Ebb and Flow Hydroponics


Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, instead using a nutrient solution to supply the plants with a steady supply of food for healthy growth. The ebb and flow system of hydroponics is one of the simplest to make and is relatively inexpensive.

How it Works

An ebb and flow, or a flood and drain system, works by pumping nutrient solution from a reservoir container into a container that holds your plants. The hydroponic solution fills the container holding your plants up to a certain level, then drains back down into the reservoir to start the cycle all over again.


For an ebb and flow system, you need an air pump to move nutrient solution from a reservoir up to a container that holds your plants above it, pots for your plants, and perlite or other growing medium (the material the plants will sit in). You will also need piping, such as PVC, to drain the nutrient solution.

How Long

The container is flooded with nutrient solution so that the growing medium can absorb a small portion of it and feed it to the roots of the plants in the container. A cycle of the ebb and flow system should not touch the roots for longer than a 20 to 30 minute period before draining again.

Nutrient Solution

The nutrient solution of the ebb and flow system should be chosen for the type of plants you are growing, as well as the stage of growth they are in. Nutrient solutions are designed for growth stages, where the plant is still developing, and fruiting stages, where the plant is flowering or producing edible fruit or vegetable.


For the plants to grow properly, you will need to have a grow lamp that will provide your plants with the needed light. If you are growing in a room that does not get direct sunlight, you probably will need to run the lamps at least 18 hours a day.

Keywords: ebb and flow hydroponics, hydroponic system, DIY hydroponics

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on eHow.com, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.