Hydroponics vs Aeroponic Gardening: What’s the Difference

So, which one will it be, hydroponic or aeroponic? Recently we went into detail about hydroponic systems, so please read it, as it is exciting.

Today we will do a comparison of the two. Maybe you feel undecided about which one to choose and are unsure which one is more affordable or easier to use.

Still, when you reach the end of our article, it comes down to what you’re looking to get out of the system you choose.

What are The Differences Between Aeroponics And Hydroponic Growing?

Both hydroponic and aeroponic systems provide you with healthy indoor plants. Hydroponic refers to the process of submerging plant roots in nutrient-rich water.

While aeroponic growing works by spraying the nutrient solution onto the plant’s roots, this is the key difference between the two growing systems.

Yet, both systems are more efficient for growing plants than traditional methods. Hence, you grow your plants soil-free; the roots receive nutrients directly in both methods.

But using the hydroponic systems works best indoors as the aeroponic systems will need a bit more space.

So, to explain this in more detail, let’s look at both these systems to compare them.

Aeroponic Method in Detail

Aeroponic gardening @International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Aeroponic gardening @International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

Aeroponics gardening is a popular method for growing your plants’ roots soil-free in a closed or semi-closed environment.

Compared to hydroponic growing, the plants grow fuller with a better taste, texture, and color. Hence you can get a higher yield growing plants.

So, aeroponic growing can produce a higher nutritional value for keeping a healthy diet. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using aeroponic gardening:

Advantages of Aeroponic Systems

  • Aeroponic growth results in larger yields with faster, healthier plants.

  • Furthermore, you use fewer resources compared to other growing methods.

  • Another considerable benefit of aeroponic growing is that the roots get enough oxygen exposure as plants are not submerged in water. Hence, the nutrients for your plant’s growth occur at the root zone when receiving oxygen.

  • Aeration with excessive amounts of oxygen reduces the chance of diseases like pathogens.

  • Compared to traditional growing methods, these systems are low maintenance.

Disadvantages of Aeroponic Systems

  • The aeroponic system is more complex than the hydroponic one when you’re a beginner. There are two systems available the first is to build one. You will need PVC tubing/connectors, a 30-gallon tote/lid, PVC primer, a fountain pump, net pots, a hose clamp, a nozzle, a drill, and a caulking gun.

  • The second aeroponic option is more expensive as you will not build one but buy one already made, which can cost thousands of dollars.

  • One of the most significant disadvantages is if a part stops working, your plants will die.

  • It also needs you to have a lot of knowledge as to how much and the kinds of nutrients the plants need and how often.

Looking at the cons, for nutrients in this system, you need to ensure your plants receive at least 2.46% of phosphorus, 0.44% of magnesium, and 3.29% of nitrogen, to name a few.

The aeroponic system is recommended for someone who has already used one. Still, you can grow any plant with the aeroponic gardening system.

Some plants that grow well with the aeration system are greens, strawberries, tomatoes, and herbs.

You can use the system to propagate a tree whip to grow to a desired size before you plant them into the soil. Furthermore, it is ideal for urban farming, easily done at home.

Hydroponics Indoor Gardening in Detail

hydroponics gardening

As with aeroponics, you grow your plants without soil in the hydroponics systems. Hence, you give them nutrients and water as a growing medium.

You provide the water nutrient solution directly to the root system as the water runs off and helps prevent root rot.

Many hydroponic systems are available, and some work with water trays.

Advantages of Hydroponic Systems

  • The system uses the water efficiently as the water reaches the roots directly.

  • The system does not take up much space, and your plants grow faster, creating faster yields.

  • You can plant your vegetables at any time of the year as everything ripens.

  • Neither do you need a lot of involvement in the system, and it saves you time.

Disadvantages of Hydroponic Systems

  • The system setup can be pricey as you constantly pump water through the system and will need power. Hence you can pay more for the water consumption to power.

  • If the power malfunctions, it can lead to the death of your plants if you cannot save the setup.

  • Your plants are more prone to waterborne diseases as infection occurs in the water and can affect an entire crop.

Still, as with aeroponics, you can grow different plants with hydroponics.

Some great hydroponic plants are herbs, lettuce, green and Lima beans, blueberries, radishes, and more.

With a hydroponic garden, you grow mostly plants with small root systems, which can quickly be done indoors.

Which System is More Expensive?

One of the main differences between aeroponics and hydroponics is the cost. When you grow your plant aeroponically, it will cost you more than using hydroponic methods.

This is due to the cost of the supplies, setup, and maintenance. Furthermore, it will depend on the aeroponic system you use.

While a home DIY hydroponic system will cost you a bit less, a plant grows faster in an aeroponic system as the nutrients you apply directly to the roots.

According to a NASA study, plants can grow three times faster than in soil as the roots receive more nutrients.

Furthermore, the University of Mississippi found that bell peppers and tomato yields increase by 53% when grown aeroponically.

But this does not mean the same does not happen using the hydroponic method. Hydroponic plants grow up to 50% faster than in soil.

Some studies show that growing plants hydroponically yields 240 times more crops than traditional farming.

Easy DIY Hydroponics System To Make at Home

hydroponics gardening

For the beginner gardener making a hydroponic system can easily be done at home with the following steps:

Hydroponics Materials

  • Bucket, large container, or bin, and it must have a lid

  • Net pots

  • The air pump that works with air stones

  • Hard water nutrients made up of A&B

  • A pH down and pH meter

  • Measuring beaker with pipettes

  • A hole saw with an arbor

  • Drill

Steps to Make Your Hydroponic System

First Step

  • Find a suitable container for your hydroponic system, like a deep storage container or bucket.

  • Neither should the light be able to penetrate through the container, as it can result in faster algae growth in the water. Therefore, we recommend a 55l opaque storage container.

Second Step

  • As the plants grow in net containers, you will need a lot of holes and should drill holes into the lid of your storage bin for the pots to rest in. For this, you use your hole saw, and the holes need to be smaller than the size of the pot.

  • We recommend planning your holes to keep them a couple of inches apart to accommodate the mature plant’s size. You can drill one hole using a 20l bucket for a single plant system, which works well with courgettes and tomatoes.

  • A tip is to place some wood below your lid when you drill the holes, as it prevents the saw from jolting around and breaking the plastic.

Third Step

  • Place the air pump on the outside of your reservoir, and it will have a check valve to prevent the pump from sucking water back when turned off. Placing the pump above your water level is best if you do not have such a valve.

  • Next, connect your air stone and valve with tubing and ensure the arrow faces the air stones.

  • Then connect your valve to your air pumps using the same manner.

Fourth Step

  • First, decide where to place your hydroponic container, as once it is filled with water, it becomes heavy to move.

  • Fill it with water leaving a couple of inches of space at the top.

  • Now add the nutrients following the instruction recommended on the bottle.

  • Next, adjust the pH of your water using your pH meter. The tap water pH should be anything between 6.5 to 7.5. Most vegetables need a slightly acidic water nutrient solution, depending on what you grow.

  • If you need to bring the pH down between 5.5 to 6.5, you can add some phosphoric drops using your pipette. Also, wear gloves when working with the pH down and mix the solution after the application.

Fifth Step

  • Next, plug in the pump, place the air stone in the container, and secure your lid.

  • Add your plants in some rock wool plugs in the pots, or you can use hydroton clay pellets instead, as both are cleaner solutions.

Maintaining Your Hydroponic System

Root Of hydroponic vegetables @aquamechanical Root Of hydroponic vegetables @aquamechanical

  • Most importantly, the water level must not drop too much when your plants are young. Always keep the water in contact with the root system to grow well.

  • Keep the pH levels as should be by checking them when you top up the water.

  • You can use a 2L bottle to top up the water to know how much water you throw in.

  • Every 21 days, remove all the water, clean the reservoir, and replace it with fresh water.

The fantastic thing about using a hydroponic system is that you can sow your seeds or cuttings directly into it by doing the following:

  • Place a rock wool plug in your net pot and place up to two seeds in a plug. The important thing is that plug must not dry out.

  • Or you can try cuttings using a foam collar, a sponge cylinder split down in the center to wedge a seedling, or a cutting in. Cut a stem under a leaf node and remove the bottom leaves. Place the cut end into the collar and net pot.

  • Then place a bottomless plastic bottle over your cutting to prevent it from drying up.

Final Thoughts

With aeroponic and hydroponic systems, you find similarities and differences. Still, having a lot of knowledge of an aeroponic system would be best, and hydroponics will need more maintenance. Yet, both systems offer you excellent plant growth.

But if you have the experience and want your plants to grow fast with a larger yield, the aeroponic system is what you need. But if you want more control of the nutrients the plants receive and have little space, then the hydroponic system is a clear winner.

Still, choosing the right one all comes down to your preference, and we hope our article helps you choose the best one.

Frequently Asked Questions

It all comes down to what you want to grow when deciding between hydroponics and aeroponics. Still, when growing plants with aeroponics, you get stronger and healthier plant roots with a higher yield.

Yes, it does work, as you can grow from flowers to vegetables with hydroponics indoors.

It isn’t easy to grow plants in the same hydronic garden as each plant has different nutrient needs.

The biggest con is it is expensive to set up compared to a hydroponic one. It also takes a lot of maintenance, and you need a lot of technical knowledge. With hydroponics, you need a lot of water consumption to power to run the systems, and it can cost a lot unless you can recycle the water.

Whether you want to buy, sell, or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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