Sunday, May 31, 2009

What Is Hydroculture?

I grow my houseplants in a water-based system called hydroculture, not in soil. I didn’t always grow my plants this way. Like everyone else, I used soil as a medium, until about three or four years ago when I stumbled upon the hydroculture growing method by chance and fell in love with it.

So what is it?

Hydroculture is the method of growing plants without soil. You have most likely heard about ‘hydroponics’, an automated method of growing plants in water, mostly related to the production of food. Hydroculture, related to hydroponics but functioning quite differently, is the low-end of growing plants in water. It is also referred to as passive hydroponics, which means that it lacks all the automation commonly associated with hydroponics.

Hydroculture is often confused with self-watering pots. Although they share some similarities – both systems ease the task of providing the plant with the appropriate amount of water – there are significant differences. Hydroculture does not include soil, at all. It has gone one step further and replaced the soil with a more sterile medium: expanded clay.

Hydroculture is easy, clean, odorless and non-allergenic; it’s especially welcomed by people with allergies to fungi, among other things, and eliminates the possibility of non-allergenic individuals developing an allergic reaction at some point because there’s no more soil. The need to transplant is greatly reduced and there are no more soil-related pests or diseases.

In addition, the water juggling associated with soil-grown plants is over; there’s no more over or under-watering, therefore fewer plant losses. With a quick glance, you can determine whether your plant needs more water or not. It’s as simple as that. Hydroculture requires such little effort in caring for your plants that I wonder why in the world I’d ever want to go back to the hassles of soil now that I’ve started this method.

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