In a hydroponic garden, your plants will do everything they can to communicate with their growers when there’s a problem. It’s up to you to translate their behaviors and alter their environment accordingly. By knowing the most common signs something’s wrong with your hydroponic garden, you’ll immediately know when to take action and how to fix the health of your ailing plants. Unhealthy plants can lead to a costly waste of hydroponic materials and nutrients, so it’s important to take care of the problem immediately.
Warning Signals on Leaves
The signs that you’ll most likely notice first will come from your plants’ leaves. If you see a problem with a plant’s leaves, it’s best to attempt to fix the assumed problem and clip the problematic leaves. Sometimes, it’s not that your nutrient solution requires more of a specific nutrient but rather that something is blocking the plant’s consumption of the necessary nutrient. Keeping a close eye on the solution’s electrical conductivity, or EC, will ensure nutrient balance and prevent salt buildup.
Tip Burn, or Yellowed Tips
Yellow or brown leaves are the most noticeable sign of malnutrition, disease, or pest damage. When discoloration is visible at the tip of the leaves, it’s likely a condition called “tip burn,” which results from a lack of calcium.
Yellow spots or circles can signal the onset of a disease or fungus.
Yellowing and Wilting
Stronger yellowing with wilting is a sign of magnesium deficiency.
Faded Color Into Yellowing
Faded leaves that turn yellow starting from the bottom of the plant and working upwards signals nitrogen deficiency.
Thin Yellowed Leaves With Yellow Veins
Plants’ leaves with zinc deficiencies will thin and yellow, but their yellow veins will still appear to pop out.
Yellow Leaves With Green Veins
Pay close attention to the color of the veins—a plant with green veins on its leaves could, instead, signal an iron deficiency.
An infestation can sneak up on any gardener and can destroy plants without any warning. Some bugs are easy to see, like gnats or flies, while others remain hidden unless you know how to identify them. Mites are one such bug. You can detect them by looking for webby material underneath leaves or by wiping a leaf to catch them. Thrips are another type of small bug that is difficult to identify, but you may notice them as black dots on your leaves. Roots can also show common signs that something is wrong with your hydroponic garden—check them occasionally for pest eggs or larvae.
You may be able to use beneficial helper bugs as a natural form of pest control. Some pests can’t live or reproduce under specific conditions, so changing the environment might also help. Use chemical sprays carefully and as a last resort, as they can devastate your crop as well. Whenever you enter your garden, make sure you aren’t dragging in any dirt or letting in bugs—always wash your hands if you’re working in both an outdoor soil garden and a hydroponic garden.
System failure is one of the easier problems to fix. If you notice problems with your system itself, like leaks or broken parts, ask for durable FloraFlex equipment replacements at your local hydroponic supplies wholesale.