28 Advantages and Disadvantages of Aeroponics and Hydroponics

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Compared to hydroponics, aeroponics offers even more control over the root system, because you don’t even need to immerse the roots in any liquid. This makes your aeroponic nursery “mobile.” Aeroponics uses a small internal microjet spray that sprays the roots with fine, high pressure mist containing nutrient rich solutions. Because the roots are exposed to more oxygen, the plant tends to grow faster. It is also easier to administer all sorts of nutrients to the plant, via the root system.

Plants are often grown aeroponically via a tower system
Plants are often grown aeroponically via a tower system

In a typical aeroponic system, plants are usually suspended on top of a reservoir, within a tightly sealed container. A pump and sprinkler system creates vapors out of a nutrient rich solution, and sprays the result in the reservoir, engulfing the dangling plant roots. Plants are inserted into the platform top holes and supported with collars. Aeroponics is often confused with hydroponicssince the two methods are similar and interchangeable, but In aeroponics the roots have no contact with any media, whereas in hydroponics, they do.

aeroponics
aeroponics

Some people think that aeroponically grown plants would be more frail than plants grown in the soil, but this is entirely false, as they are in fact even more well fed than most of their soil counterparts! Aeroponics can also be combined perfectly with hydroponics, to produce strong, healthy plants, as in hydro-aeroponics. The secret of aeroponics lies in the increased oxygen available to the roots due to the lack of root zone media.

The Advantages/pros/benefits of aeroponics:

  • Fast plant growth – The chief feature of aeroponics. Plants grow fast because their roots have access to a lot of oxygen 24/7.
  • Easy system maintenance – In aeroponics, all you need to maintain is the root chamber (the container housing the roots) which needs regular disinfecting, and periodically, the reservoir and irrigation channels. The constant semi-moist environment of the root chamber which invites bacterial growth is the only main drawback of all aeroponic system maintenance.
  • Less need for nutrients and water – Aeroponic plants need less nutrients and water on average, because the nutrient absorption rate is higher, and plants usually respond to aeroponic systems by growing even more roots.
  • Mobility – Plants, even whole nurseries, can be moved around without too much effort, as all that is required is moving the plants from one collar to another.
  • Requires little space – You don’t need much space to start an aeroponics garden. Depending on the system, plants can be stacked up one on top of each other. Aeroponics is basically a modular system, which is perfect for maxing out limited space.
  • Great educational value – You can learn a great deal about plants from aeroponics. Kids especially will love having a small aeroponic system to grow a pet plant, without having to get their hands dirty.

The Disadvantages/cons/drawbacks of aeroponics

  • Dependence on the system – A typical aeroponics system is made up of high pressure pumps, sprinklers and timers. If any of these break down, your plants can be damaged or killed easily.
  • Technical knowledge required – You need a certain level of competency in running an aeroponic system. Knowledge of nutrients amounts required by your plant is essential, because you don’t have any soil to absorb excess/wrong nutrients supplied.
  • Regular cleaning of the root chamber – The root chamber must not be contaminated, or else diseases may strike the roots. So you need to disinfect the root chamber every so often. Hydrogen peroxide is often used as disinfectant.
  • High cost – Most aeroponic systems are not exactly cheap. Aeroponic systems may cost many hundreds of dollars each. The most affordable one I noticed, is still the one by AeroGrow, a unique form of commercial “aeroponics.” Edit – Some folks point out that AeroGrow is not aeroponics – I think it is still a great system for small premises.

Hydroponics is the growing of plants in a liquid nutrient solution with or without the use of artificial media.  Commonly used media include expanded clay pellets, peat coir, perlite, vermiculite, brick shards, polystyrene packing peanuts and  wood fiber.  Hydroponics is a viable method of producing vegetables,  foliage plants and other crops. The demand for locally grown produce has risen dramatically.  Growing these crops hydroponically is a very efficient means of meeting that demand.

hydroponics
hydroponics

The earliest food production in greenhouses was possibly the growing of off-season cucumbers under “transparent stone” for the Roman Emperor Tiberius during the first century.

When it comes to setting up a hydroponic system there are many key factors that should play into your decision.  That’s because there are pro’s and con’s to different systems.  To help you decide whether or not you should have a hydroponic system, we have listed some advantages and disadvantages. Take a look and see if it’s for you.

The Advantages/Benefits/Pros of Hydroponic:

  • You can grow anywhere.
  • Uses 20 times less water than soil based gardening.
  • Your environment is sterile, which means no pesticides.
  • You’ll use 20% less space for growing.
  • The system water can be reused, allowing you to conserve water.
  • You can have complete control over nutrient balance by using Dyna-Gro Nutrition Solutions.
  • No soil setup and testing hassles.
  • Harvesting is easier.
  • No mulching, tilling, changing of soil and weeding
  • You can grow year round if indoors.

The Disadvantages/Cons of Hydroponic:

  • Putting together a hydroponic system isn’t cheap.
  • Constant monitoring is required.
  • Hydroponic systems are vulnerable to power outages.  In the event of a power outage that outlasts your generators you will be manually watering your garden.
  • Micro-organisms that are water-based can creep in rather easily.
  • Growing a hydroponic garden demands technical expertise.
  • Production is limited compared to field conditions
  • If a disease appears, all plants in the system will be affected.
  • Without soil to serve as a buffer if the system fails plant death will occur rapidly.

There are numerous benefits of hydroponic gardening.  Its practice can yield excellent results in short span of time with proper knowledge and techniques.  Various environmental concerns, reduction in arable land, and scarcity of water can be easily conquered with the use of hydroponics.  It is extremely beneficial for commercial farmers and home gardeners alike.