One of the coolest things about hydroponics is being able to see the roots growing. It’s important to monitor them from time to time to make sure they are as healthy as can be. Let’s get into it and how to maintain a healthy roots system.
When you first plant a seed you want to make sure that the water level is just within reach for the roots to have access to that nutrient rich water waiting below. You don’t want them to work too hard so keeping them within root’s reach will make sure that the plant is strong and encourages its growth. As always it’s important to keep an airspace so that the higher roots can take in oxygen while the longer roots seek out food.
In the case of hydroponics seeing roots exposed in a net pot is a very good thing. That’s one reason the net pots have so many holes in the bottom and/or around them. In traditional planter pots this isn’t exactly the case as that could be a sign it’s outgrown its pot and it’s time to repot the next size up. But in the case of hydroponics these roots are feeding on the nutrient rice water that sits in the container below. They are getting instant access to food and are not restricted by the container size. So going along with this, there is no need to transplant. The benefits with small space hydroponic growing is that you can use a larger container if you’d like but it’s not required.Bigger containers means more water holding capacity which in turn means less watering checkups. It won’t matter if it’s one cup or one gallon, your plant will continue to grow and grow and produce as long as you are feeding it well, checking on its health, and harvesting to encourage more growth.
So what does this mean for the roots? Well happy roots mean a happy plant. They should have a healthy light colored appearance. If they start to turn dark brown or green then they are struggling and this can be seen in the plant leaves as well. One thing to keep in mind is that roots can appear different colors like red, purple, and yellow if the plant itself is that color.
To maintain healthy roots keep your container clean, and topped up with fresh water and/or nutrients. A simple kitchen nozzle to gently massage roots can work wonders. If your roots look “congested” at all, or slightly discolored, you can use a very diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to clean them. Let it sit in this solution for a few minutes before rinsing then going back to your normal watering schedule. Too much hydrogen peroxide can burn the roots so keep a safe ratio 1 tsp per cup.
Roots can be trimmed on any plant but be sure to only trim what needs trimming! Any roots that are unhealthy can be removed but if they are healthy why not take in the view!