When to Add Nutrients to DWC? – The Answer Is Here!

Plants thrive in different ways and Deep Water Culture as known as DWC is another way for plants to grow in a healthy way. There are different types of hydroponic system and DWC is one of them. Deep water culture technique might sound difficult to maintain, but in reality, it is quite easy and effective.

It is quite simple to grow plants in this method. If you want to start growing your plants in this system or you are already growing, then there are few things that you should know.

There are a lot of questions regarding when to add nutrients to dwc? Read this article to get the answers to your questions regarding the deep water culture system.

Stage of Plant GrowthNutrient Solution Strength (EC/PPM)pH LevelNutrients to AddAdditional Notes
GerminationLow (0.5 – 0.8 EC / 250 – 400 PPM)5.5 – 6.5NoneMonitor water temperature and oxygen levels to ensure optimal conditions for germination.
SeedlingLow (0.8 – 1.2 EC / 400 – 600 PPM)5.5 – 6.5VegetativeUse a balanced nutrient solution with a higher ratio of nitrogen (N) for healthy leaf growth.
VegetativeMedium (1.2 – 1.8 EC / 600 – 900 PPM)5.5 – 6.5VegetativeMonitor pH and EC/PPM levels regularly and adjust as needed to maintain optimal nutrient uptake.
FloweringHigh (1.8 – 2.5 EC / 900 – 1250 PPM)5.5 – 6.5FloweringTransition to a nutrient solution with a higher ratio of phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) to promote flower development.
Fruit RipeningHigh (2.5 – 3.0 EC / 1250 – 1500 PPM)5.5 – 6.5RipeningAdjust nutrient solution strength and pH based on plant’s nutrient requirements and growth stage.
FlushLow (0.5 – 0.8 EC / 250 – 400 PPM)5.5 – 6.5NoneUse a nutrient-free solution or plain water to flush out excess salts and prepare plants for harvest.

One of our articles DWC Nutrients Guide.

Deep Water Culture – What Is It?

Deep water culture is one type of hydroponic growing technique, where the roots of the plants are submerged deeply into the oxygenated water plus nutrient solution. The plants in this technique are grown in a reservoir or bucket, or pots, where the roots are submerged into the rich-nutrient solution for 24/7.

You don’t need to water the plants since they already grow in water. But the water should be aerated with the help of an air pump and air stone on a daily basis, and proper nutrition should be added in it.

When to Add Nutrients to DWC

How Does Deep Water Culture Work?

Like any other hydroponic system, DWC also works with the help of water and nutrient solutions. You may think that if the plants remain in too much water, then they might die. But, it is not true. Some plants do survive and thrive in water, and for them, the hydroponic system is the best.

The water in the reservoir needs to be air-pumped from time to time and the air stones form air bubbles in the water that help in increasing the oxygen level. While growing in water, the plants need a sufficient amount of oxygen to breathe and nutrients to absorb.

If you don’t oxygenate the water, the oxygen level in the water will become low, and therefore the roots may drown in the water. Without an air pump and air stones, DWC won’t work.

Common Questions Regarding When to Add Nutrients to DWC

What kind of nutrients are appropriate to add in DWC?

There are a good number of nutrients for hydroponic plants available in the market. Use mineral-based nutrients of a good brand, which has a balanced ratio of minerals to help in increasing the Ph level. If you are an experienced DWC-grower, then you can use the nutrients of your choice.

Which system is better for DWC – singular or modular?

It’s always best to start from small. If you are new into DWC, then start out with the singular system as they are easy to maintain, affordable, and will provide excellent results. The modular system of DWC is where a lot of plants grow in one connected reservoir.

You can use the modular system when you become more experienced with the DWC technique.

What is the preferred pH and EC/ PPM level for DWC?

For all plant species and in most growth stages, a ph level of 5.6-6.5 is preferred, but the level must be adjusted according to the growth of the plant, and also in which growth phase it is in.

In the vegetative phase, the pH level requires to be in the upper end, while in the flowering phase, the pH level should be in the lower end.

For the EC/PPM level, make sure to add less amount of nutrients than the amount specified in the hydroponic nutrients, as they are usually specified higher than required. You can observe the plants and can adjust according to that later on.

When to start adding nutrients to DWC?

Usually, many people start adding the nutrients from the second week of the growing stage, that is when the leaves of the seedlings become yellow. Start by adding fewer nutrients and increase the quantity according to the growth of the plant. Add the DWC nutrient solution till the last stage of flowering.

How often to add nutrients to DWC?

You have to change the reservoir water every few weeks to prevent salt build-up and then add fresh nutrients and water newly in the reservoir. Plus, you can top-off the reservoir with nutrient mixed water when the nutrient-water level becomes low in the reservoir.

You can also increase the quantity of the nutrients if you see any symptoms of deficiency in the plants.

What are the best nutrients for DWC ?

General hydroponics, Botanicare, and Floranova are some of the brands that contain some of the best nutrients for deep water culture( check our article). You can also do an online search to find out more suitable nutrients for DWC.

What should be the temperature of the reservoir?

The temperature of the reservoir may increase due to air-pump or maybe cause of high-temperature of the growing room. When the temperature level in the reservoir becomes high, the oxygen level in the water decreases.

And, when the temperature is too low, then the growth of plants becomes slow and stunt. So, the appropriate temperature for DWC is from 60°F to 70°F.

How to check the level of the dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution?

You can measure the dissolved oxygen level in the nutrient solution with the help of the dissolved oxygen meter, available in the market. They are quite costly and may not be reliable. So, it is best to strictly follow the deep water culture nutrient schedule and to aerate the nutrition solution continuously.

Do plants grow faster in DWC?

Yes, if you follow everything properly, then the plants will grow faster by 15%. Plants in DWC and hydroponics grow faster than soil-based plants as they are well-hydrated and the things they need to thrive are.

Bottom Line

Deep water culture (DWC) is the simplest way to grow plants amongst the other types of hydroponics systems. This system is not for all plants, it is best for growing lettuce and herbs.

If you follow the dwc nutrients guide properly and aerate the water enough, then the plants will thrive faster and will produce in huge-yields. I hope this article on when to add nutrients to dwc has helped you in understanding the system better.

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