How Does Hydroponics Work?

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. Here are some key points about how hydroponics works:

  • Plants are grown in an inert medium like perlite, clay pellets, or rockwool that provides support and air pockets for the roots. This anchors the plants and holds the root systems in place.
  • The nutrient solution contains all the mineral elements that plants normally extract from soil. This includes macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur as well as micronutrients like iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, and molybdenum.
  • The nutrient solution is regularly circulated past the root zone, often using a pump and irrigation system. This provides the roots constant access to water and nutrients.
  • As the plants grow, they absorb the minerals and nutrients from the solution. So the pH and electric conductivity of the solution must be carefully monitored and adjusted to optimize growth.
  • Since there is no soil, the root systems get excellent oxygenation. And with precise control over the nutrient solution, hydroponic growers can balance the exact amounts of nutrients, water, and oxygen plants receive. This helps maximize growth rates and yields.
  • Grow lights are used in most hydroponic systems to provide the intensity and spectral qualities of sunlight plants need for photosynthesis and growth.

So in summary, hydroponics relies on giving plants everything they need (water, nutrients, oxygen) in the easiest way possible – through a enriched water solution that bathes the roots directly. This allows growers great control and can lead to very fast, abundant plant growth.

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Miles Alexander Alvarez

Miles Alexander Alvarez, the founder of, is a hydroponic gardening expert with over 26 years of experience in the industry. Holding degrees in Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture from UC Davis and Cornell University, he has dedicated his career to advancing modern agriculture through innovative hydroponic solutions. Currently based in Sri Lanka, Miles works with a leading agricultural company to implement sustainable farming practices. As a published author and recognized authority in the field, his insights and expertise make an invaluable resource for hydroponic gardening enthusiasts worldwide.

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