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Tending a flower garden can be fun and exciting – all the more if the flowers are grown using an aquaponics system. Apart from not needing soil and a big space for planting, flowers grown in a controlled environment like aquaponics can grow bigger and have deeper colors. With thousands of flower species to choose from, it can be somewhat difficult to identify the best flowers for aquaponics because there are just so many good options that can flourish in the system.
In general, Marigolds, Roses, Nasturtiums, Pansies, and Sunflowers are known to be some of the best varieties to grow in your aquaponics systems. While narrowing down to a handful of options can be tedious, in general, the best flowers for aquaponics are those that are relatively easy to care for and serve several purposes besides boosting your grow bed’s overall appeal. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of growing aquaponic flowers and the five best flowers to have in your system.
Benefits of Growing Aquaponic Flowers
There are many reasons to love flowers. Growing them can be therapeutic, especially when the mix of vibrant colors populate your garden. Aesthetics may be one of the more common reasons to plant flowers, but more than that, they can contribute much to your garden in the following ways:
- Culinary Applications
- Pest Management
- Invites Pollinators
- Cut-Flower Business
Many flowers are edible. Some are used as a garnish to increase a dish’s palatability while others are included in the recipe itself, bringing in unique flavors to your meal. When you plan to grow flowers for culinary purposes, always check that the species you have in mind is edible. When in doubt, skip it.
Aquaponics is known for the fact that it doesn’t use chemicals to deal with pest problems. A common solution to pests is employing natural pest control methods – one of which is companion planting. Some flower species act as sacrificial plants, which attract pests instead of having them proliferate in your main crops.
On the other hand, there are flowers that are, by nature, repellents because of their intense aroma. Examples of these are lavender and marigolds.
Having flowers in your garden attracts beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies, which are also hard workers at pollination. Pollinator insects (sometimes birds) can help flowers set, so they form into a fruit. That being said, inviting them will help if you are growing plants that need pollination, such as okra, cauliflower, and cucumbers, just to name a few.
One way to use aquaponics commercially is to grow flowers for a cut flower business. If you love the idea of supplying homemade bouquets for special occasions, then a cut flower business may be right for you. You can take it up a notch by using sustainable practices – which is growing them in an aquaponics setup.
Best Flowers To Grow In Your Aquaponics Garden
There are many kinds of flowers you can plant in your aquaponics garden. Below are our top 5 best flowers for aquaponics based on their ease of maintenance and versatility.
If you love blooms all summer, Marigold is one of the easiest and most cheerful flowering plants to keep. Not only do they provide wonderful shades of yellow and orange flowers, but they are known to be excellent companion plants in the garden.
Marigolds can attract beneficial insects and help eliminate unwanted pests from your garden. Since aquaponics mostly uses natural pest control methods, companion planting with marigolds does the job of keeping pests at bay.
Quick Marigold Planting Tips
Marigolds are just like most plants – they love full sun. Place your marigolds where they receive six hours of sun a day. You can encourage bushy growth by pinching off the top leaves of established marigolds. You can enjoy marigold blooms when using either media grow beds or nutrient film technique (NFT).
Want to start growing marigolds? You can find a great selection of seeds from Amazon.
Roses are easily among the well-loved plants. They smell fantastic, and they can transform a garden, soilless, or otherwise. Having them also means you get to have cut-flowers you can give away as a gift or sell for special occasions.
You can grow a variety of roses as they come in different colors, sizes, and growing habits. When growing roses aquaponically, most people use propagated cuttings instead of seeds as the latter can take longer to grow.
Quick Rose Planting Tips
NFT is the most common aquaponics method for rose production, but grow beds can also be great. You can set up your NFT system from scratch by looking for the right pipe size, or you can purchase a pre-made one, such as this GOWE NFT system.
Place your roses in a location that receives full sun. Prune established bushes to encourage the growth of more blooms. Pests to watch out for when growing roses include black spot and powdery mildew.
Nasturtiums not only bear flowers that can add beauty to your surroundings, but they are excellent at deterring garden pests. More importantly, nasturtium flowers and leaves are edible. The plant can be your culinary friend; flowers are used as a garnish while leaves are used like pepper to add some kick to your meals.
Growing this all-purpose plant is relatively easy, especially in an aquaponics setup. They are excellent as trap crops, which are sacrificial plants that attract pests and lure them away from your main crops. For example, when planted together with cabbages, the nasturtiums can attract aphids, thereby saving your cabbages from a possible infestation.
Quick Nasturtium Planting Tips
Nasturtiums are fairly quick to grow. If you’re starting with seeds, you can expect germination to take place within 7-10 days. They love the light, but they would best thrive in an environment with low heat stress.
Are you ready to grow nasturtiums? Try Dwarf Jewel mix seeds.
Pansies are among the edible flowers you don’t want to miss planting in your aquaponics garden. Plus, they are an excellent flowering plant for beginners, since they are not fussy and can have a long flowering season despite given minimum care. In the kitchen, pansies can be your source of minty flavor, which you can use to garnish salads and desserts.
One interesting fact about pansies is that they are rich in an antioxidant compound called rutin, which is found to strengthen blood vessels, consequently improving overall health and ease conditions such as varicose veins.
Quick Pansy Planting Tips
Pansies enjoy the full or partial sun, but they tend to thrive in cooler temperatures. Ideally, they should be exposed to the morning sun but kept away from the stress of the afternoon heat. To encourage pansies to produce more flowers and prolong the blooming season, you should remove dead flowers.
Are you interested in growing this versatile flowering plant? Buy your pansy seeds today.
Sunflowers are a delight to have because of their bright yellow blooms. But other than provide a cheerful atmosphere in your garden, sunflowers have multiple purposes. From roots to seeds, sunflowers are edible. The best part is, they can be grown in aquaponics without the help of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Quick Sunflower Planting Tips
Most sunflower growers will have these on media beds or floating rafts. Since they can grow a bit tall, providing support is necessary. And as the name suggests, sunflowers need ample amounts of sunlight to grow, so find a well-lit location.
Are you interested in growing beautiful sunflowers? Try this dwarf variety.
Aquaponics is a highly versatile method of growing not only fruits and vegetables but also flowers, whether they’re edible or not. Having flowers can benefit your aquaponic garden in various ways, especially since they can be the perfect natural pest control method.
If you want the best flowers for aquaponics, go for ones that are relatively easy and quick to grow. The abovementioned flowers are some of the easier ones to grow, but there are plenty of options to choose from. Whatever flower species you choose to grow, just remember that adding flowers is a brilliant strategy to help your aquaponic garden thrive.