Wick System

Last updated: June 23, 2021

What Does Wick System Mean?

A wick system is a hydroponic growing set-up that uses a soft fabric string known as a wick.

In a wick system, a cotton or nylon wick absorbs water and nutrients from a solution and supplies it to plants in containers or trays. One end of the wick is inserted through the bottom of the tray or container into the grow medium, and the other end hangs into a reservoir or container housing the nutrient solution. Liquid will flow up the wick until the medium surrounding the roots is damp. Once the medium dries out, the wick will again soak up liquid.

Essentially, the wick system works on the same principle as an oil lamp. Also, unlike most other hydroponic systems, a wick system is passive, meaning there are no moving parts. That means it is not only affordable to set up, but simple to maintain, and less prone to breakdowns and problems.

Hydroponic wick system.


Maximum Yield Explains Wick System

When it comes to hydroponic growing methods, there is a great deal of diversity out there. For growers interested in an affordable system that requires little in the way of equipment, setup or labor, the wick system is an option.

A wick system works by “sucking” or wicking up nutrient solution like a sponge and feeding it up to the plant. This process of “sucking” or wicking up water is a scientific principle known as capillary action.

In an example of a basic wick system, a reservoir is filled with nutrient solution. Then, containers or trays are placed above and filled with your choice of growing medium. Wicks are inserted through the bottom and placed near the root zone, and the other end into the nutrient solution. A good rule of thumb is one wick per plant. The wick pulls moisture and nutrients up from the solution below to supply it to the plants above.

Wick systems can also be as simple and basic as DIY solutions using plastic bottles, or watering your house plants via a wick buried in the soil and placed in a jar of water.

There are several different benefits to a wick system. First, wick systems are considered to be one of the easier forms of hydroponic growing, and are thought to be a good tool for gardeners who may be interested in experimenting with hydroponic techniques. Additionally, wicks allow plants to “soak up” water or nutrients at a slow place.

However, there are a few downsides with using a wick system. One of these is that the nutrient solution can become low in oxygen, so an air stone or other means of oxygenating your nutrient solution is recommended. In addition, plants that use a wick system need to be flushed out with plain, fresh water once a week to prevent a buildup of mineral salts that may be present in the growing medium.

The biggest downside to using a wick system is that they generally do not work well with larger plants, and therefore should only be used with much smaller plants or cuttings. Large, mature plants require a great deal of water and nutrients, and the only way to grow large plants with a wick system is to use a very porous growing medium.


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HydroponicsContainer GardeningGrowing Methods

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