The Basics of Hydroponic Nutrients
Starting your hydroponic growing adventure is exciting, but there is a lot to learn if you want to be successful. One of the most important things to learn is how your plants will get the nutrients they need to grow. Since the hydroponic method does not use soil, hydroponic plant nutrients must be administered by you. Plants grown hydroponically can be more susceptible to any deficits in their basic nutrients because they don’t have the soil to pull nutrients from if they are in need. It is critical to understand what your plants need to grow and how to use hydroponic nutrients.
What Do Plants Need to Grow Hydroponically?
Hydroponic plants need three main macronutrients to grow:
- Nitrogen for stalk and leaf growth
- Phosphorus for root systems and flower tissue development as well as seed creation
- Potassium (K) for photosynthesis and water regulation
They also need several micronutrients including:
- Calcium for cell wall strength
- Magnesium to support phosphorous intake
Hydroponic nutrients can be organic, which come directly from plant or animal matter, or mineral, which uses chemicals to extract the nutrients. Organic nutrients provide many benefits, but they could also cause your plants to grow smaller and slower, and leave your plants more prone to disease, especially when growing hydroponically.
How Do You Apply Hydroponic Nutrients?
Hydroponic nutrients come in both dry and liquid forms. Hydroponic powder nutrients are more concentrated, have a longer shelf life, and can often be easier to use.
General hydroponic nutrients can be added to soil, but it is not optimal. The reason is that soil typically already contains nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium. So, if you are considering how to apply hydroponic fertilizer to soil, you have to be more careful not to overfeed your plants.
How Much Nutrients Do I Put in Hydroponics?
The amount of hydroponic nutrients you need depends on a couple of factors. First, it depends on what stage of growth your plants are in. They require different amounts at different times. It also depends on the types of plants you are growing. Peppers and tomatoes need more than leafy greens.
How Often Should I Give My Plants Nutrients in Hydroponics?
The amount of nutrition is more important than when and how often you provide it. But it is often best to feed plants during the day or when your grow lights are on. The frequency of your feeding depends on your growing material:
- Perlite: once or twice daily after planting to several times per day on warm days or near harvest
- Clay balls: once per hour with lights to every two hours before lights are turned on
- Coco coir: once per day until your plant is 30cm wide or high, increase to twice per day until it reaches 50cm, then three times per day
Knowing how to work with hydroponic nutrients is essential for hydroponic growing. The process can be especially daunting when you are first starting out, but we are here to help. It is our mission to provide the highest level of product information and customer service, and we’d be happy to help you on your journey of selecting and preparing nutrient solutions for your hydroponic growing. Shop our vast array of general hydroponic nutrients and other products to meet your growing needs.