Nutrients are crucial for the development and growth of plants. Even if you’re growing foods hydroponically, then also you can’t avoid using nutrients.
But, can hydroponic nutrients go bad? Should we do something about it?
Generally, hydroponic nutrient does not go bad or expire because it contains Nitrogen which is hard to decompose. Due to the tight bonds between the two nitrogen atoms that make up these nutrients, they must be broken down at a high temperature. But, there are some factors like air exposure, heat, and moisture can cause reduction in their quality.
High temperatures can degrade the hydroponic nutrients, whether they are liquid or dry. Dry hydroponic nutrients can absorb moisture, and it will cause the loss and degradation of nutrients.
Dry nutrients can be exposed to air and will cause degradation, and liquid nutrients can be evaporated when exposed to the air and will cause degradation.
Hydroponic nutrients should be stored in a dry and cool place so that direct sunlight, moisture and air can not come in contact with nutrients, and those nutrients can last longer.
Can hydroponic nutrients go bad?
This nutrient solution supplies water, oxygen, minerals to the plant root and help grow and nourish the plants. There is a good thing that good nutrients do not have any expiry date because, generally, these hydroponic nutrients do not expire. They do not expire, but can lose their effectiveness over time even though it is stored properly.
If someone is storing the nutrients for more than 12 months, it is the right time to change them. Liquid nutrients can remain at their best for two years, and then it starts losing their effectiveness and quality.
Generally, we purchase hydroponic nutrients in bulk, so it is important to store them properly so they can last for a long time.
Some factors, such as heat, air exposure, and moisture, can degrade the quality of the nutrients and reduce their effectiveness. Direct sunlight can degrade the quality of both dry and liquid nutrients. Dry hydroponic nutrients can absorb moisture, then they will form a lump which will degrade the quality of the nutrients.
Dry nutrients get exposed to the air and absorb humidity which will cause degradation, and liquid nutrients get exposed to the air for a long period and then evaporate in the air.
To protect these nutrients, it is important to store them in an airtight container, and the container should be placed in a dry, cool place so that direct sunlight, air and moisture can not come in contact with the nutrients.
Factors Affecting the Health of Hydroponic Nutrients
Generally, Hydroponic nutrient solutions do not expire and can last longer. But it is essential to store them in an airtight container and place them properly; otherwise, the quality of the nutrients can be degraded. Some factors can degrade the quality of the nutrients. Some factors are:
High temperature and direct sunlight can reduce the quality of the nutrients. Some nutrients like ammonium nitrate or KNO3 can burst when kept under sunlight or high temperature. So, it is important to keep the nutrients in a cool place, so direct heat can not come in touch with nutrients.
Hydroponic nutrients which are dry; when they come in contact with air absorb moisture. Well, this moisture can melt the nutrients, and thus nutrients form a clump which causes nutrient loss and degradation. Caking is the end outcome of absorption,
which is responsible for the loss of nutrients. When the granules form a clump and form a large chunk of fertilizers, then it is called caking. Moreover, when a dry nutrient absorbs water, it will also cause degradation.
So, it is important to keep the nutrients in an airtight container so that air cannot come in contact with them.
When hydroponic nutrients, mainly the dry ones, get exposed to the air, they absorb humidity. This humidity will cause the liquidation of the granules, and then the granules will melt and form a clump which causes caking. On the other hand, when liquid nutrients are exposed to the air for too long, they evaporate in the air.
For this evaporation, nutrients essential for plant growth can escape from the nutrient solution by turning into gas form. So, it is important to keep the nutrients in an airtight container so that air cannot come in contact with them.
Why Shake Well Before Using Hydroponic Nutrients?
To get the most of the hydroponic nutrients, it is important to use them properly. If we keep this nutrient solution in an airtight container and place the container in a cool, dry and dark place, the solution will last for a long period.
But if we do not open the bottle for a long time, the solids and residues can be formed.
At this point, we think that the solution has been degraded and tend to throw the nutrient solution. But, at this time, it is important to put the lid back on and shake the container thoroughly.
This shake will help to dissolve the nutrients back into the mixture. The nutrients of the solution may settle down, so it is important to shake well before use because shaking is important to mix them properly.
Best Hydroponic Nutrient Brands
General Hydroponic is a trusted and renowned brand that has provided hydroponic nutrients for decades. This brand has a large variety of hydroponic products, but the Flora line is this brand’s most popular hydroponic product. The package consists of three bottles: Micro, Bloom, and Grow.
For best results, three bottles should be used. Flora Micro contains Nitrogen and other nutrients that are important for plants’ growth. FloraGrow contains potassium which helps in the vegetative stage. FloraBloom contains many micro and macronutrients such as phosphorus and magnesium and helps in the flowering stage of the plants.
Fox Farm is a famous supplier of soil nutrients. The Fox Farm Trio line is a package of three products, like General Hydroponics. But the nutrient formula and the mixing ratio are different. Fox Farm is one of the trusted and renowned brands which supplied nutrient products for decades.
Botanicare’s pro soil package is one of the best brands for soil packages and hydroponic nutrients. This package consists of natural and organic-based components.
The Botanicare pure blend pro hydroponic nutrients consist of pure blend pro grow and pure blend pro blooms hydroponic, Rhizo Blast, Cal-Mag Plus, Hydroplex Bloom Enhancer. This brand has a good reputation as a hydroponic nutrient supplier.
How to dispose of hydroponic nutrients Correctly?
Hydroponic nutrients are the essential elements that help in the growth and nourishment of plants. This nutrient solution supplies water, oxygen and minerals to the plant root.
But after use, there are some ways to dispose of this nutrient solution. Some methods are:
Try to use Down the drain
Many growers think it is important to pour the old nutrients down the drain because it is one of the safest methods to dispose of your nutrients properly. You should be careful, and you should make sure that there is no blockage in your plumbing system.
The minerals and salts used in the hydroponic nutrients are very similar to the traditional household cleaners. The pipes we use in the household can handle high levels of nutrients in the wastewater.
Try to pour it In the backyard
Sometimes, we use some hydroponic nutrients which contain animal or plant byproducts. If so, discarding those items in our backyard is critical because that will be the most effective strategy to get rid of this issue.
For this purpose, we can use manure bins or compost piles. But we should be cautious and avoid throwing away these nutrients in the soil. Because this kind of solution can cause long-lasting damage to our soil.
Frequently Asked Questions (fAQs)
How long should mixed hydroponic nutrients be used?
If nutrients are mixed in the water, they should be consumed within seven to ten days; otherwise, the nutrients will lose the efficiency of the solution.
Within a few hours of mixing, solids in the solution start to separate from the fluid. When the solution is exposed to air, it’s pH will alter. So, it is important to mix the amount used in the next two to three days.
Should Hydroponic nutrients be changed frequently?
We should change the hydroponic solution every one to three weeks. Because plants absorbs nutrients as well as water on a daily basis, it is crucial to alter nutrients, thus the quality should be high. If we do not change it frequently, then the quality of the solution will be degraded.
Can I use liquid fertilizer in hydroponics?
We can use liquid fertilizer in hydroponics because there is a huge amount of macro and micronutrients in the liquid fertilizer, which is essential for plant growth.
Hydroponic nutrients are important for the growth and nourishment of plants. A hydroponic nutrient generally doesn’t expire, but if it is not stored properly, then the quality of the solution will be degraded.
To ensure that air, heat, and moisture cannot come into contact with the solution, it should be maintained in an airtight container and kept in the dark, dry, and cool location. In this way, the solution can be stored for a long time.