Growing Hydroponic Wasabi

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At Wasabi Crop Research, we develop methods to grow hydroponic wasabi and a broad range of Japanese herbs.

Hydroponic wasabi, also known as Sawa Wasabi, is grown in a controlled environment using a variety of nutrients in different systems. This allows for the optimization of plant growth through an integrated control system.

Hydroponics is defined as a subtype of hydroculture and is used to grow plants in a soilless medium – which is essentially an aquatic-based environment.  All the nutrients that the plants need to develop are dissolved in the water at a specific electric conductivity (EC) value. This EC value is the salt concentration in your substrate or the nutrient solution.

Wasabi Crop hydroponic systems
Wasabi Crop Research


Types of hydroponic systems

Deepwater Culture (DWC) is a reservoir method and the simplest hydroponics system on the market. The plants are suspended in a nutrient solution, and an aquarium air pump oxygenates the solution to prevent the roots from drowning.

The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) is a hydroponics system based on a continuous flow of nutrient solution over the plant roots. This type of system is slightly inclined to allow the nutrient solution to flow under gravity and allow the plant roots to absorb more oxygen from the air than the nutrient solution. In this setup, it is important to have only the root tips come into contact with the nutrient solution. This allows the plant to optimise the use of oxygen to aid faster growth.

The Drip System provides a slow feed of nutrient solution to the hydroponics medium.

Aeroponics systems allow the roots of the plants to be misted with the nutrient solution while they are suspended in the air.

growing hydroponic wasabi in the Wilma System
Growing hydroponic wasabi in the Wilma System

Growing wasabi without soil

A medium is required to help plants grow by supporting and transporting the nutrient solution to the plant’s root.

Types of medium include:

Expanded clay aggregates: These clay pebbles are stable in the pH of the nutrient solution.

Lava rock is a porous stone that is chemically inert.  This material is mostly used in ebb and flow hydroponic systems.

Rock wool is also known as mineral wool and does not have any nutritional or pH value.  Rock wool can aid the transport of nutrient solution to the root of the plant.

Perite is a lightweight volcanic rock that can change into glass stone when exposed to heat.

Other mediums include vermiculite, sand, gravel, and coir.

The importance of nutrients

The aim of the nutrient solution is to provide food for the plants, helping them develop and grow.

The nutrient solution is an essential part of the hydroponics system.  These nutrient solutions are dissolved in water and should contain traces of the following elements:

ElementPlant Function
Nitrogen Essential for the production of leaves and stems for growth
PhosphorusRequired for the development of fruits and flowers
PotassiumHelps plant cells take up energy during photosynthesis
SulphurUsed by plants to increase the effect of phosphorus and assist in the production of the plant’s energy cycle
Iron Essential for the production of chlorophyll
ManganeseHelps in the absorption of nitrogen
Zinc Required by the plant to enable energy transfer
Copper Used in the production of chlorophyll
Boron It helps in the absorption of nitrogen
Magnesium It probably aids the growth of the plant
Calcium Helps the plant to absorb potassium and is needed for good root growth
Chlorine Required for photosynthesis
Molybdenum Involved in numerous chemical processes within the plant

Benefits of growing hydroponic plants

  • You can place hydroponic systems anywhere, subject to the plant’s requirements.
  • They only use 5% of water in comparison to soil-based gardening.
  • It is a sterile environment for plant growth.
  • Does not include harmful chemicals such as pesticides and insecticides.
  • Plants can grow faster in hydroponic systems.
  • More control of nutrients.
  • Crops can grow throughout the seasons.
  • There are no weeds.
  • Hydroponic systems are environmentally friendly.
  • Plants have a longer shelf-life due to better nutrition.
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