Here we have compiled information about the best plants for NFT system. While compiling the information we considered factors such as timing, temperature, sunlight, and crop cycle, etc. account for the purpose.
The Nutrient Film Technique is one of the highly adopted methods in hydroponics. It is a fairly simple technique with effective design.
Without further ado, let’s get started with the easy-to-understand table.
Overview Of Plants for NFT System
Best Plants for NFT System
Before you get to know the details of specific plants, make sure to know the related facts as well. First of all, the NFT hydroponic system is generally used for growing leafy crops with a short growth cycle.
So, you can only include the fastest growing hydroponics plants into the list. Large crops can’t be grown even in commercial setup because of a longer growth period.
The NFT structure is designed in such a way that the roots of large crops can’t handle the weight accordingly. So, check out the best plants for the NFT system:
The lettuce is one of the most common baby greens among the best hydroponics plants for the NFT hydroponic system. It is also the recommended plant if you are just starting with hydroponic farming.
These plants grow pretty fast with shallow roots and short above-ground height. This makes it a perfect crop from hydroponic farming.
There is no need to set guides or tie stakes for the lettuces. However, you are required to change their nutrient solution frequently.
Strawberry is one of the best plants for the NFT system. Despite the seasonal nature of the crop, hydroponics farming gives you the opportunity of having it all year long.
They are usually grown in a commercial hydroponics system via large-scale NFT. However, small scale NFT is also ideal to grow strawberries.
The benefit of growing strawberries in the hydroponics is the increased yield with proper nutrient solution.
And the yield will mostly depend on consitantly you provide the required conditions.
There are lots of fruits you can grow in the NFT hydroponics system. One such vitamin-rich fruit is blueberry which is quite difficult to grow in soil gardens. Most of the time soil does not provide the required pH.
Therefore, the hydroponics system is encouraged to control the growth of blueberries. Here, you will get optimal pH in a nutrient solution which ranges 5.5 to 6.0. Remember not to make your nutrient solution too acidic or too alkaline.
Then, you have to take care of elevated sulfur levels. The optimum level recommended is between 10-80 ppm (parts per million) in the water-soluble nutrient solution.
Mint is one of the best plants for the NFT system but it is type of crop that can be grown through various other hydroponic techniques.
Beforehand, you have to decide the growth of mint from clone, seed, or transplant. Then, you can start setting up the NFT system.
Generally, spearmint and peppermint are grown via a hydroponics system. The best parts about the mint are different kinds of aromatic compounds that are pungent and refreshing.
The roots of mint spread super quickly which makes it a great plant for the NFT hydroponics system.
The spinach is one of the favorite hydroponics plants examples which can grow best in a water-based environment. Eat spinach and become as strong as Popeye the sailor man. They are not just leaves but a source of essential nutrients which are good for health and beauty.
It consists of a high amount of Vitamin K, iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B2. It is also a great source for magnesium, and manganese to maintain bone health. You can either tear off some leaves or harvest them all at once.
Beans are low-maintenance and productive vegetables that can be grown hydroponically. The ideal range of pH for its nutrient solution is said to be 6.0 to 6.5.
Also, the crop cycle of beans varies from 7 days to 2 weeks depending upon the variety you are growing. Thus, it is one of the fast-growing hydroponic plants.
You can choose among different types of beans for growing such as pole beans, green beans, lima beans, and pinto beans. Here, you need a kind of trellis to support the plant especially in the case of pole beans.
The growth of peppers is almost similar to the growth of tomatoes in an NFT hydroponics system. The usual requirements are a large number of lights and warm temperatures.
You can start its plantation either from a local garden supplier or from seeds. A mix of red and green bell peppers is mostly preferred but you can grow according to your taste buds.
Whatever system you use to grow bell peppers, it must be capable enough to hold their weight. The recommended spacing for peppers is around 18-24 inches.
Basil is another popular choice which requires very little care. Much like mint it is very easy to grow in NFT hydroponic system.
These kinds of herbs provide good fragrance and taste along with a lot of health benefits. The herb reduces swelling or inflammation issues.
You can trim and harvest it weekly after it reaches the maturity stage. However, you should make sure to provide lots of light in the daytime. So, artificial lights should be used in case you have placed NFT hydroponic system indoors.
Basil is also rich in antioxidants and helps protect against the free radicals that cause aging.
Coriander is also one of the fastest-growing hydroponic plants with a 4-week maturity period. As such, there are no special requirements while growing it with NFT hydroponic system.
The coriander is rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Protein, Fiber, and Iron. Coriander seeds are said to be best grown in free-drain growth media.
I personally recommend you to to use seeds directly while growing instead of propagation method.
The aged and poor quality of seeds can’t do anything for the ideal growth of crops. So, you should always use fresh seeds.
The famous varieties for Cilantro in the hydroponics system are mainly Santo, Calypso, and Marino.
Radish is one of the easiest vegetables to grow from seeds in both hydroponics and soil-based system.
It is a cool-season vegetable requiring a temperature of around 50˚F to 70˚F. The propagation will get you to see the seedling within 3-7 days.
Make sure to check the pH level of the nutrient solution twice a week. The ideal pH to grow radish in the NFT system is said to be in the range of 6.0 to 7.0.
Radish is extremely helpful to protect our red blood cells and also helps increase the supply of oxygen in the blood.
It is rich in Vitamin C to protect from cough and common cold situations thereby improving the overall immunity system.
All-in-all, it’s an easy-to-go root vegetable that can be grown multiple times in a season.
Cucumber or Cucumis sativus is a widely known member of the gourd family Cucurbitaceae.
Cucumber is one of the common and best plants for the NFT system. This vining plant can be easily grown at home in a NFT hydroponics system.
They are high-yield, rapid growth, and low insect pest damage plants with lots of health benefits. They are highly acceptable in NFT hydroponics due to desired moisture, warmth, and nutrients.
The most satisfying things about growing cucumbers are the freshness and constant supply of crops. It’s the next-level feel to pluck juicy and crispy cucumbers from your vine.
The different varieties of chives are the other fastest-growing hydroponic plants that you can grow in an NFT hydroponics system.
It will grow well when you provide ideal nutrient solution, warm conditions, and artificial lighting.
You can crop these hardy herbs year-round without any need for the dormancy period. All in all, it will be a rewarding plant whether you grow it for home or profit.
The garlic chives are best to start with as they regenerate faster than common chives after harvest. They can also withstand hard cutbacks and multiple harvests. You can harvest them every 3 to 8 weeks depending upon the time of year.
How can you forget those juicy tomatoes? It is the most ideal vegetable crop for indoor plants. They are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folic acid, and strong antioxidants to protect against the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Well, there are different kinds of tomatoes including the cherry and traditional ones. Be prepared enough to purchase the grow lights especially if you are planting them indoors.
However, tomatoes need a bit of substantial support due to heavy branches and root systems. So, they are pretty hard to grow than lettuce.
But good thing about tomatoes is they last longer than other crops in hydroponic system.
14. Spring Onions
Green onions or spring onions are a bit expensive than regular onions. Still, they are the chef’s all-time favorite ingredients for garnish. Also most of the recipes use it in one or other way. So, grow them hydroponically and reap the most out of them.
Mostly the word scallion is used in place of spring onions. They are sweeter and consist of a bit distinct flavor than regular onions.
The pH level for spring onions is best at 6 to 6.5. However, they need frequent care to prevent them from disease infestations.
So, the thinning of spring onions, selective elimination of older foliage, and good airflow level are some of the best practices to prevent infestations.
Watercress is a leafy, dark-green, and one of the best plants for the NFT system with regards to easy growth. You can estimate its water-loving nature from the name itself. It is easy to grow from seeds by sowing them into the pots.
This semi-aquatic crop is said to thrive best in alkaline water at low temperatures. So, it is well-grown in cool conditions comparatively. It can also be propagated from cuttings to form aerial roots.
These plants continue to grow for about 4-6 weeks without requiring any special attention. And, the natural plantation period is mostly from mid-autumn until the spring season.
After considering all the 15 ideal plants, you should also keep a frequent check on maintenance of the NFT hydroponic system. Even though some plants don’t require special attention, still you are required to check all the aspects mentioned above in the table. Check for suitable temperature, sunlight requirement, darkness requirement, the pH level of nutrient solution, and artificial light requirement, etc.