How To Grow Hydroponic Strawberries: The Complete Guide

How To Grow Hydroponic Strawberries: The Complete Guide

How To Grow Hydroponic Strawberries: The Complete Guide

Hydroponic gardening is a great choice for indoor strawberry production. There are many hydroponic systems that are easy to setup and relatively inexpensive to purchase. In this article, we’ll review everything you need to know about growing your own hydroponic strawberries including which hydroponic system is most effective, the best lights and nutrients for strawberry fruit, and how to manually pollinate these plants.

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Benefits Of Growing Hydroponics Strawberries

Growing hydroponic strawberries offers several advantages, including year-round cultivation, higher yields in limited space, reduced exposure to soil-borne diseases and pests, precise control over nutrient delivery, and the potential for faster growth and fruit production.

Hydroponic systems allow for optimized environmental conditions, enabling growers to provide strawberries with consistent light, temperature, and humidity levels. This method also eliminates the need for weeding and reduces water usage compared to traditional soil-based cultivation. Additionally, hydroponic strawberries can be grown in urban environments or areas with poor soil quality, making it a versatile and efficient way to enjoy fresh, homegrown strawberries throughout the year.

Hydroponic strawberries in a nutrient film technique (NFT) hydroponic system.

Hydroponic Strawberries In NFT System

How To Grow Hydroponic Strawberries – Getting Started

Choosing A Hydroponic System

The choice of the best hydroponic system for growing strawberries depends on your specific needs, space, and preferences. Different hydroponic growing methods have their advantages and disadvantages. Here are some commonly used indoor hydroponic systems for growing hydroponic strawberries:

  1. Deep Water Culture (DWC):
    • Advantages: Simple to set up, relatively low cost, and suitable for beginners. Provides excellent oxygenation to the roots of the plants.
    • Disadvantages: May require more frequent monitoring and maintenance, as oxygen levels in the nutrient solution need to be carefully maintained.
  2. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT):
    • Advantages: Efficient use of water and nutrients, good oxygenation of roots, and suitable for small to medium-sized strawberry plants.
    • Disadvantages: May be less forgiving for beginners, as the nutrient film needs to be maintained at a precise level.
  3. Drip Systems:
    • Advantages: Versatile, allows for precise control of nutrient delivery, and suitable for a wide range of plant sizes.
    • Disadvantages: Can be more complex to set up and maintain compared to some other systems.
  4. Vertical Towers:
    • Advantages: Maximizes vertical space, making it ideal for small spaces. Can accommodate a large number of plants in a compact footprint.
    • Disadvantages: Initial setup and cost can be higher, and maintenance may be more involved due to multiple stacked layers.
  5. Wick Systems:
    • Advantages: Extremely simple and low-cost system. Suitable for small-scale or home hydroponic setups.
    • Disadvantages: May not provide the same level of nutrient delivery and oxygenation as more advanced systems.
  6. Aeroponics:
    • Advantages: Delivers nutrients directly to the roots as a fine mist, ensuring excellent oxygenation and nutrient absorption.
    • Disadvantages: More complex and expensive than some other systems, may require specialized equipment.

When it comes to growing hydroponic strawberries, many hobby growers have had success with both Deep Water Culture (DWC) and Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) systems due to their ability to provide adequate oxygenation to the strawberry roots. Drip systems are also good hydroponic systems for their versatility and precise control over nutrient delivery.

Ultimately, the best system for you will depend on your experience level, available space, budget, and the number of strawberries you want to grow. It’s a good idea to start with a system that matches your skill level and then consider more advanced systems as you gain experience. Regardless of the system you choose, careful attention to nutrient levels, pH levels, and growing environment is essential for successful hydroponic strawberry cultivation.

Materials Needed:

  • Hydroponics System (e.g., DWC, NFT system, drip system)
  • Container or Grow Tray
  • Net Pots (One net pot for each strawberry plant)
  • Strawberry Plants or Runners
  • Hydroponic Growing Medium (e.g., coconut coir, perlite, rockwool)
  • Hydroponic Nutrients (We recommend Botanicare Sweet Berry for hydro berries!)
  • pH Testing Kit (meter or kit)
  • EC (Electrical Conductivity) Meter
  • LED Grow Lights
  • Thermometer and Hygrometer
  • Pollination Tools (e.g., soft brush)
  • Water Supply
  • Containers for Nutrient Solution

​10 Steps To Grow Hydroponic Strawberries

Step 1: Choose Your Hydroponic System

  • Select a hydroponic system that suits your space and needs.
  • Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and drip systems are the most common hydroponic techniques used for small root systems.
  • We recommend the HTG Bubble Boy DWC systems with 4 banger lids for strawberry production!

Step 2: Prepare Your Hydroponic System

  • Clean and sterilize the containers or trays that will hold the plants and nutrient solution.
  • Set up your chosen hydroponic system according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Step 3: Select and Prepare Strawberry Plants

  • Purchase small strawberry plants or runners from a reputable supplier. Choose a variety suitable for hydroponic cultivation.
  • Plant the strawberry plants in a hydroponic growing medium such as coconut coir or perlite.
  • Make sure

Step 4: Mix and Maintain Nutrient Solution

  • Prepare a hydroponic nutrient solution formulated for strawberries. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing.
  • Adjust the pH of the nutrient solution to a range of about 5.5-6.5 using a pH meter or pH-adjusting solutions.
  • Monitor and adjust the electrical conductivity level (EC level) of the nutrient mix to maintain the right nutrient levels.

Step 5: Provide Adequate Lighting

  • Install high-quality LED grow lights with the appropriate spectrum for healthy growth above your strawberry plants.
  • Adjust the light height and intensity to provide at least 6-8 hours of light per day or the equivalent in artificial light.

Step 6: Maintain Ideal Environmental Conditions

  • Keep the temperature in the range of 65-75°F (18-24°C) for optimal strawberry growth.
  • Maintain humidity levels around 50-70% to prevent stress and diseases.
  • Ensure proper ventilation and air circulation to prevent mold and mildew.

Step 7: Pruning and Training

  • Regularly prune away dead or yellowing leaves to encourage the plant to put more energy into fruit production.
  • Remove strawberry runners (long stems that produce new plants) to redirect the plant’s energy into producing flower buds.
  • If using vertical systems, train the plants to grow vertically to maximize space.

Step 8: Pollination

  • Since hydroponic systems may lack natural pollinators, manually pollinate the strawberry flowers when they are in bloom.
  • Use a soft brush or your fingers to transfer pollen between flowers. Pollinate flowers on the same plant and cross pollinate flowers on other plants.
  • Pollen will easily transfer from the strawberry flower to your finger or brush and back again.

Step 9: Harvest Ripe Strawberries

  • Harvest ripe strawberries as they become ready. Hydroponically grown strawberries often produce fruit earlier and with fewer pests compared to traditional soil-grown strawberries.

Step 10: Maintenance

  • Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or diseases. If issues arise, take appropriate measures, such as applying organic pesticides or adjusting environmental conditions.
  • Maintain proper nutrient levels and pH in the nutrient solution by regularly monitoring and adjusting as needed.
  • Once your hydroponic strawberries start producing, savor the delicious, homegrown fruit and experiment with different ways to enjoy them, such as in salads, smoothies, or desserts.

Remember that successful hydroponic strawberry cultivation requires attention to detail, regular monitoring, and adjustments to ensure optimal growth conditions for your plants. Be patient and prepared to troubleshoot any issues that may arise along the way.

​Best Growing Medium For Hydroponic Strawberries

The choice of the best growing medium for hydroponic strawberries depends on factors like the specific hydroponic system you’re using and your preferences. Here are some commonly used growing media for hydroponic strawberries:

  1. Coconut Coir: Coconut coir is a popular choice for hydroponic strawberry cultivation. It has good water retention properties while also allowing for adequate aeration and drainage. Coconut coir is pH-neutral and can be used as a standalone medium or mixed with other substrates.
  2. Perlite: Perlite is a lightweight, inert growing medium that provides excellent drainage and aeration. It is often used in hydroponic systems, including NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) and drip systems, to support strawberry plants.
  3. Hydroton (Expanded Clay Pellets): Hydroton is a lightweight, pH-neutral medium that provides good aeration and drainage. It’s commonly used in deep water culture (DWC) and other hydroponic systems.

The choice of growing medium may also depend on the specific hydroponic system you’re using. For example, in deep water culture (DWC) systems, plants are suspended in a nutrient-rich water solution without a solid medium, while in nutrient film technique (NFT) systems, a thin film of nutrient solution flows over the roots.

Best Water Temperature For Hydroponic Strawberries

Maintaining the ideal water temperature and room temperature is crucial for successful hydroponic strawberry cultivation. Here are the optimal temperature ranges for both the water and room environment:

Water Temperature Conditions for Hydroponic Strawberries:

The ideal water temperature for hydroponic strawberry plants falls within the range of 65°F to 75°F (18°C to 24°C). Here’s why this temperature range is important:

  • Root Health: Maintaining water within this temperature range promotes healthy root development and nutrient uptake. Roots may become less efficient at absorbing nutrients and oxygen outside of this range.
  • Disease Prevention: Water that is too cold can increase the risk of root rot and other diseases, while higher temperatures can encourage the growth of harmful microorganisms. Staying within the recommended range helps minimize disease risks.
  • Optimal Growth: Strawberry plants tend to grow best when their root zone is within this temperature range, which can lead to faster growth and better fruit production.

To achieve and maintain the ideal water temperature, you can use aquarium heaters or chillers in your hydroponic system. Monitor the water temperature regularly to ensure it stays within the desired range.

Ideal Lighting Conditions For Hydroponic Strawberries

Creating the right light schedule and adequate light conditions is crucial for the successful growth of hydroponic strawberries. Here are the recommended light conditions and schedule for hydroponic strawberries:

Light Intensity:

  • Hydroponic strawberries require high light intensity for optimal growth and fruit production. Aim for a minimum of 6-8 hours of direct or high-intensity light per day. If using artificial grow lights, provide a light intensity of at least 500 to 1000 µmol/m²/s.

Light Position and Distance:

  • Position the grow lights so that they evenly cover the entire canopy of your strawberry plants. The distance between the lights and the plants should be adjustable. Start with the lights positioned about 12-18 inches (30-45 cm) above the plants and adjust as needed to maintain the proper light intensity without causing heat stress or light burn.

Light Duration:

  • Provide a consistent light duration each day. In general, 14-16 hours of light per day is suitable for hydroponic strawberries. You can use timers (like our favorite timers by BN-LINK) to automate the light schedule.

Dark Period:

  • Allow for a dark period of 8-10 hours per day. Plants, including strawberries, require a period of darkness for rest and proper growth.

Learn More About Hydroponic Gardening

Indoor hydroponic gardening is a rewarding hobby that enables to you perfect your growing environment and enjoy high yields for a wide variety of plants. While some initial investment and learning is necessary at the beginning, the process of hydroponic gardening can be a straightforward and easy way to grow your own food indoors. To learn more about different hydroponic methods, check out these related articles:

Hydroponic strawberries ready for harvest in a hydroponic system.

Hydroponic Strawberries Ready For Harvest