The main components that plants need to thrive are water, light and food. Without these components, the plants will die. Food is essential for plants to grow and reach maturity where they will reproduce either by flowering or producing fruits. Even hydroponic plants require nutrients, and the nutrients need for hydroponic plants is specialized since they are growing in a soil-less environment.
Hydroponic plants get their nutrients from the water in which their roots are immersed. This water is pushed towards the plants with the aid of a small pump and the nutrients are pushed all around the plant roots. The roots then take in the nutrients. The most essential nutrients needed for hydroponic plants are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These are known as macronutrients and affect the way the plants grow. There are also other nutrients that the hydroponics plants require but they are in small quantities and are known as micronutrients. Micronutrients include calcium, magnesium, and manganese among others.
In soil gardening, plants get their macronutrients and micronutrients from the soil. However, in hydroponics, these nutrients have to be introduced by the gardener, making the plants completely dependent on the garden. Nutrients needed for hydroponic plants can be purchased either from a specialized hydroponics supply store or a retail garden shop.
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