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A GUIDE TO USING NUTRIENTS FOR HOUSEPLANTS IN WATER

As great as plants do in water alone, that magic can't last forever without properly formulated nutrients to supplement growth. 


In practice, adding liquid nutrients to water is about as easy as it gets. Add a few drops to your water and watch your plants smile. 


Digging a bit deeper, the science can be as nuanced as you'd like it to be. Fortunately for the common plant parent, all those details aren't fully necessary. We have developed our own nutrient solution that works to help your plants grow their best in water. Check it out here or at the end of this article.


But if you’re still interested in learning more about the values of nutrient support, here’s some of our knowledge on how nutrients work for hydroponic growing.

DRY vs. Liquid Nutrients

Both dry and liquid nutrients can vary in quality immensely, but their state doesn't impact this at all. Liquid nutrients tend to be more accessible to use and dry nutrients tend to be cheaper. 


Dry nutrients are usually cheaper than liquid nutrients because you're not paying to store and ship water. 


Liquid nutrients are essentially dry nutrients that are dissolved in water already. This has a few benefits to it. One, measurement of nutrients to water, and mixing nutrients to ensure bioavailability is already done for you, taking out a good bit of extra work. Also that having things pre-mixed is super helpful when nutrients are only needed in small amounts. 

For the indoor plants that we grow, liquid nutrients just make more sense because of their convenience. 

Nutrient Density & Profile

Every plant has a different set of nutrient needs. Generally, most nutrient profiles are measured by three primary macronutrients (NPK) required by all plants: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). These three primary components work together to help your plants through different stages of their growth. 


Nitrogen (N) is the group leader as it gives plants that extra boost to grow new leaves and stems. You can see this in effect with the younger, more actively growing parts of a plant. Next, Phosphorus (P) ensures a healthy root system because it supports energy transport within the plant. Lastly, Potassium (K) supports many plant processes that are essential to energy production. For example, it regulates the amount of chlorophyll present in leaves—which helps maximize its energy production capacity.


An ideal nutrient profile should also include micronutrients such as Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), Iron (Fe), Boron (B), Manganese (Mn), Zinc (Zn), Copper (Cu), and Molybdenum (Mo). Nutrients are generally measured by parts per million (PPM) for plants. Water quality and nutrient strength can be monitored and controlled with various plant tools like conductivity or PPM meters.


Organic (Natural) vs. Inorganic Nutrients

There is no right or wrong decision in choosing between organic or non-organic compounds. Of course, there are differences in makeup. On the one hand, naturally sourced nutrients are derived from plant or animal materials like leaves, compost, etc. Whereas inorganic nutrients have chemical compounds containing artificial minerals or synthesized chemicals of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). 


At Modern Botanical, our essence as a company is to support natural sources for everything we do. Our liquid nutrients come from organic compounds like bat wanna (bat poop). Organic nutrients tend to have more nonessential biomass, which opens the risk for algae to grow faster because they can degrade in water. For this reason, our hydroponic nutrient solution went through additional removal of the organic materials to lower that risk.


For us, and hopefully for you too, it is not about having the organic label; it’s more important to have quality, sustainable, natural compounds that make up the nutrients. 


Modern Botanical Nutrients

We’ve taken a lot of the complicated science out of our nutrient solution to make things easier for plant parents like yourself. The strength of our nutrients is set for two drops of nutrients per MOBO vase. This will get you to an appropriate amount of PPM given the size of our glass containers.


You can grab our hydroponic liquid nutrients here!


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