Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:58 pm
Growing Strawberries in Hydroponics: A Comprehensive Guide
Strawberries are a delightful fruit that can be successfully grown using hydroponic systems. Hydroponics offers precise control over environmental conditions, resulting in healthier plants and better yields. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grow strawberries hydroponically:
1. Choose the Right Strawberry Variety:
- Before starting your hydroponic strawberry project, select a suitable strawberry variety. Everbearing or day-neutral varieties are often recommended for hydroponic cultivation because they produce fruit continuously throughout the growing season.
2. Select the Hydroponic System:
- There are various hydroponic systems to choose from, each with its advantages and considerations. Some common hydroponic systems for strawberries include the nutrient film technique (NFT), deep water culture (DWC), and drip systems. Select the one that aligns with your available space, budget, and experience level.
3. Acquire Strawberry Plants:
- Obtain disease-free strawberry seedlings or crowns from a reputable source. Crowns are the upper part of the strawberry plant, including the roots.
4. Prepare the Hydroponic Growing Medium:
- Your choice of a hydroponic growing medium is crucial. Opt for a well-draining and aerated medium, such as coconut coir or perlite. These mediums provide excellent support for the strawberry plants.
5. Plant the Strawberries:
- Place the strawberry plants into the hydroponic medium. If you are using a nutrient film technique (NFT) system, strawberry plants can be grown in net pots filled with the growing medium and set into the channels. Ensure that the crowns are positioned just above the surface of the medium.
6. Manage the Nutrient Solution:
- Prepare a balanced hydroponic nutrient solution specifically formulated for strawberries. Regularly monitor the pH and electrical conductivity (EC) levels to ensure the nutrient concentration remains within the ideal range for strawberry growth.
7. Provide Adequate Lighting:
- Strawberries require an abundance of light for healthy growth and fruit production. Utilize high-quality, full-spectrum LED grow lights or other suitable lighting systems. Ensure your strawberries receive the required amount of light each day for optimal photosynthesis.
8. Control Temperature and Humidity:
- Maintaining the correct temperature and humidity levels is essential for successful hydroponic strawberry cultivation. Aim for a temperature range of 60-80°F (15-27°C), and maintain humidity levels around 60-70%.
- Hydroponically grown strawberries may require manual pollination since wind and insects may not be present. Gently shake the flowers or use a small brush to transfer pollen from the male parts (anthers) to the female parts (stigmas) of the flowers. This encourages fruit development.
10. Pruning and Maintenance: – Regularly inspect your strawberry plants for runner growth. Runners are long stems that can divert energy away from fruit production. Trim them to encourage the plants to focus on fruiting. Additionally, remove any yellowing or dead leaves to maintain plant health.
In summary, growing strawberries hydroponically can be a rewarding experience. By choosing the right variety, hydroponic system, and providing the ideal growing conditions, you can enjoy a consistent supply of fresh, delicious strawberries all year round.
- 1 hydroponic strawberries from seed, seedlings or cuttings?
- 2 what strawberries grow in hydroponics?
- 3 the right hydroponic system
- 4 the perfect temperature for hydroponics strawberries
- 5 5 light and lighting for strawberries in hydroponics.
- 6 what pH and EC for hydroponic strawberries?
- 7 what nutrients and fertilizers for hydroponics strawberries?
- 8 how are strawberries pollinated?
- 9 the harvest
- 10 diseases and pests
- 11 Author
hydroponic strawberries from seed, seedlings or cuttings?
For your hydroponic strawberries, you must choose to grow from seed, seedlings or cuttings.
Growing from seed is not recommended. It takes about 2 to 3 years for strawberries to bear their first fruit.
Seedlings or cuttings are the right choice if you want to harvest strawberries in the same year. It takes about 4 weeks until the harvest. Before you put the seedlings / cuttings in the system, you must rinse the soil particularly thoroughly.
Propagation by cuttings
Propagate heirloom plants by cuttings. If you use an ebb and flow system, cuttings can develop. This way you can expand your stock inexpensively.
what strawberries grow in hydroponics?
As you probably know, all strawberries can grow in hydroponics. Meanwhile, you can choose the strawberry you want from over 1000 strawberry varieties. Below are listed high-yielding and tasty varieties.
If you want to harvest indoor hydroponic strawberries all year round, everbearing strawberries are the right choice. They are often used in commercial hydroponics. Proven strawberry varieties include:
If you want to grow your hydroponic strawberries outdoors, you can opt for even higher-yielding varieties. However, keep in mind the ripening time. Proven strawberry varieties are:
- Elvira (May – June)
- Sonata (June – July)
- Symphony (August)
- Sweet Mary XXL (August)
the right hydroponic system
Strawberries can be grown in any hydroponic system. Their root system is small and their weight is low. Suitable system for hydroponic strawberries:
- NFT system
- Drip system
- Deep water culture
- Ebb and flow system
- Aeroponic system
- Wick system
If there is too much moisture and a low oxygen content at the roots, they can rot. NFT and drip systems are therefore particularly suitable. In addition, the strawberries are easily accessible, easy to humble and harvest.
the perfect temperature for hydroponics strawberries
In hydroponics, in addition to the air temperature, the water temperature is also crucial.
The ideal air temperature for a strawberry plant is between 15 – 22 degrees. At night, temperatures between 10 – 15 degrees are ideal. They increase the yield and sugar content. Temperatures below 10- or above 27 degrees have a negative effect on the strawberry plant.
In order for a hydroponic strawberry to have unhindered access to nutrients, the nutrient solution should have a temperature between 19 – 21 degrees during the day. At night, the nutrient solution should not fall below 15 degrees.
5 light and lighting for strawberries in hydroponics.
Strawberries are particularly hungry for light. After all, the formation of fruit requires a lot of solar energy. The beauty of this is that the light intensity does not have to be adjusted to the growth phases.
Outdoor you have to align your system to the sun. Strawberries love direct sunlight. Protect your water reservoir from light and heat.
Indoors you should light the strawberry for 10 – 12 hours a day. A lighting period of 12 to 14 hours can increase the harvest.
what pH and EC for hydroponic strawberries?
The pH value is the most important characteristic value of hydroponics, followed by the EC value.
Strawberry plants thrive best at a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. Strawberry plants are sensitive to salt. Therefore, the EC value should be between 0.5 – 1.0.
In combination with regular flushing, some cultivators use EC values up to 1.8, depending on the crop.
what nutrients and fertilizers for hydroponics strawberries?
For your strawberries to grow and thrive, they need essential plant nutrients. Therefore, choose a good hydroponic fertilizer. Many inexpensive hydroponic fertilizers are not recommended. These are often inferior and have a poor nutrient profile.
A high quality 3-component fertilizer is best. With this you can adjust the nutrient supply to the different stages of development. For even better yields, you can use a hydroponic fertilizer specifically for strawberries.
In vegetative growth hydroponic strawberries need a lot of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, sulfur, magnesium and other micronutrients.
In the flowering stage, hydroponic strawberries need potassium, calcium, magnesium and other micronutrients, especially boron, in addition to nitrogen, phosphorus – for pollen production, crop rotation and seed formation.
In the ripening phase, potassium ensures good taste, phosphorus for better nutrient uptake, nitrogen for a large fruit, boron and calcium for the stability of the fruit.
how are strawberries pollinated?
Bees, bumblebees and wind naturally pollinate the strawberries. However, if your hydroponic strawberries are growing indoors, you will need to help. You can use a brush, a toothbrush or your finger. Gently stroke the flowers each time. Repeat the procedure several days in a row – to be sure.
Harvest the fruits as soon as they are nice and red. If you let the fruits ripen longer, they become dark red and even sweeter. The time to harvest varies depending on the strawberry variety, weather and nutrient supply.
From cuttings to harvesting takes 7 – 8 weeks. For the seedling, about 3 – 4 weeks pass until harvest. The data are approximate values under good conditions.
Tip for more yield
The larger the strawberry, the more strawberries the strawberry plant will bear. Therefore, prune the first flowers. The nutrients are used for vegetative growth. After two weeks, new flowers will appear with higher yields.
diseases and pests
Strawberries can be susceptible to diseases and pests. In hydroponics, only outdoor hydroponic systems are affected. Below you’ll learn about the 2 most common ones:
Strawberry blossom borer is a beetle that causes loss of flower buds. The beetle lays its eggs in the bud. This causes the bud to bend. Prevent the spread by separating the infested buds and picking up any that are lying around.
Strawberry powdery mildew occurs on the underside of the leaves. Reddish and purple discoloration occurs. In addition, the leaves curl up. A white coating covers the fruit. Too much nitrogen as well as too little spacing between plants can promote powdery mildew.