Plants can thrive in other types of growing media than simply soil—in fact, with hydroponic gardening, the gardener uses a sterile growing medium to prevent pests and diseases from spreading. With so many choices of growing media, however, narrowing them down to just one type can be difficult, especially if you’re a new gardener. Once you find your favorite growing medium, though, you won’t need to search for a solution any longer. Discover the different types of growing media in their most popular forms to make your hydroponic garden a successful one.
Have you ever wondered what you can do with the husk of a coconut besides fill it with a refreshing piña colada? Made from soaked and dried coconut husks, coco coir answers that question—it acts as a fully organic growing medium for hydroponic gardens. This soil-like growing medium comes in either a fibrous form or a brick that the gardener soaks and breaks apart for use in their hydroponic containers. This soil-like quality makes coco coir an excellent replacement for peat moss—which can be good for novice hydroponic gardeners who are still learning why growing media are so important.
Rockwool was a type of household insulation before people began using it for hydroponics. An inorganic, man-made growing medium, rockwool is one of the top choices for hydroponic gardeners due to its sterility and reusability. Plant roots can weave their ways through the solid fibers of rockwool and absorb nutrients at their own pace as the grow medium drains throughout the day. Often, rockwool comes in cubes or slabs that you cut to your preferred size.
If you’re searching for a more aesthetically pleasing option out of the different types of growing media, clay pellets might be your preferred way to grow. These little rock-like pebbles work best in small systems, and they’re easier to use than most other media. You can also reuse the clay balls or rocks once your plants finish growing, and removing the plant from the pellets can be easy—but there’s a chance it’ll be stubborn and won’t let go of the clay once it gets a grip.
Gardeners also like using clay because it’s a more sustainable resource than many other types of grow media—the world has plenty of clay, and it doesn’t take much clay to create these aerated, pore-filled balls.