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Hydroponics Plants Don’t Need Stress

Stress hurts hydroponics plants Stress hurts hydroponics plants

I visited a hydroponics grow room the other day. The grower is a very smart guy who lives for his hydroponics plants. He spends all his time reading Rosebud, hydroponics books and cultivation forums, and trying out new gardening techniques genetics and hydroponics supplies.

 

Most of the time, the ideas he embraces are good ones, but sometimes he hits clunkers. Like when I went to his room and he said he had six blueberry plants flushed and ready for harvest. Where were they? In a dark, cold closet. Had been for two days. And one more day of total darkness to go before harvest.

I was dismayed to hear this and pointed out to him that the cold temperatures, higher humidity and zero air movement in his closet are a sweet environment for mold and other crop destroyers. Not only that, I said, but what about light? Why total darkness for three whole days?

“I read it in a book, maybe it was by Ed or Jorge, I can’t remember,” he replied. “It says that if you stress your plants out and deprive them of light, that it makes you have a higher quality harvest.”

He then launched into a list of stressors that supposedly create better hydroponics harvests. These include periodically depriving plants of water while at the same time increasing grow room temperatures past the ideal 74F mark, perhaps as high as 86F.

While it’s true that if you are providing extra C02 in your grow room at around 1100 ppm C02, your plants will grow at 86F, it’s not true that depriving your plants of water and subjecting them to heat stress is good for them.

In fact, whenever I heard about these schemes to “stress plants for bigger harvests,” I am reminded of the “no pain, no gain” sports credo. The people who favor stressing plants assert that your hydroponics plants respond to heat, drought, and other stress by creating extra essential oils and other desirable compounds- allegedly as a form of self-protection.

Unfortunately, there’s no solid evidence that your hydroponics plants will produce more of what you want when you deprive them of what they want. Truth be told, the opposite is true: your hydroponics plants will give you more of what you want when you give them more of what they want.

In the case of my hydroponics grower friend, I pointed out that light drives photosynthesis, which drives all the other processes in his hydroponics plants. I know that some studies show that it’s best to harvest at the end of your 12-hour dark cycle instead of the 12-hour light cycle, but how could he expect that depriving plants of their photosynthesis engine for three whole days would give him better and stronger yields?

Similarly, when you understand plant nutrition and the ideal hydroponics growing environment, or just plain common sense applied to any living organism, you see that what hydroponics plants need to give you their best is maximized doses of food, water, light, climate, C02 and other inputs. When you flush your hydroponics plants at the end of bloom phase, you deprive them of nutrition for a few days. Other than that, you’ve given them the best materials and conditions possible.

In return, your hydroponics plants use nutrients, light, C02 and water to create larger and more valuable flowers. If you stress your hydroponics plants, they have to channel their energy towards fighting off the heat, cold, drought or other stressors they unnecessarily endure.

Plants dislike intense heat and sun

 

In some cases, stress during bloom phase causes your hydroponics plants to go hermaphrodite, which means they self-pollinate. While this can result in feminized seeds (that grow out to be plants that themselves tend towards hermaphroditism), it’s not usually something you want to see.

The bottom line is that just like you don’t manage a star athlete during a game by depriving him of water, nutrients and oxygen, you don’t torture your hydroponics plants either. Show them some love, and they’ll show you their best hydroponics harvests…the ones you love to see, smell and taste!

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Last modified on Thursday, 11 October 2012 14:22

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