We learn in school that plants need four things to grow: air, water, sunlight and soil. From the air, they absorb gasses such as carbon dioxide and use them to make food. Solar energy also plays a part in this process during photosynthesis, as do the water and nutrients that plants absorb from the soil through their roots.
That said, modern hydroponic systems produce thriving vegetation with no soil at all, but how is that possible? Most use something called a growth medium.
A growth medium takes the place of soil and supports the root system of plants, providing a base from which they can grow. Then, because the plants are no longer absorbing water and nutrients from the ground as they would naturally, a nutrient solution is added to the water so plants get what they need to grow.
Is there more than one type of growth medium?
Yes. In fact, several different growth media are available for use in hydroponic systems. Among the most common are rockwool (layered basalt rock fiber) and mineral-based perlite and vermiculite, but hydroponic growers may also use coconut fiber, clay pellets, sand, gravel, floral foam, rice hulls and other materials.
Our patented Biotiles — used in all Sagegreenlife living wall systems — are made of rockwool, which evenly distributes water, oxygen and nutrients throughout the system.
Why does Sagegreenlife use rockwool?
One of the main reasons we use rockwool is because it possesses unique insulative properties. Its density shields plant roots, providing extra protection during the winter months that helps outdoor plants survive, even in cold climates. These insulative properties also extend to sound, giving Sagegreenlife walls the added benefit of noise abatement.
Rockwool has become a popular choice for hydroponic systems because it is nondegradable, meaning it will not decay or break down over time. It can be reused and recycled indefinitely, making it a truly sustainable option for eco-conscious growers. In addition, rockwool is extremely water efficient and absorbs ten to 14 times more water than a soil-based system.
Unlike potted plants, which often need to be replaced, our rockwool Biotiles provide an ideal rooting and growing environment that is completely self-sustaining. Created right in our warehouse, they make Sagegreenlife living walls the most versatile walls on the market.
Plants are grown directly in the tiles to establish a secure root system, and the installation process is minimally disruptive, creating only a small mess. In just eight to ten weeks, we can deliver a beautiful, fully grown wall ready to be enjoyed by your clients.
Do Sagegreenlife living walls require ongoing maintenance?
Because our rockwool-based hydroponic systems are self-sustaining, your clients never have to worry about watering or maintenance. After our walls are installed, the Sagegreenlife horticulture team will check in periodically to make sure everything is running smoothly.
If you have additional questions about the materials or processes behind our hydroponic living wall technology, call 312.234.9655 to speak with one of our vertical garden specialists.
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