Hydroponic Wick System

Hydroponic Wick SystemThis is the most basic Homemade Hydroponic System that exists and is incredibly quick, cheap and easy to build.

This is a great project for your children to complete during their vacation,  not only is is fun and easy to build the hydroponic system, they can also watch their own plant grow.

Have the children decorate the container with paint or stickers to complete the project.

This system is ideal for growing herbs, lettuce and even flowers, I have a Pansy growing in the pictured system.  (The nutrient solution has food coloring in it for clarity.)

The plants can sit on any ledge where they can get plenty of sun.

Basic Design

The nutrient solution is contained in a reservoir underneath the plant pot.  A wick is placed into the plant pot and run down into the nutrient solution.  The wick draws  the nutrient solution up into the plant pot where the roots of the plants can use it.

Design Considerations

  • Select containers big enough for the plant you wish to grow
  • The nutrient needs to be kept in a dark reservoir to stop algae growing, you can decorate the outside of the container to stop light getting in

Design Components


The size of the reservoir is dependent on the size of the plant pot you are going to use, the plant pot needs to sit securely in the top of the reservoir.

In the picture I have used a soft-drink bottle with the top 1/3 cut off and inverted to make the plant pot.  The wick has been thread through the mouth of the bottle down into the nutrient solution.

Ensure your reservoir does not let light in and that it is not susceptible to corrosion.  Good reservoirs are made of plastic, glass or stainless steel.


The wick can be made from a large number of materials, the material simply needs to absorb liquid.  In the picture above I have used a wick designed for an oil lamp (new wick as oil in the wick will stop it from working).  For larger systems have multiple wicks.

Here are a few household items that can be used as a wick:

  • dish sponge
  • dish cloth
  • piece of a tea towel
  • rope (not nylon)


In the picture Hydroponic Wick System I am using washed Pumice for my Pansy to grow in, other aggregates you can use include washed Gravel, Perlite, Vermiculite and Rock wool.  You can find further information on these aggregates here.

Please send me photos of your Homemade Hydroponic Wick Systems as I would love to see them, email them to Henry(?)HomemadeHydroponic.net

NB please replace the (?) with @ in the email address.

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Advantages of Hydroponics

Hydroponic systems can dramatically reduce the amount of time required to produce good plants.  Any vegetable, flower, shrub or even trees can be grown without the need to cultivate, weed or mulch, while watering and fertilising can be taken care of by automatic systems.

No longer will the quality of your soil dictate the quality or quantity of your produce.  Hydroponic systems can be established anywhere, irrespective of the soil, climate or the amount of space you have.

Superior produce from my homemade hydroponic systemYou will discover that the vegetables and fruit produced by hydroponic systems have a superior flavour and texture.  The plants have all the required nutrients readily available to them and don’t need to waste energy developing large root systems.  Because the plants have all the nutrients that they require they will develop faster, be more healthy and have a better resistance to disease than plants grown in soil.

It is possible to further increase the growth speed of the plants by techniques such as heating the nutrient solution to the optimal temperature for the plants roots.

You will be able to grow a larger number of plants in a small area producing a far higher yield than normally possible.  When plans are removed from a hydroponic system, new seedlings can immediately replace them making it possible for you to have a continuous yield.

You will find that only a small number of seedlings are required to produce what you need, as losses from pests and disease are greatly reduced when you grow hydroponically, especially if your plants are housed in a greenhouse or other structure.  Without dirt in the system it is easy to keep everything much cleaner enabling you to eliminate problems caused by many soil borne diseases.

You will find that hydroponic systems are highly efficient, require a low capital outlay and produce high yields with less effort.  This allows you to easily produce cheap quality vegetables and fruit almost all year round. Hydroponic strawberries

There are seven main designs used for Hydroponics systems, these will be explained in the System Design section.

With a little imagination you will be able to have a hydroponic system in almost any location, from the smallest indoor system to large outdoor systems.

Hydroponics will provide you with a challenging and exciting hobby and best of all you get to eat the most fantastic fruit and vegetables grown at your own home

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