Hydroponic cultivation characteristics and types

The   hydroponics is becoming stronger in society and as a way to grow. It has the peculiarity that nutrients are optimized, making the most of the resources that are used.

We discuss the various hydroponic systems and methods for designing a hydroponic system at home.

If I told you now what hydroponics is, I would surely not tell you anything new since there is a lot of information about this pioneering system. We prefer to adapt the system to home growing.

There are so many ways to build or design a hydroponic growing system, and the limit is probably money or imagination. In our case we are going to go to simple terms that offer good results.


We can differentiate between the normal hydroponic system, which is one in which there is a medium or substrate where the culture is available.

But there is also the pure hydroponic system , where there is no substrate except a bag where the cultivar is held, and where the roots are outdoors and in contact with the liquid nutrient that is recirculated.

Apart from this, the two systems can be classified as open or closed systems.

In the open system, the nutrients circulate through each irrigation cycle. In the closed system, the unabsorbed nutrient solution is recycled and will be part of the next irrigation cycle.



We forget the land and look for a container.

The containers can be varied. From flowerpots or pots, wooden or plastic boxes, trays, plastic bags or sleeves, children’s bathtubs, cans split in half, yogurt containers and a long etcetera.

The size of the container will be what you need and will depend on the number of plants you want to have, always respecting the minimum planting framework of each species.

If you are starting out in hydroponics for the first time, it is recommended that you start with small trays. With time and experience, you can opt for 1.5 square meter wooden boxes where the volume of plants will be high.

There will be time to complicate life!

The size we have left to chance and to the taste of the consumer. Regarding the depth, having 10-15 cm is enough, with some exceptions (such as carrots).

To protect the container and prevent leaks on the bottom of the container and piercing the outlet holes, a plastic will be provided.

It has to be smooth and without wrinkles and nailed to the wood at the top. If your container has splinters or sharp surfaces you can either sand them down or protect them with another thicker plastic.

Keep in mind that all containers must have 1 or 2 exit holes if you are going to grow on solid substrate. You can arrange a bucket or container to recover the nutrient solution, or by means of a pump you can recirculate the nutritive solution back to the container.


The substrate to be used can be of different types.

The most used are the following:

  • Sawdust and shavings
  • Sand or gravel (beach sand is not worth it!)
  • Expanded polystyrene
  • Blond peat
  • Vermiculita
  • Coconut fiber
  • Pumice
  • Pearlite
  • Rock wool
  • Rice or coffee husk
  • Synthetic foams (synthetic substrates


Nutrient solutions for hydroponics can be of various natures. They are usually composed of mineral salts and are liquid or dissolved in water.

complete solution should have the following compounds: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese, copper, molybdenum, boron, and zinc.

An example are two concentrated solutions, one A (with essential minerals in a large proportion) and another B (with minerals in a lower proportion):

Solution A:  5 L of solution

  • Potassium nitrate 550 g
  • Ammonium nitrate 350 g
  • Superfosfato triple 180 g

Solution B: 2 L of solution

  • Magnesium sulfate 220 g
  • Iron chelate 6% Fe 17 g
  • Micronutrient Solution 400 ml
    • Manganese Sulfate 5 g
    • Boric Acid 3 g
    • Zinc Sulphate 1.7 gCopper Sulphate 1 g
    • Ammonium Molybdate 0.2 g
  • 1 liter of distilled water


Bechart and Connors (New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station)

  • 200 liters of water
  • Ammonium sulfate: 30 g
  • Monopotassium phosphate: 57 g
  • Magnesium sulfate: 114 g
  • Calcium nitrate: 486 g

University of California College of Agriculture

  • 200 L of water
  • Calcium nitrate: 90 g
  • potassium treatment: 90 g
  • Monoammonium phosphate: 20 g
  • Magnesium sulfate: 30 g


In hydroponic cultivation, pH is very important. You must control the nutrient solution to adjust it to the demands of the crop. Here we show you a list of crops for each pH value

  • Very acidic pH (4.5-5.5): sweet potato, lily, rose, camellia, orchid, gardenias, oak, azalea, fern, rhododendron.
  • Acidic pH (5.5-6):  dahlia, mint, immortelle, hydrangea, turnip, watermelon, tomato, carnation, watermelon.
  • Slightly acidic pH (6.7-7): cauliflower, sunflower, orange tree, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, narcissus, broad beans, passionflower, celery, hyacinths, spinach, saffron, lily, radishes, cabbage, tulip, corn, strawberries, begonia, beans , violet, onion, carrot, asparagus, pepper, lentil.
  • Slightly basic pH (7-7.5): cherry, melon, wheat, alfalfa, plum, papaya, oats, raspberry, potato, pumpkin, cucumber, currant, apple tree, pear.

This is the basic methodology to start your journey in hydroponic cultivation. We would love for you to tell us about your experiences and if you have any problems, do not hesitate to ask us.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *