Pioneering Hydroponics Since 1976

Frequently Asked Questions

What is hydroponics?

Simply put, hydroponics is growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, delivered directly to the plants root-zone. This can be done by either suspending plants with their roots in a nutrient solution only or in an inert medium.

This method of growing allows plants to focus all their energy on foliage and flower growth, rather than sourcing nutrition. Plants are free to take as little or as much nutrient solution as required.

Growing hydroponically ensures plants have a constant supply of oxygen to their roots as well as water and nutrients. All contributing to huge growth and increased yields.

What is NFT?

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a zero media, constant feed technique.

Nutriculture Gro-Tanks and Multi-Ducts are multi-plant recirculating NFT grow systems.

In NFT a thin film of nutrient solution is constantly recirculated over the root mass of the plants providing them with constant access to all the water and nutrients they need and uninterrupted access to oxygen.

NFT is often referred to as the purest form of hydroponics because the roots access all of their nutrients from the water, none of it is stored in the growing media.

NFT is the most popular method of growing commercially because it delivers consistently excellent results and is great value for money because no growing media is added to this system.

What is Ebb & Flood?

Ebb and Flood is also known as Flood and Drain. It’s a timed hydroponic method most suitable for use with clay pebbles.

Nutriculture Ebb & Flood hydroponic kits are available as modular and multi-plant and both are recirculating.

Ebb & Food hydroponic kits periodically submerge roots at the frequency and durations set by the grower. At the set times nutrient solution rises into the root-zone pushing out stale air and allowing the roots to take up what they need.

At the end of the feed duration whatever the roots haven’t taken drains into the reservoir and fresh air is pulled into the root zone re-oxygenating the roots.

Ebb & Flood makes use of clay pebbles which are an excellent growing media due to superb air content and porosity.

What is DWC?

Deep water culture (DWC) is a constant feed hydroponic system. Nutriculture DWC kits use very little growing media.

In DWC the roots are permanently submerged in a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. The nutrient is continuously oxygenated using an air stone and pump. The root growth is phenomenal.

What is Aeroponics?

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in air without the use of growing media.

The roots are suspended in a chamber while nutrient solution is delivered to them in the form of a fine mist.

What are Drip Systems?

The hydroponic dripper system is probably the most commonly used grow system of all and a great introduction to timed feeding.

These have the familiarity of a pot and are suitable for use with any growing media. Dripper hydroponic kits are forgiving if too many feeds are set because the excess will drain through the media back into the reservoir.

The nutrient solution is held in a reservoir, a timed pump comes on periodically and nutrient solution is dripped into the top of the pots. It works its way through the media and roots, and any excess solution drains back into the tank to be recirculated at the next feed.

What are Wick Systems?

Wick Systems are the most basic form of hydroponics and are incredibly easy to set up. They use a wick to draw nutrient solution up to the media as it gradually dries out so that the media is never too wet or too dry and the roots can access what they need.

Wick hydroponic kits are a great introduction for beginners looking to learn the basic principles of hydroponics without having to deal with the complex mechanisms of a timed grow system.

Why use copper matting in IWS?

Plant roots will naturally grow away from copper so this prevents the roots from blocking pipes

Why do plant leaves curl up?

This is usually indicative of an environmental problem such as wind from fans being too harsh, or having lights too close to the plants.

Why do plant leaves curl down?

This is usually indicative of overfeeding or nutrient solution being too strong for the plants. Flush plants with water or flushing agent and reduce concentration of nutrient solution.

Why should I use an air pump and stone?

A lot of people forget that Oxygen is one of the most vital nutrients a plant requires. An effective method of increasing a plants oxygen levels and avoiding growth problems is simply to aerate the nutrient solution. The best way to do this is to use an air pump and air stones. Pumps offer an inexpensive way of forcing oxygen into the nutrient tank, making it easily accessible for the plant.

How often do I need to change or top up my nutrient solution?

We suggest refreshing your nutrient solution every 2 weeks, as things in the reservoir can change a lot in this time.

Changes vary depending on your growing environment. For example if the environment is hot and the humidity is low, the hot, dry conditions encourages the plant to absorb more water and less nutrient, causing the nutrient concentration in the reservoir to increase. To avoid harm to plants due to increased concentration of the nutrient solution we recommend setting the nutrient strength lower than usual to account for rising strength.

Cooler conditions, with a higher humidity, mean the reverse happens and so more nutrient is absorbed and nutrient solution becomes more diluted. Higher nutrient strengths can be used in this case and feed cycles can be reduced to once every 2-3 hours. The environment will have an effect on a plants needs so bear this in mind and adjust your feeding accordingly.

Do I have to use additives?

No, additives are not essential. However base nutrients do not contain all of the nutrients a plant may like and so for optimum growth and yield we recommend using additives for various stages of development to enhance yield size.

How often should I change my lamps?

Gavita Lamps have a lamp life of 5000 hours, so should only need to be replaced once per year. This is not the standard for cheaper lamps, they may need replacing more often to maintain optimum light conditions.

What is the difference between High Pressure Sodium and Metal Halide lamps?

The difference is the spectrum emitted. HPS emits light that uses more of the orange and red side of the spectrum, perfect for plants in bloom stage. MH emits more of a blue green spectrum why is great for plants in growth stage. Sodium lamps appear yellow/orange while Halide lamps appear more blue/white.

How long should I have my lights on for?

Lights need to be on for different lengths of time depending on the stage your plant is at. During growth stage plants need more light and so you should have your lights on for between 15-18 hours a day. In bloom stage this can be reduced down to 10-12 hours. Try to have lights come on at the same time each day as nature intended.

What are the differences in the main media categories?

Grodan comes in cubes and slabs, it retains moisture and offers excellent support to plants, making it great for young plants and cuttings.

Soil offers a traditional media method, it will retain moisture and support plants. Soil usually contains nutrients or additives

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

Pebbles are made from fired clay and can be round or irregular shapes. Pebbles are reusable, they offer free drainage and optimum aeration. Roots love finding their way to fresh air pockets hidden amongst the pebbles.

What is the ideal temperature for my grow room?

Grow room temperatures vary from 26-28°C. Remember changes in temperature will cause changes in humidity levels so try to avoid drastic changes in short spaces of time.

What is the ideal humidity level for my grow room?

Ideal humidity is usually between 40% and 60% although some plants prefer a slightly higher humidity. If humidity levels are too high there is increased risk of disease and fungus.