Hydroponics is a Latin phrase that translates to “water operating.” It refers to growing plants in water that has been extensively aerated with extra nutrients. Cannabis grown hydroponically, in basic terms, is cannabis cultivated without dirt. There are several ways to grow marijuana hydroponically. Your plants’ roots may be suspended in Rockwool, clay pellets, water, coco peat, sand, or gravel.
To grow lush and healthy, you must offer a nutrient-dense solution to the roots, regardless of what you use instead of dirt. The unused water is recycled through the system for future absorption.
Simply put, this article will provide you with all you need to know about hydroponic cannabis.
What Is Hydroponic Weed?
The word “hydroponic” refers to a technique of growing cannabis in which no dirt is required. That is, you grow plants in an inert medium that contains nutrients. Previously, it was thought that hydroponic systems were difficult and costly to construct; they were built only for commercial growth.
However, with hydroponics, you may cultivate marijuana with anything as simple as a few pots of inert medium. If you like, you may go for something more complex; however, it takes up a lot of time and effort to do so.
Growing cannabis hydroponically has grown more popular in recent years due to the challenges associated with growing it in soil. It’s a much better option for indoor growers who have the following issues when growing marijuana ” conventionally”:
- A never-ending desire to check the soil’s pH
- Determining the proper nutrient level
- Pests are always a potential problem.
- You could be unsuccessful in recycling the soil you employ.
- You must select the best soil since the quality of your final product is determined by it.
When you grow marijuana in a hydroponics system, you have complete control over the nutrients your plants receive. If you make a mistake, your plants will die or produce a poor yield. On the plus side, because your cannabis plants’ roots can quickly discover nutrients in a hydroponic system, they won’t waste energy looking for them.
In order to thrive, marijuana plants require oxygen, water, and a complex mixture of minerals. Nutrients are classified into categories:
The three macronutrients necessary in a high-quality cannabis soil mix are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, most solutions include 15% of each (often known as a 15-15-15 solution). If you cultivate marijuana at temperatures below 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need more nitrogen. Other possibilities include 20-20-20 or 23-19-17.
Increase the potassium level to at least 20% of a solution throughout growth. When fertilizing plants, be cautious because too much can harm them, while too little slows development. Add three-day-old tap water when your reservoir’s water level drops. It’s also a good idea to change the nutrient solution every two weeks and clean all of your equipment, especially the pumps and reservoir, with hot water on a regular basis.
Setting up Your Hydroponic Weed Growing System
There are several hydroponic growing systems to choose from, and they’re all suitable for cannabis cultivation indoors. The end product is always a nutrient reservoir, regardless of the method you use. Then it’s placed beneath a developing tray constructed of whatever inert growth medium you like, such as sand, gravel, or Rockwool.
The term “hydroponics” refers to the practice of growing marijuana in a hydroponic liquid medium. The solution penetrates the roots as they develop and extend through it to the nutrients. To fill the lower layer with nutrient solution, you need a tiny pump connected to a timer. After an allotted period of feeding and watering plants, the timer on the pump shuts off, at which point the solution drains back into the reservoir.
Because the plants are suspended, they are constantly exposed to air, resulting in an abundant harvest. When cultivated in dirt, marijuana trees use energy attempting to locate air, food, and water. This is why marijuana thrives so well in a hydroponics garden.
You should come across “plug and play” hydroponic systems that include everything you’ll need to get started. However, here’s a list of items you’ll want for a basic system:
- One large (3 – 5 gallon) bucket per plant
- A water pump
- An air pump
- A reservoir tank
- An air stone
- A grow table
- A growing medium such as Rockwool or clay pellets
- Plastic tubing
- A drip line and up to two drip line emitters for each plant
There are a slew of indoor hydroponic systems to select from, but we’ll stick to the most well-known.
Types of Hydroponic Systems
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
This is a very easy hydroponic system to put up, making it perfect for beginners. Simply fill one of the grow trays with water and suspend each plant in its own container. An air pump will be included in your water tank to keep the water oxygenated. Following that, you feed the roots with nutrients via the water supply.
Even while immersed in water, the oxygenated air pumps guarantee that they receive sufficient oxygen.
This is a popular business strategy because it uses a lot of water. Small droppers should be placed next to the plant’s roots, which are in pots with the growing medium. Little drips of this nutrient solution drip out regularly and nourish the plant. It has a low rate of evaporation and, because it is quiet, makes an excellent cover approach for protecting your crop from thieves while maintaining stealth.
This is a one-of-a-kind technique since no growing media will be used. The majority of gardeners use just a tiny amount to root a cutting or start the seed, but this isn’t the case with marijuana. Marijuana roots are suspended in midair within a chamber that is kept at 100% humidity. A precise spray including nutrients must be used.
In hydroponics, roots receive all of their water and nutrients from pots or trays filled with running water. This promotes a rapid development in the plant’s root system since it can absorb lots of oxygen this way. With practically no evaporation and plenty of growth, the plant may develop up to ten times quicker than it could in soil. If you utilize this approach, keep an eye out for clogged misting valves; they might prevent moisture from reaching your roots. This will cause harm to your plants.
Ebb & Flow
This is not the same as a lot of hydroponics systems, which require the roots to be submerged in water all of the time. It works similarly to an ocean tide, filling a tray with oxygenated water and treating the plants and growing medium. When it reaches full depth, the pump switches off and the solution drains into the reservoir. It stays put until you’re ready to water your garden again.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
You’ll have to fill your reservoir with a sufficient amount of water to ensure that no water is wasted. The NFT system includes transferring your solution from the reservoir to the planting tube. It’s typical to use large PVC piping with a small slope. This method ensures that any drainage down the pipe passes by the roots of all marijuana plants before being recycled in the container. One of the most common difficulties with this method is that the water solution may stagnate in the channel and harm your plants if it does not drain properly. As a result, you must ensure that the tube is cut at a sufficient angle to allow for easy flow of water.
This is yet another simple method. It functions similarly to a DWC system in that it utilizes a substance like rope through a PVC tube. The solution is pulled up the line and placed in the tray. You don’t need to bring water to the plants with the wick system, as you do with more complex systems. However, it’s an excellent method to learn hydroponics through hands-on experience.
What Are the Most Common Hydroponics Growing Mediums?
Five distinct types of growing media may be identified, but three of them stand out. Please keep in mind that each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Clay pellets are lightweight, so they’re easy to transport and store. They promote oxygenation of the roots and drainage of moisture from the root zone.
Rockwool is a popular hydroponic growing medium since it maintains moisture well. It’s composed of tiny rock fibers that have been spun at high temperatures into thin threads and are packed together tightly. If you want to use it as a hydroponic growing media, soak Rockwool in a solution with a pH of 5.5 to 12 hours before using it. Before using it, make sure the pH level is between 5.5 and 6.
Rockwool insulation is composed entirely of plant material, unlike most other insulations. Because these fibers are made from trash, they are more ecologically beneficial than Rockwool. Coconut fibers also include bioactive compounds that help to fight infection and illness.
Perlite is a white, porous material that effectively retains and wicks water. In general, chunks rather than granules are preferable since they contain more moisture. Each perlite particle has a tiny cavity on the surface. As a result, each perITE particle has a huge surface area for nutrients and moisture to accumulate on. There’s no danger of insects or disease transmission because it’s sterile.
Perlite, vermiculite, and other crushed volcanic rock media, such as perlite, are also recognized for their excellent drainage. Despite being sterile, vermiculite isn’t generally used as a sole growing medium; instead, it’s commonly combined with perlite. If you decide to use it, find out where the seller got it from. Vermiculite mined in Africa is highly alkaline (pH of 9.0 or higher), which makes it potentially dangerous if ingested by pets or children.
Hydroponics has several benefits, but it also has a number of drawbacks. Let’s have a look at both sides of the question next.
Best Hydro Weed Strain
Over the internet, there are hundreds of cannabis strains to choose from. However, we believe the following five are a fantastic mix of being simple to produce and having a lot of yield:
- Gorilla Glue
- Jack Herer
- Blue Dream
- Amnesia Haze
- Bubba Kush
Tips for Growing Your Hydroponic Cannabis
It should go without saying that growing marijuana plants in a hydroponic garden system is far different from cultivating cannabis indoors using traditional techniques. As a result, there are a few things to consider while attempting to grow marijuana plants in a hydroponic garden environment.
It is difficult to overestimate the significance of beginning with clean equipment. To prevent germination and spread of bacteria, all tanks, reservoirs, filters, pipes, and other equipment must be free of contaminants. Even though hydroponic systems are less prone to illnesses, if they aren’t maintained they will quickly become infested. It’s a good idea to keep several bottles of hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol on hand for disinfection purposes.
Make sure your hydroponics system is circulating pH-neutral water at a pH of 7.0. You may create and supply pH-neutral water using a reverse osmosis (RO) process. Alternatively, if you don’t want to build the RO system, buy distilled water until you can do so.
The ideal water temperature for your system is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the best temperature for nutrient absorption and preventing algae build-up. To begin with, maintain your growing room’s temperature at 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
When growing cannabis indoors, maintaining proper humidity levels is a never-ending struggle. You’ll have to start with a lot of moisture and gradually reduce it as your plants develop. Keep the moisture at 60-70% throughout the early development of seedlings and during the vegetative period. Reduce by 5% each week until you reach around 40% relative humidity at the end of flowering. To meet these targets, you’ll need to invest in both a humidifier and a dehumidifier (though some claim that lower temperatures are more effective).
There is no such thing as the “correct” lighting setup; it all depends on your grow area and budget. HID lights, for example, are ideal for large rooms with good ventilation and airflow.
If you only have a small growing area, consider using Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) on a more limited budget. Overall, pick fixtures that provide enough of light between 400 and 700 nanometers in wavelength.
Ensure that your chamber has plenty of ventilation to prevent overheating. A few fans can help you keep the temperature stable in your growing room.
Keep extensive records of your crop’s development, regardless if this is your first grow or you’re a seasoned pro. Novices frequently achieve spectacular results, only to discover they neglected to document any information. pH levels, planting dates, EC readings, temperature, and humidity are all crucial details.
While developing hydroponic cannabis is an appealing alternative with a wealth of possibilities, it also has its share of difficulties.