This is a diagram of a deep water culture (DWC) hydroponics system

What Is Deep Water Culture (DWC) Hydroponics

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Deep water culture hydroponics is a popular method for at-home gardeners. Not only is it effective, but it’s an extremely easy hydroponic system to assemble and maintain. For those that are new to hydroponics, using deep water culture hydroponics is a great place to start. Don’t let the ease of use fool you, this method of hydroponics is extremely effective.

What Is An Example Of A Deep Water Culture Hydroponics System?

For the simplest deep water culture hydroponic systems, you can look at the bubble bucket system. I’ve had great success growing hydroponic tomatoes in 5 gallon hydroponic buckets. With deep culture, the reservoir is filled with water and hydroponic nutrients to form your hydroponic solution. A hole is drilled into the lid of your container big enough for your net pot to set in. The nutrient solution should not reach all the way to the top of the net pot. You want to leave the bottom of your plant stem dry.

With deep water culture hydroponic systems, you don’t have to worry about using a grow medium that holds a bunch of moisture. I’ve used river rock and pebbles in my net pots with no issues. Depending on what you’re growing, it might be good to use a grow medium with some weight to it. With larger plants, it helps prevent tipping.

Deep Water Culture DWC Hydroponics

What Makes Deep Water Culture Hydroponics So Successful?

In addition to hydroponic nutrients, another major key to deep water culture hydroponics is the amount of oxygen the plant receives. The amount of small particle oxygen the plant’s roots receive is a major factor that makes deep water culture hydroponic systems so successful. Oxygen is essential for plant growth and it will need to be provided to the roots.

In most deep water culture hydroponic systems, an aquarium pump is used along with an air stone to provide oxygen to the plant roots. I would recommend using a larger air stone; the more bubbles you can make the better. The root mass of your plant will become large and you want your bubbles to go over as much of the roots as possible.

What are Some Disadvantages of Deep Water Culture?

There are a couple of things to watch for when gardening using deep water culture hydroponic systems. Especially since your plant’s roots will be sitting in the hydroponic nutrient solution at all times, make sure you’re not exposing them to too powerful of a nutrient solution.  Too much concentration can fry the roots causing nutrient lockout.

Another small issue I’ve had is checking the plant’s roots or changing to water, especially once the plant becomes full size. I recommend using a drain system to remove the water from the reservoir. Also setting up a place to set your system’s lid where the plant’s roots can dangle and not get crushed is a good idea. The air pump in deep water culture systems should run 24 hours a day, stoppage for a longer period will drown the plants could result in death.

2 Answers

  1. Chad
    April 14, 2020 at 9:14 am

    I really liked your article, being new to hydroponics
    It’s hard to get good information out there a lot of online info I was reading was just trying to sell me different type of kits.
    I look forward to following your articles

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