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An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Various Hydroponic Cultivation Models

Hydroponic cultivation is gaining popularity as an innovative method of growing plants without using soil. This article aims to provide a simple and comprehensive guide to various hydroponic cultivation models. The three main categories of hydroponic systems are hydroponics, aeroponics, and substrate cultivation.

Ebb and Flow System

The Ebb and Flow system, also known as the flood and drain system, involves flooding the grow tray with a nutrient solution at specific intervals. The solution then slowly drains back into the reservoir. This system is useful for giving the plants a good soaking while ensuring that they don’t get over-watered.

NFT (Nutrient Film Technique)

NFT or Nutrient Film Technique involves a constant flow of nutrient solution over the roots of the plants. This system typically consists of a tilted tray where plants are placed, and a thin film of nutrient solution constantly flows over the roots. It’s great for smaller plants and is known for using water efficiently.

Aeroponic Systems

In aeroponic systems, plant roots are suspended in the air, and a nutrient solution is misted onto them at regular intervals. This method allows the roots to absorb more oxygen, often resulting in faster growth. Essentially, it uses a sprayer or mister to deliver water and nutrients directly to the roots.

DWC (Deep Water Culture)

Deep Water Culture (DWC) involves suspending plants in a nutrient-rich solution with the roots submerged. The water is well oxygenated using an air pump, ensuring the roots get plenty of oxygen. This system is particularly popular among beginners because of its simplicity.

Drip Systems

Drip systems work by providing a slow feed of nutrient-rich water solution to the plants through a network of tubes and drippers. This is a widely used method due to its efficiency and is particularly popular for larger plants or trees.

Understanding Substrate Cultivation: Substrate cultivation is a type of hydroponic method where the roots of the plants are fixed in an organic or inorganic material, known as the substrate. The plants are then supplied with nutrient solution through drip or trickle irrigation. It’s important to choose the right substrate, as it plays a crucial role in the success of cultivation.

Requirements for the substrate are: a) Solid matter of a certain size to ensure good physical properties. b) It should be loose, able to retain water, nutrients and allow air circulation. c) Chemically stable without any harmful ingredients that might alter the nutrient solution. d) Easily available, cost-effective, and sourced from a wide range of materials.

The primary role of the substrate in hydroponic culture is to support and secure the plants in place, absorb the nutrient solution, and allow air to reach the roots.


Selecting the right hydroponic system is crucial for the success of your cultivation. The choice depends on various factors such as the type of plants you are growing, available space, and resources. Each of these hydroponic models has its own set of advantages, and understanding them will help you make an informed decision.