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Hydroponics in Floriculture

Introduction

Hydroponics or Soilless culture is a technology for growing plants in nutrient solutions that apply all nutrient elements needed for optimum plant growth with or without the use of an inert medium such as gravel, vermiculite, rockwool, peat moss, sawdust, coir dust, coconut fiber etc. to provide mechanical support. It is derived from the two Greek words-hydros means water, and ponos means labour i.e. water working. The science of hydroponics proves that soil is not required for plant growth but the elements, minerals, nutrients that contain are very essential. 

Hydroponics was practiced many centuries ago in Amazon, Babylon, Egypt, China and India where ancient men used dissolved manure to grow rose, gerbera, gladiolus, cucumber, watermelon and other vegetable crop. Later on, when plant physiology started to grow plants with specific nutrients for experimental purposes, they gave the name Nutricuture’’. In 1929, Dr. William F. Gericke of the University of California succeeded in growing tomato vines of 7.5 m height in nutrient solution. He named this new production system Hydroponics”. 

Advantages & Disadvantages of Hydroponics: 

 Advantages: 

-Require smaller growing area. it can be practiced even in upstairs, open space and in protected structures. 

-Faster plant maturity and higher yield 

-Clean working environment. the grower will not have any direct contact with soil. 

-Continuous cultivation & off-season production is possible 

-Great plant quality and taste 

-Precise control of the nutrient 

-No weeds & fewer pests. 

-Possibility of growing a wide variety of vegetables and flower crops including anthurium, marigolds, etc. 

Disadvantages: 

-High initial investment:-A large-scale cultivar may have to purchase instruments to measure. pH and EC of the nutrient skill solution. Energy inputs are necessary to run the system.

-Economically viable for limited number of crops.

-Special skill is required:-High degree of management skill is necessary for solution preparation, maintenance of pH and EC, nutrient deficiency judgment and correction, ensuring aeration, maintenance, etc.

Different methods of Hydroponics: 

Current hydroponics systems of cultivation can be classified according to the techniques employed. 

Liquid hydroponics (solution culture)

Aeroponics

1. Liquid hydroponics:

A system of hydroponics in which liquid medium is used.it is of two types: 

1. NFT (Nutrient film technique)

2. DFT (Deep flow technique)

 

1. Liquid hydroponics: 

is true hydroponics system where the plant roots directly exposed to nutrient solution. A thin film (0.5) of nutrient solution flows through channels. The channel is made of flexible sheet. The seedlings with little growing medium are placed at the centre of the sheet and both edges are grown to the base of the seedlings and clipped together to prevent evaporation and to exclude light. The growing medium absorbs nutrient solution for young plants and when the plants grow the roots form a mat in the channels. The maximum length of the channel is 5-10 m and is placed at slope drop of 1 in 50 to 1 in 75.the nutrient solution is pumped to the lower end wetting the root mat. At lower end of the channels nutrient solution gets collected and flows to the nutrient solution tank. 

2.Deep Flow Technique(DFT)-Pipe System 

Single plane pipe system DFT Zigzag pipe system DFT 

As then name impiles,2-3cm deep nutrient solution flows through 10cm diameter PVC pipes to which plastic net pots with plants are fitted. The plastic pots contain planting materials and their and their bottoms touch the nutrient solution that flows in the pipes. The PVC pipes may be arranged in one plane or in zigzag shape depending on the types of crops grown. The zigzag system utilizes the space efficiently but suitable for low growing crops. The single plane system is suitable for both tall and short crops. 

2. Aeroponic Technique:-

Aeroponic is a method of growing plants where they are anchored in holes in Styrofoam panels and their roots are suspended in air beneath the panel. The panels compose a sealed box to prevent light penetration to encourage root growth and prevent algae growth. The nutrient solution is sprayed in fine mist form to the roots. Misting is done for a few second every 2-3 minutes .This is sufficient to keep roots moist and nutrient solution aerated. The plants obtain nutrients and water from the solution film that adheres to the roots. 

Conclusion: 

Hydroponics is a valuable technology for attaining a high production of flowers. The possibilities of better control over different factors influencing the growth and development of the plant will lead to further improvement of this technique. It offers a clean working environment and lessens the need of expensive labour per unit area. Hydroponics offers opportunities to provide optimal conditions for plant growth and therefore, higher and quality produce is expected as compared to open and traditional system of agriculture. However, it needs to be studied, refined and experimented to make it more use worthy on commercial scale. 

Author Details:

Department Floriculture and Landscape Architecture Pt. K.L.S. College of Horticulture & Research Station
Rajnandgaon (C.G.) 491441
Corresponding Author:- hemantdevelopment09@gmail.com
 


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