What is a Hydroponic Solution?
When you use a traditional growing method using potting soil, you never need to worry about nutrients and minerals. However, in hydroponics, this question becomes essential: where to find a reliable source of minerals and nutrients? What is a nutrient solution These are questions we will answer in this article.
Water for Hydroponics
Water is the essential factor for all life forms, including plants. In plants, it is used to transport hydroponic nutrients, which are absorbed by the hydroponic roots. This is why it is said that good water is the key element for a successful Hydroponic Growing System.
Have you ever watered your plants with tap water without thinking twice? You are not alone. However, city water can be more or less good. In particular, chlorine is particularly harmful to the plant world because it prevents the assimilation of hydroponic calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
The ideal in hydroponics is to irrigate the substrate with pure water (osmosed, distilled, or rainwater) to which a Nutrient Solution has been added. This is how the plants receive exactly what they need. This avoids deficiencies, overdoses, but also the stagnation of mineral salts that cannot be assimilated by the plants.
In hydroponics, the ideal is to use clean water (if possible filtered or recovered rainwater) to which a nutritive solution is added. This way, the plants receive exactly what they need. This avoids deficiencies, overdosing, but also the stagnation of mineral salts that cannot be assimilated by the plants.
Electroconductivity (EC) measures the concentration of dissolved mineral salts in water. Hydroponics EC should therefore increase when the plant's nutrient requirements are higher (especially during flowering). A too high EC indicates an excess of nutritive salts at the root level. It is then necessary to improve drainage and regulate the nutrient solution, for example by diluting it with osmosis water rather than tap water.
The pH measures the degree of acidity of the substrate. When well regulated, it allows an optimal assimilation of nutrients by the roots. In hydroponics, the substrate used is more acidic than the soil. Moreover, the use of a hydroponic fertilizer also tends to increase the acidity. It is therefore important to ensure that the pH of the water does not fall below 5.6 during growth and below 6 during flowering. This can be measured with a Hydroponic PH Meter.
- Nitrogen is involved in the growth and metabolism of the plant. It makes it strong and healthy. The green plants of our interiors are particularly sensitive to a nitrogen deficiency. This can be due to an excess of watering (most frequent), or to the excess of another nutrient. When it lacks nitrogen, the plant sees its growth delayed or stopped, and the old leaves turn yellow and fall off.
- Phosphorus stimulates the roots and facilitates photosynthesis. Thanks to it, nutrients are well distributed throughout the plant, allowing it to flower and produce fruit. In case of deficiency, which affects mainly flowering plants, the plant remains small, stiff, with leaves that take on a dark tint at the tips. Cold and humidity are aggravating factors.
- Potassium facilitates the control and efficient use of water by the plant. It also regulates several vital functions: resistance to disease, cold and drought, photosynthesis, regulation of evapotranspiration, etc. Potassium deficiency is manifested by a sluggish growth habit, leaves with brown or even crispy edges.
To conclude: What is a Hydroponic Nutrient Solution?
The nutrient solution is the "food" of the hydroponically grown plant, since it cannot find any in the soil. Nutrients, or mineral salts, contained in tap water are sufficient. However, for optimal flowering and growth, it is best to use pure water to which a specific nutrient solution is diluted, adapted to the stage of growth. You may need to use the hydroponic nutrient solution differently depending on whether you are using the traditional method with a Hydroponic Starter Kit or the Kratky Method.
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