Hydroponics is an effective and fast way to get a good crop. However, from my experience, I can tell you that you will have to face some difficulties if you want to succeed here.
Nutrient imbalances are the most common reason why AeroGarden plants turn brown. Over time, salts build up in the nutrient solution, making the plants unable to grow properly.
Other causes can be root rot, problems with the pump, poor air circulation, and a number of others. I will tell you about all of the reasons in this article.
The cause of the browning of plants in the AeroGarden is very often an imbalance of nutrients. This imbalance is caused by a lack of water changes. As a result, too many minerals accumulate in the water (high EC) and the plants can get root burn or cannot consume nutrition. This all leads to a browning of the leaves.
Also, imbalances can occur because the water you are using has a high EC before you put it in the bowl. Another problem could be that the pH of the water is too high.
- Replace the water in the bowl with new water and add 2 capfuls of plant food.
- Set a timer to remind you to add more plant food after 2 weeks.
- Change the water every 2-4 weeks with the addition of 2 capfuls of plant food.
- Ensure that the water you pour into the AeroGarden has an EC no higher than 5.0 mS/cm and a pH no higher than 7.5.
You can check the EC and pH with special devices which are available online or in hydroponic stores.
If the water you pour into the AeroGarden has a very high EC you can reduce it by adding distilled water or using pure distilled water. You can control the pH with special products which are also commercially available.
Read also: Top 5 Hydroponics for Your Home
Root problems always lead to leaves that first turn yellow and then brown. In hydroponic systems, root problems most often occur due to infrequent water changes or no water changes at all.
As a result, a lot of bacteria breed in the water and destroy the roots. A plant with diseased roots begins to dry out and die.
- Remove the plants from the unit and pour out the old water.
- Clean the bowl and grow deck.
- Cut off the rotten roots and wash the healthy ones.
- Pour fresh water into the bowl and add 2 capfuls of plant food.
- Place the plants in the holes.
- Change the water in the AeroGarden 1-2 times a month.
The pump is the device that delivers water to the roots. If it does not work, the plants may experience a lack of water and the tips of the leaves will turn brown.
The pump may simply break and stop working. It is also possible for the pump or grow deck to become clogged with plant roots.
- Check to see if the pump is working. If it doesn’t work, replace it with a new one.
- Make sure the pump and filter are not clogged with roots or debris. If necessary, clean these parts and cut back a bit the roots.
- Clean the grow deck from the inside to get water into every hole.
Not enough water
Lack of water in the bowl can cause the plants to become dehydrated. As a result, the leaves will begin to turn brown from the tips.
The water level can drop quite quickly and you won’t even notice it. Do not rely on the water level sensor because it will go into action when there is almost no water in the bowl. Also, the sensor may be clogged by roots or broken.
- Add water up to the ‘Fill to Here’ mark.
- If the water sensor is clogged, clean it from the roots.
- Replace the water sensor if it is broken.
- Constantly monitor the water level through the hole in the grow deck.
- Use Aerovoir to refill water without your involvement.
Too hot water
If the water in the bowl gets above 80°F, it will be very uncomfortable for the plants. The roots will not be able to work properly and the leaves will turn brown. If you do not fix the problem, the plants will die.
Causes of overheating in most cases are due to improper placement of the hydroponic system.
- Move the AeroGarden to a cool place.
- Make sure the water temperature is below 80°F.
- Avoid placing the AeroGarden on a sunny window sill or near devices that produce heat.
Poor air circulation
Plants that grow outside are constantly exposed to the wind. The wind removes the moisture that the leaves produce. It also promotes the pollination of flowers.
Plants in the AeroGarden are not exposed to the wind and this can lead to brown spots on the leaves.
- Install a timed fan near the AeroGarden to blow on the plants from time to time.
- Trim your plants so they don’t get too bushy. This will improve air circulation.
Pest and diseases
Both sucking insects and fungal diseases can cause considerable damage to plants. As a result, brown spots will appear on the leaves or they will turn completely brown.
The AeroGarden is a device for indoor use. Indoor plants are less susceptible to diseases and pests. However, it can still happen, so you need to consider this option as well.
- Inspect all the leaves for pests or small brown spots on the leaves.
- If you notice pests, throw the plants away and clean the hydroponic system. Then start all over again.
- If there are small brown spots on the leaves, remove those leaves. Install a fan to improve air exchange.
- Avoid spraying the plants with chemicals as this will make them inedible.
Lack of light is often the cause of leaf discoloration. If there is not enough light, the leaves will first turn dark and then die back to brown.
Lack of light in the AeroGarden happens because some of the LEDs are no longer working. You may not even notice it.
One of the causes of early failure of the LEDs is that the leaves are touching them. This causes the LEDs to overheat and burn out.
- Check if all the LEDs including the red and blue ones work.
- Replace the light hood if necessary.
- Regularly trim the plants so that the leaves do not touch the LEDs.