Why Are My Plants Not Healthy And Not Growing?
Hi I’m Chris from Aqua Gardening
In this frequently asked questions video, I’m going to discuss the most common problems you run into when growing with hydroponics. The most common causes affecting plant health are either due to issues with your water, pests, disease, or other environmental factors. Follow these steps to figure out what you’re problem is.
Firstly, conduct a check of your water level in your system – are your water and air pump running, and are the plants’ roots moist? Plants grow so fast in hydroponics because the media is lighter and more porous than soil. But if you don’t have enough moisture in the root zone, the plants will get sick and die very quickly. As each root dries up, so do corresponding leaves.
So keep the whole root zone moist or immersed in water depending on your system.
When checking the water level, check the pH of the water too, with a drop tester or a digital pH meter. We sell both online, follow the link below.
Check the pH is at the right level for your plant, and adjust it using our guide to pH if it isn’t. At the same time, check the water temperature with the pH meter too.
Keeping it in the suitable range for the plant helps them absorb minerals faster, and keeps the root zone cool the way the plants need it.
Next are the nutrient levels. We can measure these with an EC meter, but ensure you are changing the water completely on a regular basis too. The longest the water should stay in your system is 3 to 4 weeks before a complete water change. With the digital EC meter, check the EC is in the right range for the type of plants you have and the size of the plants too. Your EC meter will tell you what nutrients you are deficient in. You can purchase nutrient additives using the product links below.
Next, check the leaves closely for pest or disease. Are there any spots on the leaves?
Check our guide to leaf deficiencies, and then the guide to pests. Diseases can also have the same appearance as pests, so consider using a magnifying glass, or LED eye loupe, to get a close up look at the leaf and figure out the problem more easily.
If it is possible, check the roots are pearly white at the same time – an off colour or brown means there is something going wrong.
We have detailed treatment solutions every pest and disease that can be found in our expert tips section.
Finally, but most importantly, consider your environmental factors. How much light is the plant getting? Is it too hot or too cold for the plant?
A lettuce only needs 3 hours of direct sun a day, and it should be shaded as the temperature rises in summer, as an ambient temperature about 25 degrees can make some varieties stress and go to seed. This has a dramatic effect on their yield, as only tiny leaves are produced. On the other hand, a tomato can easily drink 6 litres of water in a day on a Queensland summer’s day, so make sure you keep the water up to their roots so they can thrive in all that sun!
If you’re gardening indoors, 18 hours a day light is best for most plants, and reducing the length of the lights on period can send them into flowering and fruiting mode if timed right.
Unhealthy plants can be caused by a variety of reasons.
Keep watching our FAQ video guides to learn more, and we also offer a full range of hydroponics video training and troubleshooting in our members only area.
I’m Chris from Aqua Gardening, Safe healthy food that grows itself.