Best Hydroponic Nutrients 2020 – What Are They & How to Use Them?

I know you are a plant lover, and you don’t want to show anger to your lovely plants because of course, you love them.

You want to take care of them with the utmost supervision. Good thing we live in the 21st century where there are these things called hydroponic nutrients!

What the hell is that hydroponic thing you ask? Keep reading to find out!

Before we get to what good hydroponic nutrients are, I’m certain you’ll agree with me that sometimes growing plants indoors is just frustrating, annoying, and slow.

Fret not, my friend, I have good news for you!

I promise you that you’ll never be frustrated anymore after reading this article.

I’m certain that you’ll be interested since it is based on my personal research and experience gained throughout the years of growing plants (indoor & outdoor) to develop the most efficient and fastest way of growing.

Because you know, I’m not too patient of a person.

That’s why I thought of bringing up the following:

  • Discussing what really hydroponics is;
  • Choosing the best hydroponic nutrients (organic also).

And of course, I would also like to put some examples so that everyone can visualize what’s really happening when you are using the Hydroponic system.

Hydroponics 101: Everything You Need to Know

Plants growing in small pots with hydroponics

What are Hydroponic Nutrients

As the name itself tells, it’s some kind of “nourishment.”

Hydroponic system points to any kind of commercially available “plant nutrients” that are appropriate for plants grown in a “hydroponic system”.

Wait, hold on. Some individuals might be clueless about all of this “hydroponic” stuff, especially for those newbies. So let’s define first what this term is.

In simplified definition, Hydroponics is an approach of growing plants in a “water-based nutrient-rich solution” instead of using soil.

The root system on which the nutrients are absorbed through is supported using an inert object such as perlite, rock wool, or vermiculite.

Long story short – you grow plants in nourished water instead of soil.

Now, take note that I mentioned “water-based nutrient-rich solution” back there.

And yes, that’s obviously where Hydroponic Nutrients come in.

Hydroponic nutrients have these essential nutrients for plants that can be easily absorbed by the roots. Elements such as Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium are present in this very product.

Of course, secondary nutrients are already within hydroponic nutrients so that plants can grow efficiently and optimally.

The nourishment is mixed with water in a hydroponic nutrient reservoir and applied to the plant’s root system directly.

There are hydroponic nutrient products that come in powder form but most are still in liquid form.

Let’s comprehend it even more…

For the sake of better understanding, imagine hydroponic nutrients as a “pill” that has all the necessary nutrients that you need and in just one gulp you are good as perfect unlike eating all of those carbs, protein, and all just to meet your daily nutrient requirements.

Now that I’ve introduced you to Hydroponic, it is crucial to know the right way of applying nutrients to your plants. Otherwise, your plant might burn of over-nourishment.

What is The Best Hydroponic System?

Flower roots

Picking up the best hydroponic system is most likely bias to our personal taste and needs. And of course, your budget must be into consideration!

Now, I must say that the following hydroponic system that I’ll put as examples have their own way of being the best, that’s why it’s quite hard to differentiate all of them.

They all suit my taste, though I don’t know about you. Perhaps I would leave the decision to you on choosing the Best Hydroponic System.

Here’s the list:

  • Wick Hydroponic System
  • Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System
  • Nutrient Film Technique
  • Drip Irrigation Hydroponic System
  • Aeroponic Hydroponic System

Wick Hydroponic System

This hydroponic system is the simplest and typically the cheapest one, that’s why all of those beginners prefer this one.

It is sometimes called a “passive system” because it doesn’t have any moving parts. Remember that it should only be used for smaller plants that don’t require much nutrition or moisture.

Ebb and Flow Hydroponic System

It is sometimes referred to as the “Flood and Drain” system. This system is definitely advanced and complicated compared to the first one.

The system works by utilizing a pump that is placed into the reservoir to regularly flood the grow tray with the nutrient solution then draining it back into the reservoir. It has a timer that triggers to pump the nourishment at regular intervals for a set of period of time.

Nutrient Film Technique

Unlike the ebb and flow system, this one has a consistent flow of nutrients. Plants that are planted using this hydroponic system doesn’t need any growing method since there is a built-in plastic tray on where the roots are suspended and just dangling in a nutrient pack solution.

This technique needs the best nutrients for DWC hydroponics (DWC stands for Deep Water Culture or the Hydroponics System in its purest design – if you don’t know what it means it literally stands for its name “Deep Water” or if you are still confused, read again above) plants due to the very nature of its design.

Though it saves you money because you don’t need any kind of medium for every plant to stand on, it is a little more in need of high maintenance compared to others.

Drip Irrigation Hydroponic System

This system involves a timer. It is set to deliver the nutrient solution through drippers to the base of each plant.

With a continuous drip system, the terms “recovery” and “non-recovery” should be taken into account, meaning that the utilized nourishment solution can either be returned to the reservoir or run off as waste.

This system is more cost-effective since it recycles the solution more efficient and requires less maintenance.

Aeroponic Hydroponic System

As you can see, just from the sound of the name itself, it is a newer and more high tech version of hydroponic growing. It is similar to the Nutrient Film method that doesn’t use any growing medium.

The roots are suspended in the air.

Though it only differs since it delivers mist rather than a flow of liquid solution. When you chose to pick this hydroponic system, you must ensure that the pump is always functioning properly since the roots might dry out.

After you decide on what system you’ll use.

You might want to proceed with choosing the best nutrition out there.

If that’s the case then let’s talk about

What Are The Best Nutrients for Hydroponics

Greenhouse hydroponics system

Obviously choosing the best nutrients for your plants leads to the best outcome.

Now, what you wanna do here is to remember that the right nutrients must be mixed in the right proportions because this approach will greatly affect the quality and yield of your plant.

If you are going for the best nutrients for your plant, you must know the right ratio between Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium.

Make sure that the nutrients you’d buy have adequate micro and macronutrients and that the nutrients must be mixed with an organic molecule in order for them to be easily absorbed by the plants.

You must also not neglect the importance of vital minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, sulfur, boron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.

How to Make Hydroponic Nutrient Solution

Things you need:

  • Container
  • Large Measuring Cup
  • pH test and Adjustment Kit
  • Teaspoon
  • Water-soluble fertilizer with micro and macronutrients
  • Epsom salts
  • Any kind of mixer such as a Large spoon or long enough stick
  1. Pour enough water into a container to fill the nutrient reservoir in your hydroponic system. Simple as that.
  2. Check the pH of the water using a pH tester and adjustment kit available from most hydroponics suppliers. The pH must be between 5-6.
  3. Measure 2 teaspoons per gallon of a water-soluble dry fertilizer. The water-soluble fertilizer must have the necessary macro and essential micronutrients.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts per gallon of H2O (water)
  5. Using any mixing object, stir the dry ingredients with the water until you can’t see any powder or crystals.
  6. Remove and change the nutrient solution every one to two weeks to make sure your plants have a constant supply of essential nutrients.

That’s how you want to make your own Hydroponic nutrient solution.

But be sure to remember these tips first:

  • If the reservoir in your hydroponic system contains a lot of water, mix more than 1 batch of nutrients.
  • Don’t overfill your container since some essential nutrients might ooze.
  • If you noticed a drastic water level due to evaporation or absorption, then don’t pour new nutrient solution instead replace the loss with plain water to avoid over-dosage.

With all of this nourishment in the right amount, I don’t know if you wouldn’t still get the best yields you’re hoping for.

For instance, let’s talk about a great example, Cannabis.

Cannabis and Hydroponics

Zoomed in cannabis plant

What Nutrients Do Cannabis Plants Need

Similar to most plants, cannabis must have the right ratio between the elements N, P, and K. In fact, gaining the right balance between these three major nutrients during the early stages of growth is the key to get the best results.

Here’s a great tip that you could also apply to your plants:

As you now know, there are actually two different stages of plant growth. And the right balance between NPK must be met for optimal results.

For Vegetative stage makes sure that the balance is:

  • High Nitrogen
  • Medium to High Phosphorous
  • High Potassium

On the other hand, for the Flowering phase, it must be like this:

  • Low Nitrogen
  • High Phosphorous
  • High Potassium

Cannabis Plant Feeding Schedule

If you must know, the cannabis feeding schedule is quite easy to comprehend.

So long as you remember these things below:

Phase 1

Germination (week 1) – you don’t need to feed the seed because it has its own stored nutrients.

Seedlings (weeks 2 to 5) – Just use ¼ of the recommended dosage for adult plants and gradually increase ¼ per week.

Early Flowering (weeks 6 to 9) – Continue with the veg feeding regimen. Early flowering is still part of Phase 1, so you must not reduce yet the amount of nitrogen being fed.

In the Phase 1 method, you need to give your plants a high dose of nitrogen and a normal amount of potassium and phosphorous.

Phase 2

Mid to late flowering (weeks 10 to 13) – In this stage, your cannabis starts to pack some mass. The plant is quite picky so be aware of any clues of nutrient deficiencies or over-dosages.

If you notice any brown leaf tips during this time, make sure to re-assess your feeding schedule and lessen it.

Late Flowering (weeks 14 to harvest) – Of course at this stage, you must reduce any unnecessary feeding. Once the pistils turn rust-colored, then it is the time to stop feeding nutrients to your plants.

But keep in mind that you must still water your plant to flush out any excess nutrients that might harm the plant and its seeds.

With that, I hope our cannabis growers (and those aspiring ones) are satisfied with the feeding schedule they must implement on their plants.

If that’s good enough, then let’s now show compassion for those plant lovers that want the best yields out of their plants but can’t provide the right nutrition since they can’t provide any kind of Hydroponic Nutrient products due to the cost or just are a DIY fan.

FAQs

Plants in self made hydroponics system

What Nutrients Does a Plant Need to Grow?

Since this question is the foundation of achieving optimal and efficient growth of your plants we must recall it every now and then so that you can take care of your plants even more.

There are actually just 17 most essential nutrients for plants to grow effectively.

They are:

Macronutrients such as:

  • Nitrogen
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Sulfur
  • Magnesium
  • Carbon
  • Oxygen
  • Hydrogen

Micronutrients such as:

  • Iron
  • Boron
  • Chlorine
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel

Remember that plants have a different amount of needs for each particular essential nutrients. So what I suggest you do is, if you happen to buy a Nutrient product, make sure that the nutrients listed above are all indicated.

Is Superthrive Good for Cannabis?

It’s definitely a weird question suddenly popping out of the blue for those people who don’t know this amazing product.

Can you classify it as the “best hydroponic nutrients for weed”?

Super-thrive is a very effective additive. It has micronutrients such as B1 which cannabis love to absorb.

This very product is only advisable during the veg cycles of the cannabis since it contains synthetic Auxins that aren’t very good during the flowering stage of cannabis. It also helps the plant to develop bigger and more robust root systems leading to effective absorption of nutrients.

But you must remember that over-nourishing your plants with Super-thrive will certainly lead to nutrients burn.

And that’s that, the verdict…. It’s definitely good for Cannabis!

Which is Better – Canna Nutrients VS Advanced Nutrients?

If you’re wondering what this sub-heading means, well, they are actually the name of two prominent companies in the field of producing nutrients for cultivation fast-growing plants.

I’ve bought a lot of products from the past just to feed on to my plants, but damn, they are all crap!

Not until I tested these two.

Canna Nutrients

This company is the producer of nutrients and growing mediums for the cultivation of fast-growing plants.

Utilizing their product is very neat, simple, and of course easy to understand. And also doesn’t harm the environment.

Yup, they just prove the credibility of the company by letting their products speak for themselves.

I can’t say anymore, better to trust me and get a hold of this product and see for yourself.

Now about its leading competitor

Advanced Nutrients

They are saying that if you happen to be using fertilizers made by other companies, you are losing yield and just wasting money.

I half-agree with that statement because Canna seems to be doing equally better.

I like that their products weren’t just designed for the crops to grow and be harvested.

They are really putting their effort into giving the utmost quality for their products.

Yes, believe it or not, I noticed that my plants have “drastic” improvements on their growth after using their products.

I can say no more. It’s hard to differentiate these two companies, though if you ask my truthful opinion, I must say that I’ll go with Advanced Nutrients.

Well, that’s my choice. Try using these two and compare it yourself and I’m sure you’ll have a hard time picking between the two.

Can You Use Hydroponic Nutrients in Soil?

Yes, I’m sure some of you people are asking this question because perhaps you’re quite fascinated about its effectiveness.

And with that, I’m certain that there are still some people out there who are having a hard time switching to the Hydroponic method.

If you can’t really leave Soil Planting because you grew fond of it, then here’s good news!

You can actually use Hydroponic nutrients in soil, but warning!

Make sure not to over-feed it with Hydroponic nutrients since your plant might go over-dosed and worst, it might die.

As for me, from that time that I accidentally bought Hydroponic nutrients instead of a Soil one, I decided to give it a shot and feed it to some of my plants that are in soil.

And guess what, I didn’t see any negative effects at all!

Though let me leave you a tip if you happen to be in the same situation as me.

Don’t water your plant “too much” if the water has Hydroponic nutrients in it.

Why?

Because chances are, nutrients from the Hydroponic nutrition will get stuck near to the root system of a plant and they might die of over-dosage and over-watering.

Just pour down not too much, and you’re good to go!

Now, if I remember correctly, I just made cannabis as an example from the previous part of the article. And I think people who are interested in growing cannabis are just lurking around or perhaps reading this.

Well, what’s bad about sharing you my personal experience growing this particular plant?

Apparently, Cannabis is almost similar to other plants. They have growth stages, though they differ on one thing from other typical plants.

You ask what is that?

They must be fed in a “particular schedule” if you want them to grow optimally!

Yup, they’re quite the picky plants.

What is PPM Scale and How it Applies to Hydroponics?

Yes, I know it’s another difficult term.

PPM is an acronym for Parts per Million. It refers to the concentration of “soluble material” in the water you give to your plants.

For the sake of better comprehension, just put in your mind that “over-dosage” or “over-feeding” nutrients to your plants are not really good.

What does it imply?

It means you must not over-dose your plants with nourishment since they will certainly affect the growth of the plant and worst is, they might die.

The good thing is, you don’t need to worry if you chose to purchase a Hydroponic system instead of just making your own Hydroponic system since they are already calibrated the right way.

But if you are tight on budget, then you must learn measuring PPM in order to utilize the fullest potential of a Hydroponic method.

What do you need?

  • TDS meter
  • Average comprehension

Obviously scientific and specific measurements are close to impossible to be measured by means of your hands and your naked eye. That’s why TDS meter is around for that very purpose.

TDS meter is a tool for measuring the soluble stuff in your water so that you could apply the right amount of nourishment to it. Water has lots of impurities that’s why you need to measure what’s in it unless it’s already pure water.

Now, How to Measure PPM?

  • Get a TDS meter.
  • Use the instructions included in the packaging of the tool and calibrate it.
  • Turn on the TDS meter and wait for it to read zero.
  • Touch the meter to the water you are testing and see what it reads.

Once you have your PPM, you can now make the appropriate adjustments for your own hydroponic system.

I don’t want you to be confused anymore with this complicated terms or whatsoever, that’s why I’ll give you this general information right away so that your indoor growing will be as easy as a piece of cake:

  • Seedlings to young plants can feed on the range of 200-400 PPM
  • Teenage plants that have matured root system and can feed on 350-550 PPM
  • And adults can feed on 600-1000 PPM

Remember, “Less is more when trying to comprehend this concept.”

Now that’s quite heavy of a discussion. But now we’ve reached the point of sharing you with…

5 Best Hydronic Nutrients for Your Plants in 2020

Canna Boost Accelerator Hydroponics Nutrient

For me, it is the best flower enhancer out there. I’ve used a lot of various flower boosters in the past but I keep coming back to this because it consistently produces the best quality, flavor, and smell for the flowering stage of my plants.

Pros

  • No flashy labels and Gimmicky claims
  • Plants grow wild without burning them
  • Does not make the fruit taste harsh
  • Very good at boosting flowers

Cons

  • Quite expensive

Conclusion

If you are looking for a clean taste for your veggies then this product is a must-have!

General Hydroponics Fertilizer Set

I once used this product on my lettuce, spinach, peppers, and tomatoes and guess what I’ve got? I received explosive growth! How wonderful is that!

Perhaps this product alone won’t give you an awesome garden, but the bountiful harvest is just right around the corner.

Pros

  • Trio allows for maximum customization of your nutrient schedule
  • Inexpensive
  • Very well established brand with lots of positive feedback

Cons

  • Inorganic
  • Has artificial colors

Conclusion

This is a great set of nutrients for newbies to experts. Also, this product provides super-concentrated nutrients.

General Hydroponics MaxiGro Nutrients

When I use the MaxiBloom and MaxiGro through all stages of my plant, I was able to grow some truly stupendous flowers and vegetables. It works extremely well in a variety of mediums and provides well-rounded nutrition.

Overall, it is a fabulous general-purpose fertilizer for the hydroponic system. The chemical composition is delicately formulated to ensure healthy germination as I’ve seen with my plants.

It is also a great product for a very fair price!

Apparently, this product has the best hydroponic nutrients for lettuce because of its rapid growth effectiveness

Pros

  • Two-part system is easier to use than three parts
  • Surprisingly inexpensive
  • Easier to store and transport since it is a powder form

Cons

  • Less customization available than three-part systems
  • Ziplock bag may lose its ability to seal properly over time

Conclusion

Powdered products are generally less expensive than liquid nutrients, and are just as easier to use.

MaxiGro is good for rapid growth while MaxiBloom promotes big, healthy buds during flowering stages.

Advanced Nutrients Bloom, Micro & Grow

This product is very satisfying. Perhaps one of my favorite among my top 5 since a big difference between the ingredients is used.

They spare no expense using quality ingredients. You just follow the instructions and you get a spot on pH level every time.

Try it and you’ll agree with me that it is a real time saver.

Pros

  • pH balancing formula
  • Contains amino acids, fulvic acid, and all micronutrients needed for cannabis plants
  • A three-part system for customization
  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Best hydroponic nutrients for cannabis
  • Has the best nutrients for growing cannabis hydroponically

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • pH perfect may be misleading as you still need to check pH frequently

Conclusion

Advanced Nutrients is a great company with a really nice line of hydroponic nutrient products for growing cannabis and other plants that use the hydroponics method.

Growth Science Nutrients Liquid Nutrient Food Solution

I once used them on my cannabis plants and damn, awe just got me. I must say that if it weren’t for the price I would classify this as the number 1 product out there for the hydroponic system.

Try this and I’m willing to bet that you too will see phenomenal results.

Pros

  • Five-part system for the best possible nutrition
  • High quality with all of the micronutrients needed
  • Best Hydroponic nutrients for Autoflowering
  • Made in California

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Quite complicated for newbie users.

Conclusion

This product was formulated for gardeners of all experience levels, although it may seem complicated with its five parts, it is in fact very easy to learn to use effectively!

Conclusion

Now that I’ve shared with you my top 5 best hydroponic nutrients, make sure to try the above-mentioned tips and let us all know how it went

And if you are looking for the best nutrition for your plants, then I highly recommend what I’ve just listed above. I believe you’ll get the most rewarding yields of your life.

Have fun!