If you have a green thumb and are looking for a side hustle, you need to read this list of the most profitable plants to grow hydroponically.
With the Whole Foods culture taking over — seriously, there’s a Whole Foods in the center of Harlem, New York City now — there’s a major push for freshly grown fruits, vegetables and anything else that can be grown locally. It seems many Americans are just starting to wake up and realize, “oh, maybe I should pay more attention to where my food is coming from.” I mean, I’m not organic everything, mainly because it’s expensive and I’m a millennial, but I do pay attention to the foods I eat and try to eat pretty “clean” foods. Honestly, if you still think it’s normal for a chicken breast to be the size of an adult baseball mitt, then you really have some research to do. Anyway, if you are looking for healthy and locally grown options, thankfully many grocery stores and markets have a wide variety these days, or you can visit your local farmer’s market. If you really want to be serious about your food, you can take it up a level by growing your own produce. If you’re really good at it, you can even sell what you don’t eat, for a generous profit. So really, it’s a win-win situation.
If you’re a city dweller, like myself, that doesn’t mean learning to plant and growing things is out of reach for you. Thanks to technology there are now really cool ways to be able to grow plants indoors, using minimal space and that’s where hydroponics come in. Simply put, hydroponics uses mineral nutrient solutions to feed plants that are growing in water, so no soil is used in the process.
The practice is also pretty versatile because you can set it up in a big greenhouse space or in your living room using smaller systems or towers. If you’re not totally confined to the indoors and have a little yard space to work with, take a look at this article on the most profitable plants for aquaponics, small gardens, and backyard nurseries. There are a variety of plants that can grow indoors, without needing too much sunlight, which you can learn more about with the easiest indoor plants to grow from seed and the easiest edible plants to grow indoors. While it’s great to be able to grow your own plants to eat, it’s even better to do that and to also make money. Depending on what kind of hydroponic system you’re interested in (and have the space for), you’ll want to research the hydroponic farm startup cost before you get in too deep. Costs can range anywhere from $50 for a small in-home system, to $100,000 for an indoor farm set up. So, is hydroponic farming profitable? The answer is, yes. If you do your research on the most profitable plants to grow and sell, you should have no problem making money. You also want to take a look at growth time too. For example, hydroponic ginseng can take a few years to grow, but it sells for some crazy good prices (we’ll talk more about this in a bit).
We decided not to focus on the most profitable crops per acre since you would need to be a big deal farmer for that, but on smaller systems that you can grow in your home. Furthermore, we focused on price per pound of crop, since that’s more reasonable to grow in a smaller system. To figure out some of the most profitable plants to grow hydroponically we used the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmer’s Daughter Herbs, and Simply Hydroponics and Organics. Once we determined the price per pound for crops that can be grown hydroponically, we ranked them starting with those with lowest prices.
9. Cilantro $6.00 per pound We’ll start our list with a popular herb, and you will notice many more herbs on this list as they grow well in hydroponic systems, and sell for good prices, as well. Cilantro is popular in many Chinese and Thai dishes but can be used in a variety of different recipes. It can be harvested in about 3-4 weeks after planting, so you won’t have to practice patience with this herb.
8. Basil $14.00 per pound Who doesn’t like basil? You can use it for pizza, fresh pesto sauce (my personal favorite), or for a salad. Basil has tons of nutrients and vitamins and is considered to be one of the healthiest herbs.
7. Dill $14.00 per pound Number seven on our list of most profitable plants to grow hydroponically is dill that is kind of random, and you can only see it occasionally, but it’s actually part of the celery family. Dill takes very little work to grow, as all you need to do is plant the seeds and give it a little sunlight. So, if you’re just developing a green thumb (or not even there yet), this is a good option for you.
6. Mint $14.00 per pound You can never have enough mint leaves around in my opinion. Whether you put it in a glass of sweet tea or use it to make mojitos (my personal favorite), you can’t go wrong with having it near. It also sells really well, so that’s a plus too, which is why we have it on our list of most profitable plants to grow hydroponically.
5. Chives $14.00 per pound We are continuing our list of most profitable plants to grow hydroponically with chives that are a natural insect repellant, so if you’re growing these in your living room or a crowded apartment building, this might benefit you in more ways than one. On the other hand, chives can be used for soups, fish, baked potatoes and much more. At $14 per pound as the average resale price, you will be glad you grew them.
4. Tarragon $16.00 per pound Next on our list of most profitable plants to grow hydroponically is Tarragon that goes well with meats like fish and chicken and is predominantly used in French cuisine. However, it also has and can be used to induce sleep, increase appetite, improve cardiovascular health, and even for pain relief.
3. Bay Leaves $30.00 per pound Many times, dried bay leaves are used to add to the aroma and taste of a dish, and they are also not cheap. There are multiple varieties of the herb, like the Indonesian bay leaf, California bay leaf, and the Mexican bay leaf.
2. Ginseng $500-$600 per pound We briefly mentioned this earlier, but ginseng sells for some really high prices, especially the wild one. It’s a “rooty” crop that looks like ginger, and it is used a lot in teas and energy drinks. For many centuries, it’s also been used for various health purposes.
1. Cannabis $1,600 per pound Last but not least, we have cannabis to top our list. There’s a reason why the marijuana business does so well, which is mainly because weed makes a ton of money for the people who grow it. Obviously, this one only applies to you if you live somewhere where it can be grown legally though. If you do, it can be grown hydroponically, and you can spend the rest of your days counting your cash as this tops the cake on the list of 9 most profitable plants to grow hydroponically.