Plants can live and thrive on their own, but not all soil contains the proper nutrients they need. Adding fertilizer to plants will make them grow healthier. Meanwhile, it can be a challenge for plants not planted in the traditional setup. A hydroponic garden, for example, also needs to have the receive the same primary nutrients.
The nutrients your plants need
- Macronutrients – These are the nutrients that the plants need in huge amounts, such as oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, sulfur, potassium, magnesium, and calcium.
- Micronutrients – These are important nutrients for the plants that need to be present in controlled amounts. Some of these nutrients are copper, iron, boron, nickel, zinc, manganese, chlorine, and molybdenum.
Since hydroponic plants do not rely on soil to survive, they need to get all these important compounds from a nutrient solution. It is a liquid fertilizer that is made up of properly proportioned nutrients. You can buy a pre-made hydroponic nutrient solution, or you can try to create your own.
Large-scale hydroponic farms usually formulate their own solution since they grow different plants. They mix the nutrients depending on the specific needs of the plant they’re growing.
For small-time farmers or hobbyists, they often buy a pre-mixed powder or liquid concentrates.
The pre-mixed concentrates
Pre-mixed concentrates often come in two separate containers or bottles—one for macronutrients and one for micronutrients. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you need to mix the two and add water to form the solution.
You can create the solution in any way you prefer—either on a drum or a mixing bucket—and depending on how much you need. You can either mix it all at once and store it, or mix it only as needed.
Once you have your solution, let it sit and settle for a few minutes. Before using, check the pH level and adjust as necessary.
Besides the nutrients’ proportion, here are the other elements relating to the nutrient solution that you need to take into account for your plant’s healthier growth.
- Right temperature
When growing plants indoors, you have more control in your plant’s environment. Though the needs of the plants will vary, balanced room temperature is a common requirement. Your nutrient solution should always be at a steady temperature.
You need to make the necessary adjustments depending on the weather conditions. For example, in summer, you can move your plants in a more shaded location or create a barrier to block the harsh sunlight. You can also add cool water to your solution from time to time. During winter, you can purchase a small water heater to keep your nutrient solution warm.
- The pH level
The pH level is the measurement of a liquid’s acidity level. Similar to the nutrients, different plants have different pH requirements. Aside from carefully mixing the macro and micronutrients percentage in your solution, it’s necessary also to check its pH level. If the solution has the right pH level, the plants will absorb the nutrients faster. If it has more pH than required, the acidity can damage the roots of your plants.
Plants need proper care to grow well. When planning to grow a hydroponic garden, research about your plant’s needs in all aspects. Since it’s a different form of gardening, the plants have their special needs that you need to provide in the right amount. When you grow them the right way, you’ll get healthy, beautiful plants.
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