How to Make a Hydroponics Solution


Beginning hydroponic gardeners often purchase premixed solutions to use in their systems. However, you may wish to mix your own hydroponic solution to make a nutrient combination tailored to a specific plant, or to conduct some experiments in your garden. Check greenhouse supply, fertilizer or chemical companies for the nutritive salts needed for homemade solutions. Although there is no one perfect hydroponic solution, the Alabama Cooperative Extension offers the formula for a good general hydroponic solution for slow-growing plants, or plants growing in low light.

Step 1

Measure 10 gallons of water. Add 2 tsp. of potassium phosphate, 2 ½ tsp. potassium nitrate, 4 ½ tsp. calcium nitrate and 4 tsp. magnesium sulfate to the water and mix well to create solution 1.

Step 2

Mix 1 ¼ tsp. of boric acid and 1/10 tsp. magnesese chloride in 1 qt. (4 cups) of water. Measure out ½ cup of this solution and add it to solution 1.

Step 3

Stir ½ tsp. of chelated iron into 1 qt. of water in the small mixing container. Add 1 3/5 cups of this solution to solution 1. Mix well.

Step 4

Test the pH of solution 1. For most plants, a desirable pH level is between 5.5 and 6.5. If the pH is greater than 7, add a few drops of white vinegar to the solution and check the pH again. If the solution has a pH lower than 5, add a little bit of baking soda to increase the pH, stir and recheck the solution. Continue making adjustments and checking pH until you achieve the desired pH level.

Step 5

Add the solution to your hydroponic garden, as needed. You may reuse this solution, applying one to three times per day, for up to 14 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Large container
  • Small container
  • Potassium phosphate
  • Potassium nitrate
  • Calcium nitrate
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Stirring stick
  • Boric acid
  • Manganese chloride
  • Chelated iron
  • pH meter
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda


  • Alabama Cooperative Extension: Hydroponics for Home Gardeners
  • University of Florida Extension: Building a Floating Hydroponic Garden
Keywords: homemade hydroponic solution, hydroponic growing solution, make hydroponic solution

About this Author

Ann Wolters, who has been a freelance writer, consultant, and writing coach for the past year and a half, has had her writing published in "The Saint Paul Almanac," and in magazines such as "Inventing Tomorrow" and "Frontiers." She earned a master’s degree in English as a second language from the University of Minnesota and taught English as a foreign language for nearly seven years.