Choosing Plant Food for Your Hydroponic System
By Horace Tait
Just like all organisms plants need nutrition in order to grow and develop. It is understandable then that a well fed plant will grow faster and stronger than an undernourished plant. Choosing the right plant food helps your plants to develop but also makes them healthier and subsequently more resistant to diseases.
Essentially all fertilisers contain the same three primary ingredients; these are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, different specialty plant food however does contain a wide range of additional ingredients such as iron to calcium and magnesia, the balance of which affects its particular suitability for certain plants.
Typically the amount of nitrogen is the most important ingredient in a formula and is frequently a major constituent in lawn feed. Phosphorus is also important but carries out the purpose of enhancing rooting and accelerating the flowering process; as such a feed with a larger phosphorus constituent is more suitable for flowers and vegetables. Potassium is also important for root development but also helps to increase the size and amount of fruits or flowers.
Within hydroponic systems the food is delivered to the plants in a far more direct way and hence it is important to find an appropriate solution for your plants. Some may argue that mixing hydroponic solutions with organic feeds is an advisable course of action however for the majority of growers this is a mistaken course of action.
Ultimately as a hydroponic gardener it is possible to obtain a variety of different specialist feeds, frequently designed for use with a specific form of growing medium. For example, hydroponic nutrients are best used with mediums such as perlite, rockwool or clay pebbles; the mineral based formulas are best for direct absorption by plants, using another example; coco nutrients are the answer if your hydroponic system utilise the coco medium.
Another consideration for those trying to find hydroponic plant food is the water you will be using in the system. On the market today there are soft and hard water feeds available as well as universal feeds for more neutral conditions. Ultimately these feeds will adjust the pH in the system to a suitable level for the growth of plants.
The points above have hopefully provided important information on what constitutes plant food and also how growing hydroponically requires different considerations when choosing your nutrient solutions.
Article Source: Choosing Plant Food for Your Hydroponic System
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