Water and Nutrients in Hydroponics

When learning how to grow hydroponics it may seem complicated at first, but it is really no different than growing plants in regular soil at base. Plants require nutrients, oxygen and water – it does not technically matter where the roots are! Whether plants are grown in water or grown in soil, they need nutrients, so as long as you have that covered – as you will in a hydroponics system – then you are good to go. And the truth is that plants grow faster and can yield sooner when grown in a hydroponics system because the nutrients and water are delivered directly to the roots and the plant itself does not have to search any soil to find what it needs to grow and thrive.

In order for your hydroponics system and the plants you want to grow in there to be successful, you need two key things: water and nutrients. Plants need around 16 different vitamins and minerals for optimal growth. Not all of these are necessary in equal amounts, because the plant will need some of them more than it will need others and in larger amounts, but even the minerals that it needs in smaller amounts are still necessary and important for the plant to grow well and remain healthy. The three major nutrients that your plants need are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. They are used by plants in large amounts. If you pick up a bag of commercial fertilizer, you may see “15-30-15” on the bag, and this indicates that the fertilizer contains all three of those major minerals. The numbers represent the relative percentage by weight of each of those major nutrients (they are also known as macronutrients), and can also be represented by the letters, N, P, and K. Sulfur (S), calcium (Ca), and magnesium (Mg) are also usually considered macronutrients.

All of the nutrients present in fertilizers combine to keep your plant healthy. They each perform different functions and play many different roles in supporting the growth of the plant. The following is a list of those of the major macronutrients you need to have in your nutrient solution and the functions they perform:

Nitrogen (N) – Nitrogen promotes the development of new leaves on your plant.
Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus aids in blooming and root growth.
Potassium (K) – Potassium is important for helping the plant resist disease and it also promotes growth in extreme temperatures.
Sulfur (S) – Sulfur contributes to that healthy, dark green color in your plant’s leaves.
Calcium (Ca) – Calcium promotes the growth of new shoots and new roots.
Magnesium (Mg) – Magnesium ions are found in chlorophyll, the pigment that contributes to the green color in the leaves of your plants and also absorbs sunlight to make food for the plant.

The nutrient solution that your plants require and that you must put into your hydroponics system is basically water mixed with fertilizer and very easy for you to create to keep your plants healthy, happy and yielding.