Some advantages of hydroponics include minimal use of water and fertilizer, reduced maintenance requirements, high crop yield, space efficiency, and the ability to grow plants in harsh conditions and throughout the year. The disadvantage of hydroponics is the high cost of setting up and operating the system.
A hydroponics system reduces water usage, as the water is provided directly to the roots of the plants. The system also allows for recycling of the irrigation water. Since water is provided to the plant roots, it minimizes loss of fertilizer from run-off, thereby reducing the amount of fertilizer needed.
Another advantage is the fact the system does not require regular weed removal. Since the lighting, nutrient and pH levels are controlled in a hydroponics system, the grower has better control over the growth process and can more easily protect plants from pollutants and pests. As a result, the crop yield from a hydroponics system is high. In addition, plants tend to grow faster in the favorable conditions, which increases the number of growth cycles within a specific time period.
Since the hydroponics system does not depend on external environmental conditions such as soil quality, availability of sunlight and changing seasons, plants can be grown even in deserts, in regions with poor soil quality and all through the year. Also, plants grown via hydroponics have smaller roots, which allows them to be grown closer to each other.
However, the cost of setting up a hydroponics system is higher than that required for starting a soil-based garden. Since the system requires more labor, its operational costs are high as well. Large-scale setups are more cost-effective than smaller ones.