Best Plants to Grow in an Aquaponics System

There are many plants that grow well in soil less farming.  These include vegetables, aquatic plants, flowers and even fruit trees.  There are other vegetables that will not work well in an aquaponic system.  Root vegetables such as carrots, onions and potatoes should not be used in these systems.  You can grow them, but it would not be easy.  They need a medium close to soil like sand in order to grow.

So what plants should I grow in my Aquaponic system?

Leafy Green Vegetables

Cabbage and Lettuce are two of the most common grown vegetables in aquaponic systems.  They grow really well and are easy to take care of.  Other good choices are basil, peas and green beans.

Fruit Vegetables

Some of the top vegetables you see in a typical garden are tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, peppers and even corn.  They all can be grown successfully in an aquaponics system.cucumbers

Viney Plants

Plants that produce vines are a great choice for aquaponic systems.  They are only rooted in the growth bed and can grow elsewhere leaving more room for the other plants.  Examples of these are cucumbers, pumpkins and gords of all shapes and sizes. 


Finally there are flowers.  I have seen greenhouses running aquaponics systems that are full of flowers.  You can have a successful business especially in northern areas by selling flowers to local businesses.  There are many popular flowers that can be grown, roses are lilies to name just a few.  They all will grow fast and well in this type of system.


The trick to being successful with your plants is to try a variety of plants to see which ones will grow well in your climate.  Your plants will need a lot of care at first in order for them to really take off.  You may want to find some supplements.   Seaweed is a very popular supplement that is used in aquaponic systems.  The seaweed extract are great for growth, but you need to be careful what you add to your system.  An additive that helps your plants grow, might cause issues with your fish or bacteria.  Make sure you find additives that will ensure your plants, bacteria and fish all will thrive in your system.

You need to give your plants ample time to grow, just like you would in a normal dirt garden.  You need to give your fish time to fertilize your water.  If you add fertilizer early, you will kill your fish and totally wreck the eco system you are trying to build.  Start out slow and build a system that will last.

13 Responses to “Best Plants to Grow in an Aquaponics System”

  1. Tom Harnee says:

    How well do tall plants like corn or tomato’s stand up in the rock beds? Do you have to tie them up or do they stand well on their own?

    • Mindy says:

      You many have problems keeping your plants upright if they become too heavy. I have issues with my tomato’s in my regular garden each year. So you may have to tie them up some way. Corn has never been a problem for me, I only raised it last year which was my first. I am going to try it again this year, so I will report back.

      thanks for the comment

  2. The strategies and information on this website is very invaluable. I have uncovered lots of ideas.

  3. Dan says:

    How long should a system run before you start planting?

  4. jason says:

    You had mentioned fruit trees will grow well in aquaponics, which ones?

    • Mindy Heick says:

      I would stick with dwarf trees if you are inside, but almost any fruit tree would work. The rate of growth would be much faster as your will be supplying nutrients to the trees daily.

  5. Tom says:

    How much ammonia per gallon should I start out with in the water, thanks, Tom

  6. afis says:

    hello Mindy,
    Sincerely am glad and happy about what you are doing, you are a just a influential person. Besides, i desire to go into aquaponics system soonest and carefully carrying out my home work , i need to know this:
    How do i identify a male tilapia form the female one?
    Secondly; Is Earthy pond better for aquaponics fish farm?
    Thirdly: How best can i feed the fishes?
    Fouthly:How many month does Tilapia use to mature or table size?
    Afis,fron ghana, Africa

    • Mindy Heick says:

      It can be hard to tell them apart when they are young. When they get bigger the papilla of the male tends to be elongated with one opening. The papilla of the female tends to be wider, and has two openings, one of which is a transverse slit. Not sure what you mean by earthy pond, I am guessing you mean pond water?? I would use well water if possible, try not to use chlorinated or soft water. The best food is fish food you can find online or at your local pet or farm store. I get my food at Farm & Fleet or Theisens. A fingerling can put on 2 to 3 pounds in 6 to 7 months. That is why the fish is wanted so badly in aquaponics system. They grow very fast and are not as tempermental in changing temps and water conditions.

  7. Reuben says:

    Aloha Mindy,
    Have you tried feeding your fishes crickets or mealworms in your aquaponic system?.
    Just getting my feet wet again with the family farming.
    Your reply is highly appreciated.
    Mahalo from the Island Rock of Hawaii

    • Mindy Heick says:

      I try to just stay with food I buy from the shop, so I know what is going into my fish and I can better regulate how much I am feeding them. But if you are short on money, you can go that route.

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