When first getting started, it can be difficult to choose what nutrient regimen will work best for your hobby hydroponic garden. There are many different brands offering one, two, or three-part solutions.
Here is what you need to know about hydroponic nutrients for your hydroponic garden.
What To Consider When Choosing A Hydroponic Nutrient Regimen
Ease Of Use
An easy-to-use nutrient regimen is important, especially for those that are new to hydroponics. When looking for a nutrient regimen you’re going to come across products that are one, two, and three parts. There are also liquid nutrients and dry mix.
I suggest starting with a one-part nutrient solution to keep things simple. Liquid nutrients are easy to use, especially for smaller hydroponic gardens. As you learn more you can try out different nutrient regimens and tailor them to your plant’s needs.
Hydroponic nutrient prices can vary across the board. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a quality nutrient solution for your hydroponic vegetable garden.
Keep in mind that many nutrient regimens are geared towards growing cannabis. These businesses rely on the extreme quality and since they produce profit, companies will charge more for the nutrients. Don’t feel like you have to spend top-of-the-line money on a hydroponic nutrient regimen for your hobby hydroponic vegetable garden.
While you don’t need to spend a whole lot of money on nutrients, I recommend buying your nutrient solution from a reputable hydroponic company. You may find costume liquid and dry mixes for sale on the internet, but you often don’t know what you’re really getting.
Plants need specific nutrients in different amounts for healthy growth. You may not notice the difference in the beginning but by harvest time will definitely understand.
Dyna-Gro is one of my favorite nutrient regimens and the one I recommend for beginners. Their products are affordable, offered in several different quantities (8oz to 275 Gallons) and most of all easy to use.
Dyna-Gro wanted to keep things simple, believing that you shouldn’t need 8 to 12 products for growing a hydroponic plant. Their nutrient regimen is simplified with one-part solutions. This nutrient regimen is really easy to use and will grow any plant you’d like. a one size fits all.
Since Dyna-Gro nutrients are one-part solutions there is no mixing up nutrients. Just add the recommended nutrient amount and stir.
Dyna-Gro offers 2 options for vegetative growth:
Grow (7-9-5) and the improved version Foilage Pro (9-3-6). I use Foliage Pro for the plants that I harvest in their vegetative stages such as lettuce and herbs. I use Grow for my plants that will eventually flower and fruit. Which formula you use is a matter of preference as either will produce great vegetation.
For the flowering and fruiting stages of the plant’s cycle, there is Bloom (3-12-6).
General Hydroponics Flora Series
The General Hydroponics Flora series was developed in 1974 and is still one of the best nutrient regimens on the market. The is a 3 part nutrient solution. While not the easiest to use for beginners it allows you to tailor your nutrient regimen for the specific type of plant that you’re growing.
NASA even uses General Hydroponics Flora Series for their hydroponic gardens. Good enough for them, should be good enough for my hobby hydroponics right? If you’re looking to get the most out of your garden I would recommend the Flora Series.
The Flora Series Nutrient Regimen
Since the Flora Series is a three-part nutrient solution you will need to mix the hydroponic nutrients together. It’s important to follow the directions and add the nutrients in a specific order. You can also check out this General Hydroponics Flora Series nutrient schedule.
The three different parts of the Flora Series are:
Flora Micro (5-0-1) is important for all stages of the plant’s growth.
FloraGro (2-1-6) is geared towards vegetative growth.
Flora Bloom (0-5-4) is geared towards the flowering and fruiting stages of the plant’s life cycle.
Fox Farm Liquid Nutrient Trio
While not as popular as general hydroponics, Fox Farm has a strong following. It’s hard to find a negative review about Fox Farm, those that use it love the performance.
The Trio Nutrient Regimen
Since this is a three-part nutrient solution you will need to mix them together. For more info on nutrient amounts used, check out the Fox Farm Trio nutrient schedule.
The three different parts of the Trio nutrient regimen are:
Grow Big (3-2-6) which is geared towards vegetative growth and promotes branching.
Tiger Bloom (2-8-4) is added into the regimen at the first side of flowering to increase flowers and your harvest.
Big Bloom (0 -0.5-0.7) which is geared towards the flowering and fruiting stages of the plant’s life cycle.
Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect Grow, Micro, Bloom
Advanced Nutrients is one of the more expensive brands and is geared to produce higher quality. They offer a three-part solution that has an interesting benefit, automatically adjusting and balancing the pH of your hydroponic nutrient solution for a week.
According to Advanced nutrients, there is no need to purchase a pH meter or pH up and down. That adds up to saving time, money, and headaches.
pH Perfect Grow, Micro, Bloom Nutrient Regimen
As with the other three-part nutrient solutions, this regimen will need to be mixed. Advanced nutrients doesn’t have a feeding schedule like the others but do offer a nutrient calculator.
The three different parts of this regimen are:
Micro which provides nutrients at all stages of growth.
Grow which is geared toward vegetative growth.
Bloom which is geared towards the flowering and fruiting stages of the plant’s life cycle.
While the difference may be noticeable between the different nutrient regimens when used commercially, hobby gardeners may find it harder to see. I recommend choosing the simplest nutrient regimen as a beginner, as this will build your confidence in growing using hydroponics and allow you to learn about different plant’s nutrient needs.
As your confidence and knowledge grow it will be easier to switch to a more complex nutrient regimen that you can tailor to the specific needs of the plant you’re growing.