The Disadvantages of Hydroponics


Hydroponics may be one of the latest technologies for growing plants and represents a truly revolutionary approach, but it is not without its drawbacks. While hydroponics allows you to grow plants in poor soil or no soil at all, it is quite costly, making the food grown often not worth the expense. Further, very few people truly understand the method, which can lead to mistakes in the production process.


By far, the biggest disadvantage to hydroponics is the cost involved. Growing plants this way takes a lot of investment in hydroponic irrigation systems, automatic fertilizer systems, lights and an indoor environment in which to grow plants. A garden costing $200 in a traditional setting could end up costing thousands in a hydroponic environment.


In addition to the overall cost, the setup of a hydroponic system is more difficult than that of a traditional garden. Lines must be run and there needs to be a system in place to deliver the water and provide the nutrients through the water supply. This can all be done through automatic means, but setting it up requires a technical knowledge not many people have. Therefore, outside help may be needed to complete the process.


The soil is a natural barrier for disease trying to spread from one host to the other. Using an irrigation and fertilization system where all plants share the same line or the same large container makes it easier for some diseases to spread. Infected plants should be removed as soon as they are discovered.


Hydroponics is a relatively new way of gardening so the learning curve is going to be steeper. Traditional gardens, while they may not require any less knowledge than hydroponic methods, are more familiar to most people. Those who are used to traditional gardens may find the benchmarks they use to be unreliable in hydroponics.

Environmental Risk to Plants

Plants grown in a hydroponic environment usually have a very controlled and fairly sterile atmosphere, compared to their outside counterparts. However, if the systems malfunction, plants could face extreme hardships. For example, if power is lost, adverse conditions often affect hydroponic plants more than others, simply because these plants have never had to deal with harsh conditions before. Thus, in order to completely ensure good growth, a backup power supply, such as a generator, is a good idea.

Keywords: hydroponics, plants, indoor gardening, hydroponic disadvantages

About this Author

Kenneth Black has been a freelance writer since 2008. He currently works as a staff writer for "The Times Republican" in Central Iowa. He has written extensively on a variety of topics, including business, politics, family life and travel. Black holds a bachelor's degree in business marketing from the University of Phoenix.