Nutrients and fertilizer are just as important in hydroponics as they are in traditional media. They are broken down into three categories: macronutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients.
Macronutrients are elements that plants use a lot of the grow. The most prominent macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. When considering fertilizer, you should check the soil you are using to see what (if any) elements it isn’t giving your plants. The fertilizer you buy should supplement the soil to ensure that your plants are getting all the nutrients they need.
Secondary nutrients are also macronutrients, although they aren’t quite as critical to the growth of your plant. Still, they should be added to your garden for healthy growth. The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. Calcium builds cell walls and prevents diseases like root rot. Magnesium supports chlorophyll production, and sulfur builds protein.
These are only needed in small quantities, but they do play a big role in the garden. The most important micronutrients are boron, copper, chloride, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. Boron is needed for seeds and fruit, copper helps plants reproduce, chloride aids a plant’s metabolism, iron assists in chlorophyll production, manganese breaks down carbohydrates, molybdenum helps nitrogen use and zinc changes carbohydrates into nutrients.