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What’s new in hydroponics – Garden Center

More and more IGCs are stocking the materials necessary for customers who have taken up hydroponic gardening as a hobby.

PHOTO © ANMPBH | ISTOCKPHOTO.COM

Hydroponics might be a niche offering for hobby gardeners but offering a fully stocked hydroponics department can attract a solid customer base. Hydroponics offers customers the option to grow plants — vegetables such as tomatoes, herbs, hemp and a variety of others — in a specialized environment without the use of soil in a controlled area. Hydroponic aficionados can quickly grow plants without the fuss of pests by using special fertilizers and lighting systems. If your IGC dabbles in this department, here are the latest trends owners are seeing in the market.

Lighting systems

The latest trend that’s making ripples in the market is LED light usage. Nino Pompei, co-owner of Pompei Nursery in Oakley, California, says most people who take up hobby hydroponic gardening grow exclusively indoors. And with that, he’s seen an increased interest in LED light systems, but notes it’s not a popular draw at Pompei Nursery due to competition from online retailers. He says the department is popular for its organic nutrients, organic pesticides, fungicides and soils.

“We don’t carry a lot of the lights and the systems anymore because, quite honestly, people find that stuff on Amazon or other online places that it’s impossible to keep up with the pricing,” he says.

The department does fairly well because it fulfills specialized needs for the curious customer or novice gardener, thanks to its wide range of nutrient-rich fertilizers and growing materials.

“There’s everything from grow tents to grow rooms set up, there’s all different types of material to put flood and drain systems. There’s a lot of ways to grow inside,” he says. “As far as ourselves, again, we mostly just

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