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How Long Hydroponic Plants Can Go Without Water Before Dying

How Long Hydroponic Plants Can Go Without Water Before Dying

If you have encountered a problem, such as a power outage or low levels in your hydroponic reservoir, causing your plants to be deprived of water, you may be questioning the possibility of saving them. The answer is yes.

How long can hydroponic plants go without water? In general, most hydroponic plants can survive for as much as two to three weeks without water. However, many species are more delicate and may die in as little as three or four days, without water. On the other hand, hardier plants, like cactus, may last as much as three months. 

Read on below, discover how long hydroponic plants can go without water before dying and why!

How Long Hydroponic Plants Can Live Without Water

There is no black and white answer to how long plants in hydroponic systems can live without water.

The answer depends on several factors:

Size of Root Mass

The size of the plant’s root mass is one of the most significant factors in how long it will survive without water. Precious nutrients and water are stored in the root mass, so the larger it is, the more time the plant may have before it begins dying.

Health of Plant and Roots

The overall health of the plant and its root system is another crucial factor in determining how long a plant may last without access to water. 

If the plant is in good shape and isn’t struggling from deficiencies, disease, or otherwise suffering, it will last as long as possible. 

Plants that are already in poor condition prior to being cut off from their water supply die much quicker as they have less energy stored up than healthy plants.

How Saturated the Roots Were 

The amount of moisture (nutrient water) stored in the roots of a plant is a big factor in this equation. This will be dependent on the type of system your running and the type of plant being grown.

Will Hydroponic Plants That Went Without Water Come Back?

Most hydroponic plants come back to themselves and begin growing again once their access to water, nutrients, light, and oxygen has been restored. That said, keep in mind that it may take a few days, or even weeks, for the plants to fully recover.

How To Save Hydroponic Plants That Were Deprived of Water

To restore hydroponic plants that were cut off from their water source, the first step is to resolve the issue that’s causing them to be without water. This may involve simply topping off the reservoir in your hydroponic system. 

However, it may also involve tracking down a slightly bigger issue such as a broken connector, damaged airline, or burnt-out air pump. 

The next step is keeping your eye on the plants, and the system in general, as the plants recover. That means monitoring the water’s temperature, EC, and pH several times per day. You may also want to change out the water completely, clean filters, and more.

All things considered, most plants either show signs of recovery within hours to days. If your dehydrated hydroponic plants don’t indicate any difference after a full week with water, it may be too late to save them.

Related Question:

Why Do Roots Not Rot in Hydroponics?

Hydroponic plants do not suffer from root rot when there is proper aeration occurring in the system. Thankfully, all you need to aerate the water in a hydroponic growing system is an air stone, a bit of hose, and an air pump.


The short answer is: hydroponics plants can go without water for anywhere from three days to three months. 

The slightly longer answer is: the amount of time hydroponic plants may survive without water depends on several factors, such as how healthy the plants were before losing access to water, what species they are, the size of their root mass, and more.