Aeroponics and hydroponics are two different growing systems for plants. The goal is to have a healthy plant that grows quickly without pesticides or chemicals.
Aeroponics typically uses an air pump with misting nozzles, while hydroponics typically rely on nutrient-rich water pumped to the roots via plastic pipes.
Hydroponic systems are usually more efficient at retaining nutrients for reuse. Still, aeroponics systems are better suited to delivering nutrients directly to the root system in smaller quantities because they contain less water than hydroponic systems do.
This post discusses the key differences and similarities between aeroponics vs. hydroponics.
What is Aeroponics And How Does It Work?
Aeroponics is a type of hydroponics in which roots hang in the air and are sprayed with nutrient-rich water. The plant’s root system absorbs all the nutrients it needs from the water, with none going to waste.
Aeroponics utilizes an ultra-fine jet stream of the nutrient solution rather than growing plants in a pot or using soilless medium like perlite, peat moss, or vermiculite.
In simplest terms, you can think of aeroponic systems as grow chambers where frequent highly oxygenated nutrient solutions applications effectively replace sunlight as the primary growth input.
The aeroponics system’s design allows plants to receive optimal levels of oxygen, water, and nutrients. This makes for more efficient delivery of the required elements needed by plants to grow faster, healthier, and more efficiently than with other types of hydroponics systems.
Aeroponics is ideal for optimal growth because it delivers high levels of oxygen and greater concentrations of dissolved nutrients directly to the roots with pinpoint accuracy. The result is bigger yields in less time, up to 50% faster!
What is Hydroponics And How Does It Work?
Hydroponics is also known as “soilless gardening” or “container growing.” It refers to any growing method that does not use traditional soil. Instead, growers use gravel, sand, coconut husk, perlite, mineral wool, clay pebbles, or vermiculite as a base for their plants’ roots.
They provide all the necessary nutrients directly to the plant through an array of water systems, including but not limited to drip irrigation. The most straightforward system consists only of a container filled with growing medium and topped with some material to shade the nutrient solution from your plants’ leaves, so they don’t rot.
Aeroponics Vs. Hydroponics: The Differences
Nutrient Quality in Plant Growth
Plants grown in hydroponics and aeroponics will have different results. Plants absorb nutrients through their roots. When growing in soil, the size of the soil particles limits nutrient absorption and can take up to several months for a plant to grow large enough to harvest.
Growing plants in water at least double nutrient uptake because they can soak up nutrients and oxygen from the water. Plant yields with hydroponic methods that use gravel or increase sandy mediums due to increased root growth into these materials.
The biggest difference between aeroponics and hydroponics is the time it takes for your plants to mature. Aeroponics typically takes two weeks, while hydroponics can take one to three months.
Right Plant Growth Medium
There will be a learning curve whenever you employ a hydroponic growing medium. There is no “one size fits all” because each kind of plant requires a different pH and nutrient balance for optimal growth rates. However, the biggest issue with using these materials is how easy it is to maintain your plants’ nutrient solution.
With soulless methods, nothing physical will happen when the nutrients in the reservoir are exhausted or if there’s an imbalance of electrolytes in your planter.
You’ll need to constantly test and vary the concentrations until you get them right every time they’re changed.
Compared to hydroponics, aeroponics does not require this since you can easily control how many nutrients are available to your plants.
In addition, hydroponic growing mediums usually cause a wide variety of plant root problems because the material physically separates roots from nutrient solution and allows algae to grow in these containers.
It’s naturally occurring beneficial bacteria which make soil-less media work better for plants than gravel or sand since it provides a food source for them in these materials.
You will not have to worry about harmful bacteria with aeroponics compared to hydroponics, which is one of the main reasons it is healthier for your plants.
The Temperature in Hydroponics And Aeroponics
Another thing that separates aeroponics from hydroponics is temperature. Because plants absorb nutrients through their roots, they cannot receive the same amount if ambient temperatures in your growing area are too high or too low.
Aeroponic system can cool nutrient solutions by evaporating water droplets with air that has been cooled via refrigeration. As a bonus, the cold air helps reduce transpiration rates in plants so you use less water when your system is running than when it’s off.
Hygroscopic happens when moist air is introduced to a warm atmosphere. It condenses on objects within this environment because the air becomes colder and releases moisture as condensation molecules stick together with other natural elements like salts and acids.
As a result, the nutrient solutions can increase in volume and become too sugary for plants to absorb because of the excess water vapor in the air.
Compared to hydroponics, the use of aeroponics does not present these problems if done correctly, so you will not have to worry about plant growth problems caused by temperature changes.
Pest Issues in Hydroponics And Aeroponics
Since aeroponics systems don’t use growing mediums or chemically treated water, there is no way for insects to get into your plants’ root zone and cause harm. This includes slugs, snails, fungus gnats, thrips, and spider mites common pests in soil- environments that would stop a plant’s growth with root damage if they are not dealt with properly.
Aeroponics benefits from using insecticidal soap to drop these organisms on contact or neem oil which can’t be used in combination with other horticultural oils without making the final product unusable for plants.
No pest problems also mean you won’t have to worry about adding things like synthetic fertilizers, fungicides, and pesticides into your nutrient solution. There is no way for them to affect your system when growing organically vs. hydroponically negatively.
Cost of Aeroponics Systems Vs. Hydroponic Systems
The simplicity of aeroponics can make it inexpensive compared to hydroponics. With so many types of hydroponic systems, you will spend a large amount of money on grow mediums, nutrients, and other equipment throughout the year.
Aeroponics eliminates this concern for you compared to hydroponics because it can be accomplished with items you already possess like spray bottles or fish tank pumps that can be used in any size system regardless of its size.
Depending on your budget when starting out with aeroponics, most people start with an indoor garden kit containing two planters and a separate reservoir. This type of setup only costs approximately $30-40 because they created all materials used in it to fit into each other perfectly without requiring complicated procedures for setup.
Aeroponics’ cost is also lower than hydroponics because there are no additional parts to purchase for your system in the future.
For example, if one of your pumps wears out or clogs up, the only thing you will need to do is replace it with a new pump instead of having to figure out how to take apart your entire nutrient tank that contains several types of appliances all within it.
As you can see from the aeroponics vs hydroponic benefits listed above, this method is almost only beneficial over other ways of growing plants. When done right, plants receive water and nutrients directly through their roots so they can grow faster and healthier than ever before without having to worry about harmful bacteria getting into their root systems.
The pH Level of Aeroponics Versus Hydroponics
Both hydroponics and aeroponics will need to be monitored for pH levels during the growing period. This is because your nutrient solution’s pH level can influence how well plants absorb nutrients so they don’t get sick or die if their pH level isn’t at its best when growing your plants.
In hydroponics, there are a number of products available that monitor and control pH levels, but these are not necessary for aeroponics as opposed to hydroponics, unless you are lacking them.
One of the main reasons people assume aeroponics requires more attention than other types of gardens is that they think you have to use chemical fertilizers with it, which isn’t true because of its simplicity.
When compared with hydroponics, aeroponics does not require the regular application of liquid fertilizers, as its nutrient concentration levels are much higher than those in a hydroponic system.
Aeroponics vs. Hydroponics: The Benefits
There are many benefits to both types of growing with the different systems used for each one. The type of system you can use is also determined by how much money you want to spend on supplies since there are cheaper and more expensive options for people who either don’t want or can’t afford a bulky hydroponic system.
There are benefits to both aeroponics and hydroponics for efficiently sprouting plants, but which method is more beneficial will depend on your needs or your growing style.
To start, one of the major advantages of growing with hydroponic systems is that they require less maintenance than aeroponics do. This is because they have designed specifically most if not all the equipment used for each appliance within a hydroponic system so there isn’t any need to add anything extra into it.
For example, when using a nutrient tank in a hydroponic system, there will already be an air pump placed inside by the manufacturer, making it perfect for use without worrying about whether it can pump enough air to your plant’s roots.
A hydroponic garden requires hydroponic air pump and mist equipment that need to be purchased separately from an aeroponic system. This is because you have to either build a fogging system on your own or buy a pre-made one that works with a specific type of air pump.
One more thing about how aeroponics vs hydroponics produces less waste is that since their solution has a lower exhaustion rate, there is also less runoff which helps prevent environmental pollution. If this wasn’t the case, then it would be nearly impossible to use indoors without having problems with pests because everything around it would die off.
What Plants are Ideal for Each System?
Just like hydroponics vs. aeroponics, the plants that do best in each system depend on what you’re looking to produce with your indoor garden. Since both types of systems have around the same nutrient refresh rate, it’s safe to say most plants can grow equally healthy when provided with the right amount of water and food.
One type of plant that does great in an aeroponics system is Basil since growing them indoors is popular for this reason alone plus, there are many ways you can use fresh basil in your cooking so it’s definitely worth having some growing inside.
Plants that do well when grown using a hydroponic system are strawberries or cucumbers since they require less maintenance than other plants might need when using this type of gardening method.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Cheaper to Use Aeroponics or Hydroponics?
There are advantages to both when growing indoors but hydroponics wins with being budget-friendly since you can set up an entire garden using one appliance without worrying about whether the parts will work together.
Can Any Type of Plant be Grown in an Aeroponic or Hydroponic System?
Yes, any type of plant can be grown in both hydroponics vs. aeroponics. However, some plants are more ideal for either.
For example, strawberries and basil do very well when grown indoors using a hydroponic system, while most other plants are popular with aeroponics.
What Kind of Equipment is Required to Use Hydroponics or Aeroponics?
To grow using either system, you’ll need some basic items like containers that can hold water, air pumps for your aeroponics fogging systems, misting heads or misters if you are growing with hydroponics.
Mostly, however, this is all you really need, but there are other options available if you want to upgrade, which makes this type of gardening so popular.
Can I Start a Garden Outside or Indoors with These Methods Only?
You can grow outdoors using either system as long as the climate is right for what you’re trying to produce. This goes without saying that it’s best to start with an indoor garden that requires less maintenance and is more ideal for saving space compared to a full-sized one outside.
Is It Possible to Use The Two Systems Together?
It’s not a good idea to mix hydroponics vs aeroponics together because one system can interfere with the other. Therefore, it’s important to research each method carefully before deciding which one you want to use so you avoid any problems from the start.
Overall, hydroponics and aeroponics are both brilliant methods for growing plants indoors. The main difference is that hydroponics uses a soil-less system while aeroponics does not.
This means that with hydroponics, you need to be careful about the type of plant you’re growing because some do better in soil than others. In contrast, aeroponics can grow any kind of plant without having to worry about the type. Another advantage to using aeroponics is that it’s more economical than hydroponics because you don’t have to buy specialized equipment as you do with hydroponics. All you need is an air pump and some containers to get started which makes it a good choice for beginners.