Guide To Hydroponic Media | For Growing Plants Without Soil

Hydroponic media is basically anything that a plant can grow in is considered a growing medium substrate, so growing mediums can be either organic as well as manmade or even air can be a very affective growing environment for growing plant roots in too.


That all depends on what hydroponic system you?re using or planning on buying, and other factor sometimes needs taking into consideration.

Take this extreme example, say you live in Egypt luxur ?some where I?ve always wanted to go? and your planning on a Recovery Drip hydroponics system, in normal circumstances you?d be best to use expanded clay aggregate, but in such extreme temperatures that you get in that part of the world, you?d be better off with sand, as it hold lots more water ?not to mention, fairly easy to come by?teehee.

Sand is also thought to be, what was used in the hanging gardens of Babylon, in IRAQ and maybe a Archimedes screw to pull the water up aswel, but anyway as I said different system use different substrate growing medium and also Bering in mind that differents environmental condition too, but generally most mediums will work well in most systems, but some a little better than others, so it may just be down to local availability, price or just personal experience from what you?ve grow before.

Here I?ve listed the most types of growing??.. Mediums below, click on the name to view details about the general use, advantages and disadvantages, and particular characteristics of the specified growing medium.


First off its my favorite, expanded clay aggregate, whys it my fav, well it holds just enough moister, when used with flood and drain (ebb and flow) but not the best substrate for drip hydroponics, as the water flows trait through and only wetting a small area where the drip system is lay?d, and after the initial wash to remove the clay dust that?s left over from manufacturing prose?s you can sue it over and over again, making expanded clay very good value.

Hydroponic systems that work well with hydroponic expanded clay

? Deep water culture

? Ebb and Flow (Flood and drain)

? Aeroponics (continues running systems)


rockwool which is most commonly supplied as cubes, slabs and sometimes in bags, of loose mineral wool fiber, can be used in all hydroponic systems and is partially good for seeds and cuttings, its an inert fibres substrate that hold high amounts of water, also comes in many different sizes of cubes and blocks, an altogether very popular growing media, although not reusable.

Hydroponic systems media, that works well with mineral rock wool Oasis cubes.

? Nutrient Film Technique (n.f.t)

? Aeroponics

? Drip Hydroponics


Perlite has been round forever and a day, and is a naturally accruing mineral that?s a volcanic glass and when heated, expands to more than 20 times.

Perlite is mainly used as a soil mix as an aerate, when used in hydroponic its normally mixed with vermiculite, at a50-50 ratio, as Perlite on its own, does not hold water to well, so is mainly used for its drainage properties, so not really used on its own.The drawback of Perlite are that the dust ?which is plenty? is very bad for your health, so whenever you handle Perlite I advice that you water the bag, if mixingHydroponic medium uses for Perlite

? Nutrient Film Culture (mixed with expanded clay & vermiculite.

? Drip Hydroponics (when mixed with other soilless medium)

? Ebb and Flow (when mixed with other soilless medium)


Vermiculite is also a mined material too, and is mostly used in conjunction with Perlite, as the two do complement each other very well, vermiculite retains water, like a sponge, by about 200% by weight, but unlike Perlite which is inexpensive, Vermiculite is quite expensive, the most common hydroponic system for vermiculite is ebb and flow (flood and drain) hydroponicsVermiculites main and only drawback, is that it?s a little to good at retaining water, and if used on its own, then watered to much, it can suffocate the roots of plants.
Some hydroponic growing systems that do well with vermiculite

? Ebb and Flow (Food and drain)

? Drip hydroponics

? Nutrient Film Culture (mixed with expanded clay & Perlite

These two kinds of growing medium,Perlite,Vermiculite are considered organic and are frequently used for container gardening wick systems, hanging baskets and on-recovery drip systems. They can be used in recovery systems.

however most of these mixes have some very fine particles that can clog pumps and drip emitters if you don't use a good filtration.


A waste by product of the coconut trade, the fiber is becoming very popular as organic gardening has taken off, and maybe soon the most popular organic medium around, coconut fiber offers very good performance in hydroponic growing,"HOWEVER CAN ONLY REALLY BE USED WITH DRIP HYDROPONICS, AS OTHER SYSTEMS WILL SIMPLY WASH OUT ANY GOODNESS" although it does need a little help in the drainage department as the husk of the coconut comes gowned up, and holds on well to moister well.There are many advantages - its maintains a larger oxygen capacity, much better than rockwool, yet has superior water retaining ability than rock wool which is a big advantage for hydroponic growing systems that have intermittent watering cycles. Like ebb and flow.Coconut fiber is high in root stimulating hormones and also offers some protection against root diseases including fungus infestation. Growers have found that a mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% expanded clay pellets is the perfect growing medium,and is whats most commonly used in Holland, where flaver means everything.


As i mentioned above,just about anything can be placed as a hydroponic growing media, so long as its able to support a plants root mass.

The type of sponge I've found that holds enough water solution for plants "and I've tested plenty, is whats called cellulose sponge that has superior absorbency and resilience, compared all the others I've try'd out, in some respects i think its as good, if not better than rock wool Oasis cubes.

Hydroponic systems that work with cellulose sponge

cellulose sponge . Aeroponic systems

? Nutrient Film Technique (n.f.t)

. Deep water culture

. Drip hydroponics (cut into cubes & mixed with Expanded Clay

hydroponic net pot with sponge

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