If there is one thing hydroponics can be associated with; it’s versatility. With hydroponics you have the ability to mix and match a wide range of growing techniques. The possibilities are virtually endless and hydroponic experts are coming up with new and effective growing methods all of the time. However, too much choice isn’t always a good thing. If you’re a novice to hydroponics, then having so many decisions at your fingertips can feel like more of a nightmare than a blessing – cue the head scratching. It’s our goal to equip keen gardeners like you with the knowledge that will enable you to get growing hydroponically. We’ve already gone over the many benefits of hydroponic gardening and at Garden Alchemy we’re sure many of you will want to get to grips with soilless cultivation. So, without further ado, let’s look at the most popular hydroponic substrates that are commonly used worldwide.
Most hydroponic growing methods require some sort of growing medium to support the weight of the plants and their root systems. Good hydroponic substrates will also retain moisture and aerate the root zone of your plants, leading to better nutrient uptake and more bountiful yields. The one thing hydroponic substrates don’t do is supply your plants with adequate nutrition. Generally, they are inert mediums and nutrients will need to be delivered by you in the form of a plant boosting nutrient solution (don’t worry though; there are many fantastic nutrient products out there).
There are a whole host of substrates that can be used for hydroponic growing, from sand and gravel to sheep’s wool. Each come with their own advantages and disadvantages. However, there are a few that have proven their worth time and time again and many growers tend to narrow down the options to these main substrates; clay pebbles, coco peat, rockwool, and perlite.