Hydroponic Wick System

Build a Hydroponic Wick System

The hydroponic wick system relies on capillary action to transfer nutrient solution from the reservoir to the roots.


This is accomplished by using a cloth wick that readily absorbs the nutrient solution and sends it to the medium.

With the hydroponic wick system, there are no moving parts which makes it a very easy to set up and use.

The low cost of the “passive” hydroponic wick system also adds to the popularity.

What can go wrong with the hydroponic wick system?

Well, not much really. As long as there is sufficient nutrient solution in the reservoir, your plants should be very happy.

Your only real concern is that there is enough water being transferred to the roots.

Method #1 Hydroponic Wick System using pots


This is a very easy method to do that I have used many times with great success.


3/4in drill bit
air tubing
air stone
3gal bucket
bulk rockwool
air pump
2-3ft cloth wick (rope) 1in thick

Step by Step

Step 1)
Drill 3/4in hole in center of 3gal bucket.

Step 2)
Insert about 1ft of cloth wick. Measure and cut enough wick to reach the bottom of the reservoir. (about 1-2ft)

Step 3)
Unravel the section of rope in the bucket and fill 2/3 of the bucket with an absorbent soiless mix.

Step 4)
Insert the plant into the bucket and fill the remaining space with clay pellets or diatomite rocks.

Step 5)
Connect the air stone to the air pump and place the air stone into the reservoir.

Step 6)
Fill the reservoir with nutrient solution and plug in the air pump.

Step 7)
Insert the opposite end of the rope into the reservoir and watch your plants grow.

Keys to Success

To start the plants off take about a half full pitcher of nutrient solution and fill the bucket.

Let the extra nutrient solution drain back into the reservoir.

This is to ensure that the dry medium doesn’t take nutrient solution from the roots and dry them up.

The key to making the hydroponic wick system work is to make sure that your plants receive enough nutrient solution.

I usually use my index finger to touch the medium and make sure that it is moist.

This “passive” method works very well, but compared to “active” methods such as ebb and flow this system may seem “slow”.

Don’t worry about this, because with the hydroponic wick system your plants are only “drinking” nutrient solution as needed.