Dr. Sashikala Beura Associate Professor Department of Floriculture and Landscaping OUAT, Bhubaneswar

 It is the science of growing plants in a medium other than soil, using mixture of the essential plant nutrient elements dissolved in water.  The term hydroponics is derived from two Greek words “hydro” (water) and “ponos” (labor) was coined by Dr. W.F.Gericke of California in the year, 1937.  Techniques of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions without soil is a novel agrotechnology, which is known as soil less culture

In the 19th century researchers discovered that

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Plants absorb essential mineral nutrients as inorganic ions in water Soil acts as a mineral nutrient reservoir but is not essential for plant growth. When the mineral nutrients in the soil dissolve in water, plant roots are able to absorb them. When the required mineral nutrients are introduced into a plants water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Terrestrial plants will grow in hydroponics. It is a standard technique in biology research and teaching

            No soil is needed, thus hydroponics can be used in places where in ground agriculture or gardening is not possible. The water stays in the system and can be reused thus lower water costs. It is possible to control nutrition levels in the system, this lower nutrient cost. The pH of the solution can be easily set and maintained in the range most suitable for given crop. No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system. Provides stable and high yields. Freedom from soil diseases and other insect pests. Free from weeds Free from seasonal constraints City and flat dwellers can grow fresh vegetable and fruits in window boxes or root tops. Excellent quality of the product Desert, rocky, stony, barren or sterile areas can be made productive at relatively lower cost.


 Appearance of damping off diseases due to verticillium wilt caused by high moisture levels.  Initial investment is high  Cultivation under greenhouse is limited to high value crops .Disadvantages  The condition creates an environment that stimulate salmonella growth.

Techniques    Two types of hydroponics techniques Solution culture Medium culture Solution culture  Static solution culture  Continuous flow solution culture  Aeroponics .

present in the containers which may be aerated or unaerated.  Nutrient solution is charged at weekly interval. the solution level is kept low enough so that the roots above the solution will get adequate oxygen. tubes or tanks are used as containers  Plants are grown in nutrient solution. butcher paper.  Containers are covered with aluminium foil.Static solution culture  Mason jars. aquarium airline pipes and aquarium valves.  Continuous flow solution culture. plastic buckets. black plastic or other material to exclude light.  Aeration is provided by aquarium pump. .  Holes are made on the lid of the reservoir for each plant.  It unaerated.

to aerate the nutrient solution to maintain the oxygen level in the nutrient solution. A sequential timer to control the operation of pump.Continuous flow solution culture Components      Shallow fiberglass trays/plastic trays (5” deep) in which plants are grown (24” x 16” x 5”). An aerator connected to reservoir through polyethylene tube. . A collection tank/nutrient solution storage tank . A pump which will circulate the nutrient solution from the reservoir to the growing trays through polyethylene tubes.


cucumber. muskmelon.  Top of the trays must be covered with thermocole sheet or black polythene sheet to provide supports to plant and to avoid growth of algae. .  Proper slope must be maintained in trays for free flow of nutrient solution. lettuce. rose. capsicum .  Tomatoes. chrysanthemum carnation and potted foliage plants are grown by this method. water melon.Trays  Trays are placed on frames which are 6-8” above the ground level.

 Pumps with brass plastic or stainless steel parts are desirable.  It should be covered with dark opaque materials to avoid growth of algae.  Operation of pump should be controlled by a timer. . Pump  A small AC tullu pump is adequate .  It should not be placed in the sunny location.Reservoir  Plastic containers having 100-500 litre water capacity is adequate.



 A system where roots are continuously or discontinuously kept in an environment saturated with fine drops (a mist or aerosol) of nutrient solution. and greens.  It provides excellent aeration  Commercially successful for propagation.  The plants require 1/4th nutrient input and have an 80% increase in dry weight biomass compared to hydroponics . tomato production.  NASA research has shown that aeroponics uses 65 % less water than hydroponics. seed potato production. seed germination.Aeroponics  Richard Stoner commercialized aeroponic technology in 1983.


Crops grown one epiphytic plants such as orchids and bromeliads. Provides constant supply of water to the root Expanded clay and coconut husk are used which contain more air space.  They are sand culture. . gravel culture or rock wool culture etc Four kinds of medium cultures  Passive hydroponics  Ebb and Flow  Run to waste  Deep water culture Passive hydroponics       It is otherwise known as semi-hydroponics or passive sub-irrigation Plants are grown in inert porous medium that transport water and fertilizer to the roots by capillary action from a separate reservoir. This method reduces the necessity of labour.Medium culture  This technique has a solid medium for growth of the roots.

 Run to waste  In this method nutrient and water solution is periodically applied to the medium.Ebb and flow   A tray is kept over a reservoir of nutrient solution The tray is filled with growing medium such as clay granules and plants are transplanted directly. vermiculite coco fibre and sand. peppers are raised through run to waste hydroponic. .  Tomatoes. At regular intervals nutrient solution is pumped into upper tray and then drains back down in to the reservoir. perlite.  It is done both by manually or by automated delivery pump.  Various inert growing media are rock wool. cucumber.

 Plant contained in a net pot suspended from the centre of the lid and the roots suspended in the nutrient solution.  Plastic buckets and large containers are used.Deep water culture  In this method the plant roots are suspended in a solution of nutrient rich.  The solution is super oxygenized from an air pump combined with porous stone  Plants grow must much faster rate because of high amount of oxygen that the roots receive . oxygenated water.





MEDIA Diahydro  Sedimentary rock medium consists of the fossilized remains of diatoms. pH neutral and do not contain any nutrient solution. . Expanded clay  Hydroton brand expanded clay pebbles .  Available in the trade names such as Hydroton. Hydrokorrels or LECA (Light Expanded Clay aggregate).  Nutrients are carefully controlled in water solution in expanded clay.  Clay pellets are inert.  Extremely high in silica (87-94 %)  Essential component for the growth of plants and strengthening cell walls.


 It is a 100 % natural growth and flowering medium. resulting in a fibrous medium. Coir  Cocopeat/coir/coco is the left over material after removal of the fibres from coconut husk.Rock wool (Mineral wool)  Most widely used medium in hydroponics . .  It is made from molten rock spun in to cotton candy like fibres.  Accessible to capillary action and not degraded by microbiological activity.  It is an inert substrate for both free drainage and re-circulating systems.


obsidian. .  It has a natural wicking property that can draw water and nutrients in a passive hydroponic system.  It is the natural fusion of granite. pumice and basalt at high temperature (Fusionic metamorphosis) Vermiculite  It is another mineral that has been superheated until it has expanded in to light pebbles.Perlite  It is a volcanic rock that has been superheated into very light weight expanded glass pebbles.  It holds more water than perlite.


Washed and sterilized thoroughly before use. Gravel     It is inexpensive.  Extra cleaning is needed before use. Brick shards  Brick shards have similar properties to gravel.  Some times it alters pH of the medium. Very heavy so difficult to handle. so difficult to handle. Heavy. easy to keep clean. . Water drains well and would not become water logged.Sand     Easily available in a cheaper rate Does not have good water holding capacity Must be washed and sterilized properly before use.

.Polystyrene packing peanuts     Inexpesive and readily available.  Efficient organic substrate for hydroponic.  It keep fits structure for a long period. Excellent drainage property Too light weight for use Plants may absorb styrene and pass it to the consumer which has health risk Wood fibre  Produced from steam friction of wood.

Polystyrene packing peanuts .

00 Table 1.02 0. . Salt to be used Ca(NO3)2 KH2PO4 Form in which theyare available to plants NO3Ca2+ HPO4 K+ Mg++ SO4Mn+ Cu++ Zn++ B Mo Fe+++ Concentration (ppm) 900-930 180-200 90-97 234-250 49-52 185-195 0. S.06 0.03 0. The ferric citrate solution be made separately. Mg. Cu. The Ca (NO3)2. KH2 PO4.Nutrient solution   For proper growth plants must be supplied with macro elements like N. Micro elements like Fe.K. B. Nutrients/salt and their concentration Element Nitrate N and Calcium (Ca) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) Potassium (K) and (N) Magnesium (Mg) and (S) Manganese (Mn) Copper (Cu) Zinc (Zn) Boron (B) Molybdenum Iron (Fe) KNO3 MgSO4 MnCl2 CuSO4 ZnSO4 H3BO3 H3 (MO3)2O8 Ferric citrate Note : The micronutrient stock solution be made separately. KNO3.6 0. MgSO4 be dissolved separately and added one by one. Mo. Ca..02 8. Cl. B. Mn.P. Zn must be supplied.

666 1466.186 470. Parameters No. Soil culture 17 1.Sept Days to 1st flowering Days to 1st fruit set Days to 1st picking Days to final harvest 30 36 120 165 25 31 93 120 * The temperature maintained during the cropping period inside the glass house was 35oC max and 12oC minimum . of fruits per plant Yield per plant (kg) Yield (q/ha) Plant height (cm) Transplanting time Hydroponics 55 3.00 9 Sept.40 67.Performance of tomato Table 2.40 86. Performance of tomato cv.20 9. Marglobe sel was studied under hydroponic and soil culture system.

Varietal performance of tomatoes in hydroponics .

8170 0.4775 0.1503 0. Chemical composition of tomatoes grown in hydroponics and in soil in greenhouse Sl.5005 2.8947 206.7193 0.25 0.7420 0.50 28.29 29.Table 3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Parameters Total soluble solids (%) Ascorbic acid (mg/100 g FWB) Total minerals (% FWB) Alcoholsoluble solids (%) Crude fat (% FWB) Crude fibre (% FWB) Reducing sugar (mg/100 g FWB) Non reducing sugar (g/100 g FWB) Crude protein (% FWB) Acidity (mg/100 g Citric acid) Hydroponics 4.07 0.7409 1.39 Soil 4.7943 414.90 .No.4108 2.6160 0.2043 0.4183 0.5332 3.

It produces 125 million pounds of tomatoes per year. Arizona (USA) is the largest commercial hydroponics unit having 318 acres greenhouse. The plants are grown in rock wool using run to waste technique Thus hydroponics is an emerging agrotechnology for increasing production in varied edopho-climatic conditions. .  Eurofresh Forms in Willcox.

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