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One of the best ways an indoor grower can maximize a garden’s efficiency is to set up a perpetual garden. In order to do so, a gardener must have a dedicated area for each stage of growth: cloning, vegetative, and flowering.


Ripening is the crucial time right before harvesting, when the blooms of high-value plants will noticeably fill in, pack on extra density, and produce a significant amount of essential oils. This final burst of essential-oil production can make the difference between good quality and great quality.

At the end of each garden cycle, and sometimes throughout, growers of high-value plants must clean their hydroponic systems in order to avoid potential problems. For most growers this includes the use of a cleaning or sanitizing agent. Unfortunately, there is little information regarding which products are most suited to hydroponic applications. Before growers decide which products, if any, they wish to use in their hydroponic systems they must understand the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Successful gardeners who grow high-value plants understand the importance of an automated ventilation system. In order for any indoor garden to work, a ventilation system of some sort must be in place to bring in fresh air and to control temperature and humidity. 

In order to maintain optimal growing conditions and produce tasty consumables, growers must understand the basics of flushing.The problem most growers face is the overwhelming amount of information and misinformation on flushing.


All growers looking to set up a hydroponic system are confronted with the same looming question: what grow medium should I use? It is important to consider the type of hydroponic system the grower plans on using as some media are more compatible with certain systems than others. Before a grower makes his or her final decision, the advantages and disadvantages of each medium should be examined to see which best fits the grower’s needs. The most commonly used hydroponic media are: stonewool (Rockwool), expanded clay pebbles, coconut fiber, and perlite.

Stonewool (Rockwool)

Stonewool is one of the most popular hydroponic media for growers of high-value plants. It is made from spun basalt rock and has amazing water retaining properties. Stonewool can be used in all stages of growth, including propagation. Stonewool is available in cubes, slabs, bails, and flocked (loose) which makes it compatible with many different types of hydroponic systems. A few of the advantages of stonewool are its high compatibility with various hydroponic systems, its high water retention ability, and its light weight (which makes logistics much simpler for the urban gardener). Some of the disadvantages of stonewool are its need to be conditioned before use and disposing of it after the plants are harvested.

Expanded Clay Pebbles

Expanded clay pebbles, or hydroton, are probably the most identifiable hydroponic medium. Expanded clay is an inert medium that holds a lot of air and still retains some moisture. Its ability to hold oxygen facilitates root growth and is a huge advantage to the grower of high-value plants. Expanded clay can be used as both the medium for the root zone and as a stabilizer in systems where the root zone is mainly suspended in water or air (deep water culture, aeroponics, etc). Disadvantages of clay pebbles are they are heavy, they are dusty (need to be rinsed completely before use), and in some hydroponic systems they can dry out too quickly.

Coconut Fiber

Coconut fiber has quickly gained popularity as a hydroponic medium. Coconut fiber is made from ground coconut husks and is a byproduct of the coconut industry. Coconut fiber has the amazing ability to retain both moisture and oxygen simultaneously. This is a huge advantage to the grower of high-value plants because it allows for the conditions needed for maximum nutrient absorption. Unfortunately, coconut fiber is not perfect. Unless it is rinsed thoroughly, coconut fiber can contain salts that could affect performance. Coconut fiber also has a tendency to hold magnesium and calcium. This is why plant nutrition needs to be slightly adjusted when using coconut fiber.


Perlite is a high oxygen hydroponic medium. Although it can be used by itself, perlite is usually mixed with another medium to increase water retention. Advantages of perlite are its low cost, light weight, and availability. Perlite floats which makes it difficult to use in some hydroponic systems. Perlite dust is harmful when breathed so extra caution must be used when handling.

Growers looking to take advantage of hydroponic growing should research each of the different media before making a final decision. Experimentation is the best way to test a few of the different hydroponic media to see which performs best in your hydroponic system.

© Copyright RosebudMag.com, 2013


The driving energy behind the success of any indoor garden is the light source. It comes as no surprise that, because of its importance, growers want an efficient way to measure the light. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done, as the entire lighting industry and the way light is measured is based on the way humans perceive light. This is why horticultural lighting is still rated on initial lumen output. One of the most important sayings growers of high-value plants should remember is “lumens are for humans”.


Foliar feeding is becoming increasing popular in indoor horticulture. Many growers are unaware that a plant can actually take in nutrition in two places: through its roots and through tiny pores, called stomata, found on the surface of its leaves.


After many discoveries in plant physiology, scientists have identified and categorized the elements needed to support plant growth as the essential elements. Rightly named, these elements are essential to plant function and are required for plant health. In addition to the essential elements there is another group of elements that plant scientists are classifying as beneficial elements.


For hydroponic growers one of the most influential parameters affecting the garden’s performance is the temperature of the nutrient reservoir. Growers of high-value plants understand the importance of maintaining a consistent room temperature but many fail to understand the importance of the nutrient reservoir’s temperature.


Whether they know it or not, growers of high-value plants encounter humic and fulvic acids all the time. This is especially true of, but not limited to, the organic gardener because most organic fertilizers contain one or both acids.


The single most important factor affecting nutrient uptake in a hydroponic system is a consistent pH. In fact, maintaining a consistent pH within the desired pH range determines whether or not nutrients will even be available for absorption.


Photosynthesis can be broken down into a chemical equation. Each contributing factor in that equation, when manipulated, will directly change the end result. Indoor horticulturists of high-value plants take various steps to manipulate these factors to produce optimal growth. Light, water, nutrients, humidity, and temperature all play vital roles in the overall equation that makes photosynthesis possible. For indoor growers light energy is usually the most limiting factor for producing optimal growth. When compared with the sun our indoor lighting equipment is horribly inefficient. This is due to the inverse square law (light diminishes exponentially from its source).

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Indoor horticulturists are no strangers to the importance of pure water. After all, high-value plants, just like humans, are mainly made up of water. Water is the most precious resource we have on this planet. This imperative substance is also a vital resource to the indoor horticulturist.


No products are more crucial to the progression of the indoor horticultural industry than innovative lighting technologies. The light energy in any indoor garden is the driving force that makes all plant functions possible.

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