How to Grow Microgreens Without Soil: (Best Gardening Tips)

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Last Updated on January 31, 2023 by Griselda M.

Did you know growing microgreens without soil is something you can learn and do because they are simple to grow at home? But, knowing how to grow microgreens without soil is important. Microgreens are smaller than baby plants but bigger than sprouts. They grow quite fast and are harvested in their second stage after becoming sprouts. Microgreens have gained popularity these days because of two critical reasons:

  • They are a nutritional powerhouse – The densest foods ever
  • They are great for garnishing
In the past, microgreens were known to be used by high-end restaurants but today you can grow your own easily. You can grow them all year round and enjoy their health benefits as you wish. And best of all you can grow microgreens without soil. Want to know how, follow us as we show you how.

What You Need When Growing Micro-greens without Soil

Now that you want to grow your microgreens without soil, it is good to know the basic necessities you will need. They include:
  • Seed. Use organic seeds that are specifically sold for growing microgreens. You can get these from nurseries and online retailers. 
  • Trays. To grow your microgreens you will need to have a tray. The tray should be thick, in perfect condition, and without any holes.
  • Growing Medium. You will need a medium in which you grow the microgreens. You can use coconut coir, grow pads, well-drained soil, or clean water for hydroponic. In our case, we will use the hydroponic system.
Growing Micro-Greens Without Soil - What you will need - Growing Medium


  • Light. Light is important for plant growth and microgreens are not any different. Get a good source of light from the sun or the LED grow lights if the room you are using is dark.
  • pH Testing Kit. Always test the water you use to grow your plants for the right pH level. The right pH level should be around 6.
  • Nutrients. Your microgreens will need the right nutrients to thrive. Giving microgreens additional nutrients will do them more good than harm. Use organic micronutrients specifically made for growing without soil.
  • Spray Bottle. To help water your baby greens, you will need a spray bottle. Get a specific one for your microgreens rather than use an old one or one that is used in other plants. This is to avoid contamination.

Tips for Growing Microgreens Indoors Without Soil 

When it comes to growing microgreens indoors without soil, there are a few things that you should take into consideration before you begin. The fact is, that you have various options other than soil when growing hydroponic microgreens. Listed below are a few tips for growing them successfully, using simple methods.


  • Microgreens can be grown on soilless growing mediums, which include rock wool and coconut coir.
  • Some of the easiest methods to grow hydroponic microgreens are to use paper towels, grow pads, or grow mats which are usually made of wood fiber or jute. 
  • Using water with a pH of about six is also effective in growing microgreens.
  • When growing these plants in water, it is recommended that a pH kit be used to test the levels. This is to ensure that your plants are growing in a suitable environment. Keep in mind that the water can be adjusted to the correct pH levels if need be.
  • Photosynthesis is an important part of developing your microgreens. Therefore, affording your plants an ample amount of light after four or five days will start this process. 
  • If you opt to use microgreen trays, ensure that it has enough holes for good aeration.
  • Unlike soil-grown plants, microgreens do not need to be spread out when planting. So, a generous amount of seeds can be grown in a paper towel at the same time. 

How to Grow Broccoli Microgreens Without Soil?

Knowing how to grow broccoli microgreens without soil would save you a lot of hassle as opposed to usual planting methods. In this case, grow mats would actually work quite well for broccoli microgreens. Not only is it quite simple to use for your plants, but these mats are also reusable, which is a money saver. This is because aside from the readymade microgreen grow mats, you can also opt to make them yourself using different types of materials. These options include jute grow mats, wood fiber grows mats, hemp grows mats and felt microgreen grow mats, amongst others.

Here are a few tips for growing broccoli microgreens without soil:

  • You will need broccoli seeds, a microgreen growth mat of your choice, and nursery flats that don’t have drainage holes. Grow mats are quite useful when growing sprouts in the absence of soil.
  • To begin, you would have to soak the growing mat in water for a few hours. This step cannot be skipped, no matter the choice of grow mat material you opt for. 
  • Then, you should take your broccoli seeds and also soak them in water for a few hours. This step should be done at the same time you decide to soak the mat so the seeds and grow mat will be ready on time.
  • After a few hours have passed, drain the mat and place the soaked seed on top of it. Ensure that you spread the seeds out evenly when doing this. You should also avoid covering them at this stage as it is not necessary.
  • Thereafter, you can place the mat in a sunny spot. A south-facing windowsill, in this instance, would be great. If this is not possible, you can use grow lights instead. 
  • Make sure to keep the microgreen grow mat well-watered at all times. Neglecting to water and leaving it to completely dry out will flaw your plants.
  • If the steps above are followed correctly, you should see the broccoli microgreen seeds sprouting and growing in a few days. 

Benefits of Growing Micro-greens without Soil

Growing microgreens without soil need lesser water compared to growing them in the soil. Using the hydroponic system allows you to reuse the water again and again making it economical.

Here are two major benefits:

  • You can grow them all year round for your nutrients
  • Some microgreens varieties like kale, wheatgrass, and kohlrabi produce a better crop in water than in soil.

What are the Disadvantages of Microgreens

So, what are the disadvantages of Microgreens? Although microgreens are amongst the simplest plants to grow, they do come with a few disadvantages that you should take note of. However, through the negatives, a lot of people opt to grow them at home as they are simple to maintain and sprout in a matter of days. That does not mean that the downsides of growing them in your home should be ignored. Have a look below to learn more.

Disadvantages of growing microgreens at home:

  1. The best way to start microgreens is indoors because expecting large yields when growing them outdoors could prove disappointing if you do not know about how it’s done. 
  2. When growing microgreens indoors, there is a higher risk for bacteria during the plant’s sprouting stage. For this reason, careful monitoring is required. 
  3. Microgreens can become quite messy if left unattended. Regular cleaning is a must to keep the area neat.
  4. Microgreens need daily watering to grow their best.
  5. Ready-to-buy microgreen trays can be a bit costly as they are sold for about $10 each. Therefore, it is better to grow your own plants as you can grow about five trays at that cost which is much more affordable. 
  6. Although microgreens are forgiving plants in unsuitable environments, they can easily flaw if neglected. To get abundant yields, you would need to provide the correct growing conditions and supplies that they require.

Best Growing Medium for Microgreens

When it comes to the best-growing medium for microgreens, there are a few aspects to take into consideration to keep your plants healthy and happy. Although some microgreens do well with just soil and water, others, like radishes and brightly colored plants, demand nutritious growing mediums to thrive. Ultimately, the best medium for microgreens should include peat moss or coco peat, perlite, and vermiculite as it offers favorable results.

Using commercial garden soil varieties is not advised when growing microgreens. This is because of their compaction, which prevents plant roots from penetrating the soil and spreading. Additionally, several readymade soil mixes can also be used for microgreens. Ocean solution 2-0-3, which is a hydroponic nutrient from the sea, is a highly recommended growing medium. This soil mix is produced by Ocean Grown Inc. and is widely used to grow microgreens indoors or outdoors.

How to Grow Microgreens Hydroponically at Home

  • Prepare filtered water with a pH range of 5.5 – 6.5.  Get 10 x 20 plastic trays together with hydroponic growing pads. Pour in water and ensure the growing pads are completely soaked with no dry spots. Once soaked lay them flat for seeding. You can use paper towels instead of growing pads. Fold the paper towel several times to make a thick layer that will not be washed away by the water.
  • Spread your seeds evenly on the wet pad or paper towel. If you want to grow a denser crop, use about 3 tablespoons of seeds. This measurement is perfect for growing microgreens like arugula, broccoli, radish, and mizuna.
  • Use your spray bottle and spray the seeds evenly for 12-15 sprays. Take an empty dark-colored tray and spray the water inside and put it upside down on the growing tray. This provides humidity and moisture while keeping the seeds from excessive light.

  • Place both trays at a warm location where they will get good light and a temperature of between 65-85F.
  • Use a spray bottle to spray the seeds every 10-12 hours. Do not water the tray or overwater.
  • The seeds will sprout after 4-5 days. Uncover the tray and keep it in a spot that receives direct sunlight for at least 3-4 hours. Keep rotating the tray so that it gets even light on all ends.
  • Check the water levels by pressing your finger on the pad. At this point, stop using the sprayer bottle and water normally. Water until the pad is soaked fully with water.
  • The microgreens will be ready for harvest in 10-12 days while others can be harvested in 7 days.
  • Harvest them early morning or late evening and enjoy eating them in salads.

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Microgreens without Soil Final Words

You have no excuse not to grow your own microgreens considering the kind of nutrients they offer you. Growing them is as simple as ABC. The only danger you need to watch out for is no mold forms on your microgreens because it can be hazardous to your health. Now that you know how to grow microgreens without soil, you can look forward to a thriving hydroponic garden.


Can I grow microgreens in just water?

Microgreens are small plants that grow from seeds within a few days. They are easy to cultivate, and they can be grown in any water source in a variety of ways. The process of germinating the seeds, then growing microgreens is simple - all you need is soil, water and light, and sometimes not even soil is needed.

You can’t grow microgreens in just water. You do need a moist medium in order to grow microgreens, but it doesn’t have to be soil.

With the invention of hydroponics, it was possible to grow vegetables without soil. This gave rise to the trend of growing microgreens in water.

You can use a hydroponic setup, but in order to achieve the very best results, make sure you use aeroponics or deep water culture.

How do soilless microgreens grow?

Soilless microgreens are grown without soil. They are grown in a nutrient-rich hydroponic system. This method is much healthier for the plant, as it minimizes the use of water and fertilizer, which leads to less environmental impact on the environment.

Soilless microgreens are a great option to consider when you are looking to grow vegetables indoors year-round in minimal space.

Can you grow sprouts without soil?

One of the most basic needs to grow a plant is soil. However, you can still grow sprouts without soil. The process is not as easy as it seems and takes some effort to achieve the desired result.

If we want to grow a plant by sprouts, we need:

-A pot with drainage holes

-Stones or rocks that are at least 1 cm in diameter

-A seedling tray

-A tray with water and fertilizer

-A source of heat, like a light bulb or an electric lamp.

Can you grow microgreens in a jar?

Microgreens are young plants that are harvested to be eaten raw or cooked. They grow in soil, water, and sunlight. Urban farmers have been using them as a way to grow food for their families and neighbors.

Many people have been wondering if it is possible to grow microgreens in a jar versus growing them outside. The answer is yes, but you need good lighting, a clean jar with good drainage holes at the bottom, and the right nutrients - all of which can be hard to come by among city folks.

Will microgreens regrow after cutting?

Microgreens are a type of small and edible leafy vegetable. They are typically harvested when they are about two to three inches in height.
An article shared by New York University states that the process takes about 8-10 weeks and there are many factors involved in its success or failure. This is why it is better to harvest the microgreens before they have grown too much to ensure a successful harvest.
Microgreens should regrow after cutting, because they have the ability to heal and regenerate. However, this will depend on the type of microgreen you harvest them from.

How do you grow microgreens without tissue paper?

Many plant enthusiasts might be looking for a way to grow microgreens without using tissue paper. This is not a difficult process if you have the right tools and the right plant seeds.

There are three main methods of growing microgreens without using tissue paper:

-Trays: A tray can be made with plastic, glass or metal. There are also trays that come with built-in lighting. The disadvantage of trays is that you must constantly monitor the water level in order to maintain moisture and nutrient levels in your soil.

-Gardenscapes: Gardening companies like Greenlife offer a wide range of garden products to help you grow microgreens without using any tissue paper. These products include gutter systems, seed starter pods, mediums and so much more.


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