Flowers You Can Grow Indoors | A Guide To Hydroponics

Hydroponics is a method of gardening using water to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables. If you have ever suspended the pit from an avocado over water in a glass, or grown a sweet potato plant in water as part of a classroom experiment, you were using an elementary hydroponic system! Although you may have only used water, a true hydroponics garden combines the use of water, a substrate, and a nutrient solution to grow plants quickly in far less space than a traditional garden. The majority of hydroponic gardens are used to grow vegetables. However this gardening method is also a great solution for creating unique flower gardens indoors or outdoors using a variety of container options.

 

Advantages and Disadvantages

Hydroponics eliminates one of the most time consuming parts of gardening. No weeds! Because you are growing flowers and other plants in a sterilized growing medium there are no weeds to overtake your garden. You don't need a huge yard to grow flowers using hydroponics. In fact you don't need a yard at all. Because you control the amount of nutrients your garden gets on a consistent basis you can grow a greater number of flowers and plants in less space while using far less water than a traditional soil-based garden requires.

The main disadvantage of a hydroponic garden includes the initial cost of setting up your garden system. Cost will depend on the type of system you use as well as the size of your planned garden. Obtaining the knowledge and understanding of an effective hydroponic garden also takes time. While there are many plant options for hydroponic gardens, not all plants may be suitable for this type of garden. Plants react quickly to positive or negative changes in the system.

Techniques

There are several main techniques used in hydroponic gardening. The system you choose will depend on your gardening plan, budget, time, and space available. The ebb and flow method uses an automated system to cover roots in a nutrient rich solution at intervals and then drain off the solution. A drip technique requires tubing and drip stakes to each plant to supply the correct nutrient solution. Another technique is to use a mist system specially designed to deliver a rich oxygenated solution in a mist directly to the roots of your flowers and other plants. There is also a film technique that involves the delivery of a slow moving film or sheet of nutrient solution that covers the roots of plants in a hydroponic garden. Home gardeners may also choose an organic approach to use an organic solution that combines choosing a container, using organic growing mediums, and then watering and applying an organic nutrient solution by hand or a simplified wick system.

Substrates

The growing medium (substrate) you choose for your hydroponic garden can make a difference in how well your plants grow. Over time, you are likely to find one or two media options you prefer. In the beginning you could experiment with a few options on a small scale before investing in a certain medium. For growing flowers, herbs, or vegetables on a small scale as a home gardener, you have an advantage. It is easier to try several mediums on a small scale. The right medium will provide root support and deliver a consistent ratio of oxygen and water to your plants for optimal growth.

Nutrient Solutions

High quality nutrient solutions are vital for the success of any garden. Fertilizers or nutrient solutions in a traditional garden depend on the soil to provide many micro nutrients and trace minerals for healthy plant growth. A nutrient solution designed for hydroponics must provide the right balance of nutrients including trace minerals in an easily absorbed compound. A lack of trace minerals or an imbalance of micro nutrients in your solution will hinder optimal plant growth.

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