How to Set Up Hydroponics


Plants require certain nutrients to thrive and grow. Various types of soil contain nutrients necessary for plants to survive. Hydroponics is a gardening method that supplies these nutrients without the use of soil. This type of gardening involves placing the plants' roots above a liquid nutrient source. Hydroponic gardening encourages healthy plants by incorporating liquid nutrients, sunlight and warmth. Knowing how to set up a hydroponic garden inside your house provides an opportunity for gardening year-round.

Step 1

Purchase a Styrofoam cooler with a lid to use as a container for your garden. Purchase small seed pots. These pots provide initial space for sprouting and early seed growth in conventional methods, but also make good containers for hydroponic plants. Obtain a small pump designed for use in a fish tank. Create a substrate mixture to provide support for your germinating seeds. Mix equal parts of perlite and vermiculite. Use this substrate in place of soil.

Step 2

Cut holes in the lid of your Styrofoam cooler. Make these holes just large enough to fit the lower rims of your seed pots. Make an extra hole to provide room for adding solution to your hydroponic reservoir. Push seed pots into the holes you cut in the lid, pressing down until the rims of the pots are almost level with the top surface of the lid. Place an even layer of your substrate mixture into each of the seed pots.

Step 3

Find a sunny location to set your hydroponic garden. With the exception of a few houseplants, hydroponic plants require adequate amounts of sunlight. Place your garden in an area that receives a maximum amount of natural light during the daytime hours.

Step 4

Purchase a hydroponic solution mix. Many garden centers and landscape stores provide hydroponic supplies to gardeners. Mix your hydroponic solution according to the package instructions. Fill your Styrofoam box with this solution to a level just below the bottoms of the seed pots. Allow a small space between pots and solution to provide necessary oxygen to the root systems. Place your seeds into the seed pots. Pour a small amount of solution over the top of each pot to wet the seeds. Keep the seeds slightly moist in this manner until the emerging roots reach the solution in the reservoir.

Step 5

Set your pump into the solution to provide gentle water circulation. Keep the solution level by regularly adding enough to replace solution lost through evaporation.

Things You'll Need

  • Styrofoam box with lid
  • Seed pots
  • Pump
  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Hydroponic solution mix


  • Alabama A&M Cooperative Extension: Hydroponics for Home Gardeners
  • University of New Hampshire: Hydroponic Vegetable Gardening
Keywords: hydroponic garden, indoor garden, hydroponic plant

About this Author

Laura Dee is a writer, artist, and the co-owner of Wallace & Wallace Copywriting,an online business which specializes in providing marketing materials and copy to various companies. She has written for Demand Studios since 2008 and is currently working on a series of childrens' picture books.