Hydroponic Fertilizer: The hydroponics fertilizer/nutrients will be the most important factor in the success or failure of your hydroponic setups. Learn the facts before making your choice.
Most fertilizers commonly available in garden centers do not contain all of the 13 elements necessary for plant growth. Why? Because the growing media used to pot your plants in, usually provides many of them as well.
Hydroponic plants receive ALL their nutrients from a different source...not their growing media ; so it is necessary to use a fertilizer formulated for hydroponic systems.
Hydroponic fertilizers are available from many mail order companies and a few specialty garden centers. It is important to follow the dilution rate recommended on the label and to test the solution to be sure that the pH is between 5 and 6 . Simple pH test kits and pH modifiers are available wherever fish supplies are sold.
Depending on the stage of plant development, some elements in the nutrient solution will be depleted more quickly than others. Because of this, it is important to change the nutrient solution every two weeks .
The old solution can be used to water other houseplants or outdoor plants. Also, make sure that the nutrient solution is kept at the original volume. As water evaporates from the nutrient solution, the fertilizer becomes more concentrated and can burn plant roots. Add water only and not more fertilizer to raise the hydroponic solution back to its original volume.
Occasionally, the nutrients in a hydroponic grow system are used up faster than they can be replaced, and the plants will show a nutrient deficiency. A quick fix for most of the deficiencies is to spray the leaves with an all-purpose, foliar fertilizer, although this will not completely solve the problem.
The best remedy is to change the nutrient solution every week instead of every two weeks. In some cases, it may be necessary to switch to a different type of hydroponic fertilizer, if the same deficiencies persist.
Still need some help, check out these books that give other remedies for a nutrient deficiency problem. Or contact me at our contact us page .
|Entire plant is light green in color; lower leaves are yellow; growth is stunted||Nitrogen|
|Entire plant is bluish-green, often developing a red or purplish cast; lower leaves may be yellow, drying to a greenish-brown to black color; growth may be stunted||Phosphorous|
|Leaves have a papery appearance; dead areas along the edges of the leaves; growth is stunted||Potassium|
|Lower leaves turn yellow along the tips and margin and between the veins; the lower leaves wilt||Magnesium|
|Young stems and new leaves die||Calcium|
|Leaf tissue between the veins is lighter in color; yellowed; papery in appearance||Zinc|
|Leaf tissue appears yellow, while the veins remain green||Iron|
|Leaf edges appear dark green or blue; leaf edges curl upward; young leaves permanently wilt||Copper|
|Young leaves turn pale green, while the older leaves remain green; plant is stunted and spindly||Sulfur|
|Growth is stunted; lower leaves have a checkered pattern of yellow and green||Manganese|
|Leaves are stunted, pale green, and malformed||Molybdenum|
|Young leaves are scorched at tips and margins||Boron|