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A hydroponic system provides water and nutrients directly to a plant’s root system minus the soil. It’s a no-mess form of gardening that produces impressive growth and high yields. Using a grow media such as perlite, clay pellets, peat moss, vermiculite, sand/gravel, rock wool, or coconut coir to support the plants, you then rely on a hydroponic system to deliver the water and nutrients to your plants. 

You’ll encounter six types of hydroponic systems: 

  • Wicking
  • Deep water culture (DWC)
  • Nutrient film technique (NFT)
  • Ebb and flow
  • Aeroponics
  • Drip systems 


The hydroponic wick system is remarkably basic and simple. In fact, the system has been used for thousands of years to cultivate plants. 

With the wick system, nutrients and water are transported directly to the plant’s root system using a simple wick such as a piece of felt or rope. You suspend the plant’s agave the grow medium. Under the grow medium is a water reservoir filled with nutrients. One end of the wick is placed in the reservoir and the other within the growing media. The wick effectively transports water and nutrients slowly to the plant’s roots via a natural wicking system. 

Known as ‘passive hydroponics,’ a wicking system requires no expensive air or water pumps. It is low cost and easy to maintain.

Deep Water Culture (DWC) 

The deep-water culture (DWC) is remarkably easy to maintain and favored by beginners. The system consists of a water/nutrient reservoir. The plants are suspended directly above the water reservoir with the roots submerged so they have a constant supply of nutrients and water. 

To ensure that your plants do not drown in the water, you’ll need to supply them with oxygen, so you’ll need to run an air stone or air pump to oxygenate the water.

Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)

The nutrient film technique (NFT) ensures that the plant’s roots receive water and nutrients via a large reservoir that contains an air pump or air stone to oxygenate the water. The plants are grown in channels in net pots. The water is then pumped from the reservoir, down the channel, and across the plant’s roots. The roots are not completely submerged. The water and nutrient then flow out of the channel and back into the reservoir.

Ebb and Flow System

The ebb and flow system are often referred to as the ‘flood and drain.’  The water and nutrients flood across the plant’s roots on a timed cycle. The plants are suspended in a tray and at a timed schedule, a pump turns on and floods the tray with nutrients and water. The frequency of flooding depends on the type of plants being grown. The water and nutrients depend on gravity to flow across the plant’s root sand back into the reservoir. 

Aeroponic systems

An aeroponic system is a high-tech system that is expensive but highly effective. The plant’s roots are suspended in the air. A reservoir filled with oxygenated water is attached to misters. A fine mist is sprayed across the plant’s roots. 

Drip System

Drip systems are common in commercial settings and rarely used in residential homes because they work best on a large scale. The system is similar to the NFT system, but the plants are all held within separate channels. A pump continuously moves the water, so it flows down the channel. 

If you want to try hydroponic cultivation, then you’ll want to consider the above six hydroponic systems and deice which one best meets your particular needs. Once you make a decision, contact Humboldts Secret Supplies to learn more about our hydroponic nutrient solutions. 

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