Complete Guide for Growing Plants Hydroponically: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Complete Guide for Growing Plants Hydroponically

1st Edition

By J. Benton Jones, Jr.

CRC Press

223 pages | 32 B/W Illus.

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With the continued implementation of new equipment and new concepts and methods, such as hydroponics and soilless practices, crop growth has improved and become more efficient. Focusing on the basic principles and practical growth requirements, the Complete Guide for Growing Plants Hydroponically offers valuable information for the commercial grower, the researcher, the hobbyist, and the student interested in hydroponics. It provides details on methods of growing that are applicable to a range of environmental growing systems.

The author begins with an introduction that covers the past, present, and future of hydroponics. He also describes the basic concepts behind how plants grow, followed by several chapters that present in-depth practical details for hydroponic growing systems:

  • The essential plant nutrient elements
  • The nutrient solution
  • Rooting media
  • Systems of hydroponic culture
  • Hydroponic application factors

These chapters cover the nutritional requirements of plants and how to best prepare and use nutrient solutions to satisfy plant requirements, with different growing systems and rooting media, under a variety of conditions. The book gives many nutrient solution formulas and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various hydroponic systems. It also contains a chapter that describes a school project, which students can follow to generate nutrient element deficiency symptoms and monitor their effects on plant growth.

Table of Contents



Hydroponics defined

Is hydroponics a science?

Hydroponic terminology

Historical past

The future of hydroponics

Hydroponic practice and the art of hydroponics

Value of the hydroponic method


Units of measure


How plants grow



Soil fertility factors

The plant root

Water content and uptake

Ion uptake

Root surface chemistry

The essential plant nutrient elements



Criteria for essentiality

The major elements

The micronutrients

Content in plants

Function in plants

Forms of utilization

The beneficial elements

Element substitution

Visual plant symptoms of elemental deficiency or excess

The nutrient solution


Water quality

Water pH

Water and nutrient solution filtering and sterilization

Weights and measures

Nutrient solution reagents

Nutrient solution formulations

General purpose/use formulations

Plant species requirement adjustments of the nutrient solution

Nutrient solution control

Methods and timing of nutrient solution delivery


Programmable controllers


Rooting media





Elemental content of perlite, rockwool, and coir

Systems of hydroponic culture


Mediumless hydroponic systems

Rooting medium hydroponic systems

Hydroponic application factors


Progressive developments

Nutrient solution formulations and their use

Cultivar/variety availability and selection


Grower skill and competence

Factors for success

Controlled-environment agriculture

Outdoor hydroponics

Home gardener/hobby hydroponic grower

Educational role


Demonstration project

Nutrient element deficiency experiments


Hydroponic reference books

Cited References

Appendix A: Measurement factors

Appendix B: Essential element summarization tables

Appendix C: Diagnostic testing

Appendix D: Common errors made when plants are grown hydroponically


About the Author

J. Benton Jones, Jr., earned a BS degree in agricultural science from the University of Illinois and obtained MS and PhD degrees in agronomy from the Pennsylvania State University. He has written extensively on hydroponic topics and has been engaged in hydroponic research projects for much of his professional career. Dr. Jones is considered an authority on applied plant physiology and the use of analytical methods for assessing the nutrient element status of rooting media and plants as a means for ensuring plant nutrient element sufficiency in both soil and soilless crop production settings. At various times, he has served as a director of several university and commercial soil and plant analysis laboratories, and he still serves as an advisor for two such laboratories.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / Botany
SCIENCE / Life Sciences / General
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Agriculture / General