Shallow Water Culture (SWC)

Definition - What does Shallow Water Culture (SWC) mean?

Shallow water culture is a form of hydroponic gardening where plant roots sit in a shallow dish or tray. It is most commonly used as a method of propagation before plants are eventually moved into a deeper system.

MaximumYield explains Shallow Water Culture (SWC)

Shallow water culture is one of many types of hydroponic gardening and is considered “shallow” because it requires the use of around eight to 10 inches of water or nutrient solution.

The deep water culture (DWC) method of hydroponics is that which requires more than 10 inches of nutrient solution. DWC is a more established method because in a shallow water system there are problems of maintaining balanced pH levels. However, the pH issue can be compensated for through constant monitoring and balancing of the nutrient solution.

Shallow water culture is gaining in favor because it’s considered a more efficient use of space and nutrient solution. There is also more oxygen produced by the moving water of a shallow culture system through the air bubbles created as the water flows over the cuttings.

In shallow water culture, plant cuttings sit in a shallow tray with a constant flow of nutrient solution. Once a plant forms roots and matures, it can be moved into its more permanent growing tray or system.


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