Aeroponics and hydroponics are the most common advanced growing methods in soilless gardening. Both techniques are effective at growing cannabis as well as fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other plants.
Aeroponics suspends plants in the air, misting the roots with nutrients and water. Hydroponic growing anchors plants in a nutrient-rich inorganic medium or submerges the roots in water, supplying them with a constant source of nutrients and oxygen.
While aeroponic and hydroponic growing methods are closely related, they each come with their own set of properties and benefits. The following information will help you compare the two popular growth methods to determine which one is best for your operation.
Aeroponic Grow Boxes
Aeroponic gardening is a type of hydroponic method where plant roots are aligned vertically in a self-contained indoor system and exposed to the air. The roots are sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist. The setup and operation of a single-unit aeroponic system are generally easier and more affordable to manage than a hydroponic system.
Aeroponics provides greater yields than soil growth, often by almost 50%. Other substantial benefits of aeroponic growth systems include:
- Space savings: Plants can be stacked since a gardening medium is not required. Growers can maximize production per square foot.
- Mobility: Because of the lack of soil, it is easy to move plants from one location to another.
- Sustainability: Aeroponic grow rooms are an environmentally friendly option—plants require 95% less water than traditional soil-based growth methods.
- Efficiency: Nutrients are delivered directly to the plants’ roots for maximum growth potential. With direct exposure, the roots are better able to absorb air, nutrients, and water.
- Plant health: In enclosed environments, aeroponic plants are less likely to be exposed to devastating diseases and weather-related damage.
In particular, cannabis plants thrive in aeroponic systems. The plants do not have to battle against one another for a sufficient share of oxygen, and they receive a steady supply of nutrients directly to the roots. Healthy cannabis plants growing in an aeroponic system are less likely to be invaded by pests and quickly grow into large plants that produce sizeable flowers.
Hydroponic Grow Boxes
Hydroponic growing systems come in different shapes and sizes. The plants can be submerged in water or anchored in a growing medium, where they absorb nutrients like phosphorus, nitrogen, calcium, and potassium. Between water refill cycles, an air pump or air stone aerates the roots so that they absorb oxygen.
Hydroponic plants remain hydrated because of the water that efficiently cycles through the growing trays. Leftover water is collected in an overflow tray and recycled through the water tank. The indoor controlled environment limits the risk of damage caused by inclement weather, such as excessive wind and rain.
All hydroponic systems require a water-collecting reservoir, a steady nutrient source, optimum growing conditions, and clean water. Some growers utilize a grow light for improved results.
Benefits of hydroponics include:
- High yield: Plants typically grow 30% to 50% faster, providing greater yields than soil-based growing.
- Efficiency: Plants growing in a hydroponic system absorb more nutrients than plants growing in a soil-based system.
- Sustainability: Although hydroponic growing requires more water than aeroponic growing, hydroponic systems still consume fewer natural resources compared to traditional soil-based methods.
Using hydroponics to cultivate cannabis helps the roots receive all the nutrients they need to grow large and healthy. An electric pump or air stones properly aerate the plants, while substances such as clay pebbles, Rockwool, coco coir, and Perlite stabilize the plant at the intersection between stem and roots. These substances hold the plant in place and facilitate maximum nutrient absorption.
Differences Between Aeroponic vs. Hydroponic Growing
Both aeroponic and hydroponic cultivation systems provide more efficient, eco-friendly options than traditional soil-based farming.
In an aeroponic system, the roots are regularly sprayed with a nutrient-filled mist and never immersed in water. Plants are typically vertically aligned and do not require a pump or air stone for aeration since the roots are completely exposed to the air. Most setups are enclosed indoors and require significantly less room than hydroponic systems. Maintenance and operating costs for aeroponics are generally minimal, and the method is ideal for growing cannabis and smaller fruits and vegetables.
In a hydroponic system, the roots are submerged in deep water to absorb the nutrients needed for healthy growth. A complete setup includes water trays, air pumps, air stones, tubes, pipes, and additional hoses. Required space may vary, and startup costs are usually higher because of the added equipment needed to build a hydroponic system.
While both methods are environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional soil growing, aeroponic requires fewer natural resources and nutrients to cultivate the same or higher amount of crops, resulting in a reduced carbon footprint.
Aeroponic growing allows plants to be stacked closely together, does not require a growing medium, and offers easy mobility. Cannabis plants raised in this controlled environment are less susceptible to pest invasion, resulting in ample flowering and bud production.
Aeroponic Grow Boxes From WS Hampshire, Inc.
WS Hampshire, Inc. provides customers with quality aeroponic supplies for all their growing needs. Cultivators concerned about efficiency, control, and sustainability can enjoy reduced water consumption, limited chemical use, and high plant yields with aeroponic growing systems. Considered the future of indoor growing, aeroponic cultivation is a viable alternative to traditional growing methods.
We manufacture custom-made aeroponic grow boxes using a highly specialized thermoplastic that reflects light onto the plants without penetrating the root zone. The light is reflected similarly to other white materials but does not allow the light to penetrate as it does with black surfaces. Eliminating light inside the box also eliminates the risk of algae growth. Roots remain free of harmful pests and pathogens, resulting in a clean and healthy root structure. Cleanouts are faster and easier between harvests.
Our standard cultivation boxes are 8 feet long and 44 inches wide and can accommodate various lid configurations to meet the demands of the clone, veg, or bud stages. Additional growing tray sizes are available upon request, ranging in size from 24” x 48” to 78” x 48”.
Multiple boxes can be attached to utilize a single pump and water reservoir. We can also provide the necessary PVC plumbing, trellis, and grow light support to customize a sustainable aeroponics system for your operation.
Working With WS Hampshire, Inc.
Developing an aeroponic system with WS Hampshire, Inc. will help you grow healthier and larger cannabis plants. Our experienced team of custom fabricators can design an effective aeroponics system based on your specific growing needs. Cultivators interested in sub-irrigation and re-circulation system enhancements can benefit from our extensive experience working with vacuum and thermal molding.
WS Hampshire, Inc. has more than 100 years of expertise in nonmetallic fabrication. We can help you develop effective custom solutions for indoor growing and greenhouse applications. Contact us today to learn how we can help you build a system that will yield impressive results for years to come.