Top 3 Hydroponic Nutrients

Over the past few decades, the popularity of hydroponic gardening has been growing among farmers around the world. Typically, hydroponic gardening results in plants growing faster and producing better results. The key to ensuring your plants grow successfully – the nutrients you feed it.


The obvious difference in hydroponic gardening and traditional gardening is that you do not need soil for your plants to grow. However, the nutrients your plants need to survive must come from somewhere. That is where you play a major role in deciding which one will be the best fit for your crop.

When it comes to making sure your plants are getting the nutrients they need to thrive, there is another major difference between hydroponic gardening and traditional soil gardening – micro-elements. These micro-elements are needed by plants in only small amounts. Nutrients in soil do not contain these elements, because they are in abundance in the soil. With hydroponics, because no soil is present, you must have nutrients designed specifically for hydroponic systems.


While there are a number of systems for hydroponic gardening, the one thing they all have in common is that the nutrients that plants need to live and grow are delivered directly to the roots. Finding a practical and efficient way to do so is the main goal of a hydroponic gardener, but knowing the proper amount of each nutrient needed can sometimes be difficult to determine.

Plants need a total of 16 elements to survive. Some elements are taken in through the air and water, and include carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Other elements are taken in through the roots. Any good hydroponic solutions should include the following nutrients in the correct ratios:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Phosphorous (P)
  • Calcium (Ca) Magnesium (Mg)
  • Sulphur (S)
  • Iron (Fe)
  • Manganese (Mn)
  • Copper (Cu)
  • Zinc (Zn)
  • Molydenum (Mo)
  • Boron (B)
  • Chlorine (Cl)

In most cases, a pre-made formula will include all of these hydroponic nutrients, and come in different “parts” so that a hydroponic gardener can switch up the mineral elements for whatever stage the plant is in at the time.


As you search for the perfect food for your plants, you will see that the nutrients for your hydroponic garden will come in one of two forms: liquid or dry granules. Each has its own pros and cons for use.

  • Liquid solutions contain all of the nutrients you will need for productive plant growth. These solutions are simply made by mixing the contrate with water. For the smaller-scale, hobby farmers this option tends to be the simplest way to keep plants growing in a hydroponic garden. While you may spend a little more on this type of nutrient solution, you will save on time and convenience.
  • Dry mixes are used more by commercial farmers. They can sometimes be more complicated to mix, but they are cheaper to obtain and store, and many times can be purchased in bulk. With dry, or powdered, mixes you will need to pay close attention to the mix. Most come in 1-part mixes, multi-part mixes, and many part mixes.
    • 1-Part Mixes – These mixes are typically the easiest to make, as you simply mix it just as it says on the bag. However, some of the nutrients can become solid over time in high concentrations, making it unusable.
    • Multi-Part Mixes – Unlike 1-Part mixes, multi-part solutions are not difficult to mix and will last longer periods of time in stock.
    • Many-Part Mixes – For the “backyard” gardener, or hobby gardener, many-part mixes may not be the best solution. These mixes include multiple fertilizers, which are mixed and stored separately.


Now, it is time to decide which fertilizer is the best for you. Before you do, though, make sure you are clear on your needs, as well as the needs of your garden. Ask yourself these two questions: 1) Am I more concerned with price or convenience? and 2) Do I have the time and patience to experiment by mixing my own solution?

Customizing your plants nutrients is one of the many benefits of hydroponic gardening. And, the solution you use is entirely dependent on your gardening needs. As you research nutrients and fertilizers, be sure to also check that the mixture you use is what is recommended for your specific plants and crops.

Some of the top hydroponic nutrients on the market include:

  1. General Hydroponics Flora Grow, Bloom, Micro Combo Fertilizer

General Hydroponics consistently provides some of the highest rated nutrients for hydroponic gardening. Specifically, the FloraGrow, FloraBloom and FloraMicro is a three-part system that allows the gardener to customize the nutrients during different growth stages, which gives you a better chance at success. While this system is customizable and easy to use, there will be some research and planning on your part to ensure that your plants are getting the right solution at the right stage of its growth cycle.

  1. AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients

If you are new to hydroponic gardening, AeroGarden Liquid Nutrients may be a good fit for you. Unlike General Hydroponics, this solution has only one formula, which should be effective for all stages of growth. While it takes any guesswork out for the gardener, it also prevents you from being able to customize the nutrients your plants need, meaning you might not have as much success using this nutrient solution.

  1. MasterBlend 4-18-38 Complete Combo Kit Fertilizer

While liquid nutrients are commonly chosen, there are several good dry mixes available on the market, as well. One of those includes the MasterBlend 4-18-38 Complete Combo Kit Fertilizer which is made up of three components. The first component, the actual blend of nutrients, contains all of the nutrients your plant will need. The next bag includes calcium nitrate to provide more calcium and nitrogen should your plant need it. And, finally, epsom salt includes nutrients that are helpful during the flowering and fruit bearing growth stages. Used as directed, this dry mix is less complicated than others used by more commercial farms.


The introduction of nutrients into your hydroponic gardening system is vital, and the only way that your plants will thrive. Choosing the best nutrients for your garden will lead to a more successful harvest for you.

Still need help choosing a formula? The experts at Hydroponics Made Simple can help you figure out the best combination of nutrients for your specific plants, as well as lead you in the right direction of the best hydroponic nutrients to use. Call (888) 784-9376 to get growing.