This is a diagram of a wick hydroponic system

What Is Wick Hydroponics?

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The wick method of hydroponics is the most simplistic of all the hydroponic methods. While not a heavily used method of hydroponics you may find it useful for those plants that don’t take much water.

Here’s what you need to know about the wick method of hydroponic gardening.

How Do Wick Systems Work?

Wick hydroponics is unique in the fact that this type of hydroponic system can be completely passive meaning there’s no need for pumps or electricity. Since there are no moving parts, you don’t have to worry about any system failures or parts breaking. As long as you keep your reservoir full of nutrient solution your plants good to go.

As you can tell by the name, wick hydroponics, the most important part of the system is the wick. You’ll need to use a wick that is absorbent enough to get water to your plant’s roots, and at the same will not rot or mildew.

I have used tiki torch wicks but you can also use nylon rope, felt strips, or braided absorbent fibers as wicks. Whatever you use for your wick material, make sure to rinse it well first and it will wick more effectively. The number of wicks you use depends on the absorbency of the wicks you’re using and how many plants you’re growing.

Unless you’re growing a small single plant you will most likely need multiple wicks. The shorter your wick length can be on your hydroponic wick system the better, so the water has the least amount of distance to travel.

Wick Hydroponic System

Plants That Grow Well Using Wick Hydroponics

Wick hydroponics works well for plants that don’t take much water to grow. Smaller leafy plants such as herbs and lettuce do well in wick hydroponic systems. This hydroponic method also works great for those that often have trouble remembering to water their house plants or just want to cut back on how often they have to water them.

Larger plants have a larger root system and need more water. The wick does not bring enough water up quickly enough to sustain larger fruiting plants.

What Type of Grow Medium Is Used In Wick Hydroponics?

A variety of grow medium can be used with wick hydroponics. Perlite, Vermiculite, and Coconut Fiber are some of the more popular grow mediums hobby hydroponic gardeners use. You can also use one of my favorites grow mediums, hydroton expanded clay.

You’ll want to use a grow medium that is absorbent to disperse the nutrient solution to as much of the roots mass as possible. Both the grow medium around the root and the reservoir should never run dry.


While wick hydroponics isn’t the most used method of hydroponics it can definitely be an effective way to grow leafy greens and house plants. The ability to grow a plant without any need for pumps or electricity makes it handy to grow a few plants on the windowsill.

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