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What is DWC Hydroponics?

Updated on May 15, 2012
What is DWC Hydroponics?
What is DWC Hydroponics? | Source

What is DWC Hydroponics?

Deep Water Culture, commonly known as DWC hydroponics is a method in which plants are grown suspended above a nutrient reservoir. The roots are allowed to grow down into the water/nutrient mixture. In order for the plants to grow effectively and properly, an air pump provides continuous oxygenation to the water/nutrient mix through an air stone located at the bottom of the reservoir.


Benefits of DWC Hydroponics:

  • · When designed and setup properly, DWC Hydroponic systems can produce a large volume of yields in a small area. Gardeners using a DWC system can expect to out produce a soil garden of the same size.
  • · Grow rates and overall plant vigor can be greatly increased compared to those of soil gardens.
  • · Contrary to popular belief, produce grown in DWC Hydroponic systems are nutritionally and tastefully equal to their soil grown counterparts.
  • · Since DWC hydroponics is a soil-less way to grow plants, indoor gardeners can rest assured knowing that they are eliminating soil-borne pests and diseases altogether. No soil also means no mess on your floor!


Looking for a Growing Medium?

Your plants mean a lot, so be sure that you choose the right Hydroponic grow medium for the job. Here's a couple articles that will get you going in the right direction:

Hydroton - Expanded Clay

Rockwool - The Natural Fiber

Fallbacks to DWC Hydroponics:

  • · Since there is no soil to buffer natural reactions, DWC hydroponics can be time demanding. Checking water levels, monitoring pH & TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) levels and changing out the reservoir are all “chores” of hydroponic gardening and need to be done regularly to ensure success. If you’re a procrastinator or just plain lazy, you might want to think about an easier gardening method!
  • · The initial and continual costs of setting up and maintaining a DWC system are generally more expensive than setting up and maintaining a soil garden of the same size. Besides the grow light, water and general fertilizer costs used in soil and DWC gardens, gardeners using the DWC Hydroponics method will also end up purchasing: air pump & air stone, pH monitoring supplies, TDS monitoring supplies and hydroponic specific plant nutrients. All of these can greatly increase the price of running a DWC garden.


Even with a couple of drawbacks, the benefits of DWC Hydroponics are still greatly evident! Dedicated gardeners can expect great yields and great tasting produce, while at the same time use very little space to grow it all! All you’re really going to need to be successful with DWC hydroponics is a little dedication. Any way you look at it, DWC hydroponics is a great way to start a garden! Now you’ll be able to answer the question of “what is DWC hydroponics?” Good luck on your hydroponic journeys!


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      Joshua Powers 13 months ago from MA

      DWC is one of the easiest systems in hydroponics because roots are essentially just submerged in the nutrient solution. No timers are need like Flood and Drain, and there is no drip ring, so it makes an easy system for a beginner. Good article.

    • Joe Macho profile image

      Zach 6 years ago from Colorado

      I totally forgot about this aspect of DWC hydroponics. Gardeners with small spaces are able to maximize that space with the use of this style of hydroponics. Thanks for your feedback!