Hydroponic Plant Spacing Guide

Understanding the importance of Hydroponic Plant Spacing 


Plant spacing is an important factor in planning your hydroponic garden that sometimes tends to get overlooked. Hydroponic plant spacing is different from plant spacing in traditional soil gardening, and the good news is that you can grow more plants in the same space in hydroponics than in soil. However, plants still need space for their roots and foliage to spread.


If you plant your plants too close together, you will have lower yields and increased risk of diseases. You need adequate airflow between plants to help prevent diseases and plants need plenty of light, so if you plant them too close together, they may not get an adequate level of light because their foliage will overlap and plants will block the light to one another. In this article, we’ll cover hydroponic plant spacing for a variety of different plants so that you can get better yields while maximizing your growing space.


There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on how close plants can be in hydroponic systems before growth becomes detrimental. This depends on the type of plants you’re growing and how often you harvest them. Larger plants, like tomatoes, will obviously need more space than smaller plants, like lettuce. Also, commercial growers harvest an entire mature plant in one session, whereas most home growers prefer continual harvesting, where they only take a few outer leaves of lettuce at a time and let the plant continue


Hydroponic Plant Spacing - Lettuce


Speaking of hydroponic plant spacing for specific plants, lettuce and most leafy greens need between 6 and 8 inches (15–20 cm) of space if you’re going to harvest plants in one go. If you’re going to harvest them continuously, you can grow them with 4 inches (10 cm) of space between plants in my experience.


Some sources claim that for larger plants, like tomatoes, peppers, or beans, need to be spaced 18 inches (45 cm) apart, but in my experience, that can be a bit too much. With proper pruning, larger plants can grow with 12 inches (30 cm) of spacing.


One thing to consider with hydroponic plant spacing is that your plants’ foliage doesn’t overlap because plants will block the light to one another, which will stunt their growth. If you’ve planted your plants a bit too close and they started overlapping one another, you can help by pruning them. Use sharp scissors to prune crossing branches that rub together.


You can also train plants that grow large, and I would suggest doing that. You can train plants to grow vertically by cutting sucker leaves and side shoots. If you’re growing tomatoes, the best way to prune them is to maintain one main stem, and remove all suckers (side shoots). You can remove suckers that are 2–2.5 mm in length once a week. This will help train your tomato plants to grow vertically.


For more great content check out the Proponics YouTube channel below!


Proponics on YouTube



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By Max Barnes

Max Barnes is a long-time homesteader and author. Max grows the majority of his own food year-round using a variety of different methods, including hydroponics. Hydroponic gardening plays a huge part in his homestead and self-sufficiency goals.


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