Greenhouses and nurseries grow their plants in a soilless, peat or bark-based growing mix. The nutrients then are applied to the growing mix through the water supply. Therefore, this is also a type of hydroponics. Soilless gardening offers many advantages to the home gardener. Since a sterile medium is used, there are no weeds to remove, and soil-borne pests and diseases are minimized, if not eliminated completely.
Properly grown hydroponic plants also are healthier and more vigorous because all of the necessary growth elements are readily available. The plants can mature faster, yielding an earlier harvest of vegetable and flower crops. Hydroponic gardens use less space since the roots do not have to spread out in search of food and water. This small space requirement makes hydroponics ideal for home gardeners, and it makes better use of greenhouse space.
The big advantage to hydroponics is the ability to automate the entire system with a timer. Automation reduces the actual time it takes to maintain plant growth requirements. Automation also provides flexibility to the gardener as one can be gone for long periods of time without having to worry about watering the plants.