The Best Plants to Grow In Your Aquaponic Garden

When choosing the best aquaponics plants to grow in your garden, the best plants to choose can depend on your garden's size.  

With a smaller system, you will have fewer fish and fewer waste products from the fish.

This means that you will also have a lower nutrient concentration in your aquaponic system. 

With a smaller home garden and a less nutrient-dense system, it will be best to choose plants that require fewer nutrients. 

Fortunately, many plants thrive and grow quickly in a less nutrient-dense garden.

If you have a larger aquaponics garden, one in a greenhouse, it is a nutrient-dense system, and you will be able to grow plants with high and low nutrient requirements.

While you won’t be digging in the soil with an aquaponics garden, you may still be kneeling on the ground while you tend to the system and these kneeling pads will help save your knees from injury. 

We have listed for you the best plants for an aquaponics system that is small and for larger systems, too.

Here is our list of the best aquaponic plants for your smaller home gardens that require low nutrients:


A staple for salads of all kinds, lettuce is the foundation of dozens of different types of salad. It is also a popular item for tacos and on sandwiches. 

Lettuce will mature rapidly in an aquaponics garden, and you should see results in about 40 days. Choose one or more varieties of lettuce to give yourself numerous options.


You will find that Kale is similar to wild cabbage. It has a ruffled edge to the leaf and is very nutrient-dense. 

This has made Kale more popular in recent years for salads and sandwiches. A Kale plant is easy to grow and does well in a small aquaponics garden.


As you can see, the best aquaponic plants for a small garden are the leafy green variety with a low nutrient demand. 

Spinach is another one of those that does exceptionally well in an aquaponic garden. 

Considered one of the very best leafy greens that you can grow, Spinach contains an abundance of protein, vitamins, and minerals. 

To make it even more perfect, there are very few calories in Spinach.

Swiss Chard

Another leafy vegetable with dark green leaves, Swiss Chard has colorful stalks. This makes for a pretty looking salad that has both taste and texture.

Low in calories, Swiss Chard is high in vitamins and is a "good for you" vegetable.


There are a dozen different varieties of mint to choose from for your aquaponics garden. The various varieties all do well in this type of smaller garden. 

Mint has a fresh aroma, island is great in teas, yogurt, smoothies, and makes for a refreshing scrub when you add them to your bathwater. 

Another favorite is to freeze a fresh mint leaf in an ice cube and float that in your drink.


Related to garlic, chives will grow quickly in an aquaponics garden and are pretty to see, as they have purple flowers. 

Use chopped chives in scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, on salads, and in soups.


Watercress gives a spicy flavor to salads or as a garnish. Eaten raw, watercress has a peppery taste. 

When cooked, it has an excellent vegetable flavor in soups, stews, and stir-fries. Watercress grows quickly, needs very little maintenance, and loves the water in an aquaponics system.


Basil is considered an essential herb to have in your kitchen. These plants grow quickly and smell great at the same time. 

Considered a staple for pizza, you can chop or put whole leaves on top. Blend basil into sauces and soups, or chop it up in salads. 

Often used as a garnish, basil is a wonderful addition to most seafood dishes.

Pak Choi (Also Bok Choy)

Out of the top 41 nutrient-rich plants, Pak Choi ranks number 2 in nutrient density. Usually used when they are still small, they give extra crisp texture to salads. 

Pak Choi is excellent in stir-fries and sauces. You can also braise or roast the plants in the oven, drizzled in oil and sprinkled with salt.


Packed with over 90 minerals, juicing with wheatgrass is a healthy addition to your diet. 

Growing wheatgrass in an aquaponics garden is an easy task and gives you a drink that packs a nutritious punch.

Radish Sprouts

Easy to grow in an aquaponics garden, radish sprouts sprout very quickly. Add the sprouts to a salad for both a visual and textural effect. 

Radish sprouts have a crisp texture and spicy flavor. These sprouts will grow very quickly in your garden.


Made popular because of its use in Italian cooking, Arugula leaves have an unmistakable peppery taste. 

Use the plant leaves when they are on the small side, as larger leaves can sometimes be bitter. 

Arugula can be eaten cooked or raw. Use it in salads and sandwiches. Put it in soups, lasagnas, pasta dishes, pestos, and vegetable stir-fries.

Honorable Mentions

Other herbs grow well in an aquaponics garden, like oregano, parsley, sage, and rosemary. 

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is found in many an avid cooks' kitchen is easy to grow even in small aquaponics.

Larger Plants Need A Larger Hydroponic System

The larger fruiting plants need more energy and nutrients. Those plants use a lot of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. 

When you have more fish in your aquaponics system, you then have more nutrients and can support the bigger plants' growth.

Here is our list of the best aquaponic plants for your larger home garden that require high nutrients:


The ways that you can use tomatoes is almost endless. However, they will require more nutrients and will need more attention. 

Tomatoes like a warmer environment between 65 and 85 degrees. They are also particular about the pH of the water. 

If you decide to grow tomatoes, they can do well in an aquaponics system; just make sure that you research the variety and the requirements needed.


With a high water content of 96%, cucumbers tend to do well in an aquaponics system. 

However, they have an extensive roots system that needs keeping away from the plumbing parts or your aquaponics system as they can block pipes. 

Great for salads or just to snack on, cucumbers will need humidity and warmth to grow in your garden.


Peas can flourish in natural and artificial light, but they do best if they have full sun exposure. 

They will also need something to climb on and to support the vines, just like tomatoes will. 

Peas can be used in any number of cooked dishes or in cold salads.


Another water-based plant like cucumbers, cauliflower tends to flourish in an aquaponics system. 

They are a very hardy plant and need little of your attention. They are resistant to bugs and should be ready to harvest in about 12 weeks. 

There has been a surge in recent years in the number of recipes and ways to use cauliflower from deep frying to pizza crust.


Cabbage are cool-season crops that do not require much maintenance. Typically, you will be able to harvest in about four months. 

Cabbage is excellent when steamed, as a side dish, made into sauerkraut, or used as a wrap for stuffed cabbage. 

Cabbage is rich in vitamins, too. Choose a variety that will work in your climate. They should be ready to harvest anywhere from 80 to 180 days, depending on the variety.

In Conclusion

An aquaponics garden allows you to try new plants and rely on old favorites. It is a beautiful thing to grow and harvest the food for your table all year round.

The quality and the taste will be much better than anything that you can buy in the store. It is gratifying to grow your food using an aquaponics garden.