Are you looking to add a fresh, nutritious touch to your meals while preparing for any situation? Growing herbs hydroponically is the ultimate solution.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll discover how to cultivate a bountiful hydroponic herb garden, even in the smallest of spaces.

Key Takeaways

  • Learn the benefits of growing herbs in water without soil
  • Discover the 12 most nutritious herbs perfect for hydroponic gardening
  • Get step-by-step instructions on setting up your own water-based herb garden
  • Master troubleshooting techniques to ensure a thriving hydroponic garden

By the end of this article, you’ll have all the knowledge needed to create a flourishing hydroponic herb garden, providing you with a constant supply of fresh, flavorful, and nutrient-dense herbs, no matter the circumstances.

Why Grow Herbs in Water?

Hydroponic herb gardens offer several advantages over traditional soil-based gardening.

They require less space, are easy to maintain, and provide fresh herbs all year round without the hassle of weeds or pests.

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Growing herbs in water also eliminates the need for soil, making it an ideal option for those with limited outdoor space or those living in urban areas.

If you’re looking to start an indoor survival garden or want to incorporate hydroponic gardening into your urban survival gardening plans, growing herbs in water is an excellent choice.

Hydroponic gardening is an excellent choice for growing herbs for several reasons:

  • Space-saving: Hydroponic systems take up minimal space, making them perfect for small apartments, balconies, or even windowsills. This is especially useful for survival balcony gardening or patio gardening for preppers.
  • Easy maintenance: With no soil, there’s no need for weeding, and the plants require less frequent watering and fertilizing. This makes hydroponic gardening an excellent option for those who want to grow their own food with minimal effort.
  • Year-round fresh herbs: Hydroponic gardens can be set up indoors, allowing you to enjoy fresh herbs all year round, regardless of the weather outside. This is particularly useful for those living in areas with harsh winters or who want to practice indoor survival gardening.
  • No soil means no weeds or pests: Without soil, you won’t have to deal with weeds or soil-borne pests, making hydroponic gardening a cleaner and more convenient option. This is a significant advantage for those interested in organic pest control methods.
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Setting Up Your Hydroponic Herb Garden

To set up your hydroponic herb garden, you’ll need a few essential components:

Containers: Choose containers suitable for hydroponic gardening, such as mason jars, plastic bottles, or specialized hydroponic systems. Ensure they are clean, opaque (to prevent algae growth), and have proper drainage. For those looking to grow food in buckets, you can also use food-grade buckets or containers.

Growing Medium: While not strictly necessary, a growing medium like hydroton (clay pebbles) or perlite can provide support and aeration for the roots.

Hydroponic Nutrients: Herbs grown in water require a balanced hydroponic nutrient solution to thrive. Look for nutrient mixes specifically formulated for hydroponic gardening, or consider using household items for garden fertilizers if you’re on a budget.

Light Requirements: Most herbs need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. If growing indoors, invest in a high-quality grow light to supplement natural light. For those interested in vertical gardening for preppers, you may need to adjust your lighting setup accordingly.

ContainersMason jars, plastic bottles, hydroponic systems, buckets
Growing MediumHydroton, perlite
Hydroponic NutrientsNutrient mixes formulated for hydroponics, household fertilizers
LightingDirect sunlight or grow lights


Basil is a versatile and flavorful herb widely used in various cuisines. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamin K, and essential oils that offer numerous health benefits. Growing basil hydroponically is relatively straightforward, and it thrives in warm temperatures and bright light. Basil is also an excellent choice for those looking to grow medicinal herbs for indoor gardening.


Mint is a refreshing herb known for its cooling properties and distinct aroma. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and has been used traditionally for its digestive and respiratory benefits. Mint grows quickly in hydroponic systems, but be cautious as it can become invasive. Consider growing mint in a separate container or using plants that repel pests to keep it in check.


Oregano is a hardy herb packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Its warm, earthy flavor makes it a staple in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines. Oregano thrives in hydroponic systems with ample light and good air circulation. It’s also a great addition to your edible landscape or guerrilla gardening efforts.


Parsley is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as folic acid and iron. Its fresh, herbaceous flavor enhances various dishes. Parsley grows well in hydroponic systems, but it may require frequent pruning to encourage new growth. Consider using seed balls for guerrilla gardening to spread parsley in your community.

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Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an aromatic herb widely used in Mexican, Indian, and Asian cuisines. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has been traditionally used for its digestive and anti-inflammatory properties. Cilantro can be challenging to grow hydroponically, but with the right conditions, it can thrive. Consider growing it alongside beneficial garden insects to help with pollination.


Chives are a member of the onion family and add a mild, onion-like flavor to dishes. They’re packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as beneficial plant compounds. Chives grow well in hydroponic systems and can be harvested frequently for a continuous supply. They’re also a great addition to your herbs and vegetables for porch gardening.


Watercress is a nutrient-dense leafy green with a peppery flavor. It’s an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, as well as minerals like calcium and iron. Watercress can be grown hydroponically in a shallow water culture system, providing a constant supply of fresh greens. It’s also a great choice for those interested in growing microgreens for preppers.


Stevia is a natural sweetener with zero calories, making it a popular alternative to sugar. It’s rich in antioxidants and has been traditionally used for its potential health benefits. Stevia can be grown hydroponically, but it may require specific conditions to thrive. Consider incorporating it into your nutritious plants to grow for a healthier lifestyle.


Lemongrass is a fragrant herb widely used in Southeast Asian cuisines. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, and has been traditionally used for its potential health benefits. Lemongrass can be grown hydroponically, but it may require a larger container

to accommodate its size. It’s also a great choice for those interested in growing herbs in buckets or other large containers.


Ginger is a versatile rhizome with a distinct warm, slightly spicy flavor. It’s packed with antioxidants and has been traditionally used for its anti-inflammatory and digestive properties. Ginger can be grown hydroponically, but it may require a specialized system to accommodate its larger root system. Consider adding it to your survival seed bank for long-term preparedness.

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Turmeric is a vibrant rhizome with a warm, earthy flavor and numerous potential health benefits. It’s rich in curcumin, a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can be grown hydroponically, but it may require specific conditions and a larger container. Like ginger, it’s a great addition to your survival seed bank or edible medicinal survival plants collection.

Green Onions

Green onions, also known as scallions or spring onions, are a versatile allium that adds a mild onion flavor to dishes. They’re low in calories but rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as beneficial plant compounds. Green onions grow quickly in hydroponic systems and can be harvested continuously, making them an excellent choice for those looking for fast-growing vegetables or quick-growing vegetables.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Growing herbs hydroponically can present a few challenges. Here are some common issues and solutions:

  • Nutrient deficiencies: If your herbs show signs of yellowing or stunted growth, they may be lacking essential nutrients. Adjust your hydroponic nutrient solution accordingly or consider using soil hacks for gardening to provide additional nutrients.
  • Algae growth: Algae can thrive in hydroponic systems, competing with your herbs for nutrients. Use opaque containers and avoid excessive light exposure, or consider adding natural pest killers to combat algae growth.
  • Root rot: Overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot. Ensure your system has adequate drainage and air circulation, and be mindful of garden watering mistakes to avoid this issue.
  • Pests: While less common in hydroponic systems, pests like aphids or whiteflies can still be a problem. Introduce beneficial garden insects or use organic pest control methods like those mentioned in the organic pest control article.

Harvesting and Using Your Hydroponic Herbs

One of the benefits of growing herbs hydroponically is the ability to harvest them frequently. Regularly pruning your herbs encourages new growth and prevents them from going to seed. When harvesting, use clean scissors or pruning shears, and try to cut the stems just above a set of leaves. This encourages the plant to produce new growth from the remaining stem.

Fresh herbs can be used in a variety of ways, including:

With a hydroponic herb garden, you’ll have a constant supply of fresh, nutritious herbs at your fingertips, ready to elevate your meals and boost your overall health and well-being. And for those interested in guerrilla composting techniques, the leftover plant matter from your hydroponic system can be a valuable addition to your compost pile.

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