Hydroponics is a relatively common method for growing cannabis, and there are some advantages to going this route. “Hydroponics” mainly refers to a method for growing plants where nutrients are delivered to the roots using water instead of soil. A hydroponic grow can be either indoors or outdoors.
There are tons of different ways to build a hydroponic grow operation. But no matter what a hydroponic setup looks like, it’s based on a system for getting nutrients to the plant by using water.
What You Need
- Cannabis Seeds or Clones.
- High-quality hydroponic nutrients.
- We recommend using Fox Farms Hydroponic Liquid Nutrient trio and following the included instructions exactly.
- Pots to put your plants in.
- We recommend getting 1–5 gallon (3.8–18.9 L) pots depending on the size of your grow area and how big you want your plants to grow.
- Coco coir (mixed half and half with perlite for the best results).
- CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights).
- A timer to make your lights go on and off when you want.
- A pH testing kit.
- No soil is required, making the entire process easier and cleaner.
- No pollution of food released into the environment.
- Amplified plant growth.
- No occurrence of dry spots or drowning of the root.
- Water in the system is reusable, reducing your costs.
- Manage nutrition levels as a whole, reducing cost and producing more potent formula.
- No laborious “repotting.” Sanitized and potent crops.
- Pests and diseases can be easily spotted and removed.
- Discreet – hydroponics can be used anyplace indoors. Reliable
- Cost may vary greatly.
- Regular maintenance is needed.
- Close supervision regarding ph and ppm levels.
- Power consumption.
- Faulty nutrient supply.
- As the plants get taller and start blooming, you may need to get a couple more CFLs to light them from the sides.
- If you notice that just the tips of your leaves start turning yellow or brown, then your plant is showing the first signs of nutrient burn (too many nutrients). If this happens, feed the plants with half-strength nutrients for a week or so then slowly go back to normal.
- Some strains of cannabis can soak up a lot of nutrients, while certain others are prone to nutrient burn. A plant can also show signs of nutrient burn if you don’t maintain the right pH, so make sure to always pH your water!
- In most places, you can purchase seeds online which will get shipped to your door.
- However, it’s up to you to determine whether it’s legal or not for you to grow marijuana where you live.
- These days, many places are decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing medical marijuana, so make sure to look into what laws apply to you.
- Most new growers tend to harvest their plants too early because of excitement.
- Your buds will gain about 25% of their final size in the last two weeks, so it’s important to try to be patient and wait until the right time.
- Buds that are harvested too early are also often too ‘edgy’ for some people.
- As the buds develop, they start producing chemicals which tend to be more relaxing and ‘stonier’.
- Many people like to cut off only a few pieces of their plant at a time and let the rest of the plant keep growing.
- This will allow you to test out the bud at different stages.
With all that said, here are some of the best benefits to growing cannabis using hydroponics.
Probably the most significant advantage of using a hydroponic system is that you get much more control over what happens to your plants. You control the growing medium. You control the nutrients and oxygen getting to your roots. And if you’re growing indoors, you can even control the light and temperature.
2. Faster & Bigger Yields
If a hydroponic system is done right, you can achieve larger and faster yields from your plants. That’s because hydroponics lets you deliver the perfect mix and amount of nutrients right to your plants’ roots. A good hydroponic system also gives the roots plenty of oxygen, and will use the ideal pH. All of this adds up to the perfect growing environment for big crops.
Since you’re growing your cannabis plants in a specially built system that doesn’t include soil, there should be no reason for your plants to share their space with unwanted weeds.
With a hydroponic system, you’ve got enough control over your growing environment that you can usually reduce the risk of insects and other pests. This is especially true if you’re growing indoors. If you’re growing outdoors, you still may have to fight off the pests. But the control that hydroponics gives you makes it easier to keep your plants pest-free.
5. All year long
A good hydroponic setup lets you grow cannabis all year long. If you’re growing indoors, you can keep your system going 12 months a year. And if you’re growing outdoors, just move your setup indoors once it gets cold and dark during the winter months.
6. Healthy inputs
When you grow hydroponically, you know exactly what’s going into your plants. And that includes everything from the stuff they’re planted in, to the nutrients they get as they grow. Hydroponics ensures that you’re not growing in contaminated soil or getting any nasty runoff from the surrounding area.
You can design your hydroponic grow to meet your specific needs. When you grow this way, you’re not locked into bending over all the time to tend to your plants. With a little creativity, you can create a hydroponic setup that will be super easy to use. And that will make the entire project of growing your cannabis more enjoyable.
8. More efficient use of water
It might sound a little counterintuitive, but hydroponics use less water than growing plants in soil. One study found that hydroponic plants can use somewhere around 35% less water than soil-grown plants. When you water plants in the ground, a lot of that water runs off into parts of the soil that don’t feed your plants’ roots. And when you water plants in pots a lot of the water trickles through the soil and drains out the bottom. But with a hydroponics setup, you’re delivering water straight to the plant.
9. Saves space
Since hydroponics creates such a precise growing environment, it usually ends up taking less space to grow cannabis plants this way than it would if you planted them in the ground. Just use whatever space is needed to properly deliver nutrients, oxygen, and water to the plants’ roots. There are even designs for growing vertically to save even more space.
10. Easier to monitor and automate
With a hydroponics setup, it’s easier to monitor the variables that go into producing a truly killer crop of cannabis. Direct access to the water, growing medium, and plant food that’s going into your cannabis makes it easier to track things like PH levels and nutrient deficiencies. There are even apps designed to help track your plants’ progress from seed to harvest. All of this lets you stay on top of how well your plants are doing so you can ensure the best possible results.
Final Hit: Hydroponics: 10 Advantages to Growing Weed Hydroponically
While hydroponics gives you all sorts of new ways to grow cannabis, it isn’t automatically or always the best way to grow. In fact, there are a lot of people who say that the best cannabis comes from plants that are grown outdoors in the sun, soil, and open air. In the end, it depends on what you’re looking for out of your cannabis growing experience. But either way, hydroponics will always be a solid way to grow. There’s just no competing with the amount of control this method gives you.