Rijk Zwaan has been working on varieties that are suitable for growing in water for many years. In this time, we have developed a wide range of leafy vegetables that are specifically suitable for hydroponic production methods.

Worldwide, hydroponic production of crops such as lettuce is becoming increasingly popular and it is already commonplace in Scandinavia, the Benelux region, Southeast Asia, Russia, Brazil, Japan and Australia. In the case of hydroponics, the plants grow on a substrate rather than in soil and are fed by water that is enriched with nutrients.

Suitable for hydroponic production

When developing varieties that can be grown in water, Rijk Zwaan pays attention to aspects such as fast and compact growth, lack of delicate leaf edges, good colour intensity in the case of red varieties, a healthy and uniform crop, and ease of processing and packaging.

Bremia is not such a problem in hydroponic production, but aphids can be a problem which is why most varieties have resistance to aphids.

Extremely clean, fresh and stable

The high-tech water-based growing systems make it possible to produce lettuce without using crop protection agents. Hence, we are helping growers to meet retailers’, foodservice companies’ and processors’ demands for clean products.

The leaves are free from sand, grit and dirt so the lettuce no longer needs to be washed thoroughly to remove such residues.

Since the root ball remains attached, the product can be sold as a ‘living lettuce’ and stays fresher for longer.

LED lighting enables growers to provide the precise amount of light to stimulate optimum crop growth. The crops can even be produced in multiple layers which increases the efficiency. Furthermore, the yield is stable because the harvest is less dependent on the natural climate. As a result, retailers can also collaborate with producers in countries with poor soil conditions.

More information on hydroponics