Perhaps you are just beginning to produce a hydroponic garden. Maybe you’ve been cultivating plants in this manner for quite some time. No matter what stage you are at in your passion for this hobby, you likely already know the myriad benefits of hydroponically grown plants.
These plants are superior to traditionally grown ones in a number of ways. They need fewer pesticides - since they aren’t exposed to a majority of pathogens, of course - and their fruits are also both tasty and nutritious.
That being said, it can be more of a challenge to create fertile conditions for your hydroponically grown plants because you have no natural soil to help make up for what you might be lacking in your solution / medium. To compensate, you need to make sure that you use correct proportions of nutrients and provide your plants with the correct pH balance throughout the duration of their life cycle.
What Nutrients Do My Plants Need?
In general, your plants need a number of macro and micro nutrients. The most important macronutrients required by plants include potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus (NPK). Nitrogen is the most critical nutrient when it comes to the growth and development of foliage and vegetation, along with the creation of new cells and as well as leaves and stems. While nitrogen is crucial for plant growth, especially in the earlier stages, too much nitrogen late in the game can hinder bud and flower development.
Phosphorus, on the other hand, is required for bud growth as well as during the development of flowers and fruits. A plant with adequate doses of phosphorus will also be able to produce healthy, sturdy roots. Finally, Potassium is used by the plant’s cells to absorb the energy that is produced in photosynthesis.
All three, are vital for a healthy crop and large harvest.
Along with the above three nutrients plants also need a range of trace-elements and other nutrients such as magnesium, sulphur, calcium, carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, boron, chlorine, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, and more.
Some of these occur naturally within the air and water however there are also a range of products available if you have deficiencies in any of these. Your hydroponic plants also need a number of amino acids, as these are not supplied inherently and are normally obtained through the soil.
Although this sound very complex if you are just beginning, over time it will become second nature. Our biggest recommendation for if you are just starting out is purchasing a nutrient set. These will come with everything you need as well as instructions on to use them.
Common Mistakes Beginners Make
The flowering stage is a critical moment in any plant’s life. To get maximum yield, you need to manipulate a variety of factors, including environmental.
Providing good air circulation and temperatures between 68 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit) to produce conditions that are ideal for flowering is a must.
Having a decent ventilation system in place is often over looked by beginners and has great impact on growth and yields. A kit like shown on the left is perfect for small grow rooms and grow tents.
Plants are just like humans and need constant fresh air and oxygen to flourish.
Having the correct pH levels is also critical. The sweet spot pH during the flowering stage is between 5.5 and 6.3 Add nutrients and pH adjusting formulas as needed to reach this pH.
Test Your pH + EC Levels Before Giving It To Your Plants!
Before you fertilize, always make sure you test your nutrient content and pH balance. You can change your hydroponic nutrient solution in whichever way you’d like, but you want to make sure you are measuring pH and nutrient content often so that you can make quick adjustments as needed.
Nutrients to Initiate and Encourage Continuous Blooming
Consider using a Bud Ignitor fertilizer to encourage foliar growth while at the same time creating the maximum amount of budding sites. The problem with most commercial fertilizers is that they downplay the importance of nitrogen and potassium, focusing on phosphorus but usually too late in the game to make a difference. This requires the gardener to apply tons of bloom-boosting products on top of early nutrients just before the final stages.
Your plant needs to have enough energy to create budding sites - without these, buds cannot form. Help your plants store potassium and phosphorus by using Bud Ignitor or a similar compound during the first few weeks to stimulate flower production.
During the flower initiation stage, you should be adding nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, depending on deficiencies, but also some sort of stimulant. In the early stages of growth, it’s fine to add nitrogen, as this can help stimulate stem and leaf growth, as well as to protect your plant against potential problems. However, you need to cut drastically back on nitrogen once you’re ready for your plants to produce buds and, of course, flowers and fruit.
A bloom booster can help provide you with consistently large yields. Your flowers will be heavier and more fragrant, and you’ll notice significant increases in your harvest. Bloom boosters can help initiate blooming by providing potassium and phosphorus in large quantities, but you need to be careful with your ratios.
During the middle stage of your plant’s growth, you need to be adding appropriate amounts of phosphorus and potassium (depending on any deficiencies they may have), but also certain amino acids and oft-ignored micronutrients, like magnesium. L-tryptophan and L-cysteine, two such amino acids, can help your plants produce more buds and large flowers while also encourage other parts of the plant to develop.
L-tryptophan is used to create the floral growth hormone indole acetic acid, which creates large flowers. L-Cysteine, on the other hand, provides your plants with sulphur, which can help form a compound that protects plants.
Hydroponically grown plants differ from those grown in the traditional sense because they do not have access to amino acids. Therefore, these must be supplied by the gardener. Adding amino acids to your plants can help speed up metabolic function and provide you with larger buds, flowers, and yields. Add a bloom booster that not only supplies appropriate ratios of macronutrients like phosphorus and potassium, but also one that includes these amino acids as well as magnesium.
If you’re unsure of the exact nutrient blends to add throughout your plants’ growth, consider purchasing a comprehensive batch of organic fertilizers. These are often sold with each stage of the natural growing process in mind - including rooting, growing, blooming, and harvesting.
Nutrients for the Final Stages
During the last three weeks of growth, feed your plants a stimulating fertilizer that will supply crucial nutrients in the proper ratios. This will help your plants have stronger, more potent oils with striking colours and scents.
Consider adding a finishing fertilizer, like Flawless Finish, to help your crops “cure” and to protect them against things like molds, disease, and fungi. This will help your crops taste and look better, as well as to preserve essential oils and resins.
You should do this about ten days before you plan to cut your plants for harvest. You’ll perform one finally draining of your reservoir before filling it with fresh water. At this time, add a finishing product to your reservoir. This will help remove any nutrients and excess salts from your plants before they are ready to harvest.
For best results, make sure you chelate - this helps nutrients become more accessible to plant molecules, increasing your plant uptake. Chelates are like claws, acting as chemicals that can bind to other nutrients. If you chelate, it will help your plants remove the toxins and stored materials they held before you began the process of your final flushing.
Some Of The Best Flowering Nutrients + Additives
At The Hippie House we stock an assortment of hydroponic plant nutrients from the leading brands in the world. Below are some of our favourites - we've also included some complete nutrient kits for beginners at the very bottom.
Top Shooter by House And Garden comes both in liquid form and powder form. The liquid form is intended for hydroponics and by using this growers can get up to a 20% higher yield.
If your just starting out in hydroponics and are overwhelmed by what nutrients to use - you're in luck. We stock a wide range of nutrient kits which include everything you'll need for a successful grow.