If you are looking for a simple way to start an aeroponic garden without a lot of complicated gizmos or gadgets the General Hydroponics RainForest can be a great way to start aeroponic gardening. The RainForest is considered a hybrid aeroponic/hydroponic system and it is actually quite unique. It is also bulletproof and very easy to use.
Most people think that NASA invented aeroponics but that is not true. Aeroponics was actually invented in Ein Gedi Israel back in the 1980’s as a way to conserve water. You can read more about the Ein Gedi system here. The General Hydroponics RainForest is a licensed copy of this system.
The heart of the system is a vortex sprayer on top of a self contained reservoir. The vortex is a hollow tube with a wheel that spins on top and it is attached to an electric motor. As it spins, water is pulled up the tube and sprayed by the spinning disk. The water in the reservoir is constantly moving and being aerated.
The vortex produces a very fine mist and plants grow true aeroponic fish bone type roots with it. The reason the rainforest is considered a hybrid is because when the roots get long enough they are growing in water and are then hydroponic roots.
However if you were to use this system for clones they can be considered aeroponic because the roots will be hanging in air and not be growing in the reservoir itself. The reservoir is 17 gallons and it only really needs a few gallons of water to work. This unit is bigger than you would think and pictures don’t really do it justice but it is about 26 inches wide and 24 inches tall and it is made with heavy duty plastic so it weighs 36 pounds. I really consider this to be more of a low pressure aeroponic system than hydro.
Which RainForest Should You Buy?
The RainForest comes in 3 different sizes. Actually they are all the same size but the top configuration is different so here’s the difference:
- The RainForest 66 uses 6 6″ net pots
- The RainForest 236 uses 36 2″ net pots
- The RainForest 318 uses 18 3″ net pots
You can buy lid insert kits for these. I personally would not want just the 6 pot unit, but it is the most popular. It really limits what you can do unless you buy a lid insert kit. The size of the pot is not important with aeroponics because the roots go down and not out.
I prefer the Rainforest 318. Three inch pots are large enough for any plant and they are more stable for larger plants than 2″ pots. You can use this set up for 6 large plants too by blocking the extra holes with net pots and neoprene inserts. But you can also raise mothers and clone at the same time with this set up.
I would only recommend the 236 if all you want to do is clone. Larger plants tend to tip over in these. My aeroponic totes I use for flowering are designed for 3 inch pots because little growing support is needed.
Here’s A Growing Tip For Set Up
I am not sure what the purpose of this is, but you will want to remove these. I clipped mine off with a pair of garden pruners.
If you don’t remove these your roots will grow around them and get tangled, making it impossible to remove clones or transplants without causing damage to the roots.
Growing In My General Hydroponics RainForest 318
I have a RainForest 318 and have been using it for almost 2 years now without any problems. I use it for keeping mother plants and for cloning, but you could flower in it too. The unit fits nicely in my spare closet. It is under a combination of HPS and CFL lighting. The light makes some leaves look yellow but actually the plants are a lush dark green.
It is a bit crowded right now but soon I will rotate out the mothers to the flowering room and replace them with smaller cuttings.