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A Simple Explanation of Deep Water Culture and Its Effect on Crops

Short on time but interested in Deep Water Culture hydroponics? Our guide explains the basics, how it works, and how to apply the principles to various plants. Discover the benefits of this method today

How Does Deep Water Culture Works

Deep water culture, or DWC, is a hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. Bubbleponics is a related method of plant production that involves a top-fed Deep Water Culture system.

DWC systems are often used in home hydroponic gardens because they are relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The basic DWC system consists of an air pump, an airstone, and a reservoir.

The airstone is connected to the air pump via a hose and then placed inside the reservoir at the bottom. The nutrient solution is pumped into the reservoir from beneath the airstone, causing it to bubble up through the solution.

A net pot containing a growing medium is placed on top of the airstone so that its roots dangle directly into the bubbling nutrient solution.

The main advantage of using deep water culture over other hydroponic methods is that it provides plants with their required oxygen level.

The roots receive oxygen from both the air stone as well as receiving oxygen from within the nutrient solution itself.

Plants can also grow quicker when grown in this way since they do not have to expend much energy searching for food or water (since these are delivered directly to them).

How Does Deep Water Culture Relate to Agriculture?

Deep water culture is a hydroponic method of plant production by means of suspending the plant roots in a solution of nutrient-rich, oxygenated water. Bubblers or air pumps with air stones are used to increase oxygen to the root system.

The concept of deep water culture is not new, but it has gained popularity in recent years because of an increasing interest in local food production and the demand from hobbyists for more information on hydroponics.

One advantage of deep water culture systems is that they do not require large amounts of land, making them suitable for use in urban areas where land is limited and expensive.

Deep water culture systems also use less water than conventional field production. This is due to the reduced amount of leaching and runoff associated with deep water culture systems.

Consequently, deep water culture systems have been proposed as a possible solution to food insecurity in developing countries where drought is common (Bianchini et al., 2012).

Deep water culture systems can be set up indoors, such as a greenhouse or basement, or outdoors. While indoor deep water culture systems allow for year-round production independent of weather conditions, outdoor systems have the advantage of utilizing natural sunlight for plant growth. In contrast to soil production where plants are spaced widely apart to prevent competition for nutrients

How does it affect different types of crops?

Deep water culture hydroponic system uses the nutrient rich solution from the medium to feed the plant, rather than the traditional method of providing a constant flow of nutrient solution through a system of pipes and pumps.

Once a solution is prepared, it is pumped into a reservoir which fills with nutrient rich water. The water is then drawn from this reservoir by small holes or slits in the bottom of net pots containing the plants. The pots are hung from above in an area where they can receive ample amounts of light for photosynthesis to occur.

The Deep Water Culture system makes growing crops easy as there is no need for a separate watering system or reservoir as with traditional hydroponics methods. This allows for greater efficiency and ease of use. It also saves on space, as less equipment is needed – all that is required is a pump and a timer – and nutrients can be easily added to the solution.

The pump circulates the nutrient solution between the top of the reservoir and the bottom, giving it time to pick up oxygen from air bubbles which will dissolve into it. These air bubbles would normally be used by aquariums to create a healthy environment for fish, but this same principle can be applied to plants growing in Deep Water Culture systems.

Key crops that flourish in a deep water culture hydroponic greenhouse

The deep water culture hydroponic greenhouse is a type of indoor farming that uses an aeroponic system. Deep water culture was first developed in Israel for the purpose of growing vegetables during the winter months.

The idea behind it is to have crops grow without being planted in the ground. Instead, they are placed into baskets that are submerged into a nutrient solution.

This system works well for root crops like carrots, potatoes and radishes. It is also ideal for leafy greens like lettuce, bok choy and kale. It works best for crops that do not produce a very tall stem.

Find out how to setup a deep water culture garden

The deep water culture method of hydroponics is a great way to grow plants that require a lot of vertical space. It works by suspending the plant in a net pot in a solution of nutrient rich water.

The roots are suspended in air pockets, not water, so the plants can get more oxygen and grow faster. This will give you a much bigger harvest than if you were to use another method of hydroponics.

The deep water culture system doesn’t have to be complicated, but it does have several parts within it. In order to build your own DWC system from scratch, you need a few things:

  • A large tub or pool to hold the hydroponic solution
  • Plastic sheeting for lining or covering the tub or pool
  • Net pots for holding the plants
  • Air pump and airline tubing
  • Nutrient solution tank and pump
  • Timer for turning on and off the pumps

The hydroponic tub is the biggest part, since it will hold all of your plants. You can make one from any large plastic container you have laying around. You probably won’t want to make one from glass because it is too heavy when filled with water.


Deep water culture can be used in small and large scale farming alike, thus providing a means of growing plants anywhere. It doesn’t matter how much manual labor you have, the setup is easy and the maintenance of the system is low. Although there are many ways to grow plants, this style is extremely effective.

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