct Balance of Nutrients
The beauty of hydroponic gardening is that soluble nutrients are delivered directly to the plants' root systems. Since the roots do not need to search for and break down the nutrients found in traditional soil gardening, your hydroponic plants will grow faster and produce more fruit, flowers or vegetables. Research the nutrition requirements of each type of plant you are growing in an indoor hydroponic garden and purchase the nutrient solution that will best benefit your species.
Provide Adequate Lighting
Select lighting for you indoor hydroponic garden based on your budget and on the types of plants you are growing. Lighting solutions include fluorescent grow lights, high intensity discharge lights (HID), high pressure sodium bulbs (HPS) and metal halide bulbs. Of these, fluorescent lights are the least expensive, but they do not produce as much light as HID lights; they will work well for low growing plants like African violets. HID lights emit more light, but also produce more heat which will affect plants that need more air circulation. HPS lighting offers the longest life span of any type of indoor garden lighting, but the heat output is significant and they are more expensive. Metal halide garden lights emit full spectrum light, which is good for vegetating plants.
Select the Right Growing Medium
Hydroponic growing mediums anchor the plants' roots as well as store nutrients and water for the plants to thrive. Select the growing medium based on the type of indoor hydroponic system that you choose. If the plant's roots are suspended in water or air, then you will not need growing medium. Other systems need a mixture of growing mediums that will hold equal parts water and air so that both are always available to the roots of your plants. A 50-50 mix of perlite and vermiculite is a good choice for aeration and water retention, as is a blend of coconut fiber and rockwool.