Maintaining a proper pH is one the of most important tasks when hydroponic gardening. A plant needs the pH of the nutrient solution to be within a certain range or it cannot take in the minerals. While the best pH range depends on the plants you’re growing, most plants do well when the pH of the nutrient solution is kept in the range of 5.5 to 6.5.
Measuring the pH of your solution is not difficult. There are actually a few different ways you can do it. Here are the 3 different ways you can measure the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution.
Electronic Meter To Measure Hydroponic pH
The most accurate way of measuring the pH of your nutrient solution is by using an electronic pH meter. There are a variety of different pH meters ranging in size and price, but as a hobby gardener, I suggest a simpler pen-like version. These pens come with an LCD screen that will show you the exact pH measurement.
To keep an accurate reading, you will need to keep your electronic ph meter calibrated, but the process is easy to do. pH meters are sensitive to elements and need to be cleaned and stored in a dry place.
My Top Pick
Litmus Test Strips To Measure Hydroponic pH
Testing your hydroponic nutrient solution with litmus test strips can be one of the cheapest ways of checking the pH. The strips contain a pH-sensitive dye that changes color when dipped into your nutrient solution. The strip is then compared to a color shade chart to determine the pH reading.
Measuring pH with test strips can sometimes be difficult due to the fact that the color differences can be subtle. Since it’s hard to distinguish the exact color the strip is giving, it is a less accurate of measurement. With that being said, you can still get a pretty good idea if the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solutions is in the area it needs to be.
Liquid Test Kit To Measure Hydroponic H
While a little more expensive than the litmus test strips, using a liquid pH test kit to measure your hydroponic nutrient solution is a little more accurate. Many are familiar with this type of pH testing if they have owned a pool.
The liquid pH test kits work by placing a few drops of a pH-sensitive dye into a small amount of the nutrient solution. The color of the resulting liquid is then compared to a chart showing what color represents which color of pH. As with litmus strips, there are some drawbacks to this type of testing. Color shades can vary depending on how much dye is used, the lighting and color shades can be open to interpretation.
While some methods are more accurate than others, all three ways to measure the pH of your nutrient solution will give you an idea a general range of where your pH is. If your pH measurements of your nutrient solutions aren’t falling in that 5.5 to 6.5 range don’t panic. It’s easy to adjust the pH of the nutrient solution back to proper levels.