Skip to content
5 Types of Hydroponic Systems & How They Work

5 Types of Hydroponic Systems & How They Work


One of the significant problems in hydroponics is choosing the right type of hydroponic system for you and your plant. It is a broad concept, offering several solutions with each one tailored to solve specific plant growth problems. Hence, it is common to see various designs for different purposes, which might confuse a novice or even an expert. 

Choosing the correct hydroponic system can make all the difference between a beautiful garden and utter waste of money. So, in this article, we will be considering all the types of hydroponic systems designs and the best one for you.

Types of Hydroponic Systems

When you think of growing plants hydroponically, you feel at ease and in control. Hydroponic systems give you the power to determine the direction and faith of your plant growth. Since there are several types of hydroponic systems for sale, we delve deeper to know which is perfect for you. Below we will be describing five hydroponic systems and how they work.

  1. Wick System

If you want something straightforward, this is the most effortless hydroponic setup and is ideal for beginners. It is a standard hydroponic system in S.A. and is relatively inexpensive because it does not require pumps, electricity, or aerators. Instead of electricity and pumps, it employs a wick system in which plants are immersed in a nutrient solution with nylon wicks wrapped around them.

Before you start thinking about using a wick hydroponic system to grow your garden, there is one drawback you should note. We recommend that you plant only small plants and herbs. Due to the system's simplicity, it is difficult for plants to obtain the nutrients they require. Therefore, bigger plants tend to die when produced with this specific system, so stick to smaller ones.

  1. Deep Water Culture (DWC)

A deep water culture (DWC) hydroponic system is similar to the wick system. It also involves immersing the plant's roots in the nutrient solution. However, instead of using nylon wicks, oxygen is introduced into the water via an air stone or diffuser, bypassing the barrier. We recommend that you use net pots to hold the plants in place. You can purchase these pots from hydroponic suppliers in South Africa. It is vital you choose a supplier, like Grow Guru, that sells and also offers their expertise to help your plant grow. 

The most significant advantage of this hydroponic system is that it may be directly connected to the nutrient systems. As a result, nutrients are absorbed directly into the plants via the roots. The plants produced in these hydroponic systems are now exposed to oxygen, water, and nutrients, so they tend to grow faster. Another advantage of this technology is that it works flawlessly with any plant, regardless of size. Any plant with a healthy root should do well in a deep water culture system, meaning that the only potential issue is root disease.

  1. Ebb and Flow (Flood and Drain)

The ebb and flow system is among the popular hydroponic systems in South Africa. In this system, you have to pack the plants on a spacious tray using a medium, such as Rockwool, expanded clay pebbles, perlite or coco peat in pots. Afterwards, flood the bed or sites with nutrient solution until the water is below the top layer of the grow medium or until the medium at grow sites are saturated. That way, it makes sure the water solution doesn't spillover. 

Additionally, the system can be set to be a recirculating or drain-to-waste ebb and flow system. You can also control the watering aspect, using the system's timer or controller. Purchase the ebb & Flow system from trusted hydroponic suppliers in South Africa. Grow Guru is a renowned hub for all things hydroponic in South Africa. 

  1. Drip Systems

A drip system is a simple hydroponic system that you can adjust to fit several plant varieties. Customers have particularly requested it from South African hydroponic suppliers because it is ideal for any size plant and can be altered to fit.

All you have to do is pour the nutrient solution through the tube and directly to the plant's base. At the end of each tube is a drip emitter that regulates the growth solution that drops. The system is also set up to allow you to manage the amount of solution used by each plant independently. 

  1. N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technology)

The N.F.T. system is a common practice among gardeners because of its various applications. This system is set up by placing the growth solution in a large tank. Then you elevate the tank, allowing the solution to pump down inclined passages automatically. 

Therefore, any excess solution flows back into the tank. When the growth solution passes the canal, it flows over the base of the plants to distribute the nutrients in the proper proportions. In N.F.T. systems, little water passes through the plant roots at a time. We advise that you use net pots if you decide to go for this type of hydroponic system. 

What type of hydroponics is best?

The answer to this question depends primarily on what you are looking for in a hydroponic system. You may be looking for something that can quickly accommodate different plants as soon as possible, like the Drip system or something relatively inexpensive like the wick system. So, the best type of hydroponics is dependent on a lot of factors namely:

  • Type of plant
  • Size of the plant
  • Location 
  • Budget. 

Nevertheless, we will say from this list above, the water culture is the best system and an all-rounder.  Now that you know the types of hydroponic systems and their capabilities, are you looking for "hydroponic stores near me?" Instead of going through that hassle, visit Grow Guru, a tested and trusted hydroponics store in South Africa. At Grow Guru, you can select quality hydroponics equipment, ranging from starter kits to systems, and even receive further consultation. 


Hydroponic systems have improved over time and become the go-to for horticulturists. However, with this many types of hydroponic systems designs available in stores across South Africa, one might struggle to understand what system is best for their garden. It is easy to look up different hydroponic systems for sale, but choosing the right one is vital. 

Turning your garden into a hydroponic paradise requires knowing the type of hydroponic system to make this happen. Before picking a hydroponic system, you must understand the right system for you by confirming that it meets your needs. We have enumerated some of them in this guide, and we hope they help your purchasing process.

Grow guru logo



Previous article Plant Lighting: Demystifying Lumens, Lux and PAR
Next article Hydroponics using Lucas Formula


Diederick Kleyn - August 1, 2019

Can clivias grow in a hydroponic system?

Leave a comment

Comments must be approved before appearing

* Required fields

Compare products

{"one"=>"Select 2 or 3 items to compare", "other"=>"{{ count }} of 3 items selected"}

Select first item to compare

Select second item to compare

Select third item to compare