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Just as you require certain nutrients to grow, survive and function at your best plants also need to be provided with specific essential nutrients to be able to grow and thrive in your hydroponic system. These nutrients need to be provided in the nutrient solution that you provide otherwise your plant(s) will suffer from poor growth and other signs of nutrient deficiency.

When growing hydroponically it is essential to use a nutrient especially formulated for hydroponic use and if available the type of system and growing media used.

The nutrient should contain the major nutrients which are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K), which are the components of the NPK value that is commonly quoted for plant feeds. Magnesium and calcium are also required in major quantities

There are about eight micronutrients essential to plant health and growth that are only needed in very minute quantities. These are boron, chlorine, copper, cobalt, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulphur and zinc. Make sure your hydroponic nutrient contains them.

Hydroponic nutrients are available in a variety of formulations, such as single part, two part and three part.

Single part solutions such as Ionic have all the nutrients in a single concentrated form and come in one bottle, single part solutions are generally the easiest to use.

Two and three part solutions have the nutrients in two and three bottles respectively. CANNA Coco A+ B is an example of a two part formulation. Two and three part formulations require a little more work from the grower, however the multi bottle formulations have the reputation of providing better results.

The nutrient formulations are also generally made in a grow formula and a bloom formula, the relative proportions of the nutrients being altered according to an average plants requirements in vegetative growth and flowering growth.

Formulations are also available for hard and soft water areas, if you are unsure which type of water area you are in seek advice from your local water authority, hydroponic shop or check the inside of your kettle if it is covered in scale it is most likely you have hard water.