What Is Hydroponics?
Hydroponics, sometimes referred to as hydro, is the means of growing plants without soil. This subset of horticulture is known for plants being suspended directly in water, or in an inert grow media to support the roots. This is becoming an increasingly popular method of indoor growing.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics?
There are many advantages to growing hydroponically. This applies to any indoor grow, but growing hydroponically is not subject to typical growing seasons. In fact, hydroponic systems actually generate more harvests per year than plants grown in soil.
Growers tend to agree that plants grown in a hydroponic system not only yield more, but produce higher quality buds.
Resources are conserved in hydro systems unlike soil counterparts, because water is recycled. Since plants are grown in a controlled environment, pests are also less common. Labor is lessened as well, considering there is no weeding, and irrigation is often automated with nutrient and pH dosers.
Some of the main disadvantages of hydroponics are the initial setup cost and the learning process. Complete hydroponic systems can be pricey, but you are paying for quick, heavy harvests. Most hydroponic systems are slightly difficult to operate at first, and take a while to get used to. You need to take special care to dose nutrients properly, as overfeeding can have detrimental effects on hydro plants.
The pros outweigh the cons greatly. As long as you spend the time to learn the art of hydroponics and are willing to invest in yourself, there is no way you will be unsatisfied with your decision.
What Are The Main Hydroponic Supplies You Need?
Hydroponic supplies are used to bring your hydro garden to life, and consist of a few different categories. Here at Hydrobuilder, we carry complete systems or you can piece together your own DIY system with the different components we carry.
If you’re looking to put together your own system with the different hydroponic equipment supplies we carry here, you’ll need the following products:
- Reservoir or tub
- Grow trays & a stand
- Water pump
- Fittings & tubing
- Air pump & air stone
- Net pots or fabric pots & hydro grow media
These are the absolute essentials just to get a hydroponic setup running, but you’ll also need a wide range of other hydroponic supplies & equipment depending on your goals, your budget, and your specific climate/region. These include:
- Water chillers or heaters
- Water filters (RO & dechlorinators)
- Autodosers & monitors
- pH equipment
These are just the specific hydroponic supplies you’ll need to get your setup running, but you’ll also need some general growing and gardening essentials - such as plant nutrients, pruning/training products, harvest equipment, and more.
Hydroponics vs Soil
There are many differences between growing hydroponically and growing in soil. Soil is regarded as easier, and thus we recommend beginners start here. The soil acts as a buffer, and is more forgiving to human error than a hydro system.
There are more components in a traditional hydroponics kit, and the learning curve behind this gardening technique is longer. The higher quality plants and heavier yields generated through hydroponic means justifies the increased workload, and higher investment.
You need to pay more attention to detail, because mistakes are magnified in a hydro system. For example, growers need to take special care to filter water as impurities can wreak havoc on the system and plants themselves.
If you are wondering if hydroponics is right for you, start by reading how to determine your growing method.
Hydroponic grow media
In traditional gardening, soil holds and supports the roots, keeping the plant upright. It also acts as a means of holding nutrients and water so the plant can grow.
In some hydroponic systems, the plant roots are suspended directly in a nutrient solution. Other systems require a form of hydroponic grow media. The most common are:
These inert grow mediums are responsible for stabilizing the plant, and provide excellent aeration. To learn more about these mediums, view our full Hydroponic Grow Media Section.
The Different Types Of Hydroponics
At Hydrobuilder, we offer four of the most common and effective types of hydroponic equipment supplies available, but there are two others you may come across. All these systems operate similarly, using a reservoir to hold water/nutrients and a grow tray or stand to hold the plants.
- Ebb and Flow- Commonly referred to as flood and drain, this hydro setup requires a grow medium, and plants will have their rootzone flooded with nutrients, before they drain back out into the reservoir.
- Deep Water Culture- Also known as DWC, this is the most simple hydro type available. Roots are suspended directly in the reservoir in a net pot. An air pump and stone provide constant oxygen to the submerged roots.
- Aeroponics- In this newer hydroponic system, roots are suspended in air. Plants are fed by misting devices below the root zone. This is a very efficient process, ensuring the plant is constantly provided ample oxygen and nutrients.
- Hydroponic Drip System- Geared towards larger indoor gardens or commercial grows, this system uses drip hoses and nozzles to slowly feed plants.
- Nutrient Film Technique- Referred to as NFT for short, this system uses a water pump to send nutrients from the reservoir into the grow tray, and then slowly drains the solution back into the reservoir.
- Wick System- This is a passive hydro system, which means there are no moving parts. Plants are suspended in a hydroponic grow media, and a wick extends from the reservoir, drawing nutrients into the tray.
For more information on each of these systems and who should use which, check out our guide discussing the The 6 Different Types Of Hydroponic Systems .
What can be grown using hydroponic supplies & equipment?
Just about anything you can grow in an outdoor garden can be grown using hydroponic supplies. Here are some common vegetables you can grow in your indoor hydroponic operation:
- Green Beans
These are just a few of the plants you can grow with a hydroponics garden supply, the full list is seemingly endless!
Where to buy the best hydroponic supplies & equipment online?
Trying to find hydroponics supplies online isn’t always easy, because there are so many different retailers all selling seemingly the same products around the same price - how do you choose which hydroponics store is best for you?
If you’re looking for a hydroponics store online, look no further than Hydrobuilder.com. We are your one stop shop for all things indoor and outdoor growing, whether you have a small indoor veggie garden or a huge outdoor crop!
Why Hydrobuilder Is The Best Online Hydroponics Supplies Store
Our online hydroponics supplies store consists of hydroponics supplies for any grower, from hobbyist to commercial. Featuring the best brands in the horticulture industry like Current Culture, Botanicare, General Hydroponics, and more, you won’t have to worry about quality when you shop at our online hydroponics store.
And, we have the best service in the industry, which is why some of the largest commercial growers in the world continue to come back to us for all their needs.
In summary, Hydrobuilder has the best brands, the best prices, and the best service - guaranteed. If you’re seeking out a hydroponics supply online or near you, we are here to help.
Need help finding the best hydroponic system on the market? Check out our list of the best currently on the market!
For more information on hydroponics, check out our learning center! We are constantly adding fresh content in there to help you grow the strongest plants possible. If you have any questions, give our experienced growing staff a call today at 888-815-9763!