Top 6 Hydroponics: Hydroponic Growing Systems Reviewed

Hydroponic growing systems are popular among amateur gardeners. With hydroponic systems, gardening is demonstrably more fun, because the plants no longer die just because once forgot to water them. Hydroponic systems provide plants with water, oxygen and nutrients automatically. The great advantages remain of course among plant lovers not long a secret, which is why there are a variety of hydroponic systems to buy. In the following, we present six interesting hydroponic systems.

What are hydroponic growing systems?


Growing plants in a hydroponic growing system is super easy. Every urban gardener needs to try it once. The plants grow in water, unlike in a greenhouse or seed tray. The water combines with a mineral solution or nutrients for the plants, which feeds them.

Hydroponic systems are used to grow plants. Hydro stands for water and this explains the purpose of the system: instead of planting the seedlings in soil, they are grown directly in water. This has the advantage that pests, which could attack the plants in the earth, are absent.

Hydroponic systems are divided into hydroponics for indoor plants and hydroponics itself, which is mainly used in greenhouses. In the following, we will focus on hydroponic systems for houseplants in relation to the growing of plants with the help of hydroponics.

Hydroponics systems are thus particularly widely used for the cultivation of

  • Crop plants
  • Ornamental plants
  • Medicinal plant propagation
  • cuttings rooting

How hydroponic systems work


Planting in hydroponics is done with the help of a hydroponic system, a nutrient solution, a substrate and suitable lighting.

Hydroponic system: It is considered the infrastructure for hydroponics.
Nutrient solution: Hydrates the plant and provides it with essential minerals.
Substrate: Fixes the plant so that it can take root. Suitable materials include rock wool, coconut fiber or gravel. This allows the substrate to influence the growth of the roots.
Lighting: Allows the plant to grow even in darker environments. With the help of LED lamps, the plants can be illuminated around the clock. This increases the speed of growth.


Hydroponic systems as infrastructure


Hydroponic growing systems vary and can be active or passive. However, a water reservoir as well as a container for plants is included in each system. A distinction is made between:

  1. Wick system
  2. Deep water culture
  3. Ebb and flow system
  4. Drip system
  5. Nutrient film technology and
  6. Aeroponics


Basically, hydroponic growing systems are the infrastructure for plants in hydroponics.

Hydroponics nutrient solution


Hydroponics Nutrient Solution provides plants with essential nutrients they need to grow. In total, there are about 14 plant nutrients contained in the nutrient solution. These include the nutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and sulfur.

The pH of the nutrient solution also plays a crucial role in growing the plants. If this is not adjusted to the plants, essential nutrients can be lost. The pH of the nutrient solution is usually between 5.5 and 6.5, which are slightly acidic solutions.

In addition to the pH of the nutrient solution, temperature is also an important factor. If the hydroponic system does not automatically regulate the temperature, pay attention to this. The optimal temperature for most plants in hydroponics is between 20 and 24 degrees Celsius. The higher the temperature here, the lower the oxygen content. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that there is always enough oxygen, by replenishing the nutrient solution.

Hydroponics substrates


Substrates that are used can be inorganic or organic in nature. The substrates serve a faster plant growth. Among other advantages, hydroponic substrates have a higher porosity than soil and allow for easy rooting. They also help nutrient delivery and drain well. This allows oxygen to penetrate through the air.

There are a wide variety of substrates that are suitable for hydroponics. Possible substrates are:

  • Jute Substrate
  • Neoprene Plug Substrate
  • Rock wool
  • Coconut fiber
  • Gravel
  • Expanded clay ball substrate
  • Hemp substrate
  • Peat substrate or
  • Lava stone


Suitable lighting for hydroponics


Light is an elementary factor that plants need for photosynthesis. Only with sufficient brightness can seedlings grow into plants in the shortest possible time. With the help of LED lamps and lighting systems, plants can thrive in the best conditions around the clock. The light temperature also plays a role here. The maximum temperature of 20 to 28 degrees Celsius should also not be exceeded by the heat of the light.

Not every light is suitable for illuminating plants for growth. It is important that the light is white/blue and the light intensity is at least 240 watts.

The operation of hydroponic systems once again at a glance:

Die Funktionsweise von Hydroponik Systemen in der Übersicht

Advantages of hydroponic systems


Hydroponic systems offer a variety of benefits for growing and maintaining plants. Unlike conventional farming with soil, plants in hydroponics use up to 90% less water.

Also, pests and pesticides can no longer get to the plants. Normally, pests and pollutants, such as pesticides, are present in the soil from time to time. The plants automatically absorb these as soon as they are planted. By not using soil, the plants are no longer as susceptible to disease.

In addition, there is often talk of hydroponic plants having a very high growth rate. Thus, they are said to grow 30-50% faster in hydroponics than with conventional suit

A final advantage of hydroponic growing systems is that they are self-sufficient. Not much attention needs to be paid to the plants, as everything is automated. So it’s a great way to grow your own plants even if you don’t have a green thumb. In addition, the plants in hydroponic system can be harvested throughout the year.

Also pests and pesticides can no longer approach the plants. Normally, pests and pollutants, such as pesticides, are in the soil from time to time. The plants automatically absorb these as soon as they are planted. By not using soil, the plants are no longer as susceptible to disease.

In addition, there is often talk of hydroponic plants having a very high growth rate. Thus, they are said to grow 30-50% faster in hydroponics than with conventional suit

A final advantage of hydroponic growing systems is that they are self-sufficient. Not much attention needs to be paid to the plants, as everything is automated. So it’s a great way to grow your own plants even if you don’t have a green thumb. Moreover, the plants in hydroponic system can be harvested throughout the year.

Systems of hydroponics


There is a distinction between active and passive systems of hydroponics. An active system is based on technology. Thus, the plant growing is supported by an air pump or water pump. In contrast, in a passive system of growing plants in hydroponics, no technology is used.

Not every hydroponics system is the same. There are several types of systems that differ in how they work. These are discussed in more detail below.

Wick system


A wick system, also called wick watering, is a passive system of hydroponics. Here, the plant is supplied by a wick, which means that no technology is required. With the help of capillary action, the nutrients reach the wick. However, care should be taken to ensure that the wick does not become clogged. Otherwise, the nutrients can no longer reach the plant.

Ein Dochtsystem mit vier grünen Pflanzen

The wick system is especially suitable for beginners and for small purses. It consists of

  • a water reservoir
  • a net pot
  • a wick
  • a substrate


Advantages

suitable for beginners
little effort
inexpensive


disadvantages

comparatively inefficient
can clog
low yield

Deep water culture

Das System einer Tiefwasserkultur

Deep water culture is also a passive hydroponic system. It is known in English as deep water culture. Through a floating platform attached to the roots of the plant, the plants float continuously in the nutrient solution.

The hydroponic system of deep water culture includes

  • a water reservoir
  • a substrate
  • a lid for the reservoir
  • net pots


Advantages

inexpensive
intuitive to set up
high yields


disadvantages

lack of oxygen
not suitable for deep rooted plants
With the installation of an air pump, the passive system can be transformed into an active one. The water pump supplies the plants with sufficient oxygen, which means that there is no longer a lack of oxygen.

Ebb and Flood System


The ebb and flood system is an active system, also called an ebb and flood system. As the name suggests, the system works in a circulating manner. Thus, in addition to the air pump, a timer or clock is built in to reconstruct the tides within the system.

As the water level changes, the roots are continually flushed with the nutrient solution in the water. This allows them to absorb the nutrients in a more targeted manner.

To make this possible an ebb and flow system needs the following resources:

  • Water reservoir
  • Substrate
  • Timer
  • Pump
  • Plant container, preferably made of mesh


Advantages

efficient
high yield
suitable for plants from dry and humid climatic conditions


Disadvantages

high maintenance
not suitable for beginners
dependent on the functionality of the stream

Drip system

Eines der Hauptsysteme in der Hydroponik ist des Tropfensystem

In the drip irrigation or drip system of hydroponics, drops in the form of the nutrient solution are dripped onto the substrate.
In the drip irrigation or drip system, drops in the form of the nutrient solution are dripped onto the substrate. In this way, this can influence the roots of the plants even more efficiently. The liquid uptake of the plants can thus be regulated by the droplets. Efficient regulation of irrigation thus leads to a high yield.

With the drip system, a distinction can be made between circulating and non-circulating systems. In non-circulating systems, the nutrient supply is always constant. Circulating systems, on the other hand, work with the help of a timer. As a result, resources are saved and circulation is adjusted to the needs of the plants.

Drip systems usually include

  • a plant container
  • a water reservoir
  • a water pump
  • a timer
  • a drain
  • a substrate
  • a hose
  • net pots


Advantages

efficient
adaptable
suitable for many plants
regulation of nutrient supply and water consumption


Disadvantages

price intensive
requires increased attention
not suitable for beginners

Nutrient Film Technique


The Deep Water Nutrient Film Technique is one of the active hydroponic systems. It is also known Deep Flow Technique and the name DFT. Again, circulating and non-circulating methods can be used in this technique.

In this case, the plants grow in tubes and are surrounded by a film of nutrients. This ensures high yield density and rapid growth. Especially lettuce varieties feel very comfortable in this terrain.

DFT systems make use of the following utensils:

  • Water reservoir
  • Net pots
  • Water pump
  • Substrate
  • Tube
  • Timer for circulating variants


Advantages

high yield
can be used without substrate
roots do not dry out in case of technical defect


Disadvantages

technical defects possible
only useful for a few plant varieties


Aeroponics


Aeroponics is the top class of hydroponics systems and the latest method for growing plants in hydroponics. Among other things, the active hydroponic system is known for its above-average yield density.

Viele kleine Pflanzen in einem Aeropunik System

Due to the use of circulating water movement, the construction of the system is somewhat more complicated than other systems. Required is:

  • a water reservoir
  • various pipelines
  • substrate
  • net pots
  • spray cans
  • a timer for the circulation
  • pump


It is the only system of the presented where the roots are not in the water. Instead, the roots float in the air and are supplied with nutrients and water with the help of the spray can.

Die Funktionsweise eines Aeroponik Systems

Advantages

can be used without substrate
extremely high yield
optimal oxygen supply


Disadvantages

very expensive
high maintenance effort
technical defects must be solved quickly, otherwise the root dries out


Conclusion


A hydroponic system offers a variety of advantages and is available in a wide range of designs. Everyone – from beginner to professional – will find the right system for their needs. Also for every wallet there are the innovative hydroponic systems for home.

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