• Bacteria

    Single-celled microorganisms which can be beneficial or harmful to plant growth depending on species and function with respect to plants.

  • Beneficials

    A term used in hydroponics which describes bacterial colonies which work synergistically with plants to defend against harmful diseases or fungi, increase the uptake of nutrients, and/or aid in the breakdown of organic materials.

  • Carbohydrate

    A combination of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. “Carbos,” or sugars and starches, are used to feed root zone beneficials.

  • Carbon dioxide

    Known as CO2, this odorless gas is an integral part of plant growth. Given the proper amount and spectrum of light, if CO2 levels are increased up to 1500 PPMs plant photosynthesis is increased dramatically. (Ambient air is usually in the range of 300-400 PPMs of CO2.)

  • Chelate

    A chemical compound composed of a metal ion and a chelating agent, usually organic such as an amino acid. Chelates bond with certain minerals to increase uptake in plants while preventing interactions with other minerals that could render minerals unavailable (lockout.)

  • Chlorosis

    General yellowing of a plant due to a lack of chlorophyll production during photosynthesis. This is typically caused by a pH imbalance, or nitrogen or iron deficiency.

  • Damping off

    A term used to describe the dieback of cuttings and seedlings caused by pythium fungi, or root rot.

  • Evapotranspiration

    Critical to the uptake of minerals and cooling of the plant, through movement of water within the entire plant. Can also be described as loss of water through evaporation.

  • Feed

    To supply nutrients to plants via solution or a dry fertilizer.

  • Fertigation

    Supplying fertilizer to a plant via its irrigation water.

  • Flush

    To remove buildup of salts from roots or media by using water or a specific solution designed for the purpose.

  • Foliar feeding

    Spraying or misting a plant with nutrient solution which plants absorb through their leaves.

  • Fulvic acid

    The liquid part of humus that is light golden in color and has the ability to increase uptake of nutrients into plant tissues.

  • Hormones

    Chemicals that control the growth and development of plants: primarily auxins, cytokinens, gibberellins, ethylene, and abscisic acid (ABA.)

  • Humic acid

    A liquid extracted from the principal component (humate) of the organic constituents of soil, humus, peat, etc. which is produced by biodegradation of dead organic matter.

  • Leaf curl

    Malformation of a leaf due to under- or over-fertilization, over-watering or damage caused by insects or disease.

  • Mycorrhizae

    Colonies of beneficial fungi which live on plant roots in a symbiotic association where fungireceive carbohydrates while plant roots receive enhanced mineral absorption capability.

  • Nutrient burn

    Leaf scorch that occurs from over-fertilization or application of excess salts, like nitrogen.

  • Pests & Diseases

    A difficult aspect of growing plants is how to deal with harmful insects and diseases. Pest problems can be dealt with by using clean plant stock, minimization of exposure to outside environments and monitoring consistently. If insects do make it into your environment, using beneficial insects to combat the harmful ones or spraying with a variety of products that are targeted is the last resort. Preventing disease is not always possible, but using clean plant stock, keeping the environment clean, and preventing environmental conditions that favor the disease are the best steps to take.

  • pH

    A measure of the molecular concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution in a scale ranging from 1-14 with neutral being 7. Keep in mind that the pH scale is algorithmic-a reading of 6 is 10 times more alkaline than a reading of 5-so make changes very slowly. From 5.5-6.2 is considered an ideal range for hydroponics, depending on the grow medium or hydro method being used.

  • pH meter

    An electronic device that measures pH.

  • Photoperiod

    The amount of light received by plants during a 24-hour period.

  • Pruning

    Altering a plant into a desired form by cutting its leaves, stems, shoots, flowers or fruits.

  • Recirculating system

    A hydro system which circulates or “feeds” nutrient solution from a reservoir over and over again, until the reservoir is either “topped off” with additional nutrients or drained out completely and replenished. Ebb & flow (flood & drain) is the most common recirculating system in hydro, although NFT (nutrient film technique) and drip systems can also recirculate nutrient solution.

  • Respiration

    The exchange of gases by living organisms to support life; in the case of plants, consuming carbon dioxide and expelling oxygen as waste.

  • Salts

    A colloquial term meaning plant nutrients. A salt is actually an ionic compound with a cation from a base and an anion from an acid. Too many salts in a grow medium can cause plants to burn.

  • Stomata

    Tiny openings in the leaves of plants though which they take up nutrients, release water and take in CO2 (carbon dioxide.)

  • Sugars

    Simple carbohydrates manufactured by plants via photosynthesis. Sugars can also be added as supplements.

  • Thin

    To prune or remove parts of plants to allow remaining plant, flowers or fruits to develop more fully.

  • Water Quality

    Water quality is one of the most important factors when growing plants hydroponically. This is because nutrients in solution can become unavailable due to interactions with salt. Water can also contain high levels of sodium and chloride that are toxic to plants. Botanicare recommends using reverse osmosis (R.O.) water when mixing nutrients, and for hydrating growing media like Botanicare’s Cocogro and Readygro. When you want to grow the best hydroponic crops you have to start with the best water. For more information on how you can get the best water for your plants, please visit our partner, Hydrologic.