Aeroponics is a technique used by the most professional of growers; no residues are left behind, everything gets recycled and the results are increased in less time. It’s like an extreme hydroponic grow.
Let’s take a step back; not all of us know what aeroponics is; just like hydroponics is the suspension of the roots in water, aeroponics means that the roots of the plant are suspended in air. This means that it doesn’t have any sort of medium like rockwool, expanded clay, coco coir, soil or anything like that. The plants sit in a neoprene disc that supports the weight of the plant, and for flowering a yo-yo string system is used to deal with the weight of the heaviest flowers.
It‘s known that coco coir has a higher yield potential than soil, and the main reason for this is the amount of air that can be found in each substrate; hydroponic grows give the roots a much higher quantity of air than coco coir, so that must mean that the yield potential is also higher than with coco coir.
By following this simple rule, we can tell that aeroponic growing methods allow the roots access to more air than hydroponic methods; this makes for a much higher yield accompanied by a much slower vegetative period than any other growing medium or method. This method doesn’t just work with already rooted plants; it can also be done with clones, and it might even be the fastest method yet to root clones, taking just 7 days for the roots to become visibly large.
Just like in any grow method there are pros and cons. One of the best advantages to using aeroponics is the amount of oxygen that the roots get, which is directly reflected on the amount of yield. Another advantage is the heavy reduction in growth time; a reduced overall time for your grow means you’ll be able to perform more harvests per year.
Also, keep in mind that, like we said before, aeroponics is done without any sort of substrate. Due to the roots not being in contact with substrate there’s a significant reduction in contaminant risks such as fungi attacks and many different insect infestations that tend to make their home in various substrates. The plants’ rapid development in this specific method allows you to easily see signs of excess nutrients or nutrient defficiencies; this means that this method is strictly recommended for experienced and meticulous growers, as one small mistake could spell the end of your precious grow.
For newbies we’d suggest waiting it out and gaining some experience with soil first, which is the medium that always brings the best out of your buds flavor. In aeroponics, however, by controlling water levels you can manage to give your bud an extremely similar flavor, as if it were grown in coco coir or soil.
When growing in aeroponics there’s no need to use any substrate, making for a cleaner and more discreet process. If you use an osmosis filter you can really make the most out of your irrigation water, which isn’t applied through actual watering or drip watering system; the water is sprayed directly onto the roots. Due to using this kind of system it’s much harder for algae to develop, which will also limit the possibility of root infections.
Many people are convinced that roots in this kind of growth system won’t get any sort of illnesses or infections due to not being in constant contact with the water, but this may not be true; if the excess spray manages to get into the drip irrigation system, the entire solution might end up contaminated so extreme hygiene is a must in these kinds of conditions.
There are two different ways to water in aeroponics; by using either a high pressure or low pressure system. Low pressure systems use drips or water pumps that create water bubbles, which when burst spray onto the roots and keeps them humid; it’s much easier to set up this way and you’ll need to have it on 24h a day.
A high pressure system is recognized by the sprayers that are placed at around root height, which periodically spray 50 micron thick water (thinner than a strand of hair). Unlike the previous kind, this kind of watering will need to be timed. This increases the oxygen levels in the roots and, in turn, increases yield and flavor intensity.
You’ll also get more grams per dollar/euro/pound by using this system, as it saves on nutrients and water, although you’ll need to pay special attention as the sprayers can sometimes get clogged.
It’s much easier to maintain an aeroponic system than a hydroponic one, however. This is simply due to the lack of substrate in aero systems, meaning that the pH and EC levels hardly vary; we still recommend checking on them every now and then to avoid any nasty surprises further down the road.
Just like with hydroponics, you’ll need to clean out the water tank and remix your solution every 10 days. It’s also not recommended to use fertilizers to raise the EC level; we recommend remixing the solution from scratch and balancing out a slight increase in fertilizers unless you know exactly what that specific plant or strain needs in their diet.
This kind of growing is usually more recommended for clones than for seeds. Seeds can grow out into different phenotypes of the same strain, so you might end up with an unbalanced crop; some seeds might grow faster than others, blocking out the rest of the plants’ light. When growing seroponically or hydroponically, sometimes you just can’t move the plants around.
People tend to say that growing in hydro or aero is generally the fastest way to grow, and although this may be true for how long plants take during the vegetative phase, the flowering period is always going to
be the same; if you’re planting a strain that takes 60 days to flower it’s not going to finish that cycle in 55 days just because of how you’re growing it, but it will have buds of the same quality that soil growing gives.
These are the advantages and disadvantages of growing using aeroponics. Hopefully these simple tips have been able to shed some light on the subject. If you think you have the experience and the tenacity to pull an aeroponic grow off, why not give it a try and let us know in the comments? Happy Growing!