Hydroponics is a soilless form of growing plants. However, you will still need something to hold your plants as they grow. Growth mediums are therefore a must have in hydroponics gardening. The health and growth pattern of your plants depend on the type of growth medium you use. With a variety of mediums in hydroponics stores, you may have problems choosing one for your garden. The following overview of some of the common hydroponics growth mediums should help you make a decision on which one to choose.
Coco Coir Growth Medium
Coco coir, also referred to as coconut fibre, is made from ground up or outer coconut husks. They come in the coco coir or fibre form as well as chip form. The air to water ratio of coco coir is high, which means it holds moisture well while allowing for good circulation of air. This medium is also sustainable and organic. It is also compactible, which can save you some shipping money. That is, they are usually compressed and can be expanded on site. On the downside, make sure this medium doesn't saturate because this will drown the roots. A tip to avoid this saturation or moisture problem is to use it together with fabric or breathable pots. This medium is ideal for drip, ebb and flow, and aquaponics systems.
Rockwool Growth Medium
Rockwool is a very effective growth medium that's made from a mixture of melted limestone and granite. One of the reasons you may find this growth medium efficient is its high water and air retention capacity. This means besides providing the roots of your plants with maximum amounts of oxygen required for processes such as germination, you don't have to worry about your plants being dehydrated. Rockwool growth mediums are also extremely versatile in terms of the type of hydroponics system. That is, you can use it for all hydroponics systems but aquaponics. This includes nutrient-film technique hydroponics, ebb and flow hydroponics, drip hydroponics, and deep water culture hydroponics.
However, you need to be very careful when using rockwool. Since it easily sucks up water, always make sure it's not saturated lest you end up with suffocated plant roots and rotten roots or stems.
Clay Pebble Growth Medium
Pellets or small clay pieces are heated and expanded into porous and lightweight stones that form an effective hydroponics growth medium. This medium has a high water absorption capacity, especially when saturated. However, this medium drains and dries considerably fast, meaning your plant roots can easily dry out. For this reason, you can't use it for systems such as ebb and flow. Instead, this medium is exceptional for deep water culture, drip, and nutrient film hydroponics systems.Share