Hydroponics is a method of indoor gardening that does not use soil as a growing medium for the plants. Plants can be grown in a water solution, or in other growing mediums such as rockwool or coir. Hydroponics is an ideal method of growing plants where soil may be less than ideal for gardening, as well as places where there is no land available to garden, such as in urban areas in cities.

All plants need three components in order to grow and thrive: water, light and food. Without any one of these, the plants will die. Food is vitally important to the plant, in order for it to grow and eventually reach maturity, where it will reproduce by flowering or fruiting. In terms of indoor gardening with hydroponics, food is a specialized component because of the soil-less growing factor.

How do hydroponic plants eat?

Plants grown hydroponically are fed using a hydroponic nutrient solution. In many hydroponic indoor gardening systems, the plant's roots are grown in water. The crown of the plant is suspended by many and various means above the water, allowing the roots to float in the fluid.

In some systems, the water in which the plant roots rest is aerated using a small pump, and this allows the nutrient to be pushed all around the plant roots, where the roots can then make contact with the plant nutrients and take them in. Plant nutrients for hydroponics can also be taken up by the plant through the use of a wick. This wick-based system requires no pump.

Not all hydroponic systems are water based, however. You can also grow your plants in some form of media, which could include peat moss, vermiculite, perlite, coir, rockwool, and others. The medium helps to keep the crown of the plant out of the water, yet it keeps the plant roots in contact with the hydroponic nutrients.

All plants, whether growing indoors or not, need several types of nutrients. The main plant nutrients for hydroponics are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Plants also need macronutrients in greater amounts than micronutrients, but nevertheless all are needed in order for any plant to thrive.

In a traditional garden setting, your plants would be receiving nutrients from the soil, but without soil, plants are helpless without the gardener providing them with plant nutrients for hydroponics.

If you are growing food crops and wish to garden organically, not to worry: plant nutrients for hydroponics come in the form of organic gardening supplies suitable for fruits, leafy vegetables, melons, berries, grapes and many other types of food plants suited to hydroponic gardening.