When selecting a hydroponic medium, most growers gloss over sphagnum moss. This is because most people usually think of this medium as just as a way to properly condition soil.
But the fact of the matter is that sphagnum moss, when used with the proper sphagnum moss nutrients, can be a fantastic way to grow large, high yielding plants. Since sphagnum moss comes from a completely natural and renewable source, it is very appealing to hydroponic growers who want to grow their plants hydro organically.
But as with all hydroponic media and nutrients, you can only reap the full rewards of sphagnum moss nutrients if you are fully aware of all the challenges associated with this hydroponic medium.
May Fall Apart – One of the major downsides of sphagnum moss is that it is not as durable a hydroponics medium as some others. While some media, such as hydroton or perlite, allow you to use them over and over again, virtually indefinitely, sphagnum moss has limited durability. This should not become too much a problem, however, if you simply make certain to handle the material with care.
Clogs Hydroponic System – One of the major dangers in having a medium that falls apart fairly easily is that it may clog essential parts of your hydroponic system, and thereby inhibit sphagnum moss nutrient flow. Generally, this will not be a problem for a while, because very small buildup or clogs will not have a very large effect on the growth and development of your plants.
However, if you do not check on your nutrient flow for a while, this can turn into a major problem. Regular check ups of your hydroponic system can ensure that this never becomes a real issue for you. Removing stray material can make certain that the sphagnum moss nutrients always flow efficiently.
Not pH Neutral – Like some other hydroponic media, sphagnum moss is not pH neutral. In fact, it is slightly acidic. This, however, will not be a major problem so long as you pay very close attention to the pH balance of your sphagnum nutrient solution.
Ideally, you want your pH to be somewhere between 5.6 and 6.3. Measuring your sphagnum moss nutrient solution daily with some pH measuring strips is a necessity to ensure maximum nutrient uptake.
If you notice that it is drifting outside of this range, use a pharmaceutical grade pH adjuster to get it back into the ideal area. You should however, wait a couple hours after using this product to measure it again, to give the pH an opportunity to “settle.”
Extremely Water Absorbent – One of sphagnum moss’ most unique features is that it can hold twenty times its own weight in sphagnum moss nutrients. This means that this material is actually more absorbent than a household sponge.
While this is not normally a problem, it can cause issues if you are accustomed to using media that drain more easily. If you use a recovery hydroponic system, you might accidentally over-water your plants, and cause root rot, especially if your sphagnum moss nutrient solution is not oxygenated properly. Just be sure to be aware of this properly of sphagnum moss and adjust your hydroponic system accordingly.