I've got some good news, hydroponic nutrients do not go bad, but they do lose their effectiveness over time, even when stored properly.
In general, hydroponic nutrient solutions can last from a few months to a year or two before needing to be replaced, but
The best way to tell if your solution needs replacing is by checking the pH of your water and looking at the nutrient package for instructions on how often you need to add it.
If your hydroponic nutrients have been sitting in storage for more than 12 months, then it's probably time to replace them completely by whipping up a new batch.
- What is the shelf life of or expiration date for liquid nutrients?
- What are the best hydroponic nutrient brands?
- How to dispose of hydroponic nutrients safely
- Tips for making hydroponics nutrient solution
- Can you use expired plant nutrients?
- How long do plant nutrients last?
- Conclusion: Yes your nutrients go bad over time
What is the shelf life of or expiration date for liquid nutrients?
Liquid nutrients typically have a shelf life of two years. This is the amount of time that they can remain in their best quality before degrading too much to be considered effective for your plants.
It's important to note that the expiration date of your nutrient solution is not determined by when you bought it.
The shelf life begins once the nutrients are mixed together, which means that if you have an open jug or bottle of concentrated nutrients in storage for several months before mixing them into a larger container, they will still only last two years from their mix date.
What are the best hydroponic nutrient brands?
The most popular brands that people tend to use and have great success with are General Hydroponics, Botanicare, and Advanced Nutrients.
There are many different brands of hydroponic nutrients that you can choose from to use in your garden, so it's worth trying them out for yourself and making a decision based on what you're growing.
How to dispose of hydroponic nutrients safely
There are really only two ways that most growers can agree on:
Down the drain
Many growers believe that pouring your old nutrients down the drain is one of the safest methods for disposing your nutrient solution.
However, you must be careful not to create a blockage in your plumbing system because the salts and minerals used in hydroponics nutrients are very similar to those found in traditional household cleaners.
In your backyard
If you are using hydroponics nutrients that contain plant or animal byproducts, then the best way to dispose of them is in your own yard. You can use compost piles and manure bins for this purpose.
But, if possible it's advisable to avoid throwing away these types of nutrient solutions because they could cause long-term damage to your soil.
Tips for making hydroponics nutrient solution
Making your own nutrient formula is pretty simple:
1) Use distilled water
This is to prevent any buildup of salts in your reservoir or delivery system that could cause problems later on, especially if you have a less-than-ideal growing environment.
Distilled water also helps avoid the build up of certain metals which can interfere with plant growth and development--something to think about if you're growing food!
2) Dilute the solution if it's over 200 ppm
If your water is over 200 ppm (parts per million) of total dissolved solids, such as calcium and magnesium, it may be advisable to dilute with distilled water.
While these elements are good for the plant in small amounts, they can become toxic nutrient levels at higher concentrations causing plant death. This applies especially to a hydroponic systems that use water with a high mineral content, such as well or spring water.
3) Use clean containers when mixing up your solution
Preferably food-grade plastic or stainless steel (especially if growing edibles). The fewer contaminants in the system, the better your plants will grow and mature.
Contaminated nutrients can cause problems ranging from nutrient deficiencies to leaf burn or death of the plant.
4) Allocate a separate container for preparing your nutrient solution
Use one strictly for feed water and another for any chemical additives you use. While not essential, this will help reduce contamination risks by keeping these items physically separated from one another during preparation and storage periods.
Can you use expired plant nutrients?
When it comes to hydroponic nutrients, the best practice is to use them as soon as possible.
Most companies recommend using their products within one year of opening or purchasing a new package. If you do not plan on using your nutrient formula for an extended period of time, make sure you keep it in its original container and store it away
How long do plant nutrients last?
Plant nutrients last for about six months to a year. After this time, the plant nutrient may not be as effective and should probably be replaced.
Plant foods can also go bad if they’re exposed to too much moisture or humidity in the air, so make sure you keep your containers sealed tightly when storing them away from home.
Conclusion: Yes your nutrients go bad over time
You now know that it's good practice to keep a fresh batch of liquid fertilizer handy, so you can top up your hydroponic system.
But you should also be careful of nutrient burn from not diluting your nutrients properly. So keep it balanced with the tips above and in most cases you should see a healthy yield of plants.