Answers to Some of the Most Commonly Asked Questions About Hydroponics

Hydroponics refers to growing plants in a solution of water rather than in soil. The water solution will contain nutrients that are added and which are usually gently washed over the plant roots at regular intervals, rather than the plants just soaking in water. A hydroponics system is very easy to make; you can even cut a PVC pipe to accommodate your plants, buy a grow light and some nutrient solution, and have a simple hydroponics system in your home within minutes! If you're thinking about hydroponics for any reason, note a few questions you might have about the process.

1. Can any plant be grown with hydroponics? 

There is a variety of water-based solutions you use for hydroponics so that they can support virtually any type of plant or flower. However, note that you need to also mimic the ideal growing conditions for a plant; as an example, if you want to grow orchids, these can be grown with hydroponics solutions but they need lots of light and a warm environment that would mimic their native growing conditions. On the other hand, many varieties of lettuce need a cooler environment for growing. If you can mimic the native growing conditions of plants and vegetation, then they will usually thrive in your hydroponics setup.

2. What is the difference between liquid fertilizers and a hydroponics solution?

Note that a liquid fertilizer is made to be used on plants that are already getting a certain number of nutrients from the soil, whereas a hydroponics solution is providing those plants with all the trace elements and nutrients they need to grow. Liquid fertilizers are also not typically as soluble as hydroponics solutions, as they are meant to break down even further in the soil. For these reasons, you want to always use a hydroponics solution in your system rather than assuming that a liquid fertilizer will perform in the same way.

3. Are hydroponics systems legal?

This question is often asked because some people might use a hydroponics system in their home to secretly grow things that are not legal in their area, such as marijuana or even certain types of exotic flowers that cannot be imported to their country. Some areas may also restrict the amount of vegetation you can grow on your property before you're actually considered a commercial farm. However, rarely is a hydroponics system itself illegal, as long as you're using it to grow legal vegetation and don't violate these other restrictions about gardening and growing. An attorney or even your city clerk's office can usually advise you on such local restrictions if you have concerns.