Gardening, Grow Your Own, Guest Posts, How To, Indoor Plants, Plants, Watering

hydroponic gardening mistakes

When starting out a hydroponic garden, it’s important to consider vital aspects that might seem unimportant but keep your plants healthy. A small mistake such as not cleaning your tools can have disastrous consequences by infecting healthy plants with pests or diseases.

Alongside guaranteeing that you introduce the right hydroponic nutrients, you also need to keep the following common mistakes in mind as a beginner:

Mistake #1: Not paying attention to the soil’s pH

Nutrient solutions and pH levels need to be monitored; if you fail to see what kind of soil you have, you may kill your plants due to unbalanced pH. An optimal level is necessary, so your plants don’t suffer nutrient deficiencies. You can easily find a pH testing kit or make your own to measure your soil’s pH levels.

For a DIY testing kit, all you need is water, baking soda, two soil samples, white vinegar, and two containers. Add vinegar to one of the samples and, if it fizzes or bubbles, then your soil is alkaline. Should you not see a reaction, add baking soda and water to the other sample and, should it fizz and bubble, your soil is acidic.

Mistake #2: Insufficient lighting and air flow

Plants need adequate lighting to thrive and your hydroponic garden is no different. As a beginner hydroponic gardener, you might not notice some clear signs that you’re not providing enough lighting, such as weak growth or no growth at all. Likewise, inexpensive lights may also underperform. Don’t expect natural sunlight to be enough – you’ll need hydroponic lighting for healthy plants.

Air flow and good ventilation are vital to keep pests away and for plants to not deteriorate. Regardless of your greenhouse space, you’ll need a fan or a blower that ensures proper air flow and air exchange.

hydroponic lighting

Mistake #3: Overwatering

Watering your plants is essential, however, overwatering can be a big issue for beginners. Continuous overwatering of plants leads to waterlogging and eventually you’ll notice leaves drooping, wilting, and plants’ growth stopping.
If not addressed, overwatering can lead to root rot and kill your plants. Wait for the top layer of the soil to feel dry before watering again.

Mistake #4: Unhygienic conditions

Keeping surroundings and tools appropriately sanitised is an important step to keep pests and diseases at bay. Debris or dead plant matter are commonly left behind, alongside non-sterile equipment and we floors. These elements can cause fungal or bacterial growth, which might settle in your plants.

    • Dispose of plant waste
    • Clean and sterilise tools, system equipment, and containers
    • Clean and dry floors and surfaces

Mistake #5: Using the wrong plant food

It can be extremely tempting to use the same plant feed for all plants, however, not all fertilisers and feeds have the same nutrients and dosages. You may have chosen a plant feed that won’t dilute properly, leading to tubes and drains to be clogged in your hydroponic system.

In addition, you may introduce nutrients to the system that cause the soil to either become too acidic or too alkaline for plants to thrive. You also need to ensure that you don’t overfeed your plants, as you can cause fungal accumulation and salt deposits to form.

Sterilised Compost

Mistake #6: Not placing new plants in quarantine

Purchasing and growing new plants is always exciting, but it can lead you to eagerly place all plants together and accidentally introducing pests or diseases in your growing system. All new plants should be quarantined in a specific location until you can be absolutely sure that no pests or diseases have infected it.

This area can also serve as a plant hospital, where you can place any affected plants to keep healthy plants from being contaminated. Following simple steps can make a big difference in helping your plants to grow healthily and happily.

Craig HollandCraig Holland is the brand marketing manager at Plant-Magic. Although his initial dream was to become a pilot, he settled for the lively and vivacious world of plants. He has years of experience in caring for plants and writing about it and when he’s not doing that he can be found eating super noodles and cheering for Liverpool FC.

Indoor, Indoor Plants, Megan, Plants

Indoor Greenery

2018 lifestyle trends have seen the inside go out and the outside come in. Today we will be tackling the latter. Indoor greenery is becoming all the more popular, with people turning their houses into living jungles with a realm of houseplants, from the ordinary to the exotic.

Before you jump onto pinterest to check out some aesthetic inspo, read on to discover the real benefits of placing plants within your home, and the different plant types you can watch flourish without even stepping outside.

Benefits

Indoor Greenery - Benefits

As you probably know, plants reap way more benefits than just looking pretty. Being in and around nature can do wonders for your health and wellbeing. People surrounded by plants are also believed to be more productive and creative.

Plants such as the spider plant and aloe vera are even proven to clean the air: especially beneficial for people living in small apartments, or built up areas, where air pollution is already worse than average.

Types of Indoor Greenery

Low Maintenance Plants

Indoor Greenery - Aloe Vera

We’ll start with the easy ones. If you’re already a busy bee and don’t have time to tend to indoor plants day and night, plants such as parlor palm, dragon tree, snake plant or aloe would be great. All are easy to grow, require a low amount of sunlight, and limited watering. They are near impossible to kill and should survive well with little attention. 

Cacti

Indoor Greenery - Cacti

Ah, cacti. The plant is viewed by many as indestructible, and everyone wants to touch, regardless of their grizzly appearance. Unfortunately, they are not immortal when given too little care. You should be able to keep them alive and well by not over-watering, ensuring very good drainage and investing in specialist cactus compost.

Indoor Greenery - Flowering Cactus

Interestingly, all cactus plants flower, some producing impressive colourful displays. To encourage flowering you should allow the cactus to follow its natural growth cycle. An older cactus will not flower, because it has learnt not to. Place cacti away from sunlight during winter and cease watering – almost putting the plant into hibernation – then bring out in springtime to watch bloom and colour.

Succulents

Indoor Greenery - Cacti

Succulents seem to be everywhere at the moment. Like cacti, they are deemed to be an easy, hardwearing plant. But be warned, they are tricky (but not impossible) thing to grow indoors.

It is best to go for varieties of succulent that are green in colour, as they don’t require as much sunlight as their colourful counterparts. Haworthia and Gasteria are varieties that match this specification well. If succulents tickle your fancy as your next indoor greenery venture, be sure to check out our full post on growing succulents indoors.

Palm Plants

Indoor Greenery - Palm Plants

Palm plants are on the pricey side of house plants, but their grandeur can really spruce up the look of your living room or office space.

The parlor palm is the most well known palm to be grown indoors. Note that they are slow growers. You need a bit of patience, but given a few years they can grow 3ft or more in height. They are relatively easy to grow and take care of. Parlor palms do not require massive of amounts of light and are happy to be placed in a shaded room. Be careful not to over-water, as this will kill your palm off. instead feed it small amounts of water when the soil feels dry.

With the benefits that come with having plants in your home, along with the rewardness of seeing something grow in front of your eyes, what are you waiting for? This is definitely a trend we’ll be jumping onto!

Megan at PrimroseMegan works in the Primrose marketing team. When she is not at her desk you will find her half way up a hill in the Chilterns
or enjoying the latest thriller series on Netflix. Megan also enjoys cooking vegetarian feasts with veggies from her auntie’s vegetable garden.

See all of Megan’s posts.