Unlocking the Power of Silica
Silica, a naturally occurring mineral, has been gaining considerable attention in the realm of plant growth and hydroponic cultivation recently. As an semi-essential nutrient, silica plays a vital role in enhancing plant development, strengthening cell structures, and increasing resistance to plant stress.
In this blog post, we will explore the world of silica, we will look at its benefits, applications, and the differences between the two common forms of silica used in the horticultural industry, mono-silicic acid and potassium silicate.
What are the advantages of added silica?
Added silica offers a huge list of advantages for your plants.
Here's a few benefits:
Increased Efficiency (Nutrient Uptake) - Silica enhances the absorption and utilisation of other essential nutrients, including calcium and potassium. By facilitating nutrient uptake, silica promotes healthier overall plant growth and optimizes nutrient utilization efficiency.
Enhanced Plant Strength and Vigor - Silica, in the form of silicon, is absorbed by plants and deposited within their cell walls in the form of rigid, crystalline structures called phytoliths. These phytoliths provide mechanical support and can help strengthen the plant's tissue, this in turn leads to stronger plants that are better equipped to withstand environmental stress such as drought and high temperatures.
Increased Resistance to Pathogens and Pests - Silica acts as a natural defense mechanism against various pathogens and pests. Its presence in plants creates physical barriers that deter fungal infections and insects, reducing the need for chemical sprays.
Mono-Silicic Acid vs Potassium Silicate:
While both mono-silicic acid and potassium silicate are commonly used silica supplements, they differ in their chemical composition and availability for plants.
Mono-Silicic Acid (MSA)
MSA is a highly bioavailable form of silica that offers superior absorption and assimilation by plants. It is soluble in water and readily taken up by plant roots or leaves ensuring optimal utilization and maximum benefits. MSA is suitable for a wide range of crops and is preferred in the hydro industry for its efficacy.
Products we stock that contain MSA are:
Grow Genius - One of the most concentrate MSA's on the market
Super Si - Affordable and Highly concentrate
Power Si - The most recognized MSA brand
House & Garden Amino Treatment - Contains Silica and a bunch of other beneficial ingredients
Potassium silicate, is a source of silica that provides not only silica but also additional potassium to plants. While it offers similar benefits to MSA, the presence of potassium can influence the nutrient balance in hydroponic systems. Careful monitoring and adjustment of pH levels are necessary to ensure optimal growth when using potassium silicate. (Potassium silicate, when applied to plants, can increase the pH of the soil or the growing medium due to its alkaline nature. This can be problematic for plants that prefer acidic or neutral pH levels. Acid-loving plants like blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons may suffer from reduced nutrient availability and poor growth in alkaline conditions).
Products we stock that contain Potassium Silicate are:
House & Garden pH Stabiliser - Marketed as a pH stabiliser but the main ingredient is Potassium silicate
One remarkable benefit of incorporating silica into hydroponic systems is its potential to save water. Silica-enhanced plants exhibit improved water retention capabilities, reducing the frequency of irrigation. By enhancing drought tolerance and reducing water loss through transpiration, silica promotes water conservation in hydroponic cultivation.
Silica, with its unique ability to strengthen plant cell walls and enhance overall growth, is a valuable asset in hydroponic cultivation. By incorporating silica supplements such as mono-silicic acid (MSA) into your hydroponic system, you can unlock numerous benefits, including improved nutrient uptake, enhanced plant strength, and increased resistance to pathogens. Additionally, the water-saving potential of silica makes it an eco-friendly choice for sustainable hydroponic practices. Remember to follow proper mixing instructions and avoid common mistakes to maximize the effectiveness of silica supplements in your hydroponic adventures.