Soil Or Hydroponics: What Is Better?

by Lettuce Be | Last Updated:

For inexperienced growers, the soil is the most common medium through which they begin indoor gardens. It seems easy to grow plants in soil because it appears to be a more natural method of growing plants. Nevertheless, as your garden grows, it may seem tedious to grow plants in soil, and you may turn to alternatives, such as hydroponic farming.

When it comes to growing indoor gardens, soil vs. hydroponics continue to be a topic of contention. For indoor gardens, some people recommend soil, while others recommend a hydroponic farm. Every form of communication has its advantages and disadvantages.

Plants are more at home in soil, but it is gentler and produces slower results. As plants have more access to nutrients in hydroponic systems, it is more direct. Consequently, it yields more but is more expensive and requires technology.
Nevertheless, it’s important to understand how soil and hydroponics differ, then compare each approach for yourself. Let’s start.

What Is Hydroponics?

soil vs hydroponicsA hydroponic system does not require soil for plants to grow. It may seem strange for us to grow plants in anything other than soil since we are so accustomed to soil growing plants. Hydroponics, however, has gained popularity over the years because of its obvious advantages over the soil.

By hydroponically growing plants, they are grown in an artificial environment without soil. Because plants obtain water and nutrients from the soil for growth, they can also absorb water and nutrients from artificial nutrient solutions. In this method, roots are dipped directly in a nutrient-rich solution, allowing plants to absorb nutrients and grow even without soil.

Hydroponics vs. Soil

Hydroponics makes it easier to understand the biggest differences between hydroponics and soil. We provide you with a brief overview.

The soil from the soil absorbs a plant’s roots, nutrition, and water. The soil serves as a foundation for roots, stability, and the establishment of roots. Hydroponics can be defined as a technique of growing plants without soil. Plants are grown in nutrient-rich water solutions that provide the nutrients and water necessary for their growth.

Although plants in a hydroponic setup can access nutrients and water, they lack the means to stabilize themselves. A particular type of footing is used to address this concern where plants can remain stable and flourish.

The Comparison

Following our introductory discussion of how hydro methods differ from soil, let’s look at a few characteristics that distinguish the two approaches. Learn which ones are best for your indoor garden based on yield values, the space requirement, the nutrients, and the water needs.

Plant Health

A comparison of soil-grown plants with hydroponics plants shows that the latter cultivate healthier and stronger plants. Hydroponic plants are also more vibrant because they contain more vitamins and nutrients than plants grown in soil.

Hydroponics has proven to be one of the most widely adopted methods for growing vegetables among commercial farmers and indoor gardeners. Additionally, plants grown hydroponically are healthier than plants grown in soil, making them less susceptible to pests and diseases.

It will come as a surprise to you that a sick plant sitting next to a healthy one in a hydroponic system does not affect the healthy plant.

Hydroponically grown plants demonstrate how nature works in such a way that the strongest survive. In contrast, if you compare the health of plants grown in soil with those grown in hydroponic methods, you will find that there has been a dramatic shift in plant health.

Additionally, if you grow plants in soil, you will be required to use chemical pesticides and fungicides to protect them from pests and fungi. Everyone is aware of the harmful effects of pesticides and fungicides.

Efficiency

When soil is compared to hydroponics, the latter is far more efficient because grown plants have q faster growth rate because they receive the exact nutrient mixture they require for plant growth. If you compare this setup to soil, you will realize that soil plants will need a much larger root system that can absorb essential nutrients. But because soil-grown plants do not have the same advantages as hydroponically grown ones, they take a longer time to grow.

Water Consumption

In comparison with soil-grown plants, hydroponic plants have better health. Water requirements are another characteristic to compare soil vs. hydroponics. In comparison to hydroponically grown plants, soil-grown plants need much more water. Hydroponics maintains water circulation by using a nutrient reservoir instead of a garden bed, where water evaporates.

Therefore, a hydro setup allows you to save as much as 80% of water compared to traditional growing methods. In this way, hydroponics allows for better quality plants and conserves water, a precious resource on this planet.

Cost

While comparing hydroponic growing and soil, a full comparison cannot be made until the cost of each is considered. In general, hydroponics is a costly endeavor compared to traditional soil gardening. You should consider the initial cost and the maintenance cost before making an initial investment.

Many hydroponic systems are available, but the ones on the higher end can cost more than $500. A hydroponic system also requires an oxygenated nutrient solution and water circulating continuously, which is another expensive operating cost. When compared to hydroponics, soil is typically cheaper. A soil-filled indoor garden is, therefore, definitely less expensive to establish in the beginning.

However, ongoing costs may vary. If you have poor soil quality, you may need to apply organic fertilizers frequently, which will add to your maintenance costs. Although the initial cost of the system is usually lower, its maintenance costs may vary. Maintaining a soil system may also be more expensive than maintaining a hydroponic system.

User Friendly

You need some basic knowledge of growing plants if you are new to gardening. A plant’s nutritional needs, access to water, and the growing season are all considered here. As a result of the above knowledge, you can grow an indoor garden in soil or hydroponically. Despite what many people think, working with soil is more difficult than hydroponic production.

Unlike soil, hydroponic operations do not require much weeding or digging. In this sense, hydroponics and soil are similar, but hydroponics requires minimal effort to do it.

Crop Yield

A huge difference between soil-grown plants and hydroponic plants is yield. Statistically, hydroponic plants grow healthier, more nutritiously, grow faster, and yield more as well. Comparing hydroponically grown plants with soil-grown plants, the biggest yield of a hydroponic garden is 20-25% higher.

External Factors

The condition of the soil, light, temperature and climate play a significant role in affecting the health of a soil-based garden. Hydroponically, the situation is different. You can therefore control the growing conditions more and, therefore, get a better yield.

Space

Hydroponically-grown plants typically have a smaller root system than their soil-grown counterparts. Because their plant roots are narrower, hydroponics is a great way to save space, especially when plants are grown vertically. You won’t just end up saving time and enjoying better yield, but you can also save a lot of space with hydroponics.

Conclusion

As a result of comparing soil to hydroponics, you can safely conclude that hydroponics is a more efficient method for growing plants than using soil. While soil-grown plants are known for their advantages, they can also produce lower yields, be slower, and provide less protection against bugs and plant diseases.

Hydroponics is not more challenging than soil. You can work with it even in a small interior garden so that people who think working with soil will be easier are incorrect. Nevertheless, growing plants with either soil or hydroponics require fundamental knowledge about nutrient management and other essentials such as light and water.

It is easy to test both soil and hydroponics for an indoor garden and see how they perform, so it doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or a gardening enthusiast. Each method has its pros and cons. However, only you can determine which method is the most effective. You may gain a better understanding of your options after reading this guide.