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FloraMax Silica

Monosilicic Acid for hydroponic plants

Monosilicic Acid for hydroponic plantsFloraMax Silica 0-0-8 contains 16% silica* present as Mono-silicic Acid (“MSA”) and Meta-silicic Acid (“MTSA”).  Both of these compounds are completely soluble in nutrient solutions and 100% bio-available. This yields several benefits for hydroponic growers:

  • Improves the rigidity of stems and leaves.
  • Helps prevent leaf wilt during extreme heat.
  • Helps increase weight, potency and shelf-life of fruit.
  • FloraMax Silica is highly concentrated.  1.0 litre (1.05 Qrt) makes 4,000 – 10,000 litres (1,050 – 2,640 Gal) of working nutrient.
  • Highly stable – shelf-life exceeds 20 years (testing origins predate 1998).
  • Available in larger pack sizes – 1L, 5L, 20L and 1,000L – suitable for large scale commercial applications.
  • Dosage: 0.1-0.25ml/L (0.25 – 1 ml/Gal) during veg and flower.  Silica should be applied to an existing nutrient solution and used throughout both veg and flower.  Silica is also very effective as a foliar spray at 3ml/L (3ml/Qrt).

* Reference:  Molybdosilicate Method 4500-Si D., Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Waste Water, 19th Edition 1995, p4-118,119.  Prepared and published jointly by American Public Health Association, American Water Works Association and the Water Environment Federation.

Does FloraMax Silica contain Mono-Silicic Acid (MSA) or Potassium Silicate?

FloraMax Silica contains Monosilicic-Acid-and-Metasilicic-AcidFirstly, all silica products are generally made from potassium silicate. This ingredient generates MSA when diluted in water. So, MSA is essentially a play on words, a marketing angle pitched by a few manufacturers… From a chemist’s point-of-view, the biggest point of difference (problem) with silica products is their shelf life. Most of them have a max shelf-life of 1-2 yrs. This impacts their solubility and notably creates a build-up (gel) in the reservoir. FloraMax Silica has a shelf-life of 10 years plus and is fully soluble. Claims of internodal shortening and other flowering benefits from MSA/silica are bogus. We have been selling silica’s since about 1997 and have never heard this claim from growers. The most effective way of obtaining flowering benefits through nutrition is by using a combination of OrganaBud and Resin-XS:

  1. OrganaBud: Promotes branching, shortening, bud-sites and stacking. Increases potency, terpene profile and pistil vibrancy.
  2. Resin-XS: Increases frosting, resin, oil and potency. Improves swell, density and final mass.

Also, unlike those ‘other’ silica products, with OrganaBud and Resin-XS there are no biofilms, pH fluctuation or blockages.

FAQs: Frequently asked questions

Should silica be added first or last?  Silica 0-0-8 is highly concentrated and should always be pre-diluted least 10-fold with water before adding to the reservoir.  Failure to do this may cause white particles to form when it is added to the nutrient solution.  This problem is more pronounced at higher EC’s especially when using hard or salty waters.  Note, these “white particles” will normally dissolve if the nutrient is immediately stirred and is therefore typically only an aesthetic problem if treated correctly.    If you do NOT want to predilute Silica, then it should be added to the reservoir first, before the base nutrient and other additives – like many other brands. The problem with this is it increases the water’s pH – subsequent addition of pH sensitive elements will be potentially destabilized unless pH is quickly corrected. By adding Silica last, we only need to worry about pH right at the end.  If you add it first, you need to worry about pH the whole way through!

Plant available forms of silica?  To ensure plant availability, silica needs to be present in the nutrient solution in a soluble form.  This is achieved by hydrating the silica molecule:
•  SiO2 + 1H2O  —>  SiO3H2  (metasilicic acid, “MTSA” – smaller molecule)
•  SiO2 + 2H2O  —>  SiO4H4  (monosilicic acid or orthosilicic acid, “MSA” – larger molecule)
Bioavailability of FloraMax Silica is confirmed via “silica-demand” analysis of re-circulating hydroponic nutrient reservoirs using *AWWA’s Molybdosilicate Method:  80ppm silica dose 100% consumed within 7-10 days; approx 10L working nutrient per plant (1998).

Why use a silica nutrient for hydroponic plants? Hydroponic plants are often susceptible to leaf wilt and bud rot, especially when exposed to heat from HID lamps. Silica helps strengthen plant cells to prevent limp or weak growth.  Silica, known chemically as silicon dioxide (SiO2), is the chemical form that silicon (Si) adopts in plant matter. Silica is NOT the same as silicon.  Silicon is the stuff computer chips and car polishes are made from.

Combating heat stress:  FloraMax Silica is very effective for combating leaf wilt during summer heat.  Prevention treatment is best done by applying Silica as a foliar spray 3ml/L (3ml/Qrt).  This typically allows plants to endure ambient grow room temperatures upwards of 40 deg C (104 deg F).  Foliage remains rigid and turgid so that photosynthesis can continue unaffected.

New product, SILICA 0-0-5 ? We are in the process of releasing a new “low-alkalinity” version, Silica 0-0-5.  Although it has the same dose rate as Silica 0-0-8, its impact on pH will be minimal and have far less tendency to cause white particles in the working nutrient.

Testimonials - “The plants are much stronger... more resistant to diseases and rot...
“We never grow without Silica. It gives us consistency all year round. Weight and potency are improved and are reliable from crop to crop”

“The plants are much stronger… more resistant to diseases and rot… able to withstand the shock of higher growroom temperatures AND STILL DELIVER formidable results”

RESOURCES
Silica additives - General information
It is essential that silica (SiO2) is applied as an additive. Silica cannot be included in concentrated nutrient formulations at meaningful levels. This is because stable silica solutions are by nature highly alkaline.

Silica must be used throughout both vegetative and flowering phases. Electron microscopy and x-ray analysis both confirm that existing silica within the plant is not mobile and cannot benefit new growth. To benefit new growth therefore, silica must be present at all times in the nutrient solution.

Various research projects have shown that the presence of silica in plant tissue produces several beneficial side effects:

1. Silica produces healthier and stronger plant growth. When silica is taken up by the roots, it is deposited in the cell walls of the plant as a solid, rigid ‘quartz-like’ matrix. This produces a ‘mechanically’ stronger plant which enables superior leaf orientation and therefore greater rates of photosynthesis and growth.

2. Increases the weight and shelf-life of fruit due to the physical accumulation of silica in plant cells.

3. Increases plant tolerance to heat stress or “wilting”.

4. Increases resistance to fungal diseases, particularly mildews and botrytis. It resists fungal ingress by accumulating around the points of fungal attack.

5. Improves the healing rate and neatness of pruning wounds. This property is especially beneficial in commercial cropping of plants such as tomato and cucumber. Regular pruning of these species threatens the plant’s survival due to the risk of disease penetration through the site of the pruning wound.

6. Increases a plant’s tolerance to nuisance chemicals such as sodium and chloride.

For more see page 40 of the FloraMax Hydroponics Manual.

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