hydroponic strawberries

Hydroponic Strawberries
What You Need To Know

Whether you have experience in hydroponics or starting out I’m sure you will some questions about hydroponic strawberries. I’m here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that I once sought the answer to. Don’t forget, if you get stuck, want more information or have other questions refer the links at the bottom of the page, which should help. Now let’s get started, I’m going to start with the basics and move on in a (hopefully) logical progression of each step for growing strawberries hydroponically. Get ready.

What’s hydroponics?

If you’re new to hydroponics I’ll give in layman’s terms, to grow plants without soil, instead placing the plant's roots in liquid nutrient. Put simply it’s the soilless growth of plants. You can grow flowers, fruits, vegetables in pots placed in trays, hanging or as runners (similar to vines). Basically, you put your plant in a pot with the roots exposed (no soil) and allow the roots to sit in a solution, instead of soil it's normal to use a medium like Rockwool to keep the plant moist and insulated. Now let's get into the specifics.

small plant

What’s the best method to grow hydroponic strawberries?

The most popular and well-reviewed method by seasoned growers points to the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT). Quick background on this technique it’s where you create a very shallow stream of water containing the nutrients to bare roots and re-circulate in a channel type set-up. I’ll paint a better picture, you have a row of pots with your medium (clay is best), your net pot (this is a specific pot) is sitting in a shallow gully so that your bare roots are exposed and are able to take up the nutrients. Now to complicate things a little more, you’ll need to know about plugs and runners, this is very important to make your strawberries grow quicker. See below.

Plugs and Runners?

So you followed the instructions, you have your strawberry plant in a netted pot in a clay medium. So far so good, however, this next sentence is very important unless you want to wait 2-3 years for your first yield. What are runners and plugs? Plugs are simply the stage of the plant before it sprouts lots of roots growing in different directions. Strawberry “plugs” is the best stage of the plant to establish a hydroponic system for quicker yield. Now a “runner” is when the strawberry plant grows longer roots in different directions, so it’s a stage but it’s also called a growing method. Many use the “runner method” where they attach runners to new pots for the plants to multiply (each runner or wayward root will form a new plant).

Are there special requirements?

Yes. Hydroponics usually has more strict growing conditions compared to plants based in soil. Soil has a pretty good way of keeping the conditions steady although needing water and fertilizer every so often. The specifics are for pH (5.5-6.0), temperature (19-24°C), EC (1.6-1.8 or 800-900PPM) and in a low humidity environment. Now if you're just starting out all you need to ask yourself is will I be keeping my strawberries somewhere in that temperature range and in low humidity. If yes, then everything else will come easy. If no, I would probably suggest growing something else. Sorry! The pH and EC will need to be tested daily (I would advise this) and read on for the specifics on nutrients.

Do I need to add a nutrient solution for my hydroponic strawberries?

You will not necessarily need a strawberry-specific hydroponic fertilizer mix or a hydroponic specific fertilizer. I’ll add the most popular and most effective fertilizers for your strawberries below. Also, I’ll add a link below for the mad scientists that want to make their own:

If you would rather purchase your own, go ahead and try these:

almost ripe strawberries

How long will it take to get my first hydroponic strawberry yield?

If you're planning on going from seed then I’m sorry to say you will have about a 2-3 year wait for your plants to become completely established. I would even if you’re not in a hurry head to plugs (strawberry plant stage remember). This is the easiest stage for your plant to become established and as they grow all-year-long you will probably get strawberries within a few weeks if everything goes well (it usually does). Once your runners are set up your yield will dramatically increase with strawberries for all!

Lots of information I know, but there is a lot to learn but don’t be discouraged. I hope I have helped in some way; there is a lot of information out there on growing strawberries hydroponically, loads of blogs, websites, and WikiHow if that’s how you roll. There is always a learning curve when starting out with any type of gardening especially when there are specifics involved (nutrients etc.). You can do this, if I can succeed, kids can succeed (I have seen mini hydroponic strawberry packs for kids) I’m sure you can too.

Good luck and happy growing.

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