Peppers prefer long, warm growing, typically between 70°F – 85°F for at least six hours a day. They also love well-drained soil with a pH level anywhere from 5.5 to 7.7. If you can’t provide these growing conditions, either because you live in a colder state like Maine or you prefer to have peppers all year round, don’t lose hope just yet.
The best hydroponic system for peppers turns your pepper farm dream into a reality without the need to make room in your already crowded raised garden bed. Even in a limited space, using a hydroponic system can provide the ideal environment for peppers, not only to grow but to also give you a bountiful yield per harvesting season.
Here are the best hydroponic systems for peppers, including an insightful buying guide.
What Are the Best Hydroponic Systems for Peppers?
There are many hydroponic systems for indoor and residential use. To qualify as the best hydroponic systems for peppers, we, first and foremost, considered the growing requirements of a pepper plant. These includes:
- The ability to provide a warm growing environment for the peppers.
- Since peppers love the sun, having a grow light is a plus point.
- Having enough room for the pepper’s roots to spread.
- An extendable grow light arm – depending on the pepper variety, a fully mature pepper plant can grow up to 6ft if you don’t prune them.
With that being said, here are the best hydroponics for peppers that at least meet two or three of our requirements:
Lawnful Hydroponic Buckets Kit
This hydroponic growing kit by Lawnful is a no-fuss, beginner-friendly, and easy-to-maintain system that you should consider having for your hydroponic gardening journey.
What we love most with this deepwater culture or DWP system is its deep square-shaped plastic container that encourages the pepper plant’s roots to grow. The 11-inch tank can also hold up to 2.6 gallons of liquid, minimizing the need to check the water levels constantly.
And, unlike a DIY hydroponic growing kit, there is no need to take off the lid to check the water levels. This is because a water level indicator (included in the kit) sticks out from the top cover.
This hydroponic system for peppers doesn’t have a grow light, which can be a double-edged sword.
The lack of grow light means you can cover the system with a grow tent and have a more controlled environment for your indoor pepper plants. Having a hydroponic system without a grow light also means enough vertical room for the plants to grow.
Now the downside of not having a grow light with the system is that you’ll need to set aside a separate budget. And, it’s not something you should put on hold – unless there’s a section in your home that can give the plant at least six hours of sunlight.
Other than that, this is a worthwhile investment, and you get everything you need right out of the box, except for the seeds and plant food.
AeroGarden Farm 24Basic Plus
AeroGarden is one of the first companies to introduce hydroponics for indoor residential gardening. And their Farm 24Basic shows how experienced they are in producing easy-to-use but feature-loaded hydroponic systems.
There are so many things to love with the Farm 24Basic.
If you’ve ever wanted to grow two different plants simultaneously but are afraid that the germination and growth rate would be different, the Farm 24Basic is the solution.
Rather than having one hydroponic garden, you have two separate gardens. This gives you an
opportunity to grow sweet peppers like anaheim on the right and spicy jalapenos on the other.
Another great thing about this two-garden system? You can independently control each one. Each garden even comes with its own reservoir and grow light. That means you can finally grow pepper varieties simultaneously and still provide for their different needs.
Speaking of light, the Farm 24Basic’s grow lights are fully customizable. You can manually dim it or use the auto light dimming feature. If you are growing a tall pepper plant variety, each of the grow light arms can be expanded up to 24 inches.
And, unlike other hydroponic systems for peppers, this AeroGarden model has an intuitive touch-screen control panel that shows your peppers’ growing stage, water levels, and a plant food reminder. To top it all off, this system is Alexa-ready.
There are two downsides to getting the AeroGarden’s Farm 24Basic. First, it’s the most expensive option on our list. Second, it is not a countertop-friendly hydroponic system. If you are willing to give up a portion of your kitchen or money is not an issue, the Farm 24Basic is worth every penny.
iDOO 20 Pods Hydroponics Growing System
If you can live without AeroGarden Farm 24Basic’s high-tech features, our runner-up for the best hydroponic system for peppers, the iDOO 20 Pods Hydroponics Growing System, is an excellent alternative.
Not only does this system is relatively cheaper, but you have a whopping 27” of max growth height – that’s three inches more than the Farm 26Basic Plus from AeroGarden.
Another great thing about this iDOO hydroponic is that instead of having one reservoir, you have four individual tanks. Each one can grow up to five pods at the same time. To top it all off, you can remove each tank from the system, which can come in handy when one of your plants is ready for harvesting. Having removable tanks also means that you can put your plants outdoors or on a sunny windowsill.
In terms of its grow light, you have one grow light strip bar with two basic controls – on and off and a timer.
You should also keep in mind that the iDOO 20 Pod is pump-free because it uses a passive system known as the Kratky method, which is basically a deepwater culture system without a pump.
The premise is that you let your peppers do their own thing, which is to drink water as much as they need in order to grow. And as they mature, the water level decreases and thus creating an air gap in the reservoir.
Unfortunately, this hydroponic method requires more attention from you. One workaround is to add a pump and air stones, but again that’s another purchase to consider.
Hydrofarm RS5GALSYS Root Spa Deep Water Culture Bucket System
This model from Hydrofarm is another great bucket hydroponic system to consider getting.
Similar to Lawnful’s hydroponic model, Hydrofarm is a DWC hydroponic system, meaning the roots of your peppers are submerged in the water with nutrients. Since the system is a bucket, there is plenty of space for the roots to grow as well.
Another similarity between the two systems is that an air pump is included right out of the box. However, Hydrofarm’s air pump is more efficient as it has four outlets, allowing you to oxygenate four buckets at the same time.
If you are planning to have an indoor hydroponic system that adds a certain charm to your home, Hydrofarm is certainly not aesthetically pleasing – it is literally a black five-gallon bucket with an air pump.
Another thing that you need to consider is it also has one 8” basket, meaning you can grow only one pepper plant. Plus, this system doesn’t come with a grow light.
There are no fancy control features in this system as well. So, you’ll likely need to monitor your peppers more closely.
But other than these concerns, it’s an excellent system for individuals getting started with hydroponic gardening.
Buying the Best Hydroponic System for Peppers
Narrowing down your choices for the best hydroponic system for peppers can be confusing if you don’t know what to look for. Here are the top considerations when shopping for a hydroponic system for peppers.
Type of Hydroponic System
All hydroponic systems use water and liquid nutrients to ensure peppers can grow in a soilless gardening setup. How they deliver these growing needs, however, can vary in the type of hydroponic system.
Deepwater culture, or DWC in short, is the most common type of hydroponic system partly because it is low maintenance and few mechanical or moving parts involved. So, how does it work?
In a DWC system, the pepper plant’s roots are submerged in a reservoir full of oxygenated water with liquid nutrients. A standard DWC system usually includes:
- An air stone
- A reservoir
- Air pump
- Net pot
- Grow medium
As this system’s name suggests, it uses a wick to deliver water and nutrients to your peppers. And, yes, it has the same principle as an oil lamp. Through capillary action, the wick sucks up the water from the reservoir full of water and liquid nutrients to the growing medium wherein the plants’ roots are.
The upside of using this type of hydroponic system is that it doesn’t have moving parts, and it is easy to set up. Unfortunately, it is not the best choice for growing water-hungry plants. It is also a high maintenance system, requiring you to change the water at least once a week to prevent mineral build-up from the medium. You will also need to oxygenate the liquid nutrition solution.
Ebb and Flow System
An Ebb and Flow hydroponic system is more complex than DWC or wick systems but is far more superior and versatile.
Instead of relying on capillary action or submerging the roots in the nutrient solution, this hydroponic system draws the solution from the reservoir and then floods the plant tray but only temporarily – the system will return the water back into the reservoir until the timer opens up the drain tube.
This process ensures that your pepper gets all the nutrients that it needs and allows the roots to “dry out” and be oxygenated before the next scheduled flooding.
The major pitfall of having an ebb and flow system is that the roots can become intertwined due to flooding. And since there are many moving parts, breakdowns can occur.
Most residential hydroponic systems today require minimal upkeep. However, you’ll need to clean the system, particularly the reservoir, at least once a week to prevent mineral buildup. Other than that, wiping down the system with a clean, damp cloth can maintain the appearance.
Ease of Use
Luckily, most hydroponics for indoor use have a more simplified process compared to commercial counterparts. As a matter of fact, some have ready-to-use pods (complete with a growing medium and seeds) that you simply pop the pods into the tray and add a nutrient solution.
Other Key Features You Should Consider
- Temperature and light control
- Water capacity
- Availability of grow lights – remember, peppers love sunlight!
- Footprint or size
- Pod with seeds
How Long Do Peppers Take to Grow in Aquaponics?
A hydroponically grown pepper plant can take between 50 to 80 days to mature or become an adult capable of producing fruits. Keep in mind that the growing length is highly dependent on the pepper variety.
What Are the Best Peppers for Hydroponics?
Although using a hydroponic system gives you the opportunity to grow peppers all year round, there are certain types of peppers that fare better in a soilless gardening setup. Here are some of the best peppers for hydroponics:
- Cherry peppers
Spice Up Your Gardening
You don’t have to give up on your pepper farm dream. With the best hydroponic system for peppers, you can finally grow and produce peppers no matter where you are located.
The AeroGarden Farm 24Basic Plus is our choice for the top hydroponic system for peppers because of its high-tech features, including two gardens that you can individually control. If you are a hydroponic gardener newbie, the Lawnful Hydroponic Buckets Kit has everything that you need to get started – you’ll just need to buy the liquid nutrient, pepper seeds, and grow lights.
And, don’t forget to choose the right type of peppers for hydroponic gardening so you can have a higher probability of growth and yield success.
Happy Hydroponic Gardening!