Maven Gardening

Hydroponics vs Soil: Is Hydroponics Better Than Soil?

Are you new to gardening? First, you must make a fundamental choice: hydroponics or standard soil gardening. Each method has its own pros and cons and can be used for a range of purposes in a variety of settings.

Hydroponics vs Soil Fundamentals

  • Hydroponics: Plants do well in water solutions with nutrients, so they don’t need dirt. When you control nutrients, plants grow faster and produce more food.
  • Soil Gardening: The tried-and-true method is to grow plants in the ground or pots filled with soil. Its design is like nature’s, which makes it an excellent choice for newbies.

Why hydroponics is better

  • Fast growth and many crops: Plants that grow in water often grow 30–50% faster than plants that thrive in dirt because their roots can easily access the nutrients, water, and oxygen they need.
  • Wise with water: Hydroponics can cut water use by up to 90%, which is excellent for drought-prone areas or farmers who care about the environment.
  • Space Optimization: Vertical hydroponic systems work well in small spaces or cities because they let you grow more plants in the same space.
  • Pest and Disease Defense: Enclosed hydroponic settings without soil protect against threats from the soil, which could mean less pesticide use.
Two tomato plants growing in hydroponics and soil in green cups
Two tomato plants growing in hydroponics and soil

Hydroponics’ Bad Side

  • Initial Costs: Hydroponic systems can have high initial costs that include the system itself, grow lights, pumps, and nutrient solutions.
  • Technology Know-How: To do hydroponics well, you must know how to control the pH level, handle nutrients, and keep the system in proper shape.

The Appeal of Soil Gardening

  • Nature’s Embrace: Soil is a safe place for plants to grow because it contains healthy bacteria and organisms that help plants stay healthy. Its balance gives it room for error when watering or adding nutrients.
  • Starts that are easy on the wallet: A soil garden is usually less expensive because all you need is Earth, seeds, and essential tools.
  • Simplicity and Accessibility: Soil gardening is easy for beginners to learn because it is natural and doesn’t require much practice.

Considering Soil Difficulties

  • Pests and diseases Vulnerabilities: Pests and diseases can live in the soil, so people need to be careful and may use pesticides, which affect the environment.
  • Thirsty Plants: Soil-based gardens require more water, especially in dry areas, which makes them water-intensive.

Hydroponics vs. Soil: A Detailed Comparison



Soil Gardening

Growth & Yield

Faster growth, potentially higher yields

Slower growth, but good yields achievable

Nutrient Control

Precise control over nutrient delivery

Relies on soil’s natural nutrient content



Sustainable with organic practices


Higher initial investment

Lower upfront costs

A simplified illustration of a hydroponic system with plants in pots, a water tank, and a pump.
A simplified illustration of the hydroponic system

Questions to Ask Often

Is hydroponics suitable for beginners?

The technical aspects of hydroponics can make learning challenging at first. Farming soil is usually more manageable for beginners.

What kinds of plants do well in hydroponics? 

Herbs, leafy greens, and some veggies do very well. Root veggies might be more challenging to grow.

How much does it cost to get started with hydroponics? 

The cost depends on the method’s complexity. Simple setups start at $100, while more complex systems cost several hundred dollars.

How do you keep a hydroponic setup in pristine shape? 

Nutrients, pH, and water quality must be checked and adjusted as part of maintenance. The system must also be cleaned to remove algae and germs.

Is hydroponic produce healthy?

The nutrient solution used and the quality of the soil in regular gardens determine the health of hydroponic plants. Both can grow healthy food.

In conclusion

Growing plants on Earth or in hydroponics has its pros and cons. It depends on your wants, goals, and garden conditions. If you use water efficiently, there may be a better way to grow plants quickly and get more from them. Soil gardening might be the right choice if you want a more natural and traditional method that will cost less initially.

Are you ready to start?

Your ideal road is waiting for you, whether you’re drawn to hydroponic ease or the natural beauty of soil gardening. Read our in-depth guides to find the one that perfectly fits your gardening goals.