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About Hydroponic Fertilizers.

The 14 Essential Minerals

Plants require a mix of both macronutrients and micronutrients to thrive. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. Macronutrients:
    • Primary: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Often referred to as N-P-K, these are the three main nutrients you’ll see listed on most fertilizer labels.
    • Secondary: Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S).
  2. Micronutrients:
    • Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), and Nickel (Ni).

Understanding Fertilizer Labels:

When choosing a hydroponic fertilizer, it’s crucial to understand the label. A label might read “10-20-10”, which represents the N-P-K ratio. This means:

  • 10% Nitrogen
  • 20% Phosphorus
  • 10% Potassium

The remaining 60% consists of other nutrients and filler material.

Monitoring and Adjusting:

It’s essential to monitor the nutrient solution’s pH and electrical conductivity (EC) regularly. The pH level affects nutrient absorption, while EC measures the solution’s salt concentration, indicating nutrient strength.

  • pH Levels: Most hydroponic plants prefer a pH range of 5.5 to 6.5. Outside this range, certain nutrients become less available, leading to deficiencies.
  • EC Levels: If the EC is too high, it indicates an excess of nutrients, which can lead to nutrient burn. If it’s too low, your plants may not be getting enough nutrients.

Water Quality:

The quality of the water used in hydroponics plays a significant role. Hard water or water with high mineral content can interfere with nutrient absorption. Using reverse osmosis water or rainwater can help ensure a purer starting point for your nutrient solution.