Hydroponic gardening is a method of growing plants without the use of soil, according to the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension. A plant needs water, air, light and nutrients to grow and thrive. The nutrients, in hydroponic gardening, are in the water reservoir. The nutrient-rich water continually circulates around the plant's root system, which removes the nutrients it needs to root, grow, flower or fruit.
The root stimulator nutrient solution is the first solution you will use in a hydroponic unit. This solution stimulates seeds, cuttings and young immature plants to form strong roots. A good root system is essential to combating diseases such as root lice and fusarium in hydroponic grown plants. Root stimulators do more than just create a healthy root system, which gives you healthy foliage, they also help break down dead and decaying root matter. Once properly broken down, the nutritional value of this organic matter is readily available to your plant.
The growth stimulator is the second nutrient solution you will use in a hydroponic unit. As its name implies, it stimulates accelerated plant growth. A good growth stimulator solution will contain micronutrients, proteins, amino acids, and bacteria necessary for healthy plant growth. Pests or disease problems generally do not affect healthy plants. This is why adequate nutrition is essential.
The bloom stimulator is the third, and last, nutrient solution that goes into a hydroponic unit. This nutrient solution promotes the growth of flower cells by increasing the plant's sugar molecules and their transport around the plant. The end result is a larger, more branched root system that is better able to absorb both water and nutrients. Once the plant has all the nutrition it needs to thrive, dense buds and increased yields will result.
pH Up, pH Down
The pH of the nutrient and water solution will range somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5, for most plants. Daily pH testing is essential because if the pH of the water and nutrient solution is too low, or too high, the plants will not be able to absorb what they need to thrive. Use a solution known as pH Up to raise the pH level if it is too low; use pH Down to lower the pH level if it is too high.