Interested in learning how to grow hydroponic broccoli? You’ve come to the right place. Here at Hydrobuilder, we are the experts on all things growing - whether it be indoors or outdoors, soil or hydro.
And while growing indoor hydroponic broccoli might sound complicated, the good news is that it’s far easier than it seems.
This is especially true when you have us on your side, as we can provide you with the right products & resources to ensure a smooth, bountiful harvest.
We're going to cover everything you need to know about growing broccoli hydroponcally - including which systems to choose from, how to get your grow started, and what it takes to see it through to harvest - when you can put and pick your broccoli and bring it to the dinner table!
First, though, let's start with some basic information on broccoli as it pertains to soilless growing.
Can Broccoli Be Grown Hydroponically?
Broccoli not only can be grown hydroponically, but it’s one of the very best kinds of vegetables for soilless cultivation!
Hydroponic broccoli takes up little space and grows rapidly. Although it will be a somewhat large, heavy plant by the time it’s ready for harvest, you won’t have too much trouble when you start growing this nutritious plant.
Plus, there are so many different varieties to choose from! From the standard head of broccoli to more unique types like Chinese broccoli, raab, and sprouting broccoli. Your options for growing broccoli hydroponically are endless. Let's help you choose the right one now.
Best Broccoli Varieties To Grow Hydroponically
You can grow any kind of broccoli in a hydroponic set-up. Some of the most common options for hydroponics are Calabrese varieties, but you don’t have to settle based on popularity - choose whatever kind of broccoli suits your fancy!
They vary based on days until harvest, size, and temperature tolerance but most do well in a hydroponic environment. Some other good varieties to consider are Arcadia, Blue Wind, and Di Cicco.
Why Grow Hydroponic Broccoli?
There are so many benefits of growing hydroponic broccoli. This isn't just one of the fastest-growing hydroponic plants.
It is also easy to provide the proper growing conditions. Broccoli should be kept cool and with softer, less direct lighting than other plants, like hydroponic tomatoes.
You can start plants from seed or use clones - propagation is relatively easy either way. Since broccoli is a “cut-and-come-again” kind of vegetable, you don’t need much space to produce a year-round supply of this tasty, nutritious veggie.
You’ll be able to grow tons of florets in very little space and with very little expense or waste - a major benefit of hydroponic growing in general.
How To Start Your Indoor Hydroponic Broccoli Grow
Now, it's time to start preparing your supplies and get your hydroponic brocolli production of and running. This of course begins with choosing the right system, so let's start there.
What Type Of Hydroponics System Is Best For Broccoli?
You can use just about any kind of hydroponics system to cultivate broccoli as long as your plants have room to grow, but some of the best options include aeroponics, ebb and flow, and DWC (deep water culture).
Aeroponics is a newer type of hydroponic growing system that involves suspending plant roots in the air. These contain many of the same components as traditional hydroponic systems, like grow trays and reservoirs.
A water pump will deliver the hydroponic nutrient solution to the water lines and spray nozzles, which are mounted on each end and pointed at the root zone.
These emit a fine mist that covers the entire root zone, and coupled with the amount of oxygenation provided through this style - you can achieve increase nutrient uptake. This leads to increased growth rates and bigger yields.
Aeroponics is designed for the most serious growers, generally those who want to grow the healthiest, strongest plants as quickly as possible.
The systems are complex, and might not be ideal for all beginners - but if you are willing to put in the work and go through some trial and error, you will likely find that aeroponics is the most efficient way to grow long term.
Ebb and Flow
Ebb and flow is one of the most common systems. Often referred to as flood and drain, these are great for hydroponics due to their simple operation and great balance of oxygenation and nutrient concentration.
While growing in an ebb and flow system isn’t as complex as aeroponics, there’s still a learning curve. With that said, if you do your due diligence or have some experience with hydroponics already, it's not too difficult.
When you grow in an ebb and flow system, a flood table or grow tray will hold your plants in place and be supported by a stand with a reservoir underneath that holds water and nutrients. You can find a wide variety of ebb and flow systems in this section at Hydrobuilder.
Deep Water Culture
Deep water culture is a final type of hydroponic system that works well for broccoli. It involves suspending plant roots directly in a nutrient solution.
The roots remain in the reservoir throughout their entire lives, eliminating the need for a water pump. Instead, an air stone and air pump give oxygen to the root zone and prevent plants from drowning.
A low-maintenance system, deep water culture allows for quicker growing times and requires minimal maintenance with fewer moving parts.
Because so many growers ask, "can you grow broccoli in a 5 gallon bucket?", we want to make it very clear that yes, you can! We even carry a variety of DWC bucket style systems here for you to choose from - including single 5 gallon buckets, and systems containing multiple buckets for multiple plants.
Find everything you need, from complete hydroponic systems to their individual components, by shopping the vast selection of products at Hydrobuilder.
Hydroponic Broccoli Propagation - Seeds vs Clones
There are several ways you can start your broccoli crop in a hydroponic environment. In general, it is easiest to start from seed.
It takes about 7 to 14 days to germinate in rapid rooter plugs on a heat mat. Once you get your seedlings sprouted, you’ll remove the heat - broccoli likes to be kept cold!
Space your plants with about 12-16 inches between each. This will give them room to sprawl and develop large, ample heads.
You can also start broccoli from clones. This can save you money if you already have broccoli plants on hand, since you won’t have to buy seeds or plants from the store.
Of course, buying started broccoli plants is also an option. You can just transplant them into your hydroponics system. Although this is the easiest method, it is also the most expensive.
However you choose to propagate your hydroponic broccoli, you can find all the propagation supplies you need to get started at Hydrobuilder, from rapid rooting plugs to heat mats and everything in between.
Feeding Your Hydroponic Broccoli Nutrients
Broccoli is only tricky to grow in a hydroponics setting when you consider its nutrient needs. Generally, when a plant is in a vegetative stage of growth, it needs lots of nitrogen to promote foliar development.
That’s not the case with broccoli. If given too much nitrogen, it can develop a condition known as hollow stem, which can invite pests and diseases.
Instead, you’ll want to use a more balanced, customizable nutrient solution, ideally one that is formulated specifically for broccoli and other brassicas. The nutrients solution should be changed about once per week.
Caring For Your Hydroponic Broccoli
Growing hydroponic broccoli is easy. A cool-weather crop, broccoli should be grown at temperatures lower than 70 degrees to prevent the heads from developing a bitter taste.
Normally, hydroponic growers keep their plants at around 55 to 65 degrees.
In general, broccoli should receive around 14 to 16 hours of light per day. Test the pH of your water and nutrient solution often.
You will want to keep it at a pH of around 5.5 to 6.5. Broccoli is not prone to very many pests and diseases when grown in a hydroponic setting, but do be on the lookout for things like aphids, loopers, and cabbage worms.
Downy mildew is the most common disease. These pests and diseases can be prevented by keeping your leaves as dry as possible and pulling insects off when you spot them on the plants. There are numerous types of insecticides & fungicides you can use as well in case of an emergency.
How To Harvest your Hydroponic Broccoli Production
Your hydroponic broccoli is ready for harvest as soon as the head is fully developed. This normally takes around 80 days, depending on what kind of broccoli you decide to grow.
If you cut just the head and don’t pull up the entire plant, you’ll be able to harvest additional shoots as the cutting will stimulate further development. You can dramatically increase your yields by doing this!
Just cut the stem about four to five inches below the broccoli head. You can do this several times throughout the course of your broccoli’s life cycle.
Final Thoughts On Growing Hydroponic Broccoli
Growing hydroponic broccoli is an enjoyable task that will provide you with all the tasty trees you need to keep your family well-stocked throughout the year.
Whether you like snacking on fresh broccoli dipped in ranch or you’d rather dig into a delicious broccoli and cheese casserole, there are plenty of ways you can put this nutritious vegetable to use in your cooking.
If you’re ready to start growing indoor hydroponic broccoli, you can shop for all the gear you need at Hydrobuilder.
We have an extensive hydroponics selection that includes everything you need, from seed to table. Check it out and start gardening in a more efficient, effective way today.