Hydroponics: Synonyms & Commonly Confused Farming Styles

The hydroponics market is quickly expanding, and as a result, the term “hydroponics,” as well as other agricultural innovations, have become industry buzzwords. However, with so many recent and continued advances in agricultural technology, it’s easy to get confused about the potential and intent of each system and approach. From aeroponics to drip systems to hydroponics, the industry jargon can be difficult to understand without context. 

Understanding Hydroponics and Hydroponic Synonyms

Hydroponics, a farming method of growing plants without soil, can refer to various methods of growing without soil and using nutrient-rich water solutions. Farmers can effectively manage nutrient content and pH in a more consistent and predictable growing environment with hydroponics. Hydroponics has several environmental advantages, including reduced water usage and the control and potential elimination of harmful bacteria, insects, and food-borne illnesses.

 Indoor hydroponics systems come in a variety of sizes and styles. Vertical units, for instance, are a great space-saving solution, enabling farmers to grow more produce. As vertical units don’t take up as much space, using them can also help land conservation. The technique offers year-round cultivation possibilities and increased crop yields, providing the potential for localized food production and contributing to sustainable communities worldwide. As hydroponics becomes more and more popular, it’ll be important for aspiring farmers, educators, and investors to understand the various hydroponic synonyms. 

Hydroponic Synonyms

While there are many ways to describe hydroponics, here are a few of the most well-known terms individuals use when describing hydroponic farming.

Soilless Cultivation

Soilless Cultivation is a method of growing plants without using traditional soil, as, at times, the soil may pose constraints to the healthy and consistent growth of plants. This technique grows plants in a nutrient-rich water solution that provides all the essential minerals and nutrients required and permits precise control over the plant's environment. Soilless cultivation allows farmers to manage pH levels, nutrient concentration, and water content. Hydroponics is considered a method of soilless cultivation.

Vertical Farming

Vertical Farming grows crops in vertical stacks, often in controlled indoor environments. This technique maximizes crop yields in limited space while using fewer natural resources than traditional farming methods. Vertical farming can be an excellent solution for everyone, from educators bringing hydroponics into the classroom to organizations looking to increase crop yield. Various techniques such as hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics are used to cultivate crops, including healthier leafy greens, herbs, and fruits and vegetables.

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) refers to cultivating plants within a controlled environment to optimize crop yields and quality. Unlike traditional outdoor farming, CEA relies on various technologies to regulate environmental factors such as light, temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels. Farmers maintain CEA within greenhouses, indoor vertical farms, or hydroponic systems.


Aquaponics is a sustainable agricultural method that combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. Fish, usually freshwater species like tilapia, are raised in tanks in an aquaponic system. The nutrient-rich water from the fish tanks is then circulated to hydroponic beds, where plants such as lettuce, herbs, and various vegetables are grown without soil.

No matter what it's called, hydroponic farming has a lot of benefits and provides vital accessibility to crops. It can be an ideal solution for increasing crop yield and profit when implemented correctly. 

Farming Methods Mistaken as Hydroponics

Now that you know what hydroponics is, let's discuss what hydroponics isn't. The following terms are different methods of growing plants and crops and are additional examples of how individuals seek more sustainable farming solutions.


Aeroponics is a method of growing plants or crops without soil. Instead, plant roots are suspended in a nutrient-rich mist or air environment. Plants are usually placed in a chamber where their roots hang in the air, and a nutrient solution is sprayed directly onto the suspended roots as a fine mist. In hydroponics, plants are suspended in water full-time or fed by an intermittent water flow. Aeroponic plants are never placed into water. Similar to our indoor hydroponic systems, aeroponics can also be done at scale. 


Aquaculture is the breeding, and harvesting of fish, shellfish, algae, and other organisms in all water environments. There are two main types—marine and freshwater. When done responsibly, aquaculture can relieve overfished oceans and provide a more sustainable alternative to traditional fishing.

While these are not hydroponic synonyms, it’s worth noting that they can still be effective ways of environmentally friendly agriculture, like many of the methods mentioned above.

Investing in the Future of Hydroponic Farming

While hydroponic synonyms generally have the same meaning, they all demonstrate how quickly the industry grows and evolves. By embracing hydroponics as a viable, sustainable, and innovative approach, farmers can produce high yields of nutritious fresh food. However, a critical part of successful hydroponic farming is selecting the right system for your needs. To ensure you choose the best hydroponic farming solution, consider contacting us about our various technologies.

Whether you are curious about hydroponic technology or want to expand how you grow today, our team is dedicated to your success. Contact us directly to start a conversation about indoor hydroponic systems that meet your needs!


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