Choosing the right nutrient is one of the most important decisions any grower will make - and one that can be quite baffling due to the enormous range of different packages available. So which one is best for you? Find out with our simple guide.
Choosing a Feed
Hydroponics is big business all over the world and consequently many excellent feeds are available, and like plants everybody has their favourites. There are in fact so many good feeds out there that we thought it was a good idea to sell as many of the best feeds as we could to give our customers the most choice possible.
Choosing a feed to suit your growing medium
It is very important that you choose an appropriate nutrient for your method of growing. Whilst it is possible mix and match hydroponic nutrients with organic growing mediums or even organic nutrients with hydroponic substrates we do not recommend that this is the best course of action for most growers. There are so many feeds designed specifically for certain uses/growing media that you should be able to find an appropriate feed. Using the wrong kind of nutrient for your growing medium can cause more harm than good - for example using a mineral based hydroponic feed with an organic soil will negate the benefits that soil growing can offer. You would be much better choosing a good organic feed in this instance. Broadly speaking there are three media types when talking about nutrient formulations:
Hydroponic Nutrients: suitable for rockwool, perlite, vermiculite and clay pebbles. These nutrients are mineral based and are formulated for direct uptake by your plants.
Organic Nutrients: suitable for organic soils. These nutients are designed to feed the soil rather than the plant. They encourage biological activity and take full advantage of natures own methods.
Coco Nutrients: suitable for coco coir medium. These Nutrients often utlilise the unique properties of coco as a growing medium better then hydroponic nutrients
Choosing a Hydroponic Feed
As there are so many good feeds, we encourage you to switch nutrients every now and again in case you find one that you or your plants prefer. They are all good and all have their slight differences, and it is good to try the various products available in the hunt for better yields. Just because you are getting good results with one package, doesn't necessarily mean that that package is the 'best' for you. Constant experimentation will help you to refine your complete growing style and methods, and we highly recommend it.
Below we try to give you some practical information about each Hydroponic feed to try and help you pick one in relation to water suitability.
First we look at the three main categories of feeds, soft water, hard water and universal feeds. These relate to the type of water you have. You can get a good idea of water hardness from the pH level and to keep things simple in this article, we will use pH to guide you as to feed suitability.
Soft Water Feeds - Soft water has little or no dissolved minerals in it and consequently a low pH. This water is ideal for soft water feeds. Soft water feeds can be used in any type of water although pH adjustment may be needed. Mixing soft water nutrient solutions does not usually affect pH.
Soft water feeds are ideal for water with pH between 5.5 and 7.8
Hard Water Feeds - Hard water has some dissolved mineral elements already in it, mostly calcium and magnesium and consequently it has a high pH. Hard water feeds are only for very hard water. Mixing hard water nutrient solutions automatically drops the pH quite a bit.
Ideal for water with pH 7.8 and above.
Universal Feeds - Good for water that isn’t too hard and isn’t too soft. Automatically drops the pH a bit. Usually at full strength a universal feed will drop the pH approximately 0.8 e.g. from 6.8 to 6.0.
Ideal for water with a pH between 6.8 and 7.8
Some of our best sellers
Vita Link Max (Hydro) - British made high quality nutrient solution. Available in Hard or Soft water versions. This has become more and more popular over the last couple of years as it is good for plant health, vigour, quality and yield.
Hydro (Hydro) - From Holland and now available in Hard and Soft water versions. This has always been one of our best sellers over the years and is excellent for quality, taste and flavours.
Aqua (Hydro) - Specially formulated for those growing in NFT. This is only available as a Universal Feed although after thorough testing by the GroWell technical team we only recommend this feed for people with medium water hardness .
Formulex (Hydro/ Coco/ Young Plants) - This one part hydro feed is for healthy aggressive growth of young plants. It is excellent in hard or soft water and does not effect the pH of the solution.
General Hydroponics Flora (Hydro) - This 3 part feed originally from U.S. has been popular in the shop for many years. Exceptional quality. Available in Hard or Soft water versions.
Ionic (Hydro) - A one part feed, easy to use and great results. Available in Hard or Soft water.
Genesis (Hydro) - This is sold as a three part feed. Brought over from the U.S. this is a soft water feed that gives excellent yield and quality. Very popular as you can experiment with different ratios of the 3 bottles. Does not affect the pH.
Coco (Coco) - This A + B nutrient package works well in all water from soft to hard and does not effect the pH. Growing in coco (coir) is fast becoming very popular as the quality is exceptional and the yields excellent.
Vita Link Coir (Coco) - This 1 part grow/bloom nutrient is designed specifically for use with Coco growing media and has proven a highly competent alternative to Canna Coco.
Bio-Bizz Nutrients (Organic) - Our best selling organic nutrient package that works exceptionally well with all brands of organic growing media.
Bio (Organic) - Certified organic nutrient for use with all organic soils although particularly effective with Canna Professional Soil.
Bio Sevia (Organic/ Hydro) - A unique nutrient from General hydroponics that is 100% organic but is also able to be used in hydroponics due to its high level of refinement and its clear consistency. A true performer and a great nutrient.
In hydroponic systems when making a new nutrient solution, add the feed first, then adjust the pH of the solution to around 6. DO NOT ADJUST pH IN SOIL SYSTEMS.