If you are into hydroponics, you might have grown some lettuce with your system. When it comes down to it, this vegetable stands as a favorite amongst hydroponic growers.
As you use hydroponics with lettuce, you can expect a decent harvest. Besides, your crop will look healthy and ideal for the table.
However, you might not always be lucky with your lettuce harvest. If you watch the crop, the lettuce plant might look limp. With such features, it is obvious that you have a problem with your hands.
Are you worried about the limping lettuce on your farm? Well, this article will make you understand the problem. It can even offer possible solutions for the plants.
Now let’s get started.
Why is My Hydroponic Lettuce Limp?
There are many reasons why your lettuce plant can become limp. The possible causes include excess/little water, light, or fungi. Besides heat can also make your plants look unhealthy.
Here’s how these conditions can make your lettuce plant limp.
1. Excess/Little Water
Ideally, you water your lettuce plants. But if you use too much water, your lettuce will look limp and unhealthy. Also, if you do not use enough water on your plants, you will end up with the same problem.
Heat is another common cause of droopy lettuce plants. When exposed to excessive heat, the lettuce will show signs of wilting. So if you want a set of healthy crops, you should grow the lettuce in lower temperatures.
Little light can result in unhealthy lettuce plants. For this reason, you should not leave the plant in the sun for short periods.
Fungi is another cause of limpness, especially in lettuce plants. Such fungi include powdery mildew or even root rot. But with the right care, you should be able to handle these problems.
What To Do To Your Limp Hydroponic Lettuce
To make your plants less droopy, you should tackle the causes of this condition. If you don’t know how to deal with the earlier mentioned problems, try using our tips as they will help greatly.
1. Stop Exposing Your Hydroponic Lettuce to Too Much Light
If your lettuce droops because of excess light, you can quickly solve this issue. Do not expose the light to more than six hours of sunlight. You might also install a shade for your plants.
2. Deal with the Fungus
Since root rot causes limpness in hydroponic lettuce, it would help if you tackled the fungus. But if the fungus is old, it cannot be removed from the plant. So if you notice any signs of root rot, use the following steps to clear them from your plants.
- Take out the plant from the hydroponic system.
- Sterilize and clean the container to remove any fungi
- Wash the roots with water and remove any dead or unhealthy roots.
- Pour about 3ml of 29% hydrogen peroxide into the nutrient solution.
- Soak the plant roots in the solution for 24 hours
- Remove the peroxide solution and add some fresh water.
- Allow the roots to stay in the water for 24 hours
- Take out the water and replace the nutrient solution.
Powdery mildew appears as white powder on your plants. As it stays longer, the fungi can make your hydroponic lettuce droop. If you notice any mildew, the following steps can deal with the problem.
- Get a gallon of water.
- Mix in a teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of dormant oil and liquid soap.
- Spray the mixture on the plants with a spray bottle.
Or you can use a vinegar solution :
- Get a gallon of water
- Mix in 2 -3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- Spray the solution on the hydroponic solution
3. Water Your Plants Properly
Since the wrong amount of water can damage your lettuce plants, use the right amount of moisture for the crop. If the wilting come from overwatering, you can use the following steps to tackle the problem.
- Take the plant to an area with lots of shade
- Ensure the container has enough drainage. You might even provide extra air space for the roots
- You should only add water when the soil feels slightly dry
- Apply some fungicide
If the hydroponic lettuce feels limp because of underwatering, you should have to increase the moisture content. Also, look out for blockages in the plumbing.
4. Get the Right Amount of Light for the Hydroponic Lettuce
Lettuce does not require excessive light. For this reason, you should use shade nets with your hydroponic system. Then if you are indoors, use fluorescent lights daily for between 10 – 14 hours.
How Can I Prevent My Hydroponic Lettuce From Drooping?
You can prevent your hydroponic lettuce from drooping by taking proper care of the plant. For this task, consider working with these tips.
- Inspect the plants for signs of fungi. If you notice any infestation, treat it as quickly as possible.
- Provide enough air for the plants as poor ventilation can harm your crop. Start by installing ceiling fans, exhaust fans, or floor fans.
- Do not use metal containers with your hydroponic lettuce as they can affect the growth of the plant.
- Don’t expose the hydroponic plant to direct sunlight.
- Keep your garden and equipment clean.
- Water your plants in the morning so that your plants can dry at the right time.
- Control humidity with a dehumidifier
- Avoid stagnant water by using your air pump regularly or changing the water.
- Use sticky traps or window mesh to deal with insects.
- Perform regular checkups on your pipes and plumbing.
Are there any Benefits of Growing Hydroponic Lettuce?
Yes, there are numerous benefits to growing hydroponic lettuce. For instance, these plants do not require weeding and manual watering. Also, hydroponics provides an ideal amount of healthy, tasty crops. On top of that, you will not worry about soil care.
How to Grow Hydroponic Lettuce
If you grow hydroponic lettuce properly, you might not have a drooping plant. Now here’s a simple way to grow healthy hydroponic lettuce (with air pumps) from the seedling to an adult plant.
But before you start planting hydroponic lettuce, look for the perfect space for your garden. Moreover, you should choose the hydroponic system that suits your crop. Also, have enough time to care for your crop.
- Look for a comfortable space and install your grow tank or reservoir.
- Install air stones into the tank. To get the best results, place the stones at the center of the pool
- Fix the air pump to the mains
- Connect a timer to the mains and the pump to the timer’s socket.
- Attach the water pump to the reservoir and ensure that it reaches the bottom of the tank.
- Pour in 1½ gallon of water into the tank
- Prepare a nutrient solution by mixing 5 gallons of water, a teaspoon of magnesium sulfate, 2 teaspoons each of calcium nitrate, and 18-15 – 36 NPK organic fertilizer, OR get some vegetable nutrient mix from a local store
- If you are using the homemade mix, pour in a few teaspoons of the substance into the tank. But if you are using the store-bought vegetable mix, follow the instructions on the label or container.
- Stir in the mix with a stick
- Fix a thermometer into the reservoir. The reading should be between 16 to 24 °C.
- Attach a PH meter to the side of the tank.
- Get some mesh pots and pour in some growing media.
- Plant some seeds into the mesh pot.
- Fix the grow tank with the out pipe of your air pump.
- Install a recycle pipe between the sump tank and reservoir.
- Cover the top of grow tank.
- Turn on the LED lights and make sure they stay at safe distance from the plants.
- Activate the air pump, lights, water pump, and other electrical devices.
How to Harvest Hydroponic Lettuce
Harvesting a batch of hydroponic lettuce might look easy. But if you use the wrong steps, you might end up destroying the leaves and the plant itself. For this task, you might use two methods:-
Individual Leaf Method: Here you will pluck each leaf of the plant. If you expect more leaves from your plants, consider trying this method. As you remove the leaves, pick a few at a time. Wait until a few days before you start picking.
Whole Head Method: Cut off the leaves from the base of the plant or the entire plant. Furthermore, replace this plant with a fresh seedling.
When your hydroponics lettuce droops, many factors might cause this condition. For instance, the plant might have fungi such as root rot or mildew. Also, the moisture/light content must be adequate for the plant.
Apart from meeting the requirements of the lettuce plant, you must keep your farm and tools tidy. Also, inspect them from time to time.
If you use these points correctly, you won’t have to deal with droopy hydroponic plants. Besides, you should expect a healthy harvest of great-tasting vegetables.