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25 January 2022

Beginners’ Guide to Hydroponics

Have you thought about switching from soil to growing hydroponically? Hydroponics is basically planting and growing plants without the use of soil, where plants are grown in water and fed a nutrient solution. One of the major benefits to plants is the improved oxygenation of its roots, leading to healthier and stronger plants.

So, what are the main things to consider when you go hydro?


Getting your environment right is essential for successful growing. The five main factors to maintain are:

  1. Temperature – The ideal grow room temperature is 24oC-28oC during lights on periods or 22oC - 23oC during lights off. Remember that fluctuations in temperature will affect your humidity levels.

  2. Humidity – During propagation humidity should be between 70-85%, during the vegetative stage 65 – 75% and 45-65% during flowering. It’s important to be aware though that high humidity can increase the risk of disease and fungus.

  3. CO2 level – Plants need CO2 in order to grow. CO2 will naturally be around 300-400 PPM, you can however supplement CO2 for faster growth.

  4. Ventilation – Maintaining airflow is key. To do this you need a ventilation kit that includes an extractor fan, filter and ducting.

  5. Air circulation – Maintains a good CO2 level in the grow room. It also helps with transpiration and prevents fungal growth. Keep air moving with an air circulator fan.

  6. Water – People underestimate the importance of good quality water. Water quality should be assessed before nutrients are added with a pH meter. Ideal pH should be between 5.8 and 6.2 for hydroponics and 6.0 – 6.8 for soil and coco.

Which technique?

There are 6 main hydroponic techniques to choose from:

1.     Deep Water Culture (DWC)

2.     Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)

3.     Drip Irrigation

4.     Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

5.     Aeroponic

6.     Wicking

Which system is right for you? Drip systems drip feed nutrients slowly onto roots at set times and are ideal for transitioning from pots and soil, NFT is one of the oldest hydroponic methods in the industry, which involves streaming a thin layer of nutrient solution over the roots. Ebb and flow systems temporarily flood your root system before allowing to drain and are a very popular method amongst growers. Aeroponics is rather unique as it involves suspending your plants in mid-air and spraying the root system very frequently. Wick systems are the simplest option as they work without the need for any motors, pumps, or moving parts.

 It’s all about choosing a style that makes your life easier!


Growing media is crucial as it provides a home for your roots and works as an anchor for your plant. There are several different options, choose one that you feel comfortable managing to create the perfect growing environment:


Rockwool cubes and slabs retain moisture and offer excellent support to plants, making them great for young plants and cuttings.


Soil is a traditional media; it will retain moisture and support plants. It usually contains nutrients or additives and acts a natural buffer.


Coco is made from the husks of coconuts. This buffered medium retains moisture whilst providing plenty of air pockets which roots love.

Clay Pebbles

Clay pebbles are made from fired clay and can be round or irregular shaped. They are reusable, free draining and offer optimum aeration. Roots love finding their way to fresh air pockets hidden amongst the pebbles.


Just like any living organism, plants need food (aka nutrients) to grow and develop. Hydroponic plant nutrients come in various forms and can be organic or mineral. Finding the best growing nutrients to give your plants everything they need is key to a successful grow.

Base nutrients are needed for growth and development. They are available as one or two part solutions and are used throughout the grow to provide nutrition, while additives are used for more specific purposes such as root development and bloom enhancing.  Hydroponic nutrient boosters speed-up the uptake of nutrients in plants, contributing to faster growth.


The two most common types of HID (High Intensity Discharge) lighting are Metal Halide (MH) and High Pressure Sodium (HPS). The difference between these two lights is mainly the spectrum output. MH emit a blue/green spectrum whereas HPS emits more of an orange/red. HPS is great for the bloom stage of growth, while MH is better for vegetative stage.

LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) are also becoming increasingly popular, as they use less energy than other lights and produce less heat. As LEDs offer full spectrum light, you can use them throughout your whole grow. 

 A handy tip: try to ensure lights switch on and off at the same time each day. During the vegetative phase you want to give plants a good 15-18 hour stretch of light each day. The bloom/flowering phase requires less hours of light, 10-12 hours should do it.

Monitoring your conditions

As mentioned earlier, your grow room environment is really important, so to ensure you have the right balance of humidity, temperature, pH etc, they will need to be regularly monitored. Keeping these under control will make growing easier in the long term and will help you to produce the best possible yields.

It can seem overwhelming when starting out, and while it involves a lot of trial and error, indoor growing is a rewarding process. When your find your rhythm, you’ll reap the rewards!

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