What are Aeroponics, and Why are They Beneficial?

Aeroponics may help plants grow faster

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants, like marijuana, in an air or mist environment, a closed loop system that aerates nutrient solutions. It advances plant development, health, growth, flowering, and fruiting. The name derives from the Greek words of Aero (air) and ponos (labor).



The process can be carried out without soil or any kind of base medium. It’s unlike hydroponic systems because they use a liquid nutrient solution. This is not the easiest system for novice growers, as it has many technical elements.

Scientists used aeroponics in the mid-20th century to study plant roots. The technology wasn’t initially developed for cannabis growing, but nowadays, controlled environments have become the standard way of growing. Aeroponics systems have been shown to develop high-quality plants and is gaining popularity with growers every day. The system is not completely resistant to disease, pets, mold, and mildew, however, the less water that is used, the less risk that’s associated with these types of troubles.

Aeroponics is similar to hydroponics in some ways. Both processes suspend plants above the ground. Both setups use water to transfer nutrients, and, in both systems, a trellis is needed to help elevate large plants. From here, the two systems deviate. Aeroponics systems continually spray mist on the roots, while roots in Hydroponics systems are covered with another medium.

Why Aeroponics?

Aeroponic grow operations require minimum maintenance and produce a high yield. Water consumption is lowered as the water is reused. Important plant nutrients are circulated from a central distribution system that releases the desired amount. Because it delivers all nutrients through the air, there is no need for soil or another growing medium.

Process

The aeroponics setup has reservoir that is separate from a raised plant bed. The reservoir is filled with water and nutrients. The nutrients are often mineral blends that the plant needs to thrive. In the reservoir is a submersible pump that mists the water and nutrient mixture onto the exposed roots. A timer is necessary to consistently deliver moisture and other nutrients.

In order to prevent unhealthy plants from growing, the aeroponics setup must be cleaned on a regular basis. If one plant is overcome with disease, it could transfer to the entire bunch. In addition to cleaning the whole system, the bad plant should be removed altogether. This limits the likelihood of disease transfer. It is important to note that disease transfer is more likely in densely-populated setups.

Some aeroponics use a medium called cell foam. These enclosed cells hold the plant up by the root. Cell foam is not necessary but can save money and decrease the amount of required labor.

Keep in Mind

This system is one of the most expensive ways to grow, and the grower must have technical knowledge. A lot of energy is used to maintain an aeroponics system, and plants could be lost in the event of a power outage.

A crucial part of keeping the root healthy is controlling the size of the droplet that reaches it. Too much moisture minimizes the oxygen taken in. Too little moisture creates root hairs without developing a lateral root system. Nutrient and pH levels must be kept within a specific range for optimal results. If the measurements vary too much from what's required, the whole crop could suffer and, perhaps, die altogether.

Aeroponics minimizes water usage and water waste. Although this system seems rather easy to use at first glance, it does take a lot of work and technical know-how to be successful. Industry beginners may find the process overwhelming.