The Best Hydroponic Books For Beginners and Beyond

Ed Wike
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Hydroponics is a system that plants grow in water which contains dissolved nutrients. In the hydroponic system, plants grow in an inert growing media, with their roots bathed in the nutrient solution.

Hydroponics can be used indoors in greenhouses, or outdoors in fields. In many places, such as Israel, Australia, England, and the United States, indoor hydroponic farming is becoming increasingly popular. With the rising cost of land to grow crops, many people are choosing to grow indoors.

The DIY Aquaponic Gardening for Beginners is a basic, step-by-step guide for beginner hydroponic gardeners without overcomplicating it.

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1. Hobby Hydroponics

Our rating: 9 / 10

Hobby Hydroponics

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  • Large library of information
  • Easy to read and understand
  • Includes multiple tips to get started
  • Provides a wide range of information on various topics


  • Covers hydroponics only
  • Includes a large amount of arithmetic
  • Some information might be outdated

Hobby Hydroponics is a simple to read, beginner oriented guide on what hydroponics is about and why it is important. The author has made the book easy to understand by incorporating many of the existing topics presented, however at the same time, only a basic knowledge of these various topics is required to understand this book. The book has included instructions on how to estimate the surface area of objects and plants, but it also provides a short description of the equation used. The author explains how to find the required flow rate in order to water your plants, which is essential for plant growth.

This book determines why hydroponics is better than soil, and water is the answer. You will learn to determine the ideal time for watering, and how to spot symptoms of root disease, all of which is essential when growing any type of plant, whether it be via hydroponics or soil. You will also learn how to easily construct your own little greenhouse.

2. Botany for Gardeners

Our rating: 7 / 10

Botany for Gardeners

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  • 10% of the profits go to the National School Garden Program
  • Useful for home gardeners and small farmers alike
  • Comprehensive and easy to follow
  • An okay book for ‘Gardening Basics’
  • Written by Angelo Paratico


  • May be too difficult for some novice gardeners
  • Not as useful for hydroponic gardening
  • Doesn’t include much information about the hydroponic gardening method

A Basic Introduction to Plant Science and Horticulture

Botany for Gardeners is a great introduction to botany and horticulture for anyone who is interested in either gardening or hydroponics.

It introduces how botany relates to horticulture in a way that any novice can understand, making it easy for the novice gardener to get a good grounding in the subject.

3. Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook

Our rating: 6 / 10

Hydroponic Food Production: A Definitive Guidebook

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  • This is a very in-depth guide to hydroponic growing
  • It is meant for both commercial and smaller home growers
  • The information and advice is very practical and well written
  • The book is well-referenced and has a good index
  • For hydroponic food production and for hydroponic food crops, it is the best book on the market


  • It was written in 2008, so the book is fairly dated
  • There seems to be some contradictory advice in the hydroponic food production section and the hydroponic food crops section

This version is the most up-to-date.

Interestingly, the book is in two parts. The first section is called Hydroponics 101. For this section, it covers the basic hydroponic principles. It is written in an easy-to-understand manner and you cover everything from how to set up your gardening system to working with different mediums. The second part of the book is called advanced home gardening and commercial food production.

This portion of the book covers the more complex issues and there is a ton of information that was not in the first part. The information about setting up a commercial operation is very thorough and well-written. For home growers, it covers how to grow food and some of the topics include growing peppers and a wealth of information about home food production.

4. Hydroponics: A Practical Guide

Our rating: 6 / 10

Hydroponics: A Practical Guide

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  • Great reviews
  • Written by a bona fide expert
  • Easy to read and understand


  • Only covers hydroponic growing techniques
  • There are no illustrations in this book

(Green-House or Inside)

What makes it different?

Hydroponics: A Practical Guide for the Soilless Grower is vastly different than the other hydroponics books on the market. This is the Bible for those who want to learn about how all plants grow and why soilless growing is better than soil. It is a manual for both beginners and advanced growers who want to know all the ins and outs of hydroponics.

5. How-To Hydroponics

Our rating: 6 / 10

How-To Hydroponics

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  • The book is an updated version of the previous book and includes everything you need to know to get started with hydroponics
  • Al has helpfully included his email address at the end of each chapter. This is a fantastic resource for people who need additional guidance
  • The book structure is easy to understand
  • Covers all the basics for hydroponic systems
  • The book is easy to understand even if you’re just starting out
  • Great hydroponics book for beginners


  • The book may be somewhat limited in its scope because it assumes you already know a bit about hydroponics systems
  • The book may be somewhat limited for advanced hydroponics growers

No one knows hydroponics better than Al Wiora. And now, he has a brand new, fully updated book to show you how to get started with hydroponics. This book includes everything you need to know to start your own indoor and outdoor hydroponic systems.

The best thing about this book is that Al has helpfully included his email address at the end of each chapter. This is a fantastic resource for people who need additional guidance.

6. Hydroponics: Questions & Answers

Our rating: 5 / 10

Hydroponics: Questions & Answers

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  • A common-sense approach to hydroponics that is easy to understand
  • Great reference book for beginners and experts
  • Includes a complete directory of hydroponic equipment manufacturers

(Questions & Answers Series: Books For Beginning Farmers)

At 1.5 pounds, this book is a great resource to have in your library. It goes into detail about the steps you need to take to get started with hydroponics. Moreover, it covers everything from the environmental and geographical factors that help or hinder a crop to the efficiency of various hydroponic systems.

You’ll be able to get started with a hydroponic system of your very own, no matter how large or small your space is. That’s because this book includes exact recommendations on how much space you should give each type of plant. It’s even packed with over 50 resources that you can use to get information about any level of gardening you want to pursue.

7. Commercial Hydroponics: How to Grow 86 Different Plants in Hydroponics

Our rating: 4 / 10

Commercial Hydroponics: How to Grow 86 Different Plants in Hydroponics

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  • Complete, in-depth guides from experts
  • Easy to understand written style
  • Helpful diagrams
  • Covers hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics
  • Beautiful pictures and layout


  • Very technical
  • Would be an overwhelming read for a beginner
  • Expensive for only 86 plants
  • A lot of the information is theoretical

Aeroponics, and Aquaponics.

The Commercial Hydroponics guide is great for anyone who is new to hydroponics and for veteran growers who are expanding their knowledge. It has a ton of useful information and advanced strategies.

Compared to other hydroponics books that cover similar material, Commercial Hydroponics stars with 86 different plant varieties that should appeal to all users and skill levels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best hydroponic system for beginners?

When it comes to indoor gardening, the best hydroponic system for beginners is probably the DWC system. DWC stands for “Deep Water Culture” and it’s known for being easy to use, maintain, and troubleshoot. It’s basically a bucket with an aquarium pump, an air hose, and air stones placed into a reservoir of nutrient-rich water. Seedlings are grown in net cups suspended from the water’s surface and fed with oxygen and nutrients from the water and air.

DWC has the added benefit of keeping plants warm and humid, so you don’t need to focus too much on controlling the environment in your grow room. Aside from the bucket, air pump, and air stones, all other components needed for DIY DWC systems are readily available in any garden shop.

How do I start a hydroponic garden book?

First, you need to determine what type of hydroponics system you will use. There are dirt-free, water-based, air-based, soil-less, and rockwool systems. There is also the recirculating system.

Next, you need to find out what plants you want to grow. If you want vegetables, herbs, fruit, and flowers, you will need a hydroponic system capable of growing a wide variety of plants. You might be better off with more than one system so you can have more variety.

For beginners, this can seem overwhelming, but there are some advantages to buying an entire hydroponics system. You can focus and learn on one system instead of trying to figure out everything.

Which hydroponic method is best?

Hydroponics is a kind of method that makes use of the different states of water to support the growth of plants.There are many methods that can cater the needs of the growers and there are actually a handful of methods that make use of the same technique. To be precise, there are four different methods that are commonly used to grow plants: the container, the wick, the vertical wall system, and the flow method.

The container method is the most basic but it is also the easiest to understand. A growing container would be a chamber made from something like plastic or wood, inside which the plant would be growing. The wick method is also pretty simple. The only difference between the container method and the wick method is that a wick is used to convey the water to the growing area.

Which is better aquaponics or hydroponics?

Aquaponics is a combination of hydroponics and aquaculture (fish farming) where you have a constant supply of fresh, clean foods growing in the system as well as a stable population of healthy fish. The fish waste is converted by bacteria in to nitrates, which is a plant food, which in turn feeds the plants, and the plants then clean the water which is returned to the fish tank. It’s basically a self-cleaning system.

In hydroponics, the plants are grown in water that has oxygen and other nutrients added. The plants are supported by growing mediums like gravel, clay pellets, rock wool, vermiculite, foam, or coconut husks. These can be placed in various size containers such as growing bags, hanging baskets, troughs, wheel barrels, buckets, and many more.


If you are just diving into the space of hydro or consider yourself a total pro then this list of books is for you. There’s a book on this list for every stage of the journey, from the beginner up to advanced growers that strive to be the best. Each of these ten books are chosen for their usefulness in helping growers at whatever stage they may be at in their journey.

Our Recommendation

Hobby HydroponicsBest OverallHobby Hydroponics
Botany for GardenersBudget PickBotany for Gardeners
Hydroponics: A Practical GuideUpgrade PickHydroponics: A Practical Guide