What does EC value of your nutrient solution mean?
Measuring the EC value is a useful and important indication to make your growth a success. What is the EC value and how can you use it to make sure your plants receive the right amount of nutrients?
Meaning of EC value
EC stands for Electric Conductivity. Simply put, the EC value is the salt concentration in your substrate or nutrient solution. The salt concentration is a good indication of the available nutrients. This is why the EC value is important: it tells you if your plants are receiving the right amount of nutrients.
EC value in nutrient solution
You can measure the EC value in your nutrient solution or in your substrate. Measuring it in your substrate is a lengthy, difficult process. Therefore, in practice the EC value is usually measured in the nutrient solution.
Not every kind of plant requires the same amount of nutrients. This means the correct EC value is not the same for all plant species. Additionally, the amount of nutrients a plant needs can differ based on the phase it is in. As a rule of thumb, a young plant needs a lower EC value than a mature plant. You can use our Grow Schedule Calculator if you want to know which EC value your plants need at any given time. You can also download standard grow schedules in our download section.
When to and not to measure EC value?
If you are growing organic with our 100% NATURAL products you don’t need to worry about the EC (and pH) value. This is because organic nutrients are partially absorbed by the soil life. This means you can’t measure the full EC value when growing organic. It isn't really necessary either, since the organic soil life regulates the amount of nutrients your plant receives. Are you growing with our 100% TERRA, 100% COCO or 100% HYDRO grow styles? Then use an EC meter to measure the EC value. Haven't decided yet which grow style you'll use? Our Product Selector will help you decide.
EC meter: how to handle high or low EC values
EC meters come in all shapes and sizes. An EC meter tells you how concentrated your nutrient solution is. Knowing this helps you give your plants nutrients more accurately. If the EC value is lower than recommended, your plants might not be receiving enough nutrients. This can be solved by adding more nutrients. Is your EC value too high? Then your plant is receiving too much nutrients and it is best to stop giving them for a while. Not doing this may result in a nutrient burn. A nutrient burn first leads to burned leaf tips and may end with dying flowers and withered leaves. Also make sure to always measure the EC value of tap water (if used). This is because the EC value of tap water is not always the same.
Read more about interpreting EC values in our topic about EC reading: Electrical conductivity in units.
Do you need help during your grow? Contact our Grow Expert via Servicedesk.