Last Updated on January 13, 2022 by Fabiola L.
The best flowers for aquaponics are those that require more vegetative growth than fruiting because of the nutrients available in aquaponics. Majority of the nutrients in an aquaponics system come in the form of nitrogen which aids in vegetative growth. Phosphorus contributes the most in the formation of flowers and seeds which can be acquired in less amounts from feeds. Some fish feed formulations contribute higher amounts of lipids which give you more phosphates in the system. With the abundance in nitrogen compared to other nutrients, it will be best to choose plants with smaller flowers.
The Best Flowers For Aquaponics Are Those That Have Smaller Flowers and More Vegetative Growth
Production of flowers for plants is an energy-intensive process for a plant. Energy for flower production of plants comes primarily from phosphorus. To produce bigger flowers and fruits, plants will require higher amounts of phosphorus in the flowering stage. Aquaponics systems in general do not provide enough phosphates for plants to flower compared to hydroponic or soil practices. This can be addressed by applying Dr. Lennard’s or Dr. Rakocy’s practice on feeding ratios. Identifying the best flowers for aquaponics requires knowledge on what grows well in your local climate and conditions.
Prioritize Endemic Flower Species That Grow Well In Your Local Climate
Just like most plant species, flowers grow best under specific conditions. Grow endemic species of flowering plants naturally found in your general location to ensure ease of cultivation. Climate and weather are variables that are not controllable unless using controlled environment agriculture. The USDA developed a plant hardiness map that categorizes your location based on the temperature. Based on the map, you can determine what flowers grow well based on the category of your location. The major variables from climate that affect the growth of flowers include:
- Temperature fluctuations cause stress for plants which will lead to premature flowering of your plant. Premature flowering also decreases the quality and saleability of the plant and flower itself. Temperature also acts as a signal for the end of the life cycle of the plant. Plants start to form flowers to eventually produce seeds for a season in which they can not grow.
- Sunlight is a common signal for seasonal flowers to start producing flowers. Most plants start to flower when the hours exposed to sun decrease. Flower farms that use greenhouses make use of this signal by covering the plant when they reach a certain height. This practice gives you flowers with uniform height.
- Drought also triggers the response of plants for flower production to prepare for the next generation. In an aquaponics system that provides a constant flow of water, it does not affect the plant as much. Intentionally cutting off the water source for the plant could potentially induce flowering for your plants.
Best Flowers For Beginners In Aquaponics Adapt Well To Most Environmental Conditions
Some flowers adapt well in different climates having a large tolerance range for temperature stress. Flowers grow seasonally, thus there will be some flowers that grow better than others depending on time of the year.
- Marigold grow well with full sunlight and warm weather depending on the species.
- Sweet Pea just like marigolds grow well in full sunlight and warm weather.
- Columbines are perennial flowers that grow in different climates.
- Perennial Hibiscus varieties grow well in aquaponics systems due to the constant flow of water. Hibiscus likes having full sunlight and a wide range of temperature from 60oF to 90oF
- Snapdragons are hardy plants that could survive winters if established well.
- Chrysanthemums grow all year round in most conditions and thrive well with the constant flow of water from aquaponics systems.
- Salvia or ornamental sage prefer full sunlight and warmer weather. These grow well in containers and raft type systems with proper aeration and drainage.
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Best Flowers For Aquaponics That Don’t Require Light
Some flowers will grow with partial light making it easier to grow indoors with grow lights. Flowering requires a lot of energy for plants. This energy comes from the stored energy from photosynthesis and the phosphates in your plant. Changes in light cycle triggers the flowering in some plants as a survival response to prepare the production of seeds for the next season. In indoor systems, flowering can be easily controlled depending on the light cycle of your grow lights.
- Asters are flowers that can thrive in cool environments with partial sunlight or even indoor grow lights
- Bleeding hearts grow well in shade and require less light than other flower species that require full sunlight. This makes it easier to grow in indoor aquaponics systems that use grow lights.
- Lily of the valley also grows well in shade or partial sunlight. These species also thrive well in acidic conditions like your aquaponics system.
Best Type Of Aquaponics Beds For Flowers
Aquaponics provides plants with slightly acidic water and constant water. Aquaponics systems require that the plant be provided with enough aeration and support for taller plants. Flowering plants utilize more phosphorus for flower production and will need supplementary nutrients for production. Depending on the type of flower chosen to grow in the system, you could choose between either a media bed or raft-type aquaponics systems.
Media Bed and Dutch Buckets Provide Support For Tall Flowers and Creeping Flowers
Taller flowers will require support where the roots can cling to avoid falling over due to the weight of the plant. For flowers that grow taller than 1.5 feet, consider using a media bed and supporting the flower with stakes.
Raft Type Systems Done Properly Can Provide The Proper Aeration Of Roots Avoiding Root Rot and An Efficient Delivery Of Nutrients
Raft-type systems make use of plant cups filled with media which holds the plants. This provides very limited support for the vertical growth of plants making them susceptible to toppling over. Flowering plants like ornamental sage that do not grow taller than 12 inches can easily be supported with these systems. Make sure to design your raft system with space between the water height and the plant cup to avoid root rot.
Flowers in aquaponics systems generally face a lack of phosphorus and nutrients for flowering. This can be easily addressed by supplementing nutrients as needed. As flowers are seasonal plants, it is best to study the plant that you want to grow in your system. Identify the flowers that generally grow well in your location based on temperature and climate. USDA has provided a general overview that categorizes the plants that grow well based on climatic conditions.
Read more about: What You Can Grow In Aquaponics