Soil provides physical support for plants, contains nutrients, maintains consistent conditions (temperature, moisture levels, etc.), and provides oxygen to roots. This means that when growing things hydroponically you have to make sure you’re addressing all these factors to give your plants the best chance at thriving.
When growing food hydroponically, concentrated powders and liquids provide a complete nutrient profile containing all of the macro and micronutrients that plants need for healthy growth.
Fertilisers found at a gardening store for regular soil-based plants only contain the macronutrients; Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphate. This gives the soil a boost but falls short of being able to properly feed a plant on its own, especially a seedling or plant still in the process of maturing.
When it comes to soil alternatives – there is a wide range of options available to you. The table below outlines the key pros and cons of the various options.
So with all this information, you should now be ready to choose the right growth medium for your hydroponic plant setup. Think about the type of plant you are growing and identify what its requirements are. If you are growing microgreens then you may need a medium that drains well, provides good root stability and can be easily handled – such as coconut mats. Growing thyme may require drier root conditions, so a less absorbent growing medium such as perlite may be preferable.
When you get the hang of understanding what your plants need to grow you will start to see your knowledge about plants grow faster and faster until you’re a plant pro! In the meantime, feel free to email us if you have any queries or need any plant help. Our Plant pro Paris is always happy to throw her expertise into helping you out!