When it comes to plant cultivation I’m a big fan of any unconventional method or technique that actually works.
Unfortunately, there just aren’t too many.
Gardening is an established skill; we’ve innovated quite a bit over the last thousand years!
With that being said, within the realm of hydroponics – a method of soilless cultivation – innovation is ripe.
We’ve seen the rise of automated hydroponic systems for both small home gardens and even large scale commercial ventures.
And the topic of this article – fogponics – is perhaps on the cutting edge of hydroponics and could very well be the next innovative system for household gardening.
Table of Contents:
What is Fogponics?
In short, fogponics is a sub-technique of aeroponics. This technique uses fog – or very fine water droplets – to grow plants, herbs, and veggies.
Within hydroponics, there are three core growing techniques:
- Liquid Culture Hydroponics: A technique that uses a nutrient solution culture with no solid medium.
- Solid-Media Culture Hydroponics: A technique that uses solid media like heavy pots and bags.
- Aeroponics: A technique that uses misters, foggers, and sprayers to supply suspended plant roots with nutrient solution.
As you can guess from the name, fogponic systems utilize an ultrasonic fogger (nebulizer) to provide plant roots with a consistent supply of very fine liquid nutrient solution droplets.
The majority of other aeroponic sub-techniques use misters and sprayers – as opposed to foggers – to provide plant roots with nutrient solution.
We covered how Aerogarden’s automated hydroponic kits utilize an aeroponic sprayer in this comprehensive article.
Aeroponic systems as a whole are one of the best hydroponic techniques, they:
- Give increased air exposure to plant roots.
- Deliver a direct supply of fine nutrient solution to plant roots.
- Give plant roots absolute access to the carbon dioxide in the air which is required for photosynthesis.
So then, you may be asking, why use a fogger? Why not just use a mister like most aeroponic systems?
Here’s the key idea:
For optimal root growth in an aeroponic unit, the size of the average water droplet matters most: If the average water droplet is too big, then not enough oxygen will be provided to plant roots. If the average water droplet is too small, then plant roots will not receive the necessary nutrients to grow.
The sweet spot for water droplets dispensed from aeroponic misters or sprayers is between 30 – 100 microns. Water droplets below 30 microns say 5 – 25 microns, need to be dispensed at an extremely high density.
So then, this is where a fogponic system can thrive: using a sprayer to consistently provide solution droplets that are between 5 – 25 microns is impractical, but an ultrasonic nebulizer (fogger) is perfect for the job.
Also, advocates for fogponics often point out that providing water and nutrients at the smaller particulate size results in faster absorption by plant roots and faster plant growth overall.
Recap: Fogponics can provide plant roots with a consistent nutrient/water mist that is between 5 – 25 microns per droplet in size. This results in faster plant growth overall.
How Does Fogponics Work?
Fogponic systems are constructed similarly to most other aeroponic systems, the main difference is, of course, the nebulizer.
A normal storage box can be used as the support structure of the unit. Cutting small, 8 cm, holes at the top of the lid is perfect for fitting netted cups filled with some sort of growing medium – like coconut coir, or coco pellets – to hold plant roots.
Inside the box, you should place a basic mist maker/fogger.
One of my favorite fogponics instructional videos is by Hydroponics Explained:
Here he gives a detailed look at his fogponics unit, how he designed it, and the nutrient solutions that he likes the most.
Best Plants for Fogponics
Fogponics is ideal for growing small herbs, vegetables, and spices.
The marijuana growing community seems to be particularly fond of fogponics as well. It makes sense, what’s cooler than growing weed with actual fog?
Here’s a list of the best and easiest herbs to grow with a fogponics unit:
- Marijuana (if legal)
Stick to smaller plants… You won’t be growing trees or shrubs with a fogponics unit.
It’s also worth mentioning that fogponics works especially well for transplanting young plants that don’t have a developed root network.