Tag Archive: hydroponic

  1. With Hydroponics, Don’t Guess…Test Your Plants

    recently matured leaves

    Always test the most recently matured leaves, in this case just below the flowers.

    “The plant is the final judge,” says Kathryn Lewis of Sun Gro Analytical Services, a branch of our company that uses rigorous testing and analysis to determine your crop’s needs. Even if a plant looks picture perfect, it may harbor a deficiency that could reduce flavor, oil content, and overall vigor.

    “It’s what the plant has taken up that matters,” stressed Lewis. “If you are having a plant growth problem, or you are trying to perfect your system, you must test the plants first.” At Sun Gro we test each sample to see if what you are doing provides your crops full access to all 16 essential nutrients needed for plant growth. Just testing soil or water will not necessarily tell you what’s available to plants. Other factors can be at play.

    Lewis knows the truth about nutrient uptake and how certain conditions can make nutrients unavailable. “Only by drying and crushing the plant’s tissues can we determine if it’s properly accessing nutrients, and whether or not there’s enough of all 16 essential nutrients for the plant to reach its full potential.”

    fresh cut material for sample

    Air dry samples for one day, place in the paper sack labeled Plant Tissue (drying and use of paper is very important).

    With today’s hydroponics, the mix-and-match approach to plant nutrition can be far from scientific. There is no way to determine if what you’re doing is working to its fullest advantage without scheduled testing. “Each plant should be producing at the highest level possible, but without analytic testing you can’t know if all nutrients applied are being utilized. Only with hard data can you fine tune individual micro and macro nutrient concentrations,” shared Lewis.

    Although Sun Gro offers an extensive list of analytical services, Lewis stressed that individual and commercial hydroponic growers are best served by first testing plant tissue. The requested sample size is 2 cups, or 1 oz. T collect one sample, collect every 2 to 4 weeks from the same variety. Collect recently matured leaves only, just below the growing point from at least 10 randomly selected plants. For unknown “problem” diagnosis, collect separate samples from both “good” and “bad” areas. This comparison often helps to determine corrective remedies. The data growers get from plant tissue analysis lets them know if they are on the right track or need to make adjustments in their feeding, light, watering, or media.

    The benefits to testing your plants are many, but above all testing allows a high degree of nutritional accuracy. Every grower has guessed at what plants need at one time or another, and sometimes you guess wrong. When you test your plants it eliminates guesswork to ensure that every crop you grow produces at its highest level. As you move into a new growth phase, there’s an opportunity to immediately correct deficiencies. Moreover, there’s less of a chance that you’ll add a nutrient that is already dangerously high just because it’s a component of your plant food product.


    Collect plant samples from the corners and center of your growing area for an accurate reflection of your growing space.

    Hydroponic horticulture is highly scientific, but there’s a lot of folk practice that can get in the way. When there’s a great deal of money on the line, or just a personal at-home crop, you can’t afford to guess wrong. If the desired result is a consistently good harvest time and time again, the cost of testing pays for itself.

    Click here to view a submission form for Sun Gro Analytical Services.

  2. Wet and Dry Mixes: Pro Choices for Hydro Growers

    7106sunshine-mix4-myco-resilience-frontFor years hydroponic growers growing in media were forced to mix their own to create the ideal conditions for rooting. Through trial and error they sought to solve problems related to homemade media that retained too much or too little moisture at the root zone. Some growers sought the perfect mix for moisture retention while others wanted a mix with perfect drainage and aeration.

    The scientists at Sunshine® Advanced formulated two growing media products that take guesswork out of mixing your own wet and dry mixes. Sunshine® Advanced Ultra Coir retains moisture while Sunshine® Advanced Mix #4 with Mycorrhizae is a highly aerated, well-drained media with added mycorrhizae. Now indoor growers can choose the perfect mix for their growing needs.

    perlite-large_03 Sunshine® Advanced Mix #4 with Mycorrhizae uses only the finest peat and coarse perlite, lime, mycorrhizae and organic fertilizer to get your plants off to a good start. It is a premium mix for indoor growing mix that contains a higher amount of horticultural perlite for plants that prefer greater air porosity. By offering excellent drainage, it protects against overly saturated media, while also providing just enough moisture. What’s more, it is boosted with endomycorrhizae and a low phosphorus fertilizer  to better support mycorrhizae establishment and growth.  RESiLIENCE®, has been added, which may improve resistance to wilting.

    9570sunshine-advanced-ultra-coir-resilience-frontFor a drier greenhouse or outdoor growing conditions, Sunshine® Advanced Ultra Coir prevents dehydration that can slow and sometimes even stop growth.  Formulated much like our professional coir-based mixes. It is specifically designed for vegetables, herbs and other consumable plantings and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor growing. It is most recommended for indoor use for crops requiring a lot of water.

    Our soil scientists are devoted to creating media suited to a wide range of growing conditions. They eliminate the time-consuming process of fine tuning your own recipe. Whether you need a great mix for moisture retention or one with perfect drainage and aeration, Sunshine® Advanced has got you covered!

  3. A Soilless Media That Is Complete From Day One

    Sunshine Advanced Rain Forest Blend vs Other Bark Based Grow Mixes

    Choosing a soilless media for your hydroponic garden can be a real challenge when there are just a few small differences from one brand to another. But when it comes to the end game of a healthy mature crop, these small differences can have a big impact on plant performance. It pays to note the details because in them lies the key to what’s best for your plants, their longevity, vigor and overall health. Read the full article »