Some people assume that indoor hydroponic gardens are free from these issues. In actual fact, the prime conditions of a hydroponic system make it easier for insects and plant disease to survive and thrive. Disease and pests can thrive because plants remain moist by immersion (as in true hydroponic systems) or wet with spray (as in aeroponic systems) and grow in a moist medium like sand or perlite. But just as with a soil-based garden, many methods and solutions exist to combat the problems.
One popular and natural way to combat pest infestation is by introducing beneficial life forms into the system. Certain kinds of fungi and bacteria will push pests out by consuming or crowding them or presenting compounds that are toxic for the insect. These organisms are considered beneficial, as they can deter unwanted pests like spider mites without harming the plants.
Pesitcidal soaps are a traditional method of controlling pests and disease in your hydroponic garden and have been used in all types of garden for centuries. Good quality pesticidal soap includes compounds naturally produced by plants and non-toxic pest controls. No harmful chemicals are left behind once the natural compounds breakdown from exposure to the elements.
Neem oil is used to deter more than 400 different pests often found in soil-based and hydroponic gardens. Spray the foliage to eliminate existing pests and keep away others. Once the insects absorb the neem oil, their reproductive cycles are halted and the pests eventually die off. Commercial pesticides can also work well in hydroponic gardening systems to combat serious infestations.
Common Pests and Solutions
Many pests commonly seen in soil-based gardens also find their way into hydroponic gardens, including:
- white flies
- powdery mildew
Pests find hydroponic gardening systems appealing due to the consistent moisture. You can make the area unappealing with organicides and fungicides. Common solutions include:
- sulfur-based compounds for thrips, white flies and mealy bugs
- pyrethrum as produced from flowers
- azatrol for many common pests
Mildew and fungi are often found in hydroponic gardens. Combat these conditions by maintaining adequate ventilation and keeping foliage dry. When spraying insecticide on your plants, ensure the grow lights dry off plant leaves. Plants grown in an aeroponic system may need to be moved indoors temporarily.
Plants growing in a hydroponic system are more fragile than those in soil-based gardens, mainly due to the lack of soil for root anchoring. This makes manipulating foliage and stems more hazardous. Exercise great care when physically picking mites off.
Talk to our trained and knowledgeable staff about hydroponic gardens, including hydroponic gardening equipment and pesticidal soaps and sprays.