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One of the best things about planting using a hydroponic tower is the flexibility. Aside from their space-saving features, towers allow you to mix and match plants as you see fit. Organized right, these plants complement and protect each other too.
However, how do you organize plants in a hydroponic tower? What are the things to think about when mixing and matching plants?
When organizing plants in a hydroponic tower, consider the following when making decisions:
- Plant size & weight
- Pest repelling qualities
- Visual and aesthetics
- If you need to rotate the plants
This article explores the best ways to organize plants in a hydroponic tower.
How To Organize Plants in a Hydroponic Tower?
|Plant Size & Weight
|Heavier plants could help balance the tower larger plants may take away sunlight
|Some plants may require trellis support
|Plants that need more sunlight do better at a higher level
|Some plants can help repel pests
|Visuals & Aesthetics
|Certain plants add color to your tower
|Rotation helps to ensure all plants get adequate sunlight
Many factors are in play when it comes to organizing plants in a hydroponic tower. You may want to consider these factors while planning out your tower.
Check out this short video for a quick summary of this article
Plant Size & Weight
At the start, hydroponic plants grow to different sizes and weights. For example, if you grow lettuce, the leaves may grow large. If you grow tomatoes, the fruits may also become heavy. Position these plants right, and you get to leverage them. Place them wrong, and you may have a whole host of troubles.
Take the tomatoes. As the fruits grow, they may become heavy. This means if you arrange tomatoes at the top end of the tower, the excess weight may tilt the tower or damage plants below. In the worst case, your tower may lose balance and fall.
It’s better to place tomatoes at the bottom of the tower. The extra weight would help to lower the center of gravity and make your tower more balanced.
You may also consider placing large plants at the bottom so they don’t block the light from smaller ones. I tend to place the smallest plants at the very top of my tower.
Hydroponic towers are also popular for growing tomatoes, cucumbers, and beans. These are, however, climbing plants. They will need some physical support to climb on and grow.
This means you may need to have a trellis ready. A trellis is a metal or wood structure, usually made of long rods, stakes, or poles. You then arrange them in a grid pattern to form a surface for climbing plants to hold on to.
As the plants grow, they will find support from the trellis. A trellis also helps the plan to distribute its weight better. This should keep your hydroponic tower balanced. You can then occasionally trim the plants to ensure they grow evenly.
Another major factor to look into when arranging plants is light. Whether growing outside or indoors, generally, you want to ensure plants requiring more light stay on the higher side of the pole. Plants that do not require too much light can stay at the lower end.
This is because plants at the top should be able to get direct sunlight or receive the most light from downward-pointing artificial lights. There are no leaves, branches, or fruits shading them. Shading will be an issue if you place your plants at the bottom of the tower.
Some common hydroponic plants, such as peppers, basil, or thyme, need a lot of light. They should stay on the higher end of your tower when you arrange your plants.
Some plants are natural pest repellents. They would be great additions to your hydroponic tower, especially if growing outdoors. These plants usually release a specific fragrance that deters pests from the rest of your plants.
There may be no specific positioning for these plants. However, keeping them close to plants that need protection may be a good idea.
Some examples of pest-repellent plants include:
- Basil: Consider keeping some spots for basils when you plant tomatoes. This is because it is excellent for keeping tomato hornworms away. It keeps aphids and mites away too. Who would have thought they complement each other well outside the cooking pan?
- Mint: If you hate ants, keep some mint plants around. Mint is excellent for keeping ants, flea beetles, and aphids away. However, keep in mind that mints can grow very fast and can end up becoming a pest themselves. Trim frequently to keep them in check.
- Lavender: Who does not like the smell of lavender? It is also good for keeping fleas, aphids, and mosquitoes away from your plants. It is also able to repel whiteflies and moths too.
- Marigolds: Marigolds are beautiful flowers with yellow blooms that add color to your tower. They also release a specific chemical called alpha-terthienyl. This chemical is safe for us but incredibly toxic to insect pests.
Visuals & Aesthetics
Another aspect you want to look at is the visuals and aesthetics. Generally, people desire a tower with lush greenery and colorful flowers and fruits.
If you want this for your tower, add plants that produce colorful fruits or flowers. They could embellish your tower with bright, colorful accents.
Fruits with beautiful color accents include tomatoes, habaneros, and strawberries. For flowers, you can look at lavender, marigold, or iris.
However, if you want a minimalist, simple wall of greenery, you can always start with lettuce. They should give you a bright green tower that is pleasing to a minimalist’s eyes.
Consider Rotating Plants
Finally, organizing your plants in a hydroponic tower could also involve rotations. This may not be necessary in some cases but may be encouraged in certain situations.
Take, for example, if you are planting nothing but thyme on your hydroponic tower. Thyme loves the sun, requiring 6-8 hours of sunlight daily to grow well. If you have thyme plants at the bottom of the tower, chances are the plant may not be getting enough sunlight.
Make sure you are also rotating your hydroponic tower to ensure your plants receive an even amount of light.
Which means you could consider rotating the plants. At certain hours in the day, you move the bottom plants to the top of the tower, and vice versa. This should ensure all plants get a balanced amount of sunlight.
Organizing plants in a hydroponic tower involves considering various factors such as plant size, weight, support, sunlight requirements, pest-repelling qualities, aesthetics, and plant rotation. By taking these factors into account, you can create an efficient and visually pleasing hydroponic tower garden.
Balancing plants with different needs allows for better growth and health while incorporating pest-repellent plants adds an extra layer of protection. Paying attention to these aspects will help you optimize your hydroponic tower for maximum growth and enjoyment.