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Growing Medicinal Plants Hydroponically – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing medicinal plants hydroponically

Medicinal plants are increasingly cultivated on a commercial scale to satisfy the large demand for many natural remedies. These species are grown in an open field, which results in large year-to-year variability in both biomass production and content of active principles. Hydroponic technology can be applied to produce high-standard plant material all year-round in consideration of the possibility to control growing conditions and to stimulate secondary metabolism by suitable manipulation of mineral nutrition. When you start a hydroponic system with the proper nutrients, you are struck by the rapidity of growth and the vigor of your plants; not to mention the profusion and generosity of your yields.

The hydroponics system is simply growing plants in water without soil. In commercial settings, liquid nutrients are mainly utilized for this style of growing plants. The major advantages of hydroponics system are as follows;

  • More crop yield can be obtained when compared to traditional agriculture practice,
  • Usage of chemical pesticides and also fertilizers can be prevented,
  • Soil-borne diseases can be eliminated,
  • Comparatively healthy and fresher products can be obtained,
  • Water scarcity can be overcome,
  • No need for larger space for cultivation as like traditional practice and
  • Plants will get a balanced supply of air, water, and nutrients.

The hydroponics system can do some miracles with the development of medicinal herbs. There are different types of hydroponic systems available commercially in markets and they are simple wick system, water culture, ebb, and flow system, drip system, Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), and aeroponic system.

Step by step guide to growing medicinal plants hydroponically

Guide to growing medicinal plants hydroponically.
Guide to growing medicinal plants hydroponically.

This is a step by step guide for creating a very simple and extremely effective hydroponic garden system for growing medicinal plants.

Seeding – The seed mix consist of a mixture of the following coconut coir, coco peat, cotton, micro, and macronutrients need for the growth and trace amounts of compost to nourish the growth of plants. It should be watered continuously to prevent from drying. Once after the plants reached a certain height it must be transferred to the hydroponic system. Usually, it takes for about 10 to 15 days for a plant to grow to the required range.

Hydroponic setup – Hydroponics setup consists of a rectangular tank with 2 holes to which the water and the nutrient solution is filled in. The plants are suspended from baskets at the top. The baskets are provided with large pores for the plant roots to touch the solution. They are filled with some supporting medium. The holes are provided through which the air pump is connected externally for aeration and the roots of the plant are dipped into the solution thus they get the nutrients for their growth.

Growing medium for growing medicinal plants hydroponically

The growing medium for hydroponic gardening is an inert medium which does not give any nutrients to the plant. It only provides the basis for the plant roots to grow in.

Coco coir fiber, Rockwool, Perlite, Vermiculite, LECA, Expanded clay, Crushed granite, Sand, Scoria, Gravel are the various types of growing mediums for growing plants hydroponically.

A growing medium allows us to add the correct amount of nutrients and also monitor the pH level in a hydroponic system. Also, using a growing medium other than soil has many advantages that include;

  • Prevention of root infestations,
  • Retention of adequate oxygen and water and
  • Increased aeration and draining.

Temperature – High temperatures tend to accelerate the plant growth which increases the plant’s need for water. High temperatures increase the plant’s consumption of water for cooling itself through evaporation.

Shelter and support – Shelter for the hydroponic system depends upon the type of cultivation to be carried out. The commercial production of the medicinal plants requires a large area. Supporting arrangements can be made depending on the type of plant grown which can help in the increased yield.

Water – As a general rule, all water suitable to drink or used to irrigate greenhouses is ideal for the hydroponics system. To be more precise, water suitable for hydroponics has conductivity less than 500 uS/cm, or a total salt concentration of less than 350 ppm. Harmful amounts of sodium and boron can cause problems in some areas. Very soft water must be used with calcium-containing nutrients.

Some of the medicinal plants that can be grown hydroponically

Growing Aloe Vera medicinal plants hydroponically

In case you miss this: Basic Steps of Organic Farming, Types of Organic Farming.

Aloe Vera.
Aloe Vera.

This simple house plant has a lot of use in healing cuts or scrapes and other kinds of small skin injuries. In a hydroponics system, nitrate and ammonium forms are used in nutrient solutions. A balance between ammonium and nitrate favors plant growth, while the degree of benefit varies among crops.

Growing Hops medicinal plants hydroponically

These kinds of plants have been known to help with digestion as with any hydroponic system, indoor crop, the incidence of pests, and disease is reduced when you have more control of the growing environment. Hops prefer temperatures between 5 and 23°C, so it’s also easier to maintain a longer growing season when growing in a controlled environment.

Growing Rosemary medicinal plants hydroponically
Rosemary plants.
Rosemary plants.

This simple herb is a good culinary addition to hydroponics, but it also has been known to help with a range of mental issues including memory and mental fatigue. Starting rosemary from seed can be a finicky process and the seeds need consistent moisture and germination rates tend to be around 30–50%. Seed-grown rosemary takes 2 to 3.5 weeks to germinate and an additional 3 to 4 weeks until they are ready to transplant. To propagate rosemary cuttings, then use a rooting powder on fresh cuttings and wrap the low end of the cutting in rock wool, peat, or another moisture-retaining material.

Growing Saffron medicinal plants hydroponically

This plant can be pretty hard to grow, but for those hydroponics growers who can fit it into a garden, experts on holistic remedies have shown that saffron can be useful in treating a range of conditions like fever and digestive difficulties. Saffron grows best in water that is maintained at a pH level between 6.0 and 6.25, which is, slightly acidic. Within the soilless hydroponic context, the individual saffron corms are planted in 2-inch plastic mesh pots that are filled with an inert substrate. Hydroponically grown saffron exhibits an unusual morphology of its roots. Then, this may well be related to mechanical resistance resulting from the plastic tubing. Roots whose growth has been mechanically impeded are seen to be shorter and thicker than soil-grown plant roots and more frequently exhibit irregular or even bizarre shapes.

Growing Garlic medicinal plants hydroponically

Garlic is a superfood that has a lot of health benefits and has been known to help with some health conditions, as well as increasing general health and wellness. Some people take garlic in the form of a supplement, but adding it into a natural diet can promote good overall health. Hydroponic garlic is to place the plants just below the surface of some grow media such as rock wool coco coir or vermiculite. Experts recommend temperature levels between 2 and 10°C and estimate the growing time at 45 to 60 days.

Growing Parsley medicinal plants hydroponically

Parsley is an herb well suited for a hydroponic system. Since it has a long taproot, the hydroponic container must be at least 12 inches deep for the best results. Parsley is an herb with the potential to help with digestion. It’s another culinary green herb that a lot of growers like to use in the kitchen. It is a voracious grower in hydroponics systems and can be in high demand from grocery stores if you have the local market demand for it. Put the rock wool grow cubes mixed in a flat and shallow box. Plant the seeds in the box about an inch apart, making sure that there are 2 to 3 in each rock wool cube. Sprinkle a thin layer of moist soil over them, about 0.25-inches high. Keep the soil temperature warm at about 21°C. Water them often and the sprouts should begin to appear about 2 weeks after the planting.

Growing Lemongrass medicinal plants hydroponically

This exotic herb is somewhat effective in treating some conditions. Some claim that it can be useful as a painkiller. The advantage of growing Lemongrass in the hydroponics system is that the procedure is clean, with faster growth and edible roots. Plant roots are always cut off when grown in soil whereas; the entire plant roots can be consumed.

Growing Basil medicinal plants hydroponically

You should not miss this: Hydroponic Drip System Types, Advantages.

Growing Basil medicinal plants hydroponically.
Growing Basil medicinal plants hydroponically.

Basil is a popular crop for container and hydroponic production because of its high value, ease of production, and also quick crop time (about 28 days under optimal conditions, in hydroponic systems). Hydroponic basil will grow in any hydroponic system, but some setups work better than others. Using a hydroponic system that allows you to access all of the plants for easy pruning and harvesting regularly. You could let them grow without pruning but it will reduce the overall yield.

Growing Echinacea medicinal plants hydroponically

The echinacea plant is said to be a powerful immune booster and is used to combat symptoms of colds, flu, and infections. Growing echinacea hydroponically is an ideal way to ensure its purity, and this is just one of many plants and herbs you can grow to improve your health and wellbeing. If you are interested in growing your herbs and plants, we are the specialists you can rely on for all the equipment and nutrients you require.  Echinacea plant is a popular choice for hydroponic growers. The Echinacea herb is well known for boosting the immune system and is widely recommended for people who are suffering from a cold or flu.

Growing Thyme medicinal plants hydroponically
Growing Thyme medicinal plants hydroponically.
Growing Thyme medicinal plants hydroponically.

The active phenol in thyme is thymol, known to be a potent antiseptic and it is useful for coughs, sore throat, tooth decay, congestion, and indigestion. Thyme plant requires minimal fertilization when grown in a hydroponic system. It propagates well through stem cuttings. It’s an aromatic plant that likes full sun and will grow poorly in minimum light. A plant of the mint family long cultivated and also valued as a sweet herb. It has pink flowers and is grown as a border plant, for ornament, or as an herb to be used for seasoning. Thyme plants should be planted in early spring. It is hardy and will grow under most conditions. It requires minimal fertilization when grown in a hydroponic system.

You may also check this: Organic Farming Business Plan, Profitability, Schemes.

Growing Lavender medicinal plants hydroponically

Simply the smell of lavender has been shown to help people relax and it can be used as an antiseptic and is useful for skin inflammation, insomnia, and anxiety. As seed produces variable plants, propagation is by cuttings of selected plants. Sow seeds about 20 to 26 weeks before sale; seeds to finished plugs, 12 to 16 weeks; plugs to saleable plant, 8 to 10 weeks.

Growing Alfalfa medicinal plants hydroponically

The alfalfa plant is rich in minerals and healthy compounds and contains a high amount of protein. It acts as a diuretic and a light stimulant. Hydroponically grown alfalfa is more digestible than its field-grown, increasing feed efficiency and reducing the need for concentrates. The benefits of feeding alfalfa fodder are high in energy, calcium, and other minerals.

Growing hydroponic Marigold

Marigold has a wide range of uses, including treating acne, sunburn, digestive problems, insect bites, and more. Marigolds are an easy crop to grow in a hydroponic system it requires a low to medium level of fertility. The ideal pH level is between 5.8 to 6.2.  Marigolds are one of the easiest plants to grow hydroponically.

Growing Sage medicinal plants hydroponically

Hydroponic sage must have a consistent pH level of around 5.5 to 6.0. Perlite is ideal for white sage because of the drainage quality it provides for the hydroponics system. Then, set the timer so that the plant trays become flooded about three times per day to hydrate the white sage. In a hydroponics system, it can be grown from seeds protected from cold and it prefers full sun. As the plants exceed 3 feet in diameter, they should be grown at least that far apart. Sage leaves harvested before blooming and dried in a well-ventilated room on screens or in a commercial dryer, away from direct sunlight, and store in airtight containers.

In case if you are interested in this: Hydroponic Setup Cost, Requirements.

5 COMMENTS

  1. very interesting article. intend to start hydroponcs and vertical LABRATORY first and then commercial scale. specially medicinal. can i have your contact no pls

  2. I intend to do hydroponic farming and definitely would like to explore more details with respect to the practice in certain geography. Also look at the medicinal plant growing using this technology.

  3. We have set up lab model vertical indoor Hydroponics for growing thyme,mint,stevia and saffron in Chennai. For more details reply here!

  4. Extremely interesting. Could one get the guide/ advise in pdf format with all its content?

    Thank you so much.

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