Ebb and Flow

Last updated: May 31, 2021

What Does Ebb and Flow Mean?

An ebb and flow system, also known as a flood and drain system, is a popular hydroponic growing system where an intermittent water supply flows over plants grown in an inert medium. The water supply, typically called the nutrient solution, contains all the nutrients plants need to grow.

diagram of ebb and flow system


Maximum Yield Explains Ebb and Flow

The most basic of ebb and flow systems uses a single pump to deliver nutrients to plant roots, with gravity used as a return. To start out, the entire grow tray should be filled with the medium, and then the plants can be placed in the trays.

Like all hydroponic systems, plants grown in an ebb and flow system derive all of their nutrients from the nutrient solution. The inert medium the plants are grown in is simply there to anchor the plants. Any grow medium that doesn’t float can be used in an ebb and flow system, but the most common choices include clay pebbles, stonewool, and rinsed gravel. The medium should not contain any nutrients, so a gardener should not use any organic matter with the ebb and flow system.

The advantages of the ebb and flow are many, but for the most part they will anchor the plants and hold them stable as the nutrient solution flows over the roots.

One drawback with the ebb and flow system is that roots can become entwined, which can make them difficult to remove and create an environment that welcomes pathogens.

For cannabis cultivation, hydroponics is often preferred over soil-based gardens due to how clean and convenient they are to use indoors, where the environment can be fully controlled. Ebb and flow in particular is a common hydroponics system used for growing marijuana because it is easy to use, requires little maintenance, and produces high yields.



Flood and Drain

Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


HydroponicsAquaponicsGrowing Methods

Trending Articles

Go back to top
Maximum Yield Logo

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter this site.

Please confirm your date of birth:

This feature requires cookies to be enabled