If you are not too familiar with hydroponics, you may be under the impression that it involves growing entirely in water. However, the reality is that sometimes you need to use grow media for a hydroponics system too. The reason is, it is needed to anchor the roots so that the plant can be supported in place. When you are growing outdoors traditionally in pots, garden soil is the most common choice. For hydroponic systems, you need a specific growing medium.
The term ‘hydroponic grow medium’ refers to an inert material that is used to anchor your hydroponic plants in their place. Since it is inert, it does not provide any minerals or nutrients to your plants. It is possible to make your own hydroponic grow medium, but there are several great options available in the market, including:
The right growing medium for you depends on your specific requirements, and each of them has its pros and cons. Here are some brief details about each of them:
Coco coir is derived from coconut husk and is 100% organic. It boasts of exceptional drainage abilities and water retention qualities. You can find it in various consistencies and utilize its superior germination capabilities to start your clones and seedlings.
There’s another great thing about this hydroponic grow medium – it is entirely renewable. Since coconut husk does not have any other use, when you use it as a hydroponic grow medium, you are actually playing your part in environment conservation – which is a win-win situation!
Clay pebbles and grow stones
Clay pebbles and grow stones are 100% inert and also pH neutral. You can use them again and again for different grow cycles, and are sure to find them extremely sustainable. Manufactured from recycled glass that has been made smooth through sanding, these lightweight grow stones, and clay pebbles are a popular choice for a good reason.
Check out our detailed guide on clay pebbles and grow stones to learn more!
Rockwool is created by melting rocks, which are then spun into fibers. This is a favorite choice for many growers because it offers excellent aeration and water retention. Its unique composition allows it to avoid getting degraded or broken down, which may be a problem when you want to get rid of it by disposing of it naturally.
Rockwool is a preferred choice for many growers but if you opt for this option, make sure you remember to balance their pH using a pH adjuster. The rockwool cubes may have high pH.
Hydroponic Foam and Oasis Cubes
Oasis cubes, also called hydroponic foam, is another great choice for a hydroponic medium. Made from polyurethane, it is resistant to algae, porous, and does not alter your hydroponic system's pH.
The good thing about this option is that it does not cost you much. There is also no need to presoak the cubes. However, one thing that some growers may not like about oasis cubes is that they are not sustainable or organic.
If you need help with choosing the right hydroponic grow medium, the experts at Groindoor.com can help you. Reach out to our experts at 866-GRO-INDR or read our guide on the complete range of hydroponic media in our learning center.