How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically (Guide for Beginners)

Not only are hydroponic strawberries just as flavorful and juicy as those grown in soil, but they also allow you to drastically extend your growing season.

That’s right, you could soon be enjoying fresh strawberries throughout the year if you learn how to grow them hydroponically.

Strawberries Growing Conditions

How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically (Guide for Beginners)

Light

Although originally a woodland plant, strawberries love light. Even better, unlike many other plants that need their light levels adjusted throughout their growing process, strawberries will thrive with the same amount of light over the course of their growing season.

Give your strawberries about 12 hours of light a day.

Don’t be tempted to provide too much extra light, as strawberries also need periods of darkness in order to properly grow.

However, if you’re growing your hydroponic strawberries in a greenhouse or on a windowsill, your plants will adapt to lower light levels. They might not fruit as prolifically as they would have with a consistent 12 hours of light a day, but they will still be very productive.

Choose strawberry varieties that are suited to the amount of light that you are able to provide.

Temperature

Strawberries do best in cool conditions.

This means that a daytime temperature of between 60°F and 80°F is ideal.

While it may be easier for you to keep your growing area at a consistent temperature, dropping this down at nights would be beneficial for your plants. Research shows that a lowered temperature of around 55°F at night will help to increase fruit production.

Humidity

Strawberries don’t do well in environments that are too humid.

High humidity causes mold and mildew to form around the plants, which could then contaminate your entire hydroponic system.

If your growing area is quite humid, install a dehumidifier to bring humidity levels down.

Improving ventilation and air flow around your growing area will also help to control humidity. This could be as simple as installing a fan.

How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically (Guide for Beginners)

Growing Medium

Strawberries are very adaptable when it comes to growing medium, giving you plenty of options.

It’s important to pick a growing medium that suits your specific hydroponic setup. However, some of the most versatile, as well as the most beneficial for strawberries, are:

pH

Most hydroponic systems do best with a pH that’s between 5.5 and 6.5. This works well for strawberry plants.

However, if you want to get really specific, aim for a pH between 5.8 and 6.2 when growing strawberries. A basic pH meter is so useful in helping to keep pH levels consistent.

Nutrients

Strawberries are pretty straightforward when it comes to nutrient consumption.

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The macronutrients that are most important for growing strawberries are:

Trace elements are important too.

Fortunately, most pre-made hydroponic nutrient formulas contain these nutrients in the right amounts, making a general-purpose mix suitable for strawberries.

If you would like to give your fruits a touch of extra sweetness, increase potassium levels once fruit is being produced.

Space

Being quite small and shallow rooted, strawberry plants don’t need too much space. This is one of the features that makes them so well suited for hydroponic setups.

Ideally, each plant should have about 6 inches of space in order to properly thrive.

If you are limited when it comes to horizontal space, strawberries also lend themselves very well to vertical growing, so long as you have a hydroponic system that can adapt to this.

Watch this video to know how to grow and harvest strawberry plants:

Strawberry Varieties for Hydroponic Growing

How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically (Guide for Beginners)

There are 3 main types of strawberries:

  • Everbearing – these produce fruits multiple times a year when given the right growing conditions
  • June-bearing – these usually produce fruit once a year in June, although you do get both early and late season varieties
  • Day-neutral – these are more tolerant of the cold. Unlike the other 2 strawberry types, these will produce a good crop in their first year

If you’re going to be using grow lights with your hydroponic system, then everbearing varieties are the way to go.

However, if you’re going to stick with natural lighting, then June-bearing varieties will give you bigger yields. Look for varieties that do well in lower light levels in order to extend your growing season.

It would also be a good idea to mix in some day-neutral varieties when you’re first starting out to ensure a good harvest in your first year.

Keep in mind that everyone’s hydroponic setups and conditions are different. It may take a bit of trial and error with a wide selection of strawberry varieties before you find the varieties that work best for you.

Caring for Hydroponic Strawberries

While hydroponic strawberries are very low-maintenance, there are still a few key care points that you need to be aware of.

How to Grow Strawberries Hydroponically (Guide for Beginners)

Pollination

When grown outdoors, strawberries are pollinated by insects or the wind. Each plant has both male and female parts, meaning that strawberries won’t be able to pollinate themselves.

When grown hydroponically, insects and wind don’t usually have access to strawberry plants. This means that you will need to manually pollinate them.

This can be done easily. Simply brush your hands over any open flowers, replicating the movements of the wind.

Pruning

As they grow, your strawberry plants will produce runners.

In an outdoor environment, these runners make contact with the soil around them and then root, turning into a new strawberry plant.

This can’t happen in a hydroponic system, making it important for you to do something with the runners yourself. If you leave them on the plants, they will absorb key nutrients from your nutrient solution, leaving your fruit-producing strawberry plants lacking and deficient.

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All you need to do is clip off any runners that form. Keep your cuts as close to the base of the plant as possible.

You can then propagate any runners that you have clipped off and use them to produce next season’s strawberry plants!

Fruit Rot

One of the benefits to growing strawberries hydroponically is that you don’t need to worry about most pests and diseases.

However, hydroponic strawberries are still susceptible to a couple of different types of fruit rot diseases. These form on ripe and overripe strawberries, and are particularly prevalent in warm growing environments.

Fortunately, these fruit rot diseases can be easily avoided by picking your strawberries as soon as they ripen.

If you do end up with a fruit rot disease, an application of neem oil can help to eradicate it. Copper-based fungicides can be useful too, just make sure that you pick a formula that is safe to be used on edible plants.

Replacing Old Plants

Unfortunately, strawberry plants don’t last forever.

After about 2 or 3 years, yields from a plant will start to drop, as will fruit quality.

Ideally, swap out the strawberry plants that you’re using every couple of years. If you have been clipping and saving the runners that your plants have produced, then this is an easy way to provide free replacements.

Let’s see this awesome hydroponic strawberries farming:

Best Hydroponic System for Strawberries

LAPOND Hydroponic Grow Kit

LAPOND Hydroponic Grow Kit, Hydroponics Growing System 3...
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This is the perfect introduction to vertical hydroponic growing for beginners. It’s easy to set up (assembly takes about half an hour) and comes with almost everything that you need to get started.

It has enough growing cups for 108 strawberry plants. This makes it great for successional sowing too, meaning that you will always have strawberries ready to be harvested. If you don’t need quite so many strawberry plants, use those extra spaces for propagation.

Pros:

  • This system is very cost-effective
  • The growing chambers are the perfect size for strawberry plants
  • Instructions are easy to follow

Cons:

  • Limiting in terms of increasing water flow. If you wanted to do this, you would need to install an additional pump
  • Although not stated in the instructions, glueing the stand together once you have set it up would be advisable. If not, the stand can be a little flimsy and could fall over if accidentally knocked

INTBUYING Hydroponic 36 Sites Grow Kit Grow System

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INTBUYING Hydroponic 36 Sites Grow Kit Plant Growing System...
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This NFT system is quick and easy to set up, making it great for beginners. All you need to additionally purchase is a reservoir tank – go for something opaque, with a well-fitting lid.

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It’s also quite small, and although this can be limiting in terms of how many plants you can grow, it gives you more options when picking a growing area.

47 inches in height means that you can place this system just about anywhere, even on a sunny windowsill, which would save you from having to install grow lights.

Pros:

  • Secure containers and growing chambers that don’t leak
  • Easy to set up
  • Comes with a pump
  • Made from food-grade materials

Cons:

  • Although there are plenty of growing holes, these are spaced very close together. This makes it unsuitable for the larger varieties of strawberry plants, unless you leave some holes empty

Hydrofarm RS5GAL8SYS Root Spa

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  • Water tight seal to guarantee no leaks

Deep water culture (DWC) systems work well for strawberry plants, and the Hydrofarm RS5GAL8SYS Root Spa makes it easy to set up your own DWC system at home.

This system comes with eight 5-gallon buckets for growing your strawberry plants. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’re limited to 8 plants, as you will be able to fit multiple plants in each bucket.

It works well with a variety of growing mediums, and the whole system is so simple to maintain.

Pros:

  • Comes with everything you need to set it up, apart from a growing medium
  • Everything is well-sealed, meaning no leaks

Cons:

  • The pump that comes with this system isn’t very strong. You may want to replace it with a more powerful pump

AeroGarden Bounty Basic Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden

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It’s always a bonus when a hydroponic system looks good, especially if you plan on using it in your home. This is just one of the appeals of the AeroGarden Bounty Basic Indoor Hydroponic Herb Garden.

This hydroponic system may seem costly, but AeroGarden is a quality brand. The fact that the system is so easily adjustable (it even has a special Vacation Mode and is Wi-Fi enabled) is a huge selling point too.

You’ll be able to grow 9 strawberry plants with this system. This isn’t enough for year-round fruit, but it’s good enough for extending your usual growing season.

Pros:

  • Has a sleek and slim design
  • Vacation Mode uses 50% less water than the standard mode
  • Comes with a trellis, which is useful if you ever want to grow anything else

Cons:

  • Is priced high compared to other basic hydroponic systems
  • WiFi can be tricky to connect

Conclusion

Strawberries are an easy plant to grow hydroponically, and those fresh fruits are so rewarding, especially if you harvest them in the middle of the winter!

Since strawberries have shallow roots and are light feeders, even the most basic of systems will enable you to grow hydroponic strawberries, meaning that you could be eating your own fruit in a matter of months!

Last update on 2021-10-11 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Jill Sandy

I am a sustainable focus gardener. I love decorating my home backyard with beautiful landscape design and creative garden care techniques I develop myself.