Typically, plants grow in a medium or substrate. The most common medium is soil.
Growing hydroponically means growing in a soilless environment. Grow mixes that have a base of coco coir or peat moss with perlite for aeration, and other additives are considered to be soilless media.
When selecting a growing media, it is vital to take into consideration the cation-exchange capacity (CEC), which measures how well a grow media retains or binds elemental minerals contained in the nutrients.
A higher CEC is typically more desirable. Coco coir and peat have high CEC, unlike Rockwool, and grow rocks (also called clay pellets).
Some hydroponic systems do not use any media to support the root system and use nutrient solutions flowing over or sprayed onto the roots of the plant (Aeroponic/ Deep Water Culture ”DWC”/ Nutrient Film Technique “NFT”/ Ebb and Flow)
Soils will contain some pre-added minerals, you cannot rely upon them to provide all the minerals in the proper proportions or amounts that plants need over the entire grow cycle. Application of too much nutrient can harm your plants and cause nutrient uptake problems.
If you are using a dense medium like soil, you will need to water less often than if you use a more porous medium like peat or coir.
Be mindful of overwatering. It is one of the most common problems for new growers.
When growing in any media or hydroponic system, it is critical to provide 17 essential macro and micronutrients to your plants in the proper ratios.
Work with your local grow store to determine the Complete nutrition solution that’s best for your growing media.