Hydroponic, comes from Latin and is the art of growing plants without soil.

Most of the people think of hydroponic is the plants grown with their roots suspended directly into water with no growing medium. There are several variations of Nutrient Film Technique used around the world and is a very popular method of growing plants hydroponically. There are countless methods and variations of hydroponic gardening.

There are hundreds of variations on these basic types of systems, but all hydroponic methods are a variation or combination of these six.

6 basic types of hydroponic systems –


This is by the simplest type of hydroponic system and is a passive system, which means there are no moving parts. The nutrient solution is drawn into the growing medium from the reservoir with a wick. This system can use a variety of growing medium. Vermiculite, Perlite, Pro-Mix and Coconut Fiber are among the most popular.

The biggest drawback of this system is that, the plants that are large or use large amounts of water may use up the nutrient solution faster than the wick(s) can supply it.


This system is the simplest of all active hydroponic systems. The platform that holds the plants is usually made of Styrofoam and floats directly on the nutrient solution. An air pump supplies air to the air stone that bubbles the nutrient solution and supplies oxygen to the roots of the plants.

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The biggest drawback of this system is that it doesn’t work well with large plants or with long-term plants.


This system works by temporarily flooding the grow tray with nutrient solution and then draining the solution back into the reservoir. This action is normally done with a submerged pump that is connected to a timer. When the timer turns the pump on, nutrient solution is pumped into the grow tray. When the timer shuts the pump off the nutrient solution flows back into the reservoir. The Timer is set to come on several times a day, depending on the size and type of plants, temperature and humidity and the type of growing medium used.

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Drip systems are probably the most widely used type of hydroponic system in the world with a simple Operation.  The timer controls a submersed pump, it turns the pump on and nutrient solution is dripped onto the base of each plant by a small drip line. In a Recovery Drip System the excess nutrient solution that runs off is collected back in the reservoir for re-use. The Non-Recovery System does not collect the run off.

A recovery system uses nutrient solution a bit more efficiently, as excess solution is reused, this also allows for the use of a more inexpensive timer because a recovery system doesn’t require precise control of the watering cycles.

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N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique)

N.F.T. systems have a constant flow of nutrient solution so no timer required for the submersible pump. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray (usually a tube) and flows over the roots of the plants, and then drains back into the reservoir.

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N.F.T. systems are very susceptible to power outages and pump failures. The roots dry out very rapidly when the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted.


This system is probably the most high-tech type of hydroponic gardening. Like the N.F.T. system above the growing medium is primarily air. The roots hang in the air and are misted with nutrient solution. The misting are usually done every few minutes. Because the roots are exposed to the air like the N.F.T. system, the roots will dry out rapidly if the misting cyclesare interrupted.

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Why Hydroponics?

If we give a plant exactly what it needs, when it needs and in the amount that it needs, the plant will be as healthy as is genetically possible. With hydroponics this is an easy task; in soil it is far more difficult.

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A “growing medium”-

Growing medium is the material in which the roots of the plant are growing. This covers a vast variety of substances which include Rockwool, perlite, vermiculite, coconut fiber, gravel, sand and many more. The growing medium is an inert substance that doesn’t supply any nutrition to the plants. Read More

Hydroponic, Organic and “Regular” Fertilizers?

Both hydroponic fertilizers and those intended for use in soil contain the three major nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. The major difference in hydroponic fertilizers is that they contain the proper amounts of all the essential micro-nutrients which fertilizers intended for use with soil do not. Read More


The micro-nutrients, also known as trace elements that are required for healthy plant growth are calcium, magnesium, sulfur, boron, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum and zinc. When deficient in any or all of these elements plants suffer stress, disease, become more susceptible to pest, fungus and bacteria, and may have uptake issues with the N-P-K fertilizer they are being fed. Read More

Hydroponic gardening-

Hydroponics can be as incredibly simple as growing a single plant in a hand watered bucket or nursery pot, using any number of inert growing mediums. No automation, electricity or grow lights required.

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Role of pH in hydroponics-

The control of pH is extremely important, not only in hydroponics but in soil as well. Plants loose the ability to absorb different nutrients when the pH varies. The ability to quickly and easily test and control pH in hydroponics is a major advantage over dirt gardening, where testing and adjusting the pH is much more complicated and time consuming.