Aeroponics is one of the newest methods of growing plants, and it is perfect for small spaces. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast at home or at a large company, aeroponics is a surefire method to grow a variety of crops that are consistent in both quality and yield. Recently, NASA reported that aeroponics, especially Fogponics which uses small droplets of water, is an extremely effective method of growing plants. High-Pressure Aeroponics (HPA) has even been found to be the most effective way to grow their potato population[1].

But what is aeroponics, and how does it manage to work so well in limited space?

This method of innovative farming that allows roots to hang suspended in the air while a fine mist is sprayed on to them, supplying the nutrients needed to survive and grow.

These systems may look like the potted plant systems, but the difference is the containers for the plants in an aeroponics system are sealed at the base of the plant, provided a closed, protected environment for the roots. The enclosed root system is then able to save water by using the nutrient-water blend up to 95% more efficiently than traditional potted plants.[8] And since the system is enclosed, that prevents runoff that can otherwise harm the environment.

The lack of soil makes it easy to implement an aeroponics setup in small areas. The free hanging roots readily absorb oxygen, which stimulates fast and disease-free growth. Growing in a soil-free environment means zero repotting to replenish access to soil rich in nutrients.[2] Additionally, the nutrient-rich mist can be sterilized to protect the plants from various diseases.[3]

Even without the use of vertical farming, aeroponics still offers very high yields thanks to high-density planting and easy harvesting. This method is suitable for growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs, but is also very useful for growing cannabis in particular.[4]

Aeroponics uses less water, energy, and labor compared to traditional farming. Plants that are grown aeroponically grow faster, are easier to clone and are easier to replace with new ones. The systems are easy to clean, adding to the low-maintenance appeal.[5] As aeroponics and vertical farms become more common in urban areas, the environmental toll of transport and delivery will lessen–an added benefit to this method.

There are a couple of drawbacks to implementing an aeroponics system. The first is that while this method is low-maintenance, it does require knowledge and skill to maintain the health of the plants properly. The balance of nutrients in the water is crucial, and even a small equipment malfunction can cause the plants to die. The roots need spraying often, and an event like a power outage would be detrimental. The misters themselves also require regular maintenance and cleaning to prevent clogging from mineral deposits in the water.[6]

But perhaps the biggest drawback of aeroponics systems is the need of electricity to continuously mist the plants. While natural light in a greenhouse can serve to power the misting devices, grow lights currently are used more than not. However, this drawback can be resolved easily with the use of solar or wind power [7], or offset by other benefits of this growing method.

Despite these two factors, aeroponics promises to be a growing trend for innovative farms across the world, whether they be in rural or urban areas. Their capacity to grow and deliver a variety of robust and healthy produce in large numbers with minimal impact on the environment makes it a strong contender for the future of farming.