In Latin, the word hydroponics means literally "water working."
Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in either a bath or flow of highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water.
In soil, biological decomposition breaks down organic matter into the basic nutrient salts that plants feed on. Water dissolves these salts and allows uptake by the roots. For a plant to receive a well balanced diet, everything in the soil must be in perfect balance. Rarely, if ever, can you find such ideal conditions in soil due to the lack of organic matter left behind on the surface, contamination and biological imbalances.
With hydroponics, water is enriched with these very same nutrient salts, creating a hydroponic nutrient solution that is perfectly balanced. And since this hydroponic nutrient solution is contained, it does not harm our environment as does runoff from fertilized soil. Additionally, very little water is lost to evaporation in a hydroponic system, owing to its application in drought stricken areas.
To support the plants in a hydroponic system, an inert soil-free medium like fiber, sand or stone, may be used to anchor the roots. These hydroponic mediums are designed to be very porous for excellent retention of air and water that's necessary for a healthy plant - roots need to breathe too!
In addition to a perfectly balanced diet, hydroponic plants have their food and water delivered directly to their roots. This way, the energy normally used to develop long roots can be redirected to growing more plant, which is a great benefit indeed! With the proper exposure to natural sunlight or supplemental grow lights, your hydroponic plants .