What are the benefits of silicon in hydroponics? Silicon is the second most abundant element after oxygen. Silicon is abundant in soil-based plants, but it is excluded in hydroponic nutrients because it does not remain soluble in concentrated solution. Moreover, it raises the pH of the nutrient solution. In this case, it should be added into hydroponic nutrients as a separate element. What makes silicon so important in hydroponic plants?
Benefits of using silicon in hydroponics
• Strengthen the cellular walls of the plants
• Help the plants cope with toxic elements
• Improve the plant’s tolerance to high temperatures
• Increase resistance to pests and diseases
How does Silicon works in plants?
Plants that are fed with silicon look thicker and healthier. Silicon makes the cell walls thicker and stronger. This gives the pests a hard task in biting or piercing the plants. In this case, the plants fed with silicon become less attractive to the pests.
Moreover, the thicker cell walls make your plants more resistant to mechanical damage. This is very vital in preventing the mold infections. Most the fungi enter into the plant through the wounded parts. In this case, the plants become more resistant to mold infections and powdery mildew.
Also, silicon makes the plants transpire less while increasing the water uptake. This will increase the survival rate in dry conditions. Even if you forget to water your hydroponic plants, they will not dry out quickly.
How to add silicon into the hydroponic system
The hydroponic nutrients do not contain viable quantities of silicon. This is the main reason for structurally weak hydroponic plants. However, this can be solved by adding silicon into the nutrient solution.
In the soil-based system, the plants absorb silicon in the form of monosilisic acids. However, the source of silicon in hydroponics system is soluble potassium silicate. The commercially processed silicon is available in many hydroponic stores. How do you administer silicon to hydroponic plants?
#1. Using soluble silicate additives
This is the easiest method but not the best way of adding silicon to your hydroponics system. Mix soluble silicate additives into normal nutrient solution and administer to the roots. However, you should be careful not to exceed the required levels. If the ideal levels of silicon are exceeded, it may interact with other elements and negatively affect your plants.
#2. Foliar spray
This is the most efficient method of applying silicon to your hydroponic plants. Spray the foliage of your plants with silicon. This will not interfere with the nutrient mix, and pH adjustments are not necessary.
#3. Use Diahydro
This is a growing medium that consists of fossil algae shells, which contains more than 90 percent of silica. This silica is gradually released to plants throughout the growth cycle. Also, you can use Diahydro in combination with other growing mediums. Diahydro is pH neutral and will not interfere with the nutrient balance in your hydroponic systems.
Silicon is one of the most abundant elements but is not readily available in hydroponic systems. In this case, you need to provide your plants with silicon to achieve faster and healthier growth.