How to Revive Wilting Plants in NFT Hydroponic Systems
Oh dear! You've found yourself facing a rather sorry sight in your grow room – those sagging and miserable-looking plants. It's a scenario every grower dreads.
While I've encountered it a few times in my decades of gardening, it's still a gut-punch when I open one of my grow rooms and see stressed and wilting plants.
Which is what I saw when I came to work one morning and saw my eight-week-old beefsteak tomato plant looking like this:
930AM: The horror!
What went wrong?
A piece of plumbing connected to the water pump had dislodged and the nutrient-rich water was pumping back into the base tank instead of running over the NFT tray and the tomato plant's roots.
The good news is that the leaves still soft, and not crispy from dehydration and malnutrition which meant that the entire plant could be saved.
The Road To Redemption
Step 1: Turn off the lights.
The first and most crucial step is to turn off the grow lights for 6-8 hours. This immediate action is essential for the rapid recovery of a dehydrated plant. The powerful full-spectrum LED grow lights can be too intense to leave on in such a critical situation.
Because this Beefsteak Tomato vine is an auto-flowering plant, the extra 'lights off' period won't flip the plant back into a vegetating state.
Note: For photoperiodic plants extra care will have to be taken in order to maintain the current light cycle. Do you have a question about this? Use the comments section below.
Step 2: Take a deep breath.
Now, I know it can be a nerve-wracking experience, but take a deep breath. Everything is going to be just fine, and we're here to help your plants bounce back.
Step 3: Fix the hydroponic system and get the water running.
Ensure that your water pump is functioning correctly. Be thorough in your examination – check for blockages and ensure all fittings are intact and free from obstructions.
Step 4: Revive the roots.
Prepare a solution of 5 liters of water mixed with 5mls of hydrogen peroxide. Gently pour this mixture directly onto the exposed roots. This step serves to eliminate any harmful bacteria that may have developed and also provides some oxygenation to the root bed.
Step 5: Rehydrate and nourish.
Spray or mist your plants thoroughly with a weak hydroponic nutrient solution. In my case, I used a mixture of water and CMX (0.5ml per 1L of water). This will help replenish the plants with essential nutrients they need to recover.
The Waiting Game
Perking Up: 1230PM
Lights back on: 530PM
As you can see, it didn't take long for this hardy beefsteak tomato vine to bounce back.
Don't be disheartened if this ever happens to you; plants are resilient and have unlimited potential to bounce back with the right care and treatment.
Keep up the good work, and soon you'll enjoy a thriving and vibrant garden in your grow room!