The Best Hydroponic Nutrients For Your System To Maximize Plant Growth

Hydroponic systems require a carefully crafted fertilizer, or nutrient solution, to grow optimally. Choosing the right nutrient solution is key to system health and production.

Hydroponics always sounded like a scary word to me. It seemed more like a word an award-winning scientist would use than a word I would be saying on a daily basis.

Now, I can’t imagine my life without hydroponics.

Why? Because using a hydroponic system is the best way for you (and me!) to grow healthy, vibrant, beautiful plants without any soil.

How? It’s actually relatively simple when you get down to it. Healthy plants need three things for than anything else: light, water quality, and the proper nutrients.

While conventional plants get their nutrients from the soil that they’re grown in, crops grown using a hydroponic system require that their water-based, nutrient-rich solution is capable of meeting their needs.

Choosing the right fertilizer or nutrient-rich solution is a must when designing your hydroponic system.

You need a fertilizer that can meet all your needs and there is a gigantic market for hydroponic nutrients. At times, it can seem impossible to choose.

Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of my top hydroponic nutrients to make it easy for you. As long as you know how much time and experience you have, it’ll be a breeze to choose the best hydroponic solution or nutrient powder for your system.

Pick for the Best Best Hydroponic Nutrient: Advanced Nutrients PH Perfect

The Advanced Nutrients PH Perfect is a 3-part trio that is specially designed to give your high quality crops the right nutrients in order to thrive.

The one liter containers are sized specifically to allow for growers to provide their plants with the right ratios and concentrations throughout the entire grow process, not just specific parts of it, and usually last me around 6 months.

That is 2 complete harvests off of one purchase, a true bang for your buck.

Even beginner-level hydro growers can understand the easy to follow directions. This system is designed to teach beginners how to successfully grow their plants using preset parameters and, then, how to eventually set their own growing parameters and set the nutrient ratios so that their plants grow to your own custom specifications.

This product, and the company that makes it, provides all of the information beginner growers need and provides all the nutrients that growers at any level of experience could want in a nutrient formula.

This product, and the company that makes it, provides all of the information beginner growers need and provides all the nutrients that growers at any level of experience could want in a nutrient formula.

In all of my experience, hydroponic plants thrive when they’re grown with this formula. It makes a huge difference, is easy and quick to use, and it creates the best environment possible for healthy plant life. The cost is 100% worth it every time.

And, even better, shipping is free!


How to Choose the Best Hydroponic Fertilizer

Yet, it may not be the right choice for your hydroponic system. Before you set out to buy the nutrients you, there are a few things you need to know about yourself and your experience with hydroponics.

Ask yourself a few questions:

  • How much time do you want to put into fertilizing your plants?
  • Are you just starting out or do you have a large amount of experience with hydroponics?
  • What type of quantity and quality are you looking for from your crop?

The answers to these questions will help you decide what type of fertilizer works best for you and your plants.

A hydroponic system relies on high quality hydroponic fertilizers and nutrient solutions in order to grow healthy crops.

Choosing the right type of fertilizer for your system depends on a mix of your experience, how much time you have available, and how much money you are looking to spend.

There are two primary types of fertilizers - liquid solutions and powdered forms.

Liquid Vs. Powdered Fertilizers: Which Is Better For Hydroponics

Liquid fertilizers and nutrients are commonly used by hobbyist, at-home, and beginner level hydroponic growers. They make the fertilization process quick, easy, and have a higher success rate for beginner growers.

It is true, however, that liquid fertilizers are more expensive than the alternative.

Why? Because they offer a no-hassle solution to fertilizing your crops, limit the amount of mistakes you can make with the fertilization process, and save you time overall.

My opinion: They’re 100% worth it.

I don’t want to take risks with my at-home hydroponic system and I want a perfect crop every time. If I can get great results with a slightly more expensive product, I will spend the extra money.

However, I’m not saying that you can’t get great results with powdered, or dry, fertilizers. In fact, commercial hydroponic growers prefer to buy powdered forms.

They can buy them in bulk quantities and commercial growers have the skills necessary to perfect their mixes and get the same (or better) results that we at-home growers pride ourselves on.

One of my favorite powdered mixes is the General Hydroponics Maxigro/Maxibloom combination pack.

They’re both easy to use for a powdered hydroponic nutrient mix and provides growers with great results. Sometimes it seems like the plants double in size every week!

So what are the best hydroponic nutrients for your system?

My recommendation for choosing between types depends on your experience, your time, and the amount of crops you have.

Liquid mixes will always be better for beginner growers as they learn how to care for their systems. They’re also better for people who rush through the fertilization process and for smaller systems that don’t require a large amount of fertilizer.

I enjoy being able to quickly fertilize my system without worrying about making silly mistakes and I absolutely love the results when it comes time to harvest my crops.

Powdered forms are better for individuals with more experience and larger systems. They’re more affordable due to lower shipping costs and the ability to easily buy in quantity.

If you know what you’re doing and have the time and energy to properly use powdered forms, they’ll save you a good amount of money and you’ll get amazing results.

5 Best Liquid Fertilizer Nutrients For Hydroponics Plant – Reviews

Advanced Nutrients Ph Perfect : Bloom, Micro, & Grow

The Advanced Nutrients PH Perfect is my all-time favorite fertilizer for hydroponic systems. The 3-part formula is the most effective formula when it comes to providing me with healthy plants and, by far, it’s been the easiest to use.

It is the only 3-part liquid formula on the market that is specifically designed for higher value crops, uses well-researched formulas with potent nutrient ratios, contains specific molecules to help the plants get the maximum amount of nutrients in the least amount of time, and is still fully and easily customizable for your exact needs.

Additionally, it has been proven, and I have seen, that it gets more color, more aroma, a larger size, and a higher degree of potency from plants.

The bottom line? Beginner growers and experienced growers both have all of their needs met by this product. Beginners have a preset, basic ratio to use that is well-described in their directions. Experts can mix and match the ratios to their needs.

It is high quality and, as a result, you get high quality results at harvest time.

It is 100% worth the cost and is by far my favorite solution.

General Hydroponics Grow Box Premium biological plant foods 

General Hydroponics is one of the most popular brands of Hydroponic product providers. Knowing that they’re a trusted brand and well-respected in the hydroponic community put high expectations in my head and I wasn’t disappointed at all. I loved them!

The reason why I recommend this product, above all of their other products, is the versatility it offers to growers.

Their Hydroponics Grow Box offers users a complete line of premium plant foods and supplements.

It is, by far, the best startup package I have found.

All of their supplements and fertilizers give great results and your plants will look lush, healthy, and vibrant as soon as a week after you begin use.

However, if you’re looking for a 100% organic fertilizer, this isn’t it. 

General Hydroponics advertises this package as organic, but it is not made entirely from organic materials. 

These products come as close as possible to organic and get you great results every time, but don’t be misled by stray advertisements.

Overall, the product is easy to use, easy to work with, and it is easy to get great results - every time.

Humboldts Secret Golden Tree: Best for fruits and vegetables

Humboldts’ Secret: Golden Tree is one of the most versatile fertilizers I’ve seen. Its company prides itself on producing the best flowers, the best crops, and the best results.

With Golden Tree, those results seem almost guaranteed. It is an all-in-one additive that is compatible with all grow mediums.

In other words, you can use it in your outdoor garden by drenching your soil and you can use it in your hydroponic system by diluting the dosage and adding a plant enzyme to your care routine.

I love products that boast versatility and a product I can use in multiple grow areas, in multiple ways, appeals to me.

I want to get the most of a product that I can possibly get and I pride myself on spending money wisely.

If you can use this in every system and on any type of plant, tree, flower, or bush then you have a product that is worth the money - and you can and you do!

General Hydroponics Maxigro/Maxibloom: Best for seedlings and cuttings

There’s a reason why General Hydroponics is so popular and it’s that they give growers amazing results. Their Maxigro/Maxibloom product is the only powdered fertilization product I can recommend to every level of hydroponic grower.

They are both so easy to use in comparison to other powdered forms and I absolutely love the results I’ve gotten when using this product.

You can switch back and forth between the two or only use one and receive great results every time.

The only drawback with this product is that you must remember not to use both at the same time without changing the recipe on the back. 

You need to remember to use a half-dilution solution when using both Maxigro and Maxibloom at the same time during one feeding.

Fox Farm Soil Trio Nutrients Bundle: Big Bloom, Grow Big, & Tiger Bloom

FoxFarm is a soil nutrient supplier that has developed a specialized line for hydroponic systems that can also be used in soil!

Again, I love versatility and another product that offers me multiple uses is great, but, unlike former products, FoxFarm’s hydroponic sequence is better for mature, late-season flowers and fruit whereas I prefer a product that takes me through the entire grow process.

However, when you use this product, and follow the easy to read directions to a tee, you’re practically guaranteed great results and that means a lot to me. 

I want a product to give me beautiful, round, healthy tomatoes and lush aisles of flowers and this trio is more than capable of doing so.

If you need a product for your produce later in the season, buy this.

You’ll get bigger, tastier, more beautiful tomatoes and thriving plant life in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I just bought some fertilizer for my system. What else do I need?

A: What you need for success really depends on the type of fertilizer you bought and what you intend to grow with it. A lot of the packages have instructions or recommendations on other products/items to buy.

Yet, there is one thing I think is more important than anything else: a waterproof pH tester.

Checking pH levels is so important when it comes to hydroponic systems! You need to make sure your plants are in a healthy environment.

I use the Ketotek Digital pH Meter when checking my plans. It’s affordable, accurate, and accounts for the temperature of the water when calculating pH.

Q: I just started using new fertilizer and my plants look like they’re dying! What can I do?

A: There are a large number of things that could cause your plants to look sickly or to start dying off. It could be an imbalanced pH, for example.

However, if it’s a new fertilizer, it might be that your plants are getting overfertilized as you try to compensate for the change.

Having a nutrient strength that is too high will cause damage to the roots and prevent them from caring for the plants. You can usually tell that there’s damage as a result of overfertilizing based on how the leaves look.

They will look a little bit burnt on the tips or could make the entire plant look dead.

While there is no quick fix to this problem, try adjusting the amount of fertilizer you use and a wait a few weeks to see if your plant has recovered.

Your yield will be smaller as a result of this problem, but your plant does have a chance of recovery!

Q: Can I use the hydroponic fertilizers in soil?

A: In most cases, my answer would be no.

Hydroponic solutions are designed to fertilize plants as part of a water-based solution and won’t give you the results you’re looking for when growing plants in soil.

However, Golden Tree and FoxFarm’s hydroponic solutions are designed to be versatile (it’s why I love them and recommend them!) and you can use those in soil with success.

Picking the Right Fertilizer for You

At the end of the day, you make the decision on what hydroponic nutrient solution is the best for you and your system. Making the right choice is key to overall system health and the production levels of that system.

For beginner hydro growers, I still recommend buying premixed liquid solutions that are easy to use, efficient, and give great results every time.

My favorite is the Advanced Nutrients pH Perfect solution and I will always recommend it to first time growers and experienced growers alike.

For experts, or individuals with larger systems, try out some powdered forms. General Hydroponics releases great powdered nutrient solutions for hydroponic systems and the Microgro/Microbloom packs are easy to use in comparison to many other types of powdered fertilizers.

Just remember, if you have a bad experience with one type of fertilizer, you can always try a new one and aim for better results.

Hydroponic systems allow for more grow seasons than alternative processes and changing up the way you do things shouldn’t be scary. It’s fun and trying out all these products (and more) will give you the experience you need to become an expert hydro grower.

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Lindsey Hyland grew up in Arizona where she attended University of Arizona’s Controlled Environment Agriculture. She has supplemented her formal education by working on various organic farms, including spending a semester abroad in India.

Growing and/or raising just about anything gets her excited. She is especially passionate about environmental justice and low-tech, sustainable ways to better run small-scale farms and homesteads. Lindsey started Urban Organic Yield to discuss gardening tips and tactics.

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