Growing herbs in your own backyard is no news, but in recent times, hydroponics gardening has been frequently talked about. With the ability to grow at a faster rate, coupled with the lack of soil used in the process which could potentially cause a mess in your house, hydroponics growing is highly sought-after; especially with the high suitability of herbs and plants that it can house. When it comes to rosemary, it is a highly-prized possession in plenty of recipes, due to the myriad of flavors and fragrances that it can bring to the dish. With a low germination rate from seeds, rosemary plants are best cultivated through their cuttings, making it extremely easy when it comes to growing them hydroponically. If you are interested in growing your very own rosemary in your apartment, read on to find out more about how you can do it!
Propagating hydroponic rosemary
As mentioned earlier, getting a rosemary seed and hoping it would germinate from there might not be your best bet. Instead, you should opt for rosemary cuttings as they will give you a higher chance of germination. Local nurseries may have such pre-cut ones available so make sure that they are about 10cm in length, and have been cut below a leaf node at an angle. Before you plant it in, you should remove the leaves from the lower end of the cut stem to ensure that your plant grows well. Wrap the lower end of the cutting in peat, rock wool, or other moisture-retaining growing mediums. When your cuttings have some visible grown out roots and the main stem has grown to about a few inches in height, your cutting is ready to be transplanted, and this should be about 2 to 3 weeks after you have first placed your cutting into the growing medium. After transplantation, your rosemary should take about 6 to 8 weeks before it is ready to be harvested.
A hydroponic system is essentially the set up in which your herb is able to get the most efficient access to the mixture of water and nutrient solution that you have prepared. For rosemary herbs, they are able to thrive in the Passive method, the Flood and Drain method, the Drip System as well as the Nutrient Film Technique. The Passive method allows you to control how much and when the nutrients are given to your herb without the use of a pump or timers, while the Flood and Drain method is when the trays and pots are filled with the nutrient solution using a water pump. As for the Drip System, it requires a pump that constantly drips the solution onto the plant. Furthermore, other systems that rosemary herbs are able to grow well in are the aeroponics system, DWC, and the Kratky rosemary system. Regardless of which system you use, it is best to do your research to see which set up is the most viable for you.
Growth mediums can be an important factor when it comes to growing your herbs, especially when they are delicate like the rosemary. You can grow them using hydroponics with the extra help of various growth mediums like strike root cubes made from vermiculite and peat, perlite, or cellulose fiber lightweight expanded clay aggregate (L.E.C.A.). These growing mediums will help to facilitate faster growth and provide additional physical support. However, it is advisable to avoid using growth cubes or peat pots that are made for non-hydroponic gardening, as they are not as durable, and it may also clog your hydroponic system and hinder the growth of your plants.
When it comes to hydroponic gardening, the nutrient solution is one of the most crucial factors in determining the growth of your plant. There are a variety of commercial nutrient solutions that you can choose from, while it is also possible to make your own solution. The most common recipe that you can find includes ingredients like potassium phosphate, potassium nitrate, calcium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, iron sulfate, water, and a list of other ingredients. For amateur gardeners who do not want to go through the fuss of making your own solution, you can purchase ready-made ones in nurseries that require you to only add the required amount of water when you use it. Because the plants are constantly absorbing the nutrient solution, it is recommended to change the solution every three weeks to ensure that your plant is able to receive sufficient water for its growth.
Originating from the Mediterranean area, rosemary plants require a lot of sunlight for a prolonged duration of time. If you are growing your herbs indoors, it is best to put it beside a light source like a window and ensure that it gets about 11 hours of uninterrupted sunlight daily. If your home does not have sufficient sunlight, you can set up High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps to make up for the lack of light, though it can be rather costly. For a slightly cheaper alternative, fluorescent lamps work just as well too. The temperature should be maintained at 24 to 29 degrees celsius, with a 75% humidity level. After you have transplanted your herb to the hydroponic system, you can maintain daytime temperature and allow it to rest in a cooler environment at about 18 degrees celsius at night. A suitable pH range would be about 5.5 to 7 and ensure good air circulation.
With that, you are all ready to grow your hydroponic rosemary for whatever purpose you like! Before starting your gardening journey, it is advisable to do research on the different types of hydroponic setups, as well as the solution types that you can purchase or create yourself. A pro tip is to ensure that they are taken good care of and treat them like your own. Ensuring that they have enough sunlight and solution for them to grow is essential in allowing your rosemary plants to grow healthily and strong.