Hydroponic Solution Ingredients

Hydroponics is a system of growing plants with their roots immersed in a nutrient solution. The solution provides essential minerals needed by plants for healthy growth, as well as optimum fruit and vegetable production. Pre-mixed solutions usually contain three primary nutrients, three secondary nutrients and up to seven micronutrients. Plants also absorb and use carbon, hydrogen and oxygen from water and air.


Water is the base of all nutrient solutions. It should be pure and free from contaminants. The water should be tested to determine if any nutrients are already present, so the nutrient solution could be adjusted to prevent over fertilization.

Primary Nutrients

Nitrogen (N) promotes strong stem and leaf growth. Phosphorus (P) is used in the growth of roots, and the development of flowers and fruit. Potassium (K), or potash, aids in growth and disease resistance.

Secondary Nutrients

Calcium (CA) promotes root growth, and aids in the production of pollen and the absorption of potassium. Magnesium (Mg) is an essential part of chlorophyll and aids in the transportation of phosphorus through the plant. Sulphur (S) aids in the production of glucose and proteins, and helps the plant use phosphorus more efficiently.


Boron (B) aids in cell division and metabolic functions. Cobalt (Co) aids in shoot development. Copper (Cu) is essential to the production of chlorophyll, and aids in photosynthesis and respiration. Iron (Fe) is also essential to chlorophyll production, and aids in metabolic functions, photosynthesis, and protein synthesis. Manganese (Mn) and Molybdenum (Mo) also aid in metabolic functions and help the plant absorb nitrogen. In addition, Manganese aids in photosynthesis. Zinc (Zn) is an essential part of enzymes and aids in the essential functions of the plant.

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About this Author

Melody Lee worked as a newspaper reporter, copywriter and editor for 5 years. In addition, she has edited magazine articles and books. Lee holds a degree in landscape design and is a Florida master gardener. She has more than 25 years of gardening experience, which includes working at nurseries and greenhouses.