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How do I Choose the Best Hydroponic Pots?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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The best type of hydroponic pots available are heavy duty net pots. These plastic baskets contain numerous openings for emerging plant roots, allowing them access to the air, water, and nutrient solutions that comprise the most vital components of hydroponic gardening. Standard net pots also are available, but tend not to last beyond two growing cycles; heavy duty net pots typically last much longer. Regardless, the best pots are designed to work with any type of water system and encourage the formation of healthy root balls with strong root tips. Hydroponic pots may be purchased at local home improvement stores or through specialty gardening websites.

Hydroponics is the growing of plants without the use of soil. Plants are placed in specialized hydroponic pots that receive multiple soakings throughout the day. Roots may even be suspended in water solutions for long periods of time, allowing for the continuous uptake of nutrients. This type of gardening is thought to improve overall plant health and reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides.

Traditional growing pots are not compatible with a hydroponic system. These plants require air and water circulation to move freely around the root structure. A nutrient solution must also be applied consistently to provide the plants with the sustenance they need to grow.

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Heavy duty net pots are one of the best types to use with any hydroponic gardening system. Net pots are made of a thick, flexible plastic that has been shaped into a basket weave. Plants can be placed inside the nets with or without a growing medium. Plant roots begin to protrude out of the net hydroponic pots as the plants grow, allowing for maximum air and water circulation. Nutrients are more readily absorbed by the exposed roots, and plants grow larger, producing more fruit as a result.

This type of growth support may be used with ebb and flow hydroponics, continuous drip, and the nutrient film technique. The versatility of these hydroponic pots makes them an excellent choice for both seasoned and novice gardeners. They transition easily between systems and can withstand more wear and tear than other types of mesh baskets. Standard net pots often begin to degrade after one or two growing cycles. Heavy duty nets provide added support and longevity, so that they may be recycled through multiple generations of plants.

For gardeners who are looking for a long-term container in which to grow a medium- to large-size single plant, the best type of hydroponic pots are those that use an enclosed drip system combined with a heavy duty net pot. This type of double pot contains an entire hydroponics system in one location, eliminating the need for additional pumps and reservoirs. These pots may be between 3 and 5 gallons (about 11.35 to 18.92 liters) to accommodate the plant, growing medium, and water reserves. Nutrients are pumped directly into the plant's root structure at the top of the pot. Roots are typically suspended in the upper portion of the pot in a net pot and loose medium, such as horticultural grade Rockwool, allowing any nutrient excess to move through the mixture and return to the water reservoir below, which is later recirculated to the plant.

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