5 Ways to Grow Your Weed Hydroponically
There is nothing wrong with growing in soil, but if you really want to accelerate root development and plant growth it might be time to consider hydroponics. Hydro proponent Dan Vaillancourt explains some options for your growroom.
“You have control of your growroom, now take control of your roots.”
Growing in soil is inexpensive and easy to get started in, making this a great starting block for many beginners growing cannabis. The downside to this style of growing includes bringing soil into your clean indoor grow environment, which is an invitation for bugs and molds among other things. Soil will restrict the speed of your root growth and slow crop turnover time. The reason soil restricts the root-growth speed boils down to the resistance the roots push through. The less resistance your root system must push through, the faster it will grow. Growing hydroponically will give you more control, as well as faster, cleaner growth. Depending on the hydroponic system, there is minimal to no area for salts (nutrients) to build up and cause problems. Flushing and cleaning your system is much easier, leaving a healthier plant with no toxicities under the right low-feeding program.
Hydroponics is a method of growing in anything other than soil. This leaves a wide range of systems, both custom and mainstream, to choose from which can make picking a system seem daunting at times.
In this article, I hope to shed some light on this as there is a hydroponic method that suits every budget, skill level, and production license or style. Growing hydroponically is truly the only way to have complete control over your plant’s root system and what it needs, offering the largest, healthiest, and most boutique-quality yields.
I will go over the top five hydroponic methods for growing cannabis from easiest (and best ones to jump into from soil) to the most difficult and high maintenance.
Stonewool Drain-To-Waste (DTW)
In this method, the plants commonly sit on benches or grow tables in stonewool cubes and slabs that come in various sizes. The nutrient solution is delivered to each plant and the runoff drains away. This hydroponic system is the easiest and best for people switching from soil. That’s because this is not a recirculating hydroponics system — being a drain-to-waste style growing system it is the most like soil growing and therefore easiest. The growing properties are the same, and you will check and adjust pH and PPM levels accordingly in your tank and feed to the plants. You will not need to maintain your pH levels as they will not fluctuate like they would in other more advanced hydroponic systems. This is because the nutrients do not recirculate throughout the growing system.
This growing style requires a higher plant count at roughly 32 plants per 4×8-foot growing table, and because of this, it is best suited for high plant count ACMPR license holders, micro-cultivators, or licensed producers.
You will see stonewool drain-to-waste systems in many large-scale grow operations as well as ACMPR license holders with high plant counts looking to automate things. It is an inexpensive way to get started, easily scalable, and great for people coming from soil.
Stonewool drain-to-waste is best suited for plants growing two to three feet in height with above-lighting focusing on top flowers.
This system can have compact vegetative growrooms because the cubes aren’t in fixed systems like other styles. The mother plants you will need for this system will make up for space you saved with the vegetative room because you will need to keep many large mother plants on hand and cloning will be fairly regular depending on the size of the operation.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
With this method, plants grow in a pipe or sealed buckets with the nutrient solution falling over the root base and returning to the main controller bucket in a 24-hour cycle, or timed intervals. Although this technique involves more adjusting (one to four times daily) of your nutrient solution’s pH levels to keep them in the desired range due to the recirculation of the growing system, it will offer faster root growth compared to stonewool and can be a great setup for stadiums, low-plant count, or ACMPR license holders wanting to set up a low-cost recirculating hydroponics method.
Nutrient film technique is an excellent step into recirculating hydroponics and can be very versatile in how the systems are built (piping, containers, hydroton rock, etc.). This system is diverse in how it can be built, which is why it was the first-ever recorded hydroponic setup built by the ancient Babylonians in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
The tree-tech method is a hybrid hydroponic technique combining the best of all four mainstream hydroponic growing styles. The nutrient solution is recirculated through a sealed, high-flow container system with intense air being delivered through a much lower water volume than deep water culture. The root growth is explosive due to the nutrients frothing up into the root zone like a beer.
Plants grow extremely fast, and maintenance is lower than deep water culture or aeroponics. This method is great for growing large trees and can survive a power outage much like deep water culture. Water and nutrient consumption are reduced by 95 percent as opposed to soil, stonewool, or coconut-husk growing.
This reinvention of the traditional hydroponic growing methods came from decades of hands-on experience. Offering the best aspects of the top hydroponic growing methods with a twist. It’s like a luxury spa for your roots, however, it does cost more than stonewool or nutrient film technique to set up. This system offers higher levels of dissolved oxygen for your roots than any other growing system.
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Deep water culture is a system of buckets or containers with high-flow nutrient recirculation and aeration in every tank. Your roots grow into the oxygenated nutrient solution. Plants grow very fast in this growing system and it is excellent for licenses with low-plant counts to maximize production as you can grow very large plants. It does require more maintenance than some of the other systems as it requires regular pH adjusting and cleaning. Water consumption is reduced by more than 90 percent compared to soil, coco, or stonewool growing, but not as low as tree-tech or aeroponics.
Deep water culture is a classic water-culture hydroponic method and is great for maximizing plant counts. You can fill a large area with a low a number of plants as it requires only a fraction of the plants you would need for a stonewool cube and slab method.
Aeroponics house the root system suspended in air, inside a sealed container or pipe with the nutrient solution delivered to the roots 24/7 or periodically throughout the day. Growing plants in this system requires the least amount of water consumption out of all the systems and can offer very large yields due to the lack of any resistance on the roots. However, if you have a power outage and no backup power supply you will lose your crop very quickly due to the roots being suspended in the air. This method will also use the least amount of nutrients out of the bunch but will require the most maintenance.
Aeroponics can be an excellent system for vertical farming when constructed in piping systems, being a smart alternative to the common closely stacked rack-style stonewool vertical farms and allowing more canopy space.
Oxygen absorbs best into your water at temperatures between 64-66°F. It is important to keep optimum oxygen absorption while keeping a comfortable temperature for the roots. To ensure success, all recirculating hydroponic methods (NFT, TREE, DWC, AERO) absolutely must operate with a water chiller. It is recommended for stonewool or coco drain-to-waste growing as well but is not as crucial.
With a few simple key steps, anyone can jump into hydroponics and be successful. Keep low water temperatures to achieve a high dissolved oxygen level and avoid growing bad bacteria, use a low dose of clean nutrients, and keep your growrooms tidy. Saving time by automating your system allows you to keep the growing environment and system clean, spending more time with the plants and less time working.
GreenBroz, Inc. provides industry-leading automated harvesting systems to the legal cannabis industry. Committed to high-caliber engineering, reliability, exceptional quality, and customer service, GreenBroz is dedicated to helping companies thrive.
The Ultimate Guide to Growing Marijuana Using Hydroponics
Cannabis growing has come a long way since then as people have experimented and perfected the best ways to produce marijuana. A modern way is through hydroponic weed planting. Hydroponic weed is fast becoming one of the most popular ways to grow cannabis. In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know to get started growing your own hydro weed.
So, what is hydro weed growing? This process is when you plant in an inert material, such as coco coir or water reservoirs, instead of soil.
Want to know more?
The History of Hydroponics
Hydroponic planting has been used almost as long as cannabis, although the first plants harvested this way weren’t necessarily weed.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Ancient World’s Wonders, are believed to have used hydroponic growing in 600 BC. You can also find evidence of this process in the 10th and 11th centuries AD in Aztec culture to produce crops near Lake Texcoco.
Marco Polo wrote about hydroponics in his expedition to China in the 13th century AD. Recently, this practice became popular through William Frederick Gericke of the University of California, Berkeley. He grew a 25-foot tall tomato plant with only water and added nutrients.
Gardeners of all kinds became fascinated with hydroponics. Soon, cannabis harvesters experimented and found plants could grow faster and stronger because the roots have access to nutrients without working through the soil to find them.
Hydroponics for weed continues to be a favorite method among cannabis growers today.
Advantages of Growing Hydroponic Weed
You might already have a fantastic setup with soil that’s producing good quality marijuana. Perhaps you’re thinking, “why should I grow with hydroponics?” There are many benefits, and we’re going to list the top four.
- Faster growth. When you use the hydroponic weed growing method, the plants don’t have to work as hard. There’s little resistance in the water, so the roots move freely and rapidly. Your plants will grow 30-50% faster than in soil.
- Larger yields. NASA reported that hydroponic growing techniques have an 80% better yield than soil-based methods. The nutrients are absorbed directly into the plant’s roots, so it’s bigger and stronger. Overall, you can get 2 to 4 times the amount of product in the same amount of time as you would with soil planting.
- Easy nutrient feeding. The roots are directly exposed to the food and have ample water supply. H ydroponic weed plant s are never searching for more nutrients, so you won’t have to check up on the sprouts constantly.
- You can create a more controlled environment for your cannabis using hydroponics, which is ideal for those who are selling.
Is it Expensive to Grow Hydroponic Weed?
The expenses of hydroponic cannabis growing depend on how much you want to invest. There are cheap and expensive ways to do it.
The lower-cost option will be to use materials you already have at home and engineer them independently. Old tarps can create a growing tent. Your dorm room fan can be the ventilation system. Recycle take-out plastic containers for your reservoir.
This can be a fun way to start, but the results won’t be optimal. The DIY approach is sufficient for recreational growing.
On the other hand, if you’re growing to sell, you can invest some more money, as the yield will be worth it. You can buy supplies at the gardening store or a specialized cannabis growing shop.
What Materials Are Needed for a Hydroponic System for Weed?
If you’re interested in switching to soilless growing, you might be asking, “ what materials do I need for my hydroponic garden?” You’ll likely need to make a trip to your local gardening store, but not too much equipment is required.
If you don’t have an indoor setup already, you’ll need to construct one. You can make these with a standard camping tent, DIY tarps, or purchase a grow tent. You’ll need a ventilation system to regulate humidity and heat.
All plants need light for photosynthesis. In indoor environments, natural sunlight is low. A grow light ensures the fast and healthy growth of your marijuana.
3. Hydroponic reservoir or tank
Now, you’ll need something to hold the water or growing material. You can find these at a gardening store, dispensary, or you can craft one yourself.
If you’re going to use water, you’ll also want to have a pH meter to test the acidity. You can use other materials like coco coir or clay pebbles as well.
Hydroponic nutrients for weed help the plants grow. For cannabis, the essentials are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You should look for cannabis food that contains these, along with calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, chlorine, manganese, boron, zinc, and copper.
The last material you’ll need is the marijuana strains you want to grow. Put the seeds into the water or planting material with nutrients. Within a week, you’ll begin to see small roots form.
Choosing a Medium for Growing Hydro Weed
You can do hydroponic planting with just water and nutrients or use another medium. Wondering what else you can use? Let’s go over a few options.
– Clay pebbles
You can purchase clay pebbles: they help keep the marijuana plant robust but still allow water access. They’re reusable, so they’re perfect for those on a budget.
Rockwool is thin rock fibers made by bringing rock to a very high temperature and spinning it. This process results in tiny threads that can retain moisture well. Make sure you soak it before using it to determine the pH is correct.
Perlite is a white and porous substance. Look for larger pieces for hydroponic growing. The pores can absorb water and nutrients, which keeps the plants fed.
– Coco coir
Coco coir is a material from coconut fibers. It retains moisture and assists in protecting roots from infections.
Choosing a Hydro Grow System
You can perform hydroponic growing with many methods. Depending on the size and style of the reservoir, you can determine which setup is best.
DEEP WATER CULTURE (beginner friendly)
Deep water culture is suitable for beginners. It’s one of the cheaper options and relatively easy to maintain.
How does it work? Place your plants in water-filled containers filled with nutrients and an air pump. The air will supply oxygen, so your cannabis will grow.
The drip system uses a growing medium.
How does it work? – Put the plants in the reservoir with a dripping pipe over it.
– Plant seedlings in clay pebbles, coco coir, or another substance.
– Add the nutrients through the constant dripping.
– The liquid is then drained and collected so you can recycle it.
EBB AND FLOW
Ebb and flow is also known as the flood and drain system. You’ll need many buckets suspended above a tray with pumps that let water in and out.
The roots won’t be continuously in water. The pump will go through cycles of flooding the tank and then draining. This results in periodic feeding.
The wick system is like the drip system, but the water comes from below as opposed to above. The roots are in a reservoir with a growing medium. At the bottom, some wicks extend into the nutrients.
The wick sucks up a small amount of water, carries it to the medium, and hydrates the plants. No pump is required.
Aeroponics systems don’t use any grow media. Instead, the plant’s roots are suspended in the air and misted with a nutrient solution. The roots are kept separate from the rest of the plants using an opaque tray to prevent light damage, and the nutrient solution is kept in a reservoir located beneath the cannabis plants.
Aeroponics systems produce huge yields, but they need to be well-maintained to avoid pump failures. Since the roots are left exposed and vulnerable, the plants won’t be able to retain any moisture if the pump fails. Novice growers are better off trying a simpler method.
Aquaponics is a type of hydroponics marijuana growing system that combines aquaculture, such as fish.
The fish provide a natural source of nutrients when they excrete waste.
This hydroponic system allows growers to drain a nutrient solution onto an angled tray, creating a film that flows through the plant’s roots.
The solution is kept in a reservoir like the ones used for ebb and flow systems, but it is pumped through the tray continuously and drained out the bottom. Cannabis plants grown using this technique will form a dense root mat at the bottom of the tray, allowing them to fan out and absorb nutrients more efficiently.
Since the nutrient film technique was one of the first hydroponic systems developed for home growers, there are plenty of options available for hobby and commercial growers alike. These systems are compact and simple, so they’re perfect for small spaces.
Traditional nutrient film setups don’t require a particular kind of grow medium, but modern growers typically use clay pellets in small pots.
The nutrient solution flows through the small holes in the bottom of the pots, gets absorbed into the clay pellets, then filters out through the drain at the bottom to be adjusted and reused.
Clay pellets are perfect for this application since their uneven texture oxygenates the water, and they retain moisture and nutrients very effectively, allowing growers to maximize the time between feedings and making the plants more likely to survive if something goes wrong.
Getting Started at Home—The Hydroponic Way
By following these steps, it’s possible to produce a healthy, great-tasting product that you’ll be proud to call your own.
Step 1. Prepare your materials
Irrespective of the set up chosen, the initial preparation of the set up will be the same. For instance, all the materials must be sterilized to kill bacteria. This is normally done using a mixture of peroxide, water, and alcohol.
Once the materials are sterilized, you can follow the instruction of the particular system to prep accordingly. Once the system is prepped, the plants can then be placed to start the growth process.
Step 2. Build a grow node.
A grow tent with a white interior will reflect the light your plants need while keeping them enclosed and pest-free. A dedicated grow tent makes temperature monitoring simpler, and it helps to prevent the pungent aroma of cannabis from filling the room.
Step 3. Select the containers in which the plants will take root.
Put the seedlings in Rockwool to start. A dark bin will keep light from seeping in. An 18-gallon bin will hold six plants. Make six evenly spaced holes in the netting so the roots can grow through.
Step 4. Set up the fan and light system.
We suggest using LEDs as they create little heat and are relatively inexpensive to operate. There is a wide range of options from which to choose, and the decision will likely depend on your budget and performance requirements.
Step 5. Fill the container with water and create a nutrient blend.
It’s important to monitor the amount of oxygen going to the plants’ roots, and an air stone/water pump combo makes it easy to do. You’ll also need to monitor nutrient and pH levels, to ensure the plants’ health and vibrancy.
Step 6. Use clones for the best results.
It’s best to start with clones, which are seeds that have already sprouted and then multiple cuttings are taken off the plant while still in vegetative phase. However, it’s essential to ensure that these clones are pest- and pesticide-free. Clones are highly susceptible to pests that can quickly destroy an entire crop, so be sure to check the source before buying.
Step 7. Hit the lights.
Your clones should have strong roots and leaves that are ready for the light. Set the grow room’s lights to remain on for 18 hours per day for the first 28 days. The length of the vegetative state and the amount of light needed depends on the plants’ strain and growth pattern. Cannabis plants are very good communicators; if there’s something wrong, they’ll tell you right away!
Step 8. Trim the plants carefully.
By supporting outward growth, you’ll use the limited space to its fullest potential.
Step 9. Get ready for the flowering stage.
This typically takes place about 4 weeks into the grow, but again, it’s strain dependent. Set the lights to stay on for 12 hours per day; this diverts energy from height and leaf production into bud growth.
It’s usually a good idea to give the plants more nutrients during the flowering stage, but it’s possible to give them too much of a good thing. Nutrient burn may cause the plants’ leaves to turn brown or yellow at the tips.
When the buds have grown big enough, give the plants three weeks to flush out any remaining nutrients. Feed them only pH-balanced water for the perfect balance of taste and potency.
Step 10. Pick, trim, and dry the buds.
When you’re planning a home hydroponic grow op, it’s important to set aside enough space for harvesting, trimming, drying, and curing the buds. A slow, steady drying process gives the flower the smell and taste for which it is known.
To prevent mold from infecting the crop, dry the buds in a well ventilated, dark area. Trim the plants with sharp scissors, taking care to remove the leaves closest to the buds. Then, remove the buds from the plant stems.
Step 11. Cure the buds.
To cure cannabis, put it inside glass jars with airtight lids. Every day, for approximately 10 minutes, open each container to let fresh air in and to let moisture out.
Hydroponic System Maintenance
All types of planting require maintenance, and hydroponic for weed growing isn’t different. These systems tend to stay cleaner because of the constant water filtration, but you’ll still have to keep up with a few things.
– Monitor pH
The ideal pH level for a hydroponics weed system is a little acidic. You can build a reverse osmosis system to generate neutral water or buy it distilled. When you add the nutrient solution, it should be slightly acidic, between 5.5 to 6.5 pH.
You should have a pH tester kit and frequently check to ensure your plants are healthy.
– Keep water temperature around 20°C (68°F)
The temperature of your water is vital because 68°F is ideal for nutrient absorption. There’s also little algae build-up.
– Feed appropriate nutrient quantities
To ensure you’re feeding your cannabis the proper nutrients, you should buy solutions at a store. On the package, it’ll describe how much to give based on how much water. This can vary depending on the nutrient’s potency.
– Keep a clean environment
It’s a good habit to clean everything every two weeks. This includes your tools, the reservoirs, and the area around the plants.
Even the slightest contamination can result in pathogens attacking and killing your plants.
How to Choose the Best Hydroponic Weed Strain
What is the best hydroponic marijuana strain? Hydroponic growing requires specific strains of weed because of its unique qualities.
Compact and smaller strains are perfect for this process because you can keep them at a manageable size . We’re going to recommend the best cultivars to use for your indoor hydro weed system.
Mochalope is easy to grow and Indica-dominant strain. This provides a more psychoactive high than other types.
It’s short and has a thick stem. The leaves and hydro buds are refreshingly dense. The stocky stature of Mochalope makes it an excellent option for hydroponic planting. It grows to about 12 inches and yields 600 grams per plant.
– Lemon Garlic OG
Another Indica-dominant strain, the Lemon Garlic OG is a particular breed of the OG Kush family. It’s a blend of about 80% Indica and 20% Sativa with a very low CBD content of only 0.1%.
It grows to about 8 to 10 inches, and you harvest about 400 to 600 grams per plant.
– White widow
White Widow is a hybrid strain with 50% Sativa and 50% Indica genes. It’s an ideal combination of a psychoactive and calming experience.
The plant’s height can grow from 23 to 40 inches, making it remarkable among hydroponic marijuanas . It’ll yield 550 to 600 grams per plant in about 8 to 9 weeks.
– CBD Shishkaberry
CBD Shishkaberry is heavier on the CBD than other strains. There’s a 1:2 hydro THC to CBD ratio. This results in a calmer high with many relaxation benefits. People commonly use it for medical purposes.
The plant needs to grow for 8 to 10 weeks, and it yields about 300 to 500 grams per square meter.
Home Growing Mistakes to Avoid
Now that you’ve bought all the equipment and watched some tutorial videos, you may think it’s easy to grow hydroponic weed.
While YouTube videos may make it seem simple, there are a few mistakes to avoid.
- Temperature. It’s best to avoid temperatures that are too high or too low. Keep the water flowing through the system at about 65°F to prevent algae buildup and facilitate the absorption of nutrients.
- Humidity. Depending on the growth stage they’re in, cannabis plants have varying humidity requirements. For instance, seedlings need 60-70% humidity. Once they’ve entered the flowering stage, however, they’ll only need about 40%.
- Lighting. The type of grow room lighting you choose depends on how much space you’ve set aside and the distance between the lights and the plants. LEDs are best for small grow rooms, while larger ops will benefit from HID (high-intensity discharge) lights.
- pH levels. A plant that’s not grown in the right pH range will fail to thrive. Aim for a pH range of 5.5-6.5 for the best results. If the pH level is too high, use white vinegar to bring it down.
- Ventilation. Don’t try to grow hydroponic cannabis in a room without proper airflow and ventilation. Protect the plants’ health by placing fans to cover the entire growing area. With proper ventilation, it’s easy to maintain the proper room temperature and ensure adequate air exchange.
- Electrical conductivity. EC is a measure of the level of dissolved solids in the water. A reading that’s too high may result in plant damage due to an excess of nutrients, while a reading that’s too low means the plants aren’t getting enough nourishment.
Differences Between Hydroponic and Soil-Based Cannabis Cultivation
Other than the media in which they are grown, soil-based and hydroponic cannabis gardens have a few notable differences.
- One of the most significant is the nutrients you’ll provide. Typically, soil-grown and hydroponic plants need slightly different types of nutrients, but there are universal systems that work across growth media.
- Another big difference lies in the appropriate pH level. The optimal pH level for a soil-based garden is 6.0-7.0, while a hydroponic garden does best when the pH stays around 5.5-6.5. Even if you are using a soilless potting mix, you’ll need to use the hydroponic pH.
- Finally, these cultivation methods differ in the level of effort required. The hard work of hydroponic cannabis cultivation starts after the system is up and running, while soil-based growers are working hard from day one.
Regardless of the method you choose, you’ll still have to take certain steps to ensure the health and vitality of the crop. These include pH testing, inspecting the equipment and the plants, and looking for signs of disease.
Why Hydroponic Growing is More Cost-Effective Than Soil-Based Cultivation
For thousands of years now, the soil has been the growth medium of choice for gardeners all over the world. However, one significant development is designed to save money, save time, and increase crop yields: hydroponics. Where the soil vs. hydroponics debate is concerned, the latter offers much more than a soilless way to grow cannabis crops. Not only does this cultivation method help growers save effort and money, but it also helps them eliminate the hassles that come with the use of conventional growth media. In the sections below, you’ll find a few reasons why today’s cannabis cultivators are turning to hydroponics.
Growing Hydroponic Marijuana is Extremely Rewarding
Like all things in life, who doesn’t want something faster and bigger? Hydroponics can speed up your growing time and yield.
Getting started might require some investment and work, but once perfected, it’s a straightforward way to grow marijuana. It’s less dirty, more controlled, and gives a great product.
If you’ve been toying around with the idea of having a hydroponic marijuana system, why not give it a go? Now you know what supplies you need, different system styles, and the strains to use, it’s time to start building and growing with hydroponics now!
Growing With Hydroponic Weed Seeds
Generally, hydroponic methods are the most prevalent modes of cultivating cannabis plants grown indoors especially when you are growing with hydroponic weed seeds.
If you know anything about growing cannabis, then you most probably have heard of the term “hydroponics”. While this gardening style is popular for the indoor growing of cannabis, it is not exclusive to cannabis.
The literal translation of hydroponic is “waterwork”. This aligns with how cannabis is grown entirely without soil. Here, submerging the roots of the plant in water enhanced with nutrients and availability of lots of oxygen is capable of creating quicker growth when compared to soil-based methods. This article below will show you how to grow with Hydroponics and how to be growing with hydroponic weed seeds.
Is Growing Cannabis Using Hydroponics Advisable?
Although growing hydroponic is not a difficult option, it can be much more time-consuming than using soil. This can be a result of the farmer having to be in control of more factors when using hydroponic systems. Also, some hydroponic methods can be costly during the early stages. However, we recommend that you research different hydroponic methods before starting off to grow your plant hydroponically.
Growing with Hydroponics
Benefits of Hydroponic Gardening
Why You Should Grow Cannabis Using Hydroponics?
- Hydroponics offers quicker plant growth. Usually, roots have to actively seek out the necessary nutrients when using soil. On the other hand, nutrients are directly delivered to the plant roots when growing with hydroponics. The reserved energy is then used on growing its leaves and buds thereby causing quicker growth.
- Using the right balance of necessary nutrients can largely aid the growing duration of the plants. This is an advantage offered by hydroponic systems because the farmer has complete control over the nutrients and can create the perfect balance of nutrients. However, it is almost impossible to do so using soil because unknown contents and natural imbalances of the dirt can affect the ratio.
- Another advantage of hydroponics is that the plants are not at risk of becoming root-bound. Marijuana grown in a pot with soil are more likely to become root-bound which in turn results in slower growth.
- Growing in a hydroponic environment is way more sterile than using soil. Soil usually contains unknown components like parasites and bugs.
Drawbacks of Hydroponic Gardening
Using hydroponics can be an excellent choice for some marijuana gardeners, however, it is not quite ideal for everyone.
- Growing hydroponically is usually a bit costlier as a result of the type of equipment to be bought and maintained.
- Hydroponic equipment requires regular cleaning and inspection. Also, it is quite difficult to fix if it becomes damaged.
- Hydroponics requires some measure of learning, unlike soil planting which most people already have experience of.
- The fact that all the processes are sped up can pose problems because nutrient imbalances or other problems can be sped up as well; this can cause damages to the crop before the gardener realizes the situation.
How to Grow with Hydroponics
Hydroponic System Lighting
The lighting setup for hydroponics is the same as that of soil-grown cannabis. Although using the same light bulbs throughout the growing process is more practical, some may find it useful to use Metal Halide bulbs during the vegetative stage, and High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps during the flowering stage. An excellent alternative used by indoor gardeners is LED with growing with hydroponic weed seeds.
The environment is every bit as important, if not more when growing hydroponically as it is with soil.
Germinated marijuana seeds can be placed into their buckets or pots once they grow room becomes set. See our article on all about germination, to learn more.
Hydroponic Growing Mediums
Sprouted cannabis seeds are placed root down onto the growing medium used in place of soil. There are numerous mediums available to hydroponic gardeners.
- A popular option is lava rocks . However, mediums that have been treated in any way are best avoided when growing cannabis; this is because they can destabilize the balance of nutrients.
- Rockwool can be reused for multiple cannabis crops, although it is a pricier option. Also, it has a natural alkaline pH that may need neutralization before use, but this is fairly easy to do.
Choosing The Right Pot for Your Marijuana
Although hydroponic plants are less likely to become root bound, using larger pots encourages the plants to grow larger and produce larger buds. Similarly, a smaller pot can minimize the size of the plant to something manageable for smaller grow rooms.
Although fast drainage of the hydroponic medium will mean more frequent watering, faster medium drains give the roots of the plant access to more vital oxygen. When using a hydroponic system that involves soaking of the roots instead of misting, the medium must be submerged about three-quarters when the nutrient-water mixture is at its highest point.
Different Types of Hydroponic Systems
There are various systems classified under the umbrella of hydroponics. Although each system involves using only water to deliver necessary nutrients to the plant, they are all slightly different in terms of setup, equipment, and mode of administrating the water. Outlined below are the three most popular hydroponic systems for cannabis gardeners.
Aeroponics is a hydroponic system that uses mist to water the plant. Here, the plants are suspended in a large, tented area with almost 100% humidity. The root system is left dangling below the plant in a sealed section, then, nutrient-rich water is misted into this area at regular intervals.
This method involves leaving the roots exposed. The lack of any stagnant water is the most desirable benefit of this hydroponic system. Also, the drained water can be used to water other house plants.
The setup of aeroponics is quite extensive which makes it ideal for larger operations. A potential disadvantage of this system is that large roots can overtake smaller ones, thereby causing an uneven distribution of the nutrient mist amongst the cannabis plants.
Aeroponic growing is when the root is exposed
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
This hydroponic system leaves the plant roots underwater. Here, the roots are submerged in a lightproof container to prevent the growth of mold and algae, while the plant stretches above. The nutrients are absorbed by the roots from the constant submersion while oxygen is derived from air stone which is placed inside the water. Naturally, air stones release oxygen in form of bubbles into the water.
The biggest drawback of this system is the stagnant water. Therefore, it is important to check and change the water regularly. Also, having little oxygen in the water can kill the plants. It is nearly impossible to have too much oxygen in the water, so, having too many air stones in the water is way better than having too few.
Ebb and Flow System
This system involves using a pump to push water through a reservoir that runs below the plants. The water drains back out after rushing over the roots of the plant. This process repeats every 20 minutes or thereabout.
The automated watering process makes this hydroponic system much pricier than other options. Also, an infection or parasite can damage the whole crop since it is the same water that floods many plants.
The Nutrient Mixture For Growing With Hydroponic Weed Seeds
For Your cannabis plant to flourish, you need to provide the proper balance of specific nutrients.
Ordinarily, there are three primary nutrients needed as fertilizer for growing plants, cannabis included. These primary nutrients are potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Other nutrients like calcium, sulfur, and magnesium are required in smaller quantities.
When using the soil-based growing method, water acts as a solution used to dissolve the nutrients found in the soil before the plant roots then absorb this water. For hydroponics, a salt or powder mixture of the necessary nutrients is infused into the water.
Nutrients for Hydroponic Growing
Correct Measurements of Nutrients
Infusing nutrients into the water enables hydroponic gardeners to control the exact amount of each nutrient the cannabis plant receives. More so, the ratio of each nutrient can be based on the nutrient properties. For instance, potassium stimulates robust growth, nitrogen promotes healthy leaves and phosphorus builds strong roots.
Generally, nutrients should be added to the water with utmost care. This is because too much fertilizer can harm the plants while too little will result in slower growth duration. It is better to have fewer nutrients than way too much to avoid killing the plants.
When you grow with hydroponic weed seeds, the water must have the right pH. The combination of nutrients and water used should be tested daily to ensure that the ideal acidic pH level of the mixture is maintained. An overly alkaline mixture can cause a lot of damage to the plants just as quickly as all the other processes associated with hydroponics. Products that can be used to check the acidity and alter the pH in either direction are easily accessible in stores. Ideally, the water should be between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius with a pH level just below or above 6.
Also, the water level decreases in a hydroponic system as the roots of the plants absorb the dissolved nutrients, so, the reservoir will require regular top-ups. While some gardeners include nutrients in the replenishing water, others top up with pure water and use nutrient-rich water only after a complete drain. When using tap water in hydroponics, it should be allowed to sit a few days before using regardless of any addictive.
How Long Should I Wait Between Watering When Growing With Hydroponic Weed Seeds?
Different strains of marijuana require different duration between watering. While some strains may need the roots to be left dry slightly between watering, it may be ideal for others to be damp all the time. What is best for a specific strain can be determined by conducting careful experiments. Alternatively, you can speak to other hydroponic gardeners growing the same strain.
Usually, hydroponic systems use pumps and other equipment to create an automated watering process. Nevertheless, whether you are new to hydroponics or you are an advanced grower wishing to have more control, hand-watering is an excellent way to control what and how much of it the cannabis plants are getting.
Maintaining the Hydroponic System
Ensure that the entire reservoir is drained and cleaned well before new nutrient-rich water is added to the hydroponic system. This can be done at least every two weeks or thereabout.