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Growing Strawberries Hydroponically - A Complete Guide

Growing Strawberries Hydroponically - A Complete Guide

Who doesn't love fresh strawberries? Are you an avid grower of fruits and vegetables at home or want to venture into harvesting your produce? Why not try to grow some strawberries? They are rich in flavor and grow faster than most plants. Plus, it is really easy to get started, especially if you want to grow them hydroponically.

We will start with the motivation to grow strawberries in a complete hydroponic system. Then we will discuss the various species of strawberries. Then we will look at which species are preferred for hydroponic gardening.

We will then discuss the best type of hydroponic system for them and the process of starting strawberry seeds. Lastly, we will walk through the complete process of growing strawberries.

Reasons to Grow Strawberries in a Hydroponic System

Growing strawberries in a hydroponic system are easy and beginner-friendly. We will share all the details on how to grow strawberries hydroponically effectively and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of hydroponically planting strawberries

In a hydroponic system, you do not frequently change the water for soil plantation. In soil plantation, the plant needs to be watered regularly, and then the nutrients are transferred from the soil to the plant. The water in a hydroponic system gets recycled and circulated for a long time before the water goes bad and needs to be changed.

Strawberry plants are one of those plants that benefit more from hydroponic growth than soil. On top of the faster growth and cultivation period, strawberry plants can be stacked on top of each other. This way, you can have a mini vertical farm of fresh strawberries sharing the same nutritious water while being space efficient. Hydroponic systems do not attract pests, which is great because you don't have to invest in pesticides.

Disadvantages of hydroponically planting strawberries

Starting a hydroponic garden has a higher upfront cost than soil-based gardening. Instead of just getting a bed and some soil with perhaps some fertilizers and supplements, you will require a complete hydroponic system.

You can also build one on your own, which will be difficult and challenging, especially for beginners. Hydroponic growing is not as easy and straightforward as good traditional soil planting. It's because the plant is not indirectly being fed nutrients and regulated by the soil. The water directly submerges the roots and transports nutrients, so too much or too little of it can damage the plant.

The next issue is maintaining the correct pH value. It requires special attention and monitoring from your end to ensure that the plants don't get intoxicated. Take great care and caution while testing your nutrient solution, and you will have no problems whatsoever.

To learn more about hydroponic growing, check out How to Grow Plants Traditionally and in a Hydroponic Grow Media?

You may be feeling startled by the drawbacks we mentioned, but they are nothing to worry about. Growing strawberries hydroponically is definitely the way to go. The drawbacks mentioned are there to ensure that you understand all the aspects, good or bad.

Want to Start Growing Strawberries Hydroponically? Here's How You Can Begin

Even though there are some issues in using a hydroponic system for growing, it should not stop you from starting your own garden. We will begin by selecting a hydroponic system to grow your strawberry garden.

Choosing a Suitable Hydroponic System

There are many options to choose from when deciding on a hydroponic system for growing your strawberries.

Deepwater Culture (DWC) systems

Deepwater Culture (DWC) systems like the Platinum Series are popular for certain varieties of vegetables and flowering plants. The plants' roots are always submerged in water that provides them nutrients with a pump that continuously provides them with fresh, oxygen-rich air.

Aeroponic systems are a more advanced type of hydroponic gardening. Instead of the plant submerged in water, the plant is suspended in mid-air with sprayers emitting mist over its roots.

EBB and Flow Hydroponic systems

EBB and flow hydroponic systems are perfect for growing strawberries hydroponically. The plant roots are submerged in water with nutrients, and then the water is drained out into a reservoir. A timer is set to perform the water flooding and draining tasks repeatedly every day.

You can purchase pre-configured systems, like Hydrofarm Megagarden System, Super Closet, Bubble Flow Buckets, 4' X 8' Ebb & Flow Kit, 3' X 3' Ebb & Flow Kit.

You can configure and build your own EBB and flow kit as well. Get a grow tray, set it up exactly how you want, and start cultivating as many strawberry plants as you need.

Hydroponic Drip Systems

Hydroponic Drip systems are very close to EBB and flow systems. Instead of first flooding and then draining the water from the roots in repeated cycles, in hydroponic drip systems, you provide the water in drops to the plant. This way, you can control the amount of liquid and moisture down to a single drop. And the water keeps dripping on the plant all day long.

You can choose from a variety of hydroponic systems like General Hydroponics Eco Grower, 4' X 8' Hydroponic Drip System, General Hydroponics EuroGrower.

You can build a hydroponic drip system on your own, and for this, you can choose from various components to fit your needs and grow as many strawberries as you want.

Selecting Hydroponic Grow Medium

After choosing the system, you need to pick a suitable hydroponic grow medium if your system does not include any media. The choices you have are clay pebbles, coco coir, or growstones. They all serve the same purpose, so choose anyone you like.

The only purpose of grow media is to firmly keep the plant in place to let the roots deeply intertwine themselves. For ease, choose coco coir as it doesn't affect the water's pH level.

The Best Nutrients for Hydroponically Growing Strawberries

Lastly, you will need nutrients to feed your plant. Strawberries have low requirements, unlike most plants, but you need to keep them well-fed for the duration of their lifetime. Their diet needs to be composed of Nitrogen (N), mainly Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), and Magnesium (Mg).

Malnourishment of these nutrients will result in withered or unhealthy crops, so make sure they have just the right amount as needed. Check out brands like Age Old Nutrients, Botanicare, Earth Juice, General Hydroponics, and others listed on the best hydroponic nutrients.

Selecting Strawberries for Growing Hydroponically

Let's take it from the top. It would be best if you chose a fresh and healthy variety of strawberries to grow. After that, we will prepare to start the fruit, feed them, and then finally extract the harvest. Strawberries require very little maintenance and can be grown in a variety of conditions, making them perfect for just about anyone!

What is the Best Species of Strawberry to Grow Hydroponically?

Once you start looking for which strawberry species to get, you will realize that you have various species to choose from. You should choose the type of strawberry that you can grow fast (like a few months instead of years fast).

Secondly, you need to look out for strawberry breeds that are perfect for hydroponic gardening. Third, you need to choose a strawberry strain that will bear fruit continually, so your choice will be one of two: day-neutral or ever-bearing.

Day-neutral strawberries bear fruit all year long, while ever-bearing bear fruit 2 or 3 times a year. These are known to be the best strawberry species:

  • Red Gauntlet
  • Brighton
  • Chandler
  • Tuft
  • Douglas

Best Way to Start a Strawberry Grow– Cutting or Seed?

Do not start your strawberries with their seeds because it will take a lot of time, and you will need more equipment. Strawberry seeds are small and take a long time to germinate, and some don't even start. Get yourself a clone or cuttings of the specific species you wish to plant.

Seeds are cheaper than getting whole strawberries, but getting clones or cuttings will save you months and significantly reduce the failure rate. Some seeds fail to begin altogether or take far too long to start.

The Ideal Environment to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically

To create the ideal conditions for your hydroponic system strawberries, you need to take care of the lighting, pH value of the water, temperature of the room, and humidity in the air. Also, remember to keep the plant indoors to create a controlled environment.

For lighting, strawberry plants need a minimum of 9 hours of light. If you keep them inside a greenhouse, then they will get natural sunlight directly. If not using a greenhouse, then you need to keep it indoors with grow lights; you can use LED or fluorescent lights.

The Significance of pH Value and Watering

Do not hose down tap water on your plants. Tap water contains several impurities that can ruin your strawberries. It contains chlorine, chloramine, and fluoride that can create chemical imbalances.

You need a dedicated water filter along with maintaining a pH value between 5.8 and 6.2. Depending on where the pH value lies can cause the plant to absorb or reject nutrients as needed because of the soil's toxicities. Learn more about pH and nutrients.

Care and Maintenance

Strawberries needs to have a balanced pH and nutrients to grow well. You can train the plant to bear fruit more. If you do some pruning of the berries, then the flower will exert more energy to focus on producing more berries instead of flowers. You will see higher yields and larger strawberries.

Time to Harvest Your Strawberries

When you are ready to harvest your strawberries, start examining them. It would help if you were looking at ripe and bright red berries. Green berries still need more time to ripen. A typical strawberry flower blossoms in 4 weeks bearing the fruit from the first time it sprouts.

Strawberries are easy; they grow fast and are simply delicious. Now that you are well equipped with the knowledge needed to grow your own, it is time for you to get started.

Final Thoughts on Growing Strawberries Hydroponically

Strawberries are a universally loved fruit. They go well with any dessert, and people enjoy eating them on their own as well. While there may be challenges in growing them at home, many hydroponic fitting have made life so much easier. You can now get started immediately and be up and running in a couple of hours.

If you need further assistance from us, don't hesitate to give our team of experts a call on 866-GRO-INDR.

Sep 17th 2022

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