If you are contemplating between growing your plants in soil or in a hydroponic environment, this is our answer to you – hydroponics! This is because the use of hydroponics can be a better option in terms of effectiveness and efficiency when it comes to the growth of your plant. However, without the presence of soil, it means that the job of providing the necessary nutrients to your plants has been bestowed onto you! Hydroponics requires a mineral nutrient solution in order to grow and mature well.
Types of Hydroponic Nutrients
Before we begin, we must first understand what hydroponic nutrients are. The basic elements that plants need in order to grow are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. These are usually and readily available in the air and water. Other than these four, there are another twelve elements that the plants need. As such, you have to provide the plants with them through your nutrient solution. Nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium are very essential for plant growth. These can usually be found in all your plant fertilizers (as stated on the package as N-P-K). Other than these three, you would also need to help provide your plants with calcium, magnesium, sulfur, copper, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, boron, chloride, and sodium. These can all be found in your nutrient solutions.
Whenever necessary, you can add these hydroponic nutrients into your hydroponic system easily as it comes in the form of a liquid. Another good thing about hydroponics is that the roots of your plant are immediately exposed to the nutrients that are available to it. This requires the root to use less energy when absorbing the nutrients. As such, more of this energy can be used in the production of flowers or fruits, as well as the growth of the plant. In order to ensure that your plant gets the best out of the solution, you must understand what exactly your plants need.
What is in your nutrient solution? Water, essential elements, and minerals. Before you start mixing your nutrients together, you must know the ratios needed for the plants being grown. Not to mention, the nutrient strength (PPM) of your plant must also be noted. You must first be aware of the basic nutrients that your plant needs in order to survive. This, we reiterate, would help your plant to grow best within these hydroponic conditions. The knowledge of knowing will act as a foundation to help you decipher what nutrients should be in the solution and how much.
Nutrient Solution Recommendations
Different plants require different amounts or types of nutrients in order to grow well. To make life a little bit easier for you, hydroponic nutrient manufacturers have already done most of the research for you! As such, they have pre-mixed solutions readily available for you to choose from. These solutions have the basic nutrients that are necessary for your plants.
General Hydroponics Grow, Bloom and Micro
This three-part solution is very well known. As its labels suggest, it is to help aid in the growing, blooming, and micro stages of your plant. The pack will give you the right amount of nutrients needed during the specific stages. On how to best use this package, refer to the instructions.
AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients
Best if you have a small indoor hydroponic garden. This solution can be used for all purposes as it is able to provide the basic nutrients to your plants.
General Hydroponics Grow and Bloom
For bigger gardens, pick this package. It comes in the form of powder which helps you to cut costs in terms of weight. What is more, the powdered form means that you have the most concentrated version of the nutrients which allows you to determine how much should be placed into your solution. Additionally, unlike the liquid versions, the powdered form allows you to store them for a longer period of time. Powdered nutrients usually have a shelf life of one to four years. These numbers are also dependent on the manufacturer as well as the different ingredients that are in the powder. To make sure that you are able to store these nutrients for a good period of time, keep them in a cool and dry place.
A common question asked about hydroponics is, “how long do the nutrients last in the hydroponic system”? Well, you would need to replenish your hydroponic garden with nutrients every one to two weeks. As for water, you can add more into your system every day. However, you should note that since water and nutrients are being taken in by the plants, the concentration of the nutrients within the system might fluctuate too. In order to grow healthy plants, it would be best to change between differing nutrients occasionally so as to provide your plants with the most nutrients to grow. In doing so, you also are able to control and correct the pH level of your solution, ensuring that your plants are not in danger.
If you are curious to know if your plant can survive in a hydroponic environment without nutrients, the answer is: not really. As mentioned before, the absence of soil means that there are hardly any nutrients readily available for your plants to absorb. Without the basic nutrients, your hydroponic garden will not flourish and have healthy growing plants. As such, you have to be responsible for mixing and providing your plants with the necessary nutrients.
Now, if you are a beginner and all this information sounds a bit too complicated for you, start using pre-made solutions first. In doing so, it will provide you with the time to better understand your hydroponic plants and their growing/development stage without having the possibility of being responsible for the early deaths of your plants.
Even if you are a beginner, do not be disheartened! Take the time to learn more about your plants and slowly work on it. Eventually, you will be able to determine what suits your plants best. Hopefully the information provided has been useful to you and we hope that you grow a strong and healthy hydroponic garden.