THE TOP 10 HYDROPONIC ADDITIVES FOR PLANTS
There are so many hydroponic additives out there for plants. But what actually are they and how do they improve your grow? Many expensive hydroponic additives are a waste of money, if not used along with the more important ones on this list. Aqua Gardening's list of the top 10 hydroponic additives for plants is rated with the most important at the top of the list, down to the least important at number 10. This list is stays the same for each type of grow media: coco, hydroton or clay balls, potting mix, professional soil or perlite. Bear in mind, regular system flushing is important with almost all additives and systems. See our article on flushing for more details.
1. The most vital Hydroponic Additive: Nutrients
Base nutrients are the foundation of your plant's diet. They are the basic plant food which will provide all the necessary elements for plant growth such as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Manganese, Zinc and some other minor elements. Nutrients are customised for growing methods, for example nutrients for Coco coir have more calcium and magnesium as these elements are absorbed by the coco fibres.
The most important hydroponic additive after the base nutrient are Seaweed or Kelp extracts which improve your plants immunity on a few fronts.
First, since it facilitates superior nutrient uptake and provides powerful plant hormones, it will make your plant healthier and more resistant to disease. Second, kelp contains some natural antibiotic properties, which can help in suppressing harmful bacteria.
The extra carbohydrates in seaweed extracts can be invaluable for increasing yield and overall quality. Best Product: H&G Amino treatment, Best value: Bloom Seaweed (for the Grow phase or leafy green plants) or Bloom Seafuel which targets the Flowering stage.
Strong vigorous roots are essential for supporting large healthy plants. Without developed roots the plant will start slowing its growth. Best Performing Root Stimulator: H&G Roots Excelurator. Best Value: Bloom Roots.
Enzymes break down old matter in your root zone and turn it into sugars and starches. Not only do they create healthy root zones but, they also help the transfer of nutrients to the plant.
Having a healthy root zone is similar to having a tidy work space, easy access to whatever you need, whenever. Best Performer and Best Value: Bloom Organic Sweetener.
Vitamins help a plant feel better when stressed, and keep a plant healthy. Vitamins will help with resistance to fungal rots and insect attacks for instance. While plants manufacture vitamins for themselves, if they have a supply of them, they can turn their energy to producing other elements they need, and thereby speed up growth. Best performer: H&G Amino Treatment. Other Vitamin supplements: Advanced Nutrient B52, Cyco B1 Boost, Bloom Seaweed/Seafuel.
The addition of amino acids to a hydroponic nutrient solution often has a dramatic effect on plant growth. Again, the secrets of amino acids lie in nature. As beneficial microorganisms grow and multiply in a healthy, organic soil, they produce enzymes that break down organic matter.
Both humic and fulvic acid are recommended for use in all stages of plant development. They are a great way to supercharge your plants, improve your soil and get more complete use of your nutrients. Give humic and fulvic acid a try if you want to really see what your plants are capable of! There are amino acids in many hydroponic additives, however to boost them the Best performer is H&G Amino Treatment. Best Value: Bloom Humate.
Have you ever been fighting a cold, not really become sick, but just been a little slowed down? This is what happens to a plant which is fed with an uncleansed water supply. With water free from pathogens (such as pythium) the plant can concentrate on growing rather than fighting off bad microorganisms in the root system.
If you keep your system and root zone really clean you will see an improvement in the plants vigour. Consider adding a water cleanser such as Microbial, Florakleen or H&G Drip Clean to your feed schedule.
Consider silica like a missing link between plant vitality, strength, resistance to infection, and increased harvests. The silica helps strengthen cells, and plants are much healthier from the continual addition of silica.
Ensure you have a highly soluble form and you will begin to see the effect from around 2 weeks onwards. House & Garden Amino Treatment is the easiest and best source of silica to use, however Cyco Silica and Bloom Silica are more concentrated. With Cyco or Bloom silica, add the silica first, adjust pH, then add nutrients and other additives. If it clouds up you need to start over!
Foliar spraying, although not a substitute for healthy grow media; can be beneficial when a plant is suffering from certain nutrient deficiencies. Foliar plant spray involves applying nutrients directly to a plant's leaves as opposed to putting it in the soil.
Foliar feeding is similar to humans putting an aspirin under their tongue; the aspirin is more readily absorbed into the body than it would be if it were swallowed. A plant takes nutrients through the leaf much quicker than it does through the root and stem. Foliar feeding is generally done in evening or just before lights off, since heat causes the pores on some species' leaves to close.
To make your plants greener (fix nitrogen and magnesium deficiencies), you will be amazed at what Accent's Green Up can do.
Why is this not the #2 hydroponic additive in the top 10. Flowering boosters are meant to take an already very healthy plant and make it better. If you add flowering boosters to a weak or distressed plant, it is not going to do anything but make things worse.
With proper use and timing boosters ARE invaluable in maximizing flower/fruit size and taste.
An improper balance or excess of nutrients can cause a number of problems including "root burn" or "nitrogen / nutrient burn". This causes the roots and leaf edges to take on a burnt appearance (yellow to black). If you are a grower who is already seeing this problem and are using "flowering boosters" or extra nutrients, you should stop immediately and flush the plant(s) with water to rid the excess.
For ease of use and great performance use Bio Diesel (more concentrated, 2ml/L) or Monsta Bud (10ml/L) throughout the flower stage. Use Bloom Phat and Bloom Ooze which impresses everyone with the quality. To target quantity, H&G Bud XL and Top Shooter will give the heaviest yields - make sure to watch the EC level.
Along with all the flowering additives, a short PK Boost of up to a week can provide amazing growth during the flower stage. Best Value: Bloom PK.