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How to fertilise plants in water? AKA Passive Hydro

We get asked this so much that a blog post about it would have been a smart move about two years ago - but we're here now and its finally happening. So if you've ever asked us about using our plant food for hydro plants before well, this one is for you.

What is passive hydro?

Passive hydro (or passive hydroponics) is a type of hydroponic growing method that requires no recirculating systems, and instead supplies water only beneath the plant roots to be used by the plants. Think, a plant with no soil placed in a vase. The nutrient-rich water remains in the system until it’s absorbed by the plants. It is one of the simplest forms of hydroponic gardening due to its lack of moving parts or complicated setups.

The key advantage of passive hydroponics is its simplicity. You don’t need a power source or pumps for it to work. Also, since you don’t to manage any pumps or parts, maintenance and upkeep are minimal. As long as the nutrient solution is kept at the correct strength, your plants should do well over time. You do need to make sure you change the water on a regular basis however (we'll get into that below).

Another benefit of passive hydroponics is the low cost. You only need to buy a small container, such as an aquarium or large bucket, and some nutrient solution. The entire setup can be completed for much less than other types of hydroponic systems. And while we shouldn't be plugging this too much, it does mean no need to fork out on quality potting mixes from your favourite plant care brand.

Passive hydroponics is ideal for beginners who want to get started with hydroponic growing and for those who don’t have the time or space to maintain a more complex system. While passive hydroponics may not be as efficient or provide as much yield as other systems, it can still produce healthy plants with minimal effort and expense.

How to transfer your plants into a passive hydro set up?

If you're keen to take the plunge and go full soil-less, then there a few steps you'll need to take to ensure your plant adjusts ok. 

1. Liberate Your Plant From Soil's Prison:

It’s time to free your plant from the restrictive clutches of soil! Start by loosening up around it with a trowel or your hands if the earth is soft enough. When you finally liberate your plant, take care not to cause any damage to the roots. 

2. Wash Away All Grime and Dirt:

After you've set your plant free from the pot and shaken away the bulk of the loose potting mix, get rid of any remnants of soil left on its roots. Massage the dirt out with your hands, or dip it in a bucket of room-temperature water to completely remove it all if necessary. Now your plant is clean enough for the next steps

3. Hose Down Your Plant:

It's not just dirt that needs to be gone — pests can also cling to your plant, so it’s time to hose down the plant and its roots with water or spray them clean. Don't forget to use some neem oil afterwards.

4. Plug Your Plant Into the Hydroponic System:

You’ve got your plant all clean and ready — time to plug it into its new home! Carefully lay out the roots in the hydroponic chamber - aka the vase/pot/container before adding the medium around it. You want those roots to be surrounded by nutrient-bearing material at all times for maximum growth, so make sure you have it covered. 

5. Plant Safely in the Medium:

This step is only if you're using a soilless medium like leca or perlite. Once your roots are spread and secure, fill the hydroponic chamber with the growing medium until your plant is safe and stable. Now that everything is ready to go, all you need to do is add water!

6. Pour Water Into Your Reservoir:

Fill up the reservoir with the water your plant needs, but don’t let it overwhelm it. If you need extra medium to keep the plant safe and secure, add that too before moving onto the next step!

7. Nourish Your Plant With Nutrients:

Now for the final step — it's time to feed your plant! Follow the instructions you’ve been given by the manufacturer to make sure you don’t give too little or too much. If necessary, check in with your preferred brand. We get a lot of emails about this and are more than happy to help

And voila, your plant is now ready for its hydroponic journey!

After it is positioned in the container, regular water changes and nutrient solution monitoring will help keep the plant healthy and thriving. We suggest changing the water every other week, although you could get away with longer (if you were planning a holiday, for example!)

How to Fertilise Your Hydro Plants?

This is the easy part. We suggest adding 1/2-1ml of our indoor plant food with every water change. 

Happy Hydro!




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