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Fogponics 101: Is Fog the Future of Hydroponics?

When it comes to plant cultivation I’m a big fan of any unconventional method or technique that actually works.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t too many.

After all, gardening is an established skill; we’ve innovated quite a bit over the last thousand years!

With that being said, within the realm of hydroponics – a method of soilless plant cultivation – innovation is ripe.

We’ve seen the rise of automated hydroponic systems for both small home gardens and even large scale commercial ventures.

And the topic of this article – fogponics – is perhaps on the cutting edge of hydroponics and could very well be the next innovative system for household gardening.

Table of Contents:

What is Fogponics?

In short, fogponics is a sub-technique of aeroponics that uses fog – or very fine water droplets – to grow plants, herbs, and veggies.

This is important: Within hydroponics, there are three core growing techniques:

  1. Liquid Culture Hydroponics: A technique that uses a nutrient solution culture with no solid medium.
  2. Solid-Media Culture Hydroponics: A technique that uses solid media like heavy pots and bags.
  3. Aeroponics: A technique that uses misters, foggers, and sprayers to supply suspended plant roots with nutrient solution.

Each technique has dozens of iterations and sub-techniques. For example, liquid culture hydroponics includes the very popular Nutrient Film Technique (NFT hydroponics), solid-media culture includes the beginner-friendly Deep Water Culture technique (DWC hydroponics), and aeroponics, once again, includes fogponics.

As you can guess from the name, fogponic systems utilize an ultrasonic fogger (nebulizer) to provide plant roots with a consistent supply of very fine liquid nutrient solution droplets.

The majority of other aeroponic sub-techniques use misters and sprayers – as opposed to foggers – to provide plant roots with nutrient solution.

We covered how Aerogarden’s automated hydroponic kits utilize an aeroponic sprayer in this comprehensive article.

Aeroponic systems as a whole are one of the best hydroponic techniques, they:

  • Give increased air exposure to plant roots.
  • Deliver a direct supply of fine nutrient solution to plant roots.
  • Give plant roots absolute access to the carbon dioxide in the air which is required for photosynthesis.

Fogponics Benefits

So then, you may be asking, why use a fogger? Why not just use a mister like most other aeroponic systems?

Here’s the key idea:

For optimal root growth in an aeroponic unit, the size of the average water droplet matters most: If the average water droplet is too big, then not enough oxygen will be provided to plant roots. If the average water droplet is too small, then plant roots will not receive the necessary nutrients to grow.

The sweet spot for water droplets dispensed from an aeroponic mister or sprayer is between 30 – 100 microns. Water droplets below 30 microns say 5 – 25 microns, need to be dispensed at an extremely high density.

So then, this is where a fogponic system can thrive: using a sprayer to consistently provide solution droplets that are between 5 – 25 microns is impractical, but an ultrasonic nebulizer (fogger) is perfect for the job.

Also, advocates for fogponics often point out that providing water and nutrients at the smaller particulate size results in faster absorption by plant roots and faster plant growth overall.

Recap: Fogponics can provide plant roots with a consistent nutrient/water mist that is between 5 – 25 microns per droplet in size. This results in faster plant growth overall.

How Does Fogponics Work?

Fogponic systems are constructed similarly to most other aeroponic systems, the main difference is, of course, the nebulizer.

A normal storage box can be used as the support structure of the unit. Cutting small, 8 cm, holes at the top of the lid is perfect for fitting netted cups filled with some sort of growing media – like coconut coir, or coco pellets – to hold plant roots.

Inside the box, you should place a basic mist maker/fogger.

One of my favorite fogponics instructional videos is by Hydroponics Explained:

Here he gives a detailed look at his fogponics unit, how he designed it, and the nutrient solutions that he prefers.

Best Plants for Fogponics

Fogponics is ideal for growing small herbs, vegetables, and spices.

The marijuana growing community seems to be particularly fond of fogponics as well. It makes sense, at least from an aesthetics point of view. After all, what’s cooler than growing weed with actual fog?

Here’s a list of the best and easiest herbs to grow with a fogponics unit:

  • Basil
  • Chamomile
  • Chervil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Marijuana (if legal)
  • Dill
  • Lavender
  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Parsley

Stick to smaller plants… You won’t be growing trees or shrubs with a fogponics unit.

It’s also worth mentioning that fogponics works especially well for transplanting young plants that don’t have a developed root network.

Fogponics 101: Is Fog the Future of Hydroponics? When it comes to plant cultivation I’m a big fan of any unconventional method or technique that actually works. Unfortunately, there just

Fogponics Experimental Grow

Glas Plandai

Fogponics is not new per say as much as its potential is just being realized. Being as there is more than one way to skin a cat, but no matter how you do it your still going to have to know some basic techniques to get started. I have chosen THCfarmer as my home for this adventure. I claim not to be an expert at growing anything and it should be noted I have only been growing in Hydroponics for less than a year and my soil grow experience is limited to what I have learned from my Pops over my 50 years of life. ANY and ALL advice pointers and suggestions are welcome if given in a constructive manner. I plan to run 2 parallel systems one as a trial bed spaced several weeks ahead of a 2nd grow in case of a major failure in technique.

Some information in this will be from other sources. I will make no claim that the entirety of the write up is all my own words, research or information. I plan on and will draw upon heavily other growers knowledge, books, shops, and the WWW for information.

With that said lets get to it. I will add general information to this post and use post #2 for detailed specs and progress reporting.

PS I didn’t major in English nor is English my 1st language so spare me the derision of my grammar and spelling.

Glas Plandai

System Design concept

Clone Starter:
1-3 Ultrasonic Misters / Foggers
20 Gallon Tote
Reservoir for nutrient solution
Drain to reservoir from tote bottom for condensate
5 gallon fog production chamber
2in feed hose from fog chamber to tote
Fan to move fog

Grow buckets.
1-6 Ultrasonic Misters / Foggers
5 Gallon grow bucket
Drain to reservoir from grow bucket bottom for condensate
5 gallon fog production chamber
2in feed hose from fog chamber to grow bucket
Fan to move fog

PhatNuggz

Am I to assume that you are fogging the roots and not the plants?

I looked at Fog 5+ years ago when I decided on HPA (High Pressure Aeroponics)

When fogging/HPA maintaining temp inside the root chamber is critical. Root hairs (the key) are extremely sensitive to heat

Even using 432w HOT5s the radiant heat penetrated into the root chamber preventing root hair development. Heavy Duty Al foil helped considerably ,as will using LEDs

Where I live HPA/Fog is only doable in the cooler months (

3), so I developed a DIY Mini-Me F & D system using some of what I learned. It’s simple, inexpensive and provides excellent results

The bud next to the phone was 39″ below an Amare Tech SE 230

Glas Plandai

Thanks for point that out as I forgot to consider root zone temp AGAIN.

Yes Root Zone. This is all new to me (hydro). I considered foliar feeding but moved it to the advanced design down the road as from what I read it is a supplemental feeding technique. I learned real fast on my NFT trial that root zone temp is critical. For this fogponics system once I get the root zone fog feed locked down I planed on cooling the inlet air to the system to 15-18C in hopes that it would keep the root temp down. I had considered cooling the fog output but that may not work due to condensation. also on the trial bed is a neut solution cooler. I have an old working 5,000btu AC to experiment with as well as the evap and condense exchanger of a broken AC .

Thanks for point that out as I forgot to consider root zone temp AGAIN

Mr Bee
Glas Plandai

To my understanding and I will find out this week the foggers will warm up the water they are sitting in. Cooling what they are sitting in I assume will help but as you mentioned I have planed to generate my fog in a 5 gallon bucket and then by use of a PC fan pushing it thru a 1-2″ line into the root zone.

My current thinking was to make sure the outside air being forced into the fog bucket was at an antiquate temperature to make 60-68f range. If lighting /room heat impacts the root zone that should only be filled with air and fog when its time to cycle. Then the incoming air can be cooled enough to compensate. Currently I am going to be placing a sealed duct over the output of a 5,000btu AC and drawing air from that to push conditioned cooling air 24/4 to the root zone. the fan will run non stop with the compressor connected to a thermostat.

Mr Bee

To my understanding and I will find out this week the foggers will warm up the water they are sitting in. Cooling what they are sitting in I assume will help but as you mentioned I have planed to generate my fog in a 5 gallon bucket and then by use of a PC fan pushing it thru a 1-2″ line into the root zone.

My current thinking was to make sure the outside air being forced into the fog bucket was at an antiquate temperature to make 60-68f range. If lighting /room heat impacts the root zone that should only be filled with air and fog when its time to cycle. Then the incoming air can be cooled enough to compensate. Currently I am going to be placing a sealed duct over the output of a 5,000btu AC and drawing air from that to push conditioned cooling air 24/4 to the root zone. the fan will run non stop with the compressor connected to a thermostat.

Glas Plandai

Elaborate 70/74??
Are things different in Areo/fogging. I had serious issues when my NFT res was running that warm. I was advised to keep res. temps 60-68 with 70 being borderline too warm for root zone.

As far as my vision that I am working on now for a res. that will hold the fogging units. It is a 10 gallon cooler that I plan to install the evap exchange from the AC on/in. I plan to cool return air/fog from the root zone. In vision this unit will put out a temp controlled fog to the top of the root ball area of a separate container and draw air back from said container, cool it down, and recirculate it back again with fresh fog.

I almost feel a water chiller on an NFT or HPA would be an easier system to build. But I can’t help reading #s. Plants absorb elements most efficiently in the range of about 1-25 micrometers. The Foggers I choose are cheap units for testing but they all produce 1-30 micrometer mist. I have no idea what HPA spray size is but I cant imagine its in the micro scale. and there should only be disk cleaning/replacment to deal with Vs unclogging sprayers or feed lines.

Mr Bee

Elaborate 70/74??
Are things different in Areo/fogging. I had serious issues when my NFT res was running that warm. I was advised to keep res. temps 60-68 with 70 being borderline too warm for root zone.

As far as my vision that I am working on now for a res. that will hold the fogging units. It is a 10 gallon cooler that I plan to install the evap exchange from the AC on/in. I plan to cool return air/fog from the root zone. In vision this unit will put out a temp controlled fog to the top of the root ball area of a separate container and draw air back from said container, cool it down, and recirculate it back again with fresh fog.

I almost feel a water chiller on an NFT or HPA would be an easier system to build. But I can’t help reading #s. Plants absorb elements most efficiently in the range of about 1-25 micrometers. The Foggers I choose are cheap units for testing but they all produce 1-30 micrometer mist. I have no idea what HPA spray size is but I cant imagine its in the micro scale. and there should only be disk cleaning/replacment to deal with Vs unclogging sprayers or feed lines.

Glas Plandai

The system is for Veg-Flower. Basically all I am building is an expandable temp controlled closed loop fogging system that will only ever touch the established plants root zone. For clones this may be a bit complicated and over kill as mist/fog don’t work until there are some good roots and that can be done in a DWC, turbo Cloner, or rockwool on a heat mat. I can see now why you said 70-74. It does bring up an interesting thought as to using a dense fog in root area to root clone. I may have to try that my next clipping cycle.

The smalle tote setup I mentioned was thought out for clones/seedling with already established roots to help them get to the 12-24 in height and past snapping.

Now you got me thinking about a start to finish system and wondering if mist can make clones root faster/better.

PhatNuggz
PhatNuggz

The system is for Veg-Flower. Basically all I am building is an expandable temp controlled closed loop fogging system that will only ever touch the established plants root zone. For clones this may be a bit complicated and over kill as mist/fog don’t work until there are some good roots and that can be done in a DWC, turbo Cloner, or rockwool on a heat mat. I can see now why you said 70-74. It does bring up an interesting thought as to using a dense fog in root area to root clone. I may have to try that my next clipping cycle.

The smalle tote setup I mentioned was thought out for clones/seedling with already established roots to help them get to the 12-24 in height and past snapping.

Now you got me thinking about a start to finish system and wondering if mist can make clones root faster/better.

Glas Plandai

Got the El-Cheapo mist makers in today (9.99ea on Amazon). I installed them in a 5 gal. buket and with 0ppm RO water it was great. Putting them in 1000ppm neut we less effective so I dropped them both in. the water level is 4 in off the bottom covering the mist makers by 2in. A 120mm pc fan pushing air in the top and a 1in hose 6 in off the bottom to the grow tote inside a grow box.

The mist comes right up thru the expanded clay. I could seal them with some covers but figured What The Hell they are still small plants maybe the mist pushing out will work like a foliar feed her is a video I will get some pics and details of the fog bucket one its not so hodge podge looking.

Glas Plandai

Well its the first 24 hours out od DWC bubbler and on fog. I have it set fairly dense as you can see some condensation even showing in the tote but I think I am seeing a Nitrogen deficiency. Any Feedback?

This clone had the slight brown tips since rooted poss. from leaching off that fan during root development but I do not recall the bright yellow showing so much.

Am I seeing old grow taper off or is this a clue to a neut issue forming?

PhatNuggz
Glas Plandai

So why when you have roots swimming in a bucket with a bubble do they still work.

Also as an update because my 1st rough build went so well I broke down the system to do a cleaner build and ran into some issues in construction. Plants stayed out of fog for a few hours. I thought they would be ok but the larger plants roots ended up pretty dry Hope I didn’t kill them 🙁 Running fog for a few hours to try and re-hydrate them and hope the girls pull threw. I have done worse to plants and had them pull threw.

PhatNuggz
Glas Plandai
Glas Plandai

Turns out after almost killing 10 plants timing and proper equipment is critical. The only reason they are still alive is that they savaged there fan leaves to keep upper growth alive. One is still super droopy but the other plants are making a turn around and perking up after putting them back in my DWC tote. What I have found is that delivering the fog timed just like aeronautics is the key. I did a side experiment with a 4in net about 5in off the bottom of a tote that had 2in of neut water with a bubbler and the pond fogger inside. it is however still not making those cotton candy roots that I have actually growing all over my roots in my NFT that has a mister on each side of the rootballs. Kind of like NFT/Aero combo.

However I have also found that pond foggers are inadequate to deliver much more than 300-500ppm mist. After the plants started scavenging there self I started to collect run off from the mist and found that even with 1200ppm neut res the runoff was coming out to be only in the 400-500ppm range. I had considered the plants eating it but giving the yellowing this had to be wrong. So I collected mist condensate from a second bucket with no plants and I was still only getting 400-500ppm. I suspect that the $20 pond foggers are not good enough to fully take all 1200ppm and atomize it even with optimal water levels.

I have not given up but I will be waiting for the plants to recover before I give it a 2nd go with an agriculture grade fogger.

At least I have 4 foggers for my ponds now and one for the lizard cage.

Fogponics is not new per say as much as its potential is just being realized. Being as there is more than one way to skin a cat, but no matter how you do it…