Do You Need to Rotate your Hydroponic Tower?

If you’re anything like me you’ll have positioned your brand new hydroponic tower garden next to the largest south-west facing window in your property. It’s a good strategy. Placing your tower in this way will ensure that it receives as much light as possible. And that’s great for healthy plant growth. But, there’s a problem. One side is always in the shade. Isn’t that bad for my plants? Well, as it turns out, it is.

If just one side of your hydroponic tower garden faces the light, it should be rotated a quarter turn each day to achieve healthy, balanced growth. Failing to provide enough light for your plants may result in stunted growth and can even cause them to fail entirely.

It’s a lesson, admittedly, I learned too late. I didn’t rotate my first ever crop and I suffered the consequences. Looking back, my tower was really only operating at 50% capacity! With one simple change, I was able to better optimize my growing experience and produce far better results consistently.

Why you need to rotate your hydroponic tower

All plants need light to photosynthesize and grow. Because of the cylindrical shape of a hydroponic tower garden, one side will always be facing the light, and the other will always be in shade. Resultingly, those plants on the light side will receive far more energy that those on the dark side.

This has the effect of creating a unbalanced growing environment in which some plants grow more vigorously than others. Not only can this mess up growing and harvest times but it can actually put plants that are kept permanently in the shade at significant risk. Many may never reach maturity. So, it’s critical that regularly rotate your tower garden to ensure balanced growth over the entire tower.

By regularly rotating your tower garden, you can ensure that every plant on the tower receives the same amount of light. This ensures that all plants receive their fair share of light and are able to produce the energy they need to grow and remain within a healthy state. Plants will grow far more consistently around the tower, harvest times will be much more synchronized, and plant health will be improved.

How often should you rotate my hydroponic tower?

For optimal plant growth you should rotate your hydroponic tower garden once every singly day. Rotating daily, while admittedly creating a fairly boring chore, will help all plants get the light they need to photosynthesize. It only takes five seconds and will make all the difference.

How much should you rotate it by?

As a general rule, rotating the tower by one quarter turn ensures that all your plants will receive an even amount of light. To maximise productivity, most plants need around 6-8 hours of full-sunlight. Rotating by just a quarter turn, instead of a half turn, each time helps to ensure plants spend enough time in the sun (1 full-day facing the sun and 2 full-days on the sides in indirect sunlight).

Can’t I just use grow lights instead?

In theory, yes you can. One of the amazing things about hydroponics is that it is entirely possible to grow plants in a dark, windowless room by using artificial grow lights. While I generally prefer to have natural sun-light, using artificial lights provide a light boost or 100% of the light your plants receive.

Grow system from Tower Garden complete with grow lights.

Grow lights can be used to provide full-cover across your entire hydroponic tower garden system. However, if your tower garden is placed next to a window, I’d still recommend rotating it to ensure that light distribution remains as even as possible. Those plants facing the window are still likely to receive more light than those on the shaded side, even if grow lights are used.

Where is the best location for a hydroponic tower?

There are a few things to consider when choosing the best location for your vertical garden. The most important for a hydroponic tower garden is light. The tower should be placed in a location with plenty of light (unless you are reliant on grow lights). If indoors, this likely means next to a large window or patio door.

In conclusion

To ensure your plants receive the right amount of light you must rotate your tower garden regularly. Turning the tower once each and every day by a quarter turn is sufficient to achieve balanced growth throughout the tower. Supplementing natural light with artificial grow lights, particularly if natural light is an issue. However, you should still rotate the tower to ensure all plants receive their fair share of light.

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William, an experienced consultant and passionate advocate for technology and sustainability, is the founder of Smarter Home Gardens. William's journey into gardening began with the purchase of his first home, which came with a small backyard garden. Despite initial challenges brought about by limited space, soil, and sunlight, William's determination to create a vibrant garden led him to research and experiment with innovative gardening technologies and sustainable practices. Driven by his lifelong enthusiasm for technology and sustainability, William explored various gardening methods, including vertical gardening, hydroponics, companion gardening, and composting. Through these efforts, he realized that it was possible to combine his passions with his newfound love for gardening. Smarter Home Gardens was born out of William's desire to share his research and experiences with others, helping them create smarter gardens that leverage cutting-edge technology and contribute to a more nature-positive world. The blog offers in-depth articles on innovative gardening technologies and methods, helpful 'how-to' guides, reviews of the latest gardening technology, and research on cost-effective garden maintenance solutions. William's commitment to sustainable and technologically-driven gardening has made him a trusted voice in the field. His enthusiasm for creating gardens that work with the planet, rather than against it, is evident in every post he shares on Smarter Home Gardens. Through the blog, William hopes to engage with a wider audience, encouraging others to join him on this exciting journey towards smarter, more sustainable gardens.

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