Best Plants for Aquaponics with Recommended Plant Combinations

In Aquaponic Agriculture by Aquaponic GuruLeave a Comment

What are the best plants for aquaponics? There are a variety of plants that thrive in aquaponic systems, and the best choice for each aquaponic gardener depends on a few factors. The easiest and faster growing aquaponic plants for beginners are leafy greens like spinach, chard, kale, and lettuce.

Here’s a helpful chart that you can reference, for the best plants for aquaponics, and their requirements:

Best plants for aquaponic

Note: This chart shows planting times, which can vary depending on your regional climate. Keep in mind these are generally suggested ranges for temperate climates. Likewise, if you plan on growing indoors, or transplanting your aquaponic plants when you plant them won’t matter as much.

What makes a plant good for aquaponics?

When it comes down to it, you can grow just about anything in aquaponics, but not everything is easy or convenient to grow.

The best plants for aquaponics are easy to pair with other plants, meaning their requirements are within the ranges of most other plants.

The typical ideal pH range for an aquaponic system is 6.8-7.0, while the ideal temperature is between 68 and 86 degrees.

We have done extensive research about different levels of pH, Let us share our results with you.

Good plants for aquaponics, especially for beginners, don’t require too much extra care outside of regular inspections and pruning.

A heartier, less demanding plant is going to grow better and is more likely to produce a good yield.

While you’re probably thinking that the next thing that makes a good aquaponic plant is a quick growth, you’d be only partially correct.

Yes, quick-growing plants are great for aquaponic systems.

But you also need to have a decent crop of moderate and slower growing plants to balance your system out and keep it stable.

The best plants for beginning aquaponics

As noted above, the easiest plants for beginners in aquaponics to start with are typically leafy greens. That’s due to a few factors, namely how hearty they are (and unlikely to fail due to too slight changes).

When strategically building a strategy to plant your plants. Before you start building the grow bed you will need a few items. We’ve put together a checklist for the aquaponic gardener. 

How quickly they grow?

How little maintenance do they require from the gardener?

Finding the best combinations of plants to grow

Some people may choose to focus on a single plant for their aquaponic system, but many people like to grow several different ones.

The real key to getting a good combination of different plants? You have to choose compatible plants.

That may sound strange since it isn’t as though your plants are going to start roughhousing, but their preferred conditions could be damaging to another plant.

Select plants that have similar temperature tolerances and pH range needs.

Plants often have similar ranges of preferred conditions, but don’t assume they’re always that way. It’s far better to double check before you plant.

Here are some examples of good plant combinations for an aquaponic system:

  1. Zucchini, Green Peas, and Lettuce
  2. Tomatoes, Zucchini, and Cauliflower
  3. Chives, Tomatoes, and Lettuce
  4. Swiss Chard, Spinach, and Cauliflower

Here’s some more info about the best aquaponic plants to grow:

Arugula

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 45 to 64°F

Arugula, also called Rocket, is a leafy crop in the lettuce family known for its peppery flavor.

It’s a common addition to salads and contains plenty of potassium and vitamin C. This plant is hardy and can easily handle cooler temperatures.

It also grows quickly and can be harvested continually if you keep sowing, so it’s a low maintenance plant that anyone can grow.

Basil

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 50 to 90°F

Basil is another leafy herb that’s popular worldwide for its culinary uses. Fast growing basil is a member of the mint family available in a ton of varieties.

You have plenty of choices when growing basil, and it does well with other plants because it has a wide range of tolerance.

Cabbage

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 60 to 70°F

Cabbage is a common crop, and it flourishes in aquaponics. This veggie grows reasonably quickly and can produce large yields even in a smaller aquaponic system.

It can tolerate cool temperatures as well as warmer ones, and cabbage requires little extra care. There’s no pruning needed either, which is a bonus for aquaponic gardeners.

Cauliflower

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 55 to 80°F

Cauliflower is best grown in cooler temperatures and is also a member of the brassica family (including broccoli, kale, and cabbage).

This plant is packed full of essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which adds to its value as an aquaponic crop. It’s an especially good crop for free systems in temperate climates, and autumn in warmer regions.

Chives

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 40 to 85°F

Chives are a popular culinary ingredient, and this green herb is closely related to garlic, and just as much a commodity for its flavor.

This plant is a good choice for aquaponic systems since it has a typical pH range, but can tolerate a wide range of temperatures (even when there are sudden temperature changes), and it’s hearty enough to thrive both indoors and outdoors.

Duckweed

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 50 to 90°F

For an advanced aquaponic gardener.

Duckweed is an aquatic plant that floats on the surface of the water.

This plant can multiply in prolific amounts, and it’s very hardy. It tolerates a wide range of temperatures, as well as pH levels.

Part of the reason duckweed is an ideal plant to grow in aquaponics because it requires hardly any care, and grows quickly.

Next, it’s a great source of sustenance for your fish, so it’s doubly useful.

I’ve written a review on our Top 9 Fish For Aquaponic, where we explain what fish will thrive based on climate along with many other factors

Green Peas

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 50 to 70°F

Green peas are full of protein and vitamins, can easily be made into fish food, and best of all, they thrive in aquaponic systems.

This member of the legume family is a common staple on any grocery list, so it grows food for you and your fish.

This is another plant with a fairly wide tolerance range, so it’s easy to pair with other plants in your system.

Kale

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 70 to 74°F

Kale is a member of the Brassica family, closely related to cabbage, and it’s gained a reputation as a sort of superfood lately.

This vegetable contains plenty of antioxidants, as well as beta carotene, vitamins K, C, and calcium.

Kale is very easy to grow and doesn’t require much in the way of nutrients to thrive.

Our plant can spread very quickly, so you may need to put it in a separate growing tray from other plants.

Lettuce

Temperature for aquaponic plant: 50 to 80°F

Great for a first time aquaponic gardener.

Lettuce is a commonly consumed vegetable, and it gives gardeners a wide variety of types to choose from.

It’s also tolerant of cooler temperatures and can handle much warmer temperatures, which also for growing in several climates.

In a nutshell, this plant will thrive in aquaponics.

It does need a sufficient amount of potassium to grow, but it grows quickly and can be harvested in just over a month.

Spinach

Temperature for aquaponic plant: 40 to 75°F

Spinach is a leafy green high in protein and iron, and it’s a valuable nutrient source for people, as well as fish.

Spinach does well in cooler weather but is hardy enough to handle a range of temperatures. It doesn’t require much watching over or maintenance, and will happily grow in an area with less sunlight.

In an outdoor aquaponic system, this is a great way to make more shaded areas remain productive.

Spinach is a plant you can pretty much continuously harvest, as long as you seed the area every 2 to 3 weeks.

Strawberries

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 60 to 80°F

For an experianced aquaponic gardener.

Strawberries are an excellent choice for growing without soil, and it’s fun to grow and pick your own. They do better when grown vertically (in towers or with a lattice structure), but can also be grown on a floating raft model.

They do well in a moderate climate, and the requirements fall neatly within those with most other plants tolerate well.

You will need several plants to produce many berries, but each plant can produce at least a few every couple of days, and you don’t have to keep replanting them either.

Swiss Chard

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 40 to 75°F

Swiss chard is an edible leafy green that supplies ample calcium, folate, vitamin A, fiber, iron, and vitamin C.

Nearly the entire plant is edible, although it’s more common to use the leaves in cooking.

It will need sufficient nutrients, so you need to monitor your EC levels, but it is otherwise very easy to grow in an aquaponic system.

Tomato

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 65 to 85°F

Only for an experianced aquaponic gardener.

Tomatoes have long been a favorite of all types of gardner, and it’s no different with aquaponics.

They prefer warm or mild temperatures but have sufficient tolerance for a fair range.

Tomatoes take longer than most other aquaponic plants, although they will still grow faster in aquaponics than in soil.

This plant will require vertical living accommodation in order to prosper in aquaponics.

This timeline is actually an advantage that makes it easier to plant tomatoes with other crops.

Watercress

  • Temperature for aquaponic plant: 55 to 75°F

This leafy plant has a distinctive peppery flavor, and it’s a popular addition to recipes worldwide.

It’s a good source of antioxidants and has a generous amount of vitamins A, C, and K. It grows quickly and can spread with just as much speed.

Watercress requires very little extra attention, so you can basically plant, wait, and harvest. Since it spreads quickly, it may need to be grown in a separate tray.

Plants that Offer High Nutrients but Require Special Attention

The main reason why these plants will require special attention is due to the fact they desire lower pH. Another reason, they might need to remain out of the cycle of the aquaponic system.

The only advanced aquaponic gardener should attempt the following plants.

Bananas

Many people have tried to harvest bananas in aquaponics. You can do so; I warn you it is not ideal for long term planning.

If you want to grow bananas, I would plant the tree in BPA free 25-gallon pot check it out!

Dwarf Cavendish-banana trees will mature in about 50 to 60 days in traditional farming methods Check out the great Dwarf Cavendish Banana tree

Here are some other plants that do well in aquaponics need TLC

  • Beans
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Eggplant
  • Flowers
  • Ginger
  • Herbs
  • Onion
  • Peppers
  • Raddish
  • Rice
  • Sweet Corn
  • Squash
  • Peas 
  • Microgreens

Unfortanly, over watering plants on our last list will cause root rot or small yields of veggies.

Some plants will love the nutrients that aquaponics will deliver; meanwhile, they do not desire the constant flow of water.

Plants we do not recommend for aquaponics Blueberries and Mint.

When planting should happen before a frost, this means the spring frost, unless otherwise specified.

Keep in mind that when you’re setting up the plants in your aquaponic system, you need to balance out your crops.

Try to maintain a fairly equal number of slower and faster-growing plants, as well as spring/summer and fall/winter crops.

Related Q/A

What types of plants do iI plant with floating rafts?

Water-based plants lettuces, herbs, parsley, chives, spinach, and Kale will work best in floating rafts. This method is called the deep flow technique.

We will teach you everything about DFT check it out! Let us show you our mistakes so you will not repeat them.

Will potatoes thrive in aquaponics?

Yes, you can grow potatoes, but they must remain out of the loop of your aquaponics system. Growing potatoes and a constant flow of water will not work hand in hand. Mold will start to devour our crop.

Can we harvest carrots in aquaponics?

Just like potatoes, carrots will need nutrients from aquaponics. Since carrots are grown underground fragmented water can harm our vegetables.

 

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