Hydro grains possibly are the best example of hydro substrates. Other substrates (also know as culture mediums) are soil and coir, but in this article we concentrate on explaining how to grow plants in hydro substrate.
What exactly is a hydro substrate?
When growing plants in hydro grains, you effectively use hydro culture, a growing technique in which plants do not form their roots in soil but in water instead. To this end there is a range of substrates available. Other substrates adaptable to hydro culture are rocky materials like perlite, vermiculite and lava stone. Professional growers generally use stone wool as well. In hydro culture water fills the bottom of pots or special tanks. Plants take as much water on board as needed; specific measuring instruments check and show the water level. The advantages of hydro culture are many: plants are less vulnerable to diseases and moulds, and (provided the water level is held in perfect working order) they always receive enough liquid. Furthermore, due to the airy quality of substrates, roots obtain sufficient oxygen at all times.
Applying hydro culture
Quite likely you have come across plants growing in hydro cultures, either in office buildings or waiting rooms; you may have noticed small palmtrees or other leafy green plants in large planters, containing orangey brown grains. These are hydro grains, a much used and very useful substrate for all kinds of houseplants, which need considerably less care when using this system.
You can also use hydro grains combined with other substrates, such as perlite or vermiculite, to help aerate potting soil, or to improve drainage by putting a layer of this mixture at the bottom of plant pots. Any professional gardener can grow plants on hydro substrate. In horticulture, growers often use stone wool but hydrograins are a perfect alternative. Several growing systems are available which reduce plant care considerably, such as the Wilma growing system.
Atami Hydro Rokz
Atami’s answer to hydro culture substrates is Hydro Rokz, made of salt-free baked clay. These porous grains absorb nutrient-rich water, allowing plants full access to it whenever needed.
Check our all our Atami products now available in South Africa: https://www.lichengroup.co.za/atami-sa-vegetables/