November 28, 2022
What is Cannabis Hydroponics?
Cannabis hydroponics is the art of growing cannabis buds without soil. Hydroponics is a Latin word meaning "working water". In the absence of soil, water works to provide plants with nutrients, moisture, and oxygen.
From watermelons to jalapeños and, of course, cannabis, plants thrive with the careful use of hydroponics. With a minimal footprint, 90% less water than traditional farming, and sophisticated design, hydroponic gardens allow you to grow beautiful fruits and flowers in half the time.
Hydroponic systems work by allowing precise control over environmental conditions such as temperature and pH balance and maximum exposure to nutrients and water.
Cannabis hydroponics works on a very simple principle: you give the plants exactly what they need, when they need it. Hydroponics dispenses nutrient solutions tailored to the needs of the specific plant being grown. They allow you to control exactly how much light your plants receive and for how long. You can monitor and adjust the pH. In a highly adapted and controlled environment, plant growth is accelerated.
The first thing you should probably know is that hydroponic plants grow much, much faster than plants grown in soil. This is a big advantage of this cultivation method. This is a big reason whynutritiouswithin a hydroponic system are much more readily available to plants.
The nutrients are suspended in the water and go straight to the root system, as there is no soil to navigate. In contrast, plants growing in the soil must seek out the medium to obtain nutrients from below. Easy access to nutrients allows plants to conserve energy, which is then diverted to growth efforts.
Hydroponic Cannabis Nutrients
Hydroponic gardening gives you complete control over the nutrients delivered to the root system, as well as the pH level. One advantage of hydroponic growing is that the roots can easily access nutrients without having to hunt for them. Full pH control also allows for maximum nutrient uptake by the plant. The energy saved by getting nutrients directly to the roots and maintaining a stable pH results in bigger, stronger plants.
The most notable difference between growing in soil and hydroponics is that the soil itself contains nutrients and microorganisms that benefit the plant. When you feed a plant in soil, you are replenishing nutrients and feeding microorganisms at the same time. If you don't fertilize a plant in soil, it will grow, but it won't reach its full potential.
With hydroponics, you are responsible for providing the plant with all the nutrients it needs to survive. If you neglect the nutrients the plant needs, it will die. Consequently, quality nutrients are essential when growing cannabis hydroponically, as there is no room for error.
Is hydroponics good for growing cannabis?
Have you ever seen cannabis plants that grow with their roots floating in a pool of water? This type of hydroponics is known as Deep Water Culture (DWC) and has been around for over 100 years! As more growers gain experience with this medium, DWC is becoming more and more popular for growing cannabis. Hydroponic setups are really cool and offer huge advantages over growing in soil!
Advantages of Hydro over Soil
- Plants grown in a hydroponic pond tend to grow faster in the vegetative stage, resulting in higher yields and faster harvests.
- Hydroponic cannabis buds tend to be more potent and often cost more at dispensaries
- Once a hydroponic pond is set up, it doesn't take a lot of work or time to maintain it. Instead of watering plants regularly and removing drains, with a hydropond all you need to do is dip a PH pen and top up with more water or adjust as needed.
- Less likely to get bugs
- When you grow in a reservoir you use a very efficient amount of nutrients as you only mix in new water a few times a month. And don't throw out the old water until the plant has consumed a lot of nutrients, which can save you a lot on expensive nutrients and is better for the environment (compared to draining it to the garbage).
- You have more control over nutrient levels, PPM and pH - for the mad scientists among us who want to get the most out of our plants!
Disadvantages of hydro over soil
- It takes more time and effort to set up than ground or coconut. You are providing more to the plant instead of letting the soil do some of the work for you.
- Bud grown in soil without added nutrients tends to have a stronger odor than bud grown with liquid nutrients, such as in a hydroponic setup (however, if you're trying to keep odor down, this can be an advantage).
- If you don't protect your roots by using the right supplements and equipment, your plants can suffer from root rot. Consider feeding your plants a good bacterial supplement such asHydroguard.
- Growing in soil is more intuitive for many people, and some people already have experience with soil from other types of gardening!
Types of hydroponics for cannabis
- Deep Water Culture (DWC)
DWC is an active recovery system, so there are moving parts. Of all the active hydroponic growing systems, this one is the simplest.
All you need is a mesh pot, reservoir/container, lid and pump.
Plants are grown in a mesh pot with some growing media. They are placed and held in place by the lid on top of the jar/storage container.
The roots grow out of the liquid pot and into the nutrient solution below.
An air pump helps oxygenate the water and allows the roots to breathe.
That is, this system works by immersing the plant's roots directly in the highly oxygenated nutrient solution in the reservoir.
The disadvantages of this system are that it does not work well with tall, long-growing plants. Very few plants thrive in this system other than lettuce.
- Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
This active and recreational system is a common hydroponic system that has been used by many growers for commercial growing.
Again, the N.F.T uses the submersible pump and reusable nutrient solutions. It works by constantly flowing solutions, so no timer is used. The nutrient is pumped into the growing tray (or tube) and delivered to the root systems of the plants. Once the stream reaches the end of the channel, it flows back into the reservoir through the tube pointing slightly downwards.
The roots float above the water level, are constantly wet and receive a lot of oxygen from the surrounding air.
Air stones or capillary mats should be placed in the reservoir to bring oxygen into the water and the culture tube. It also helps to keep the system running for a long time without the need for manual and frequent checks.
As no growing medium is used, the plants are usually kept in a growing basket or on a support collar.
And since there is no growing medium to retain moisture, an extended break in the nutrient solution can dry out the roots and cause the plants to die.
- ebb and flow
The active and recreational type is seen less often but is still quite effective.
How this system works is basically what it sounds like. Nutrient solutions are flooded into the root system of the plant, and then periodically drained. And the process continues.
Plants are grown in a tray/container with a growing medium. A timer is designed to turn on the pump, which forces water containing nutrient solutions in a reservoir below to rise through the tube and into the main body of the system.
Once the bowl/container is full (flooded) and the plant roots are soaked at set intervals and water levels, gravity automatically drains the solution back into the sump.
A variety of growth media can be used with this system, e.g. B. Gravel, granular rockwool, breeding stones, perlite, etc., depending on choice of hydroponic grower.
However, there is a risk of power outages or pump and timer failures, leading to dry out roots and water cycles.
- drip system
Drip systems can be active recovery or non-recovery systems.
They are among the most used types of hydroponic systems in the world, especially for commercial growers.
The main principles behind the system are quite simple yet effective, hence its popularity.
A timer is set to program the submersible pump. When the timer is on, the nutrient solution is pumped and dripped into the base of the plant through a small drip line. And with this line emitter for each plant, gardeners can set the desired amount of solution per plant.
With a recovery drip system, the nutrient solution is returned to the reservoir through the collection tray. Meanwhile, the non-recovery system does not collect leachate, which is not efficient, and this is often only used in the early days of hydroponics.
While recovery can be made more efficient and less expensive by reusing the excess solution, non-recovery requires less maintenance for the same reason that the solution is not recycled and therefore the reservoir pH is not affected. This allows you to mix the pH-regulated nutrient solution in the reservoir and forget about it until you want to refill more. Meanwhile, hydroponic gardeners need to check the pH regularly during recovery.
Because it is a drip system, a slow draining medium such as rock wool, coir or peat moss is often used.
The disadvantage of the dripper/emitter system is the clogging formed by nutrient particles that have accumulated in the emitter.
The aeroponic system is probably the most high-tech type of the six listed.
Just like the NFC system, the plant's roots are suspended freely in the air without using a growing medium.
But with aeroponics, the nutrient solution is constantly pumped and sprayed onto the root systems, rather than flowing through a canal through a thin film of nutrients.
A timer is used to control the nutrient pump, but the cycle is much shorter compared to other hydroponic types. There are typically a few minutes between each spray interval.
As the roots are in turn exposed to the air, if the spray cycle is interrupted, the roots will dry out quickly. And this system isn't as cheap and easy to set up as other types.
- wick system
This hydroponic technique is by far the most basic type of hydroponic system.
Apparently, the absorption system works by drawing nutrient solutions from the reservoir to the plants through capillary action like a wick in the growing medium. And suitable medium choices include coir, perlite or vermiculite.
The downside is that because the wick cannot create a strong jet of water and nutrient solution, it is only suitable for smaller plants and non-fruit plants such as lettuce and herbs.
In addition, the system tends to keep the growing medium moist. Too much moisture makes it difficult for plant roots to absorb oxygen. The wick system is not the most effective way to make plants hydroponic.
Configure your hydroponic cannabis growing system
There are numerous setups for hydroponic growing with different benefits, which have already been discussed here. And while there are several types of hydroponic setups that don't use growing media, many of them still use some form of substrate to support root growth.
Different materials offer slightly different advantages and disadvantages, so you might want to give some thought to choosing the right medium for your cannabis plants.
Before deciding on your preferred system, it's a good idea to start with the necessary accessories. Keep in mind that this depends on your space and the results you want. Many things can be tweaked in a hydroponic system to make it more beneficial for you. This list specifically describes the equipment needed to install your hydroponic system and does not include lights, fans, filters, and other basic grow room requirements.
Supplies for hydroponic cannabis:
- 3 or 5 gallon buckets (one for each plant)
- grow table
- clay pellets (enough to fill each bucket)
- Rockwool cubes (one 1.5-inch starter plug per plant)
- Storage container (depending on garden size)
- water pump (the bigger the better)
- air bomb
- air stone
- plastic tube
- drip line
- Drip Line Emitters (one or two per unit)
Friendly reminder; Meticulousness is the key
Looking at the different systems, media, and nutrients for hydroponics can be overwhelming. However, hydroponic systems allow you to produce robust, healthy and large plants that mature quickly, providing an ideal environment.
What cannot be overstated is that you cannot compromise on the quality of your system when growing hydroponically. Your equipment needs to be working, your media needs to be supportive and clean, and your nutrients need to be accurate. If you meet these requirements, hydroponic gardening will yield incredible results.
Now that you have an understanding of hydroponic growing, let's look at how to best use the systems and techniques for your cannabis harvest below. Stay tuned!
Be sure to leave your questions and share your hydroponic cannabis experience in the comments! We look forward to your thoughts and opinions.
Within a hydroponic setup, cannabis plants are grown in buckets or baskets filled with an inert growing medium, and are suspended over a tank full of water. The water is filled with all of the nutrients plants need to survive and thrive, and air stones are used to aerate the tank.Does marijuana do well in hydroponics? ›
What are the advantages of using hydroponics to grow cannabis? One the greatest benefits to growing cannabis hydroponically is that marijuana plants grow much, much faster – as much as 30-50% faster. Experienced growers will also attest to the larger yield and the ability to harvest more often.What does hydroponically grown cannabis mean? ›
Hydro is cannabis which is grown indoors using a hydroponic system that involves round the clock electric lighting, as well as pumping water and nutrient-rich solutions into the cannabis plant. While it is typically without soil this is not always the case. Bush weed is cannabis grown outdoors.How do commercial growers grow cannabis? ›
Cannabis is grown indoors, in greenhouses, and outdoors.
Plants may be grown in soil or hydroponically. Major cost: electricity to light grow facilities and control temperature. Growers can produce multiple crops per year using indoor growing techniques. Manipulating light levels allows for multiple crops per year.
Hydroponic farming makes it easier for the roots to absorb nutrients through the water rather than penetrating deep into the soil. This method is believed to increase yields by 40-50% more than growing indoor cannabis with soil.How long does hydroponic marijuana take? ›
Many of our customers ask us, how long does it take to grow marijuana hydroponically? Though there can be some variance in how long your specific plants will take, in many cases you can go from seed to harvest in about 4 months when growing weed hydroponically.How often should I change my hydroponic cannabis water? ›
The best time to change your hydroponic water entirely is after you've topped it off enough times to fill it fully. For an average-size hydroponic system, you'll likely need to change your water every two to three weeks.Do you yield more with hydroponics? ›
What Are the Benefits of Hydroponics? Enhanced plant yields: Hydroponic plants produce a greater yield of fruits and vegetables because in a hydroponic system plants are more densely spaced together compared to the size of land that would be needed to grow the same number of plants.What is the best method of growing cannabis? ›
The best method of growing cannabis will depend on your needs. If you're growing to sell a whole flower to a dispensary growing in a greenhouse or hydroponically indoors may be the best method for you. If you're growing for mass production and extraction you could do a hybrid approach of a greenhouse and outdoors.How much does the average cannabis grow yield? ›
What kinds of yields should cannabis growers expect? Start-ups should anticipate an average yield of 35 grams of dry cannabis flower per square foot per harvest. Established operations that have refined their genetics and cultivation protocols should expect closer to 50 to 70 grams per square foot per harvest.
Every square foot of single-level flower canopy should yield $500-$1,000 in gross revenue annually. That's based on a per-harvest yield of 50 grams of dry flower per square foot, with five harvests per year, at a wholesale value of $1,000 to $2,000 per pound.How much can you make on 1 acre of cannabis? ›
Using the average price of $1,948 per pound in Colorado, an acre of marijuana can yield more than $1.1 million per acre. Comparatively, the most widely grown crops in the U.S., including corn, soybeans, oats and wheat, all yield less than $1,000 per harvested acre.What are the basics of cannabis hydroponics? ›
Within a hydroponic setup, cannabis plants are grown in buckets or baskets filled with an inert growing medium, and are suspended over a tank full of water. The water is filled with all of the nutrients plants need to survive and thrive, and air stones are used to aerate the tank.What size pots are best for hydroponics cannabis? ›
The general rule of thumb is that the 20L pots are good for 50-60cm centres, while the 36L pots are good for 60-75cm. The same method can be applied to RAIN/AERO 15L & 30L and EasyFeed 16, 22, 30L pots. All of our systems have the option to locate the header pot outside of the grow space, maximising yield potential.Can you transplant a marijuana plant from hydroponics to soil? ›
Mist Propagation Hydroponics Systems
With the right mix of rooting hormone and fertilizer, the bottom stem of the cutting protruding from the puck eventually sprouts its own roots. At this juncture in time, the cannabis plants are ready to be transplanted into soil.
Excessively watering cannabis can have detrimental effects on the plant, including yellow and brown leaves. Overwatering can lead to leaf drop and reduced photosynthesis. All of these conditions can stress the plant and reduce its ability to produce and store energy.Should you add nutrients every time you water cannabis? ›
Soil / Coco Coir / Rockwool
Feed requirements will vary as the plant matures. Some guiding principles are: Nutrients or plain water: For coco and Rockwool, use nutrients at each watering. For soils with high capacity to retain nutrients (high CEC), it may be beneficial to use nutrients at just each alternate watering.
According to research, a cannabis plant consumes around 22.7l (or 6 gallons) of water per day during the growing season, which takes place from June to October. On the other hand, indoor cannabis cultivation may require only 2.5-2.8 gallons of water per day per plant towards the end of the growing season.What is the highest yielding hydroponic method? ›
While it's hard to say definitively, the deep water culture (DWC) system is often cited as the highest yielding hydroponic system. This is because the roots of the plant are suspended in nutrient-rich solution and are directly provided with air via an air stone or diffuser.Do hydroponic plants taste better? ›
There is a stigma about hydroponic crops having little flavor or are “watered down”, but this is no longer the case. The truth is that crops grown in a local hydroponic vertical farm are, in fact, better in taste and safer than the food you might find farmed otherwise.
A: Growing hydroponically offers a more controlled environment with faster growth, higher yields, and greater potential for nutrient uptake. However, soil-based growing can also produce high-quality weed with a more natural flavor and aroma.Can hydroponics grow mold? ›
Mold is one of the most common fungi found in a hydroponic system. The telltale sign of mold is a fuzzy, gray-white blob on the leaves, roots, or fruits of the plant. If you simply blow on the mold, you'll only spread the spores to your other plants, but if you leave it as is, your plant will die.Do hydroponics get root rot? ›
While keeping the right temperature is vital in any garden situation, it's especially true in hydroponics. The warmer your nutrient solution becomes in terms of oxygen, the less oxygen there is available for your plants. This, in turn, can make it especially easy for root rot to take hold.What is the hardest cannabis to grow? ›
- Dr. ...
- Thai. ...
- Headband. ...
- ACDC. ...
- Maui Wowie. ...
- Colombian Gold. ...
- Jack Herer. ...
- Super Lemon Haze. This variety of Sativa dominance has obtained great popularity due to the results obtained.
Feeding: This period (weeks 5 and 6) is considered peak flowering time for most cannabis strains. Make sure to keep a very close eye on your plants and look out for any signs of nutrient deficiencies or overfeeding.What is the best soil for cannabis at stores? ›
Loamy soil is a combination of sand, silt, and clay soils with added organic compounds. It is one of the best soil types for growing cannabis as it offers optimal water retention and drainage, and it's rich in nutrients and oxygen.Is cannabis a good cash crop? ›
The crop's estimated $5 billion in wholesale value puts it above multiple American staple crops like potatoes. The only crops that exceed its value are corn, soybeans, hay, wheat and cotton.What sector of cannabis is most profitable? ›
For different states, the answer may vary, and a few industries stand out. The most profitable cannabis businesses focus on the legal medical and recreational markets.Who are the most profitable cannabis companies? ›
- The largest cannabis company in the world is Green Thumb Industries, with a revenue of $1 billion.
- As of 2022, the global legal cannabis industry has a market size of $16.7 billion.
- As of 2022, 21 U.S. states allow adult marijuana use, and 37 allow for medical sales.
You might be excited to know that anyone can start investing in cannabis, starting with just $100. Many believe that it's only a matter of time before the plant is legalized in all 50 US states. If that time comes, early investors may be poised to make massive returns on their investment.
The six things needed are light, air, water, nutrients, heat and space. Hydroponic growing can be done indoors or outdoors. In either setting, plants will need five to six hours of light per day, access to electricity and an area that is level and without excessive wind.What is the best yield for hydroponic cannabis? ›
In fact, hydro setups generally can lead to a 20% increase in yield — but there's little to no room for error. Hydro growers could expect yields on the higher end to be around 1.2 grams per watt (or 720 grams of weed per 600 watts from an HPS lamp).Do bigger pots mean bigger buds? ›
Pot size will have an effect on the final yield. Put simply, a bigger pot means a bigger potential harvest.What is the best medium for hydro cannabis? ›
Rockwool is most often used in hydroponics. The roots of the plants receive support from the rockwool as drippers provide water and nutrients. Rockwool supports a sterile grow with little risk of pests, disease, and infestation.What light is best for hydroponic cannabis? ›
HID lamps are considered the most effective for growing cannabis. Compared to fluorescent lighting, you get a better ratio of yield and watts used. Another advantage of HIDs is that they are easy to use. You do not have to constantly adjust the light or change the distance to the plants.Is growing cannabis hydroponically better than traditional? ›
Q: Is hydroponic better than soil for weed? A: Growing hydroponically offers a more controlled environment with faster growth, higher yields, and greater potential for nutrient uptake. However, soil-based growing can also produce high-quality weed with a more natural flavor and aroma.What is the difference between hydroponic and soil grown cannabis? ›
Soil growing provides the plants with nutrients through minerals in the soil, while hydroponic growing is a soil-free method that provides the nutrients in a liquid form. Both methods can produce healthy cannabis plants, however, there are pros and cons to each.What is the difference between organic and hydro cannabis? ›
In soil growing, cannabis roots receive nutrients from organic matter and minerals in the soil, with help from microbes and the soil food web. In contrast, the roots of hydroponic plants extend into either air or water, receiving key nutrients through liquid solutions during constant or intermittent feeds.What is the most efficient cannabis method? ›
When it comes to the most efficient way to smoke marijuana only two devices come to mind: a one hitter and a dab rig. Popular opinion is that dabbing is the most efficient way to get high.What is the best growing medium for hydroponic cannabis? ›
When it comes to versatility, coco coir is one of the best mediums for growing cannabis. This is a soilless medium that resembles the appearance of peat moss; however, unlike peat moss, it's more eco-friendly and sustainable. Peat moss when harvested can take centuries to regrow.
There are three essential hydroponic nutrients: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium, also known as NPK. Other than these, there are other essential micronutrients and minerals like magnesium, calcium, iron, sulfur, boron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. All of these contribute to a good harvest.Does soil taste better than hydro? ›
Hydroponic produce frequently exceeds soil grown produce in terms of flavor and nutrition. This is because all of the nutrients required by the plant are immediately available when the plant needs them.What is the best store bought water for cannabis? ›
Bottled spring water is considered the best option for watering potted plants. It speeds up the growth of plants, does not have an excess of salts, and overall has the optimal amount of nutrients. Many growers note this water makes cannabis plants bloom more abundantly and for a longer time.What is the purest form of cannabis? ›
Crystallines are the purest forms of cannabis available from any marijuana dispensary. In crystallines, the THC or CBD is extracted and isolated from all other cannabinoids. This results in pure isolate crystals that have no color, flavor, or aroma. Crystallines can have up to 99.9% pure THC content.What is the best water quality for cannabis? ›
Optimal Water Quality
Marijuana plants prefer a pH of 5.5-6.5 when growing hydroponically and between 6 and 6.8 in soil. Keeping the water's pH within the respectable range allows more nutrients to be absorbed by the roots in comparison to aiming for a specific pH balance.
There is a stigma about hydroponic crops having little flavor or are “watered down”, but this is no longer the case. The truth is that crops grown in a local hydroponic vertical farm are, in fact, better in taste and safer than the food you might find farmed otherwise. It all comes down to how hydroponic farming works.How much does a hydroponic system cost? ›
Type of Hydroponic Gardens
The quality of the technology you use for your hydroponic garden can make all the difference in how much you spend. You can spend between $50 to $10,000 on a hydroponic system.
- Nutrient Intake. While figuring out the perfect blend of nutrients can be hard at first, they are much easier to control. ...
- No Pests, No Problem. ...
- More Personal Space. ...
- Setup Costs. ...
- Learning Curve. ...
- Equipment Failure.