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Can Hydroponics Be Grown Outdoors?

Hydroponics is a system of growing plants in a water-based solution that doesn’t require the use of soil. The hydroponic system can be grown indoors or outdoors depending on your preferences. 

If you prefer to grow your hydroponics plants outdoors, this step-by-step guide will provide you with all the details you need to get started.

can hydroponics grow outdoors

How to Grow Hydroponics Outdoors: Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1: Choose a Location.

The site of your outdoor hydroponic system is very important. You need to ensure you’re going for an area that gets plenty of bright, direct sunlight. There should also be a shelter from the sun to help more delicate plants grow easily.

When taking your hydroponic system outdoors, you can construct it in the yard if you’re planning to grow larger crop volumes. If do not have such outdoor space, your deck or patio would do. 

Step 2: Pick Your Hydroponic System.

There are many different hydroponic systems to go for. In this article, we will not recommend systems like Deep Water Culture that have the plant roots entirely submerged in water. This might not be the best option as it is more difficult to control the temperature of the water when it is outdoors. The systems below will bring the most benefits. 

  • Kratky Method– This is one of the simplest methods and a great option for beginners. You can use home-based materials to grow this method. There is no electricity required. All you need is the plant seedlings, growing media, a container with a lid, and nutrient-rich water source.
  • NFT System– This system a bit complex but useful if you’re growing multiple plants. You will need PVC pipes with holes drilled in equal spaces to circulate nutrient-rich water via pumps.
  • Simple Bucket System– This system is rather simple. It houses your plant in a bucket that has draining holes and fitted with your growing media. This system would have to be watered manually with nutrient-rich water and works best for a single, large plant.

Step 3: Build Your System.

After you’ve chosen the system, you will have to start contracting it. Passive systems like the Kratky method does not require electricity or a pump will be simple to construct. A passive system is also one of the safest options for an outdoor hydroponic system as it makes it easier to use within the elements.


If you’re growing multiple plants, you won’t get the best results with a passive system. A PVC system works best. 

To get started, you will need the following equipment. 

  • Reservoir: The reservoir is used to contain your water. The size of the reservoir will depend upon the size and number of plants you want to grow. 
  • Water Pump: If you’re not using the kratky method, you will need a water pump to circulate the water.
  • Timer: The timer is need for ensure that the pump works when it should. You could choose to skip the timer if you want to manually care for your outdoor system. 
  • Growth Media: Plants need a substrate to grow on. You can substitute soil for pH neutral materials like bark, gravel, and foam 
  • pH Test Kit: You will need to ensure that the pH of the water is within the acceptable range. You can get a simple pH test kit.

If you don’t want to put in the work of constructing the system, you can go ahead and purchase a ready-made system. You can get such systems for small or big crops.

Step 4: Add Your Plants and Growing Media.

When done with constructing the system, you can add the seedlings. It is best to start the seedlings yourself so you can save yourself a lot of time. 

If you have germinated seeds already, then you need to remove all of the soil from the roots. You will need a net pot where the roots can grow in. You will also need a growing media. The media should keep the plant upright. The best options to go for are clay pebbles, coconut fiber or chips, and perlite or vermiculite.

When adding nutrients and water to the system, you need to ensure that you do so in the right amount. You will have to purchase hydroponics nutrients and read the instructions to guide you.

Step 5: Monitor Your Plants.

Monitoring the plants is very important to ensure that they survive. The good news is that with hydroponic systems, the plants can survive without supervision for several weeks. However, that is only if you have all the right material in place. It is best to monitor them every day for the first few days you set them up. If you’re growing plants with short cycles, it is best to monitor them continuously.  

If you’re using systems with complicated pump systems, you will have to ensure they are working correctly and the water is a good temperature that will ensure plant growth.

Another thing to take note of is pest. You need to check your plants for damage to all kinds of pests. The plants will also need sunlight but not too much. You need to keep them in the right location to ensure they get what they need to grow properly.

Advantages of an Outdoor Hydroponic System Vs. an Indoor One?

  • More Space: If you’re growing a wide variety of plants and you do not have a greenhouse, moving the plants to the outdoors is the best way to get enough space without having to spend extra.
  • Cheaper Light Source: With an indoor system, you will have to purchase grow lights which will add to your electricity bill. In the outdoors, the sunlight is the light source and it comes free. 
  • Natural Pollination: In an indoor system, you will have to pollinate your plants on your own. Placing it in the outdoor will ensure they get pollinated naturally. 
  • Lower Start-up Costs: With outdoor systems, you get to save on startup costs. You won’t have to spend on growing lights, ventilation systems, or fans as you would in an indoor system.