If you’ve been growing cannabis indoors and want to improve your potency and yield, you have more than likely been considering the use of hydroponics to grow marijuana. Here’s what you need to know to have the best success.
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5 Important Steps to Grow Cannabis Hydroponically and Harvest the Best Bud and Crop.
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Hydroponic growing is a horticultural method for growing crops, including cannabis, without the use of soil. In place of soil, growers use a mineral nutrient solution in a water-based solvent. Occasionally, growers may also use clay pebbles and sand.
A hydroponic garden may exhibit a growth rate that is between 30% and 50% faster than that of a soil plant. The combination of nutrients, water, and oxygen in the roots are responsible for this faster rate of growth in hydroponic systems.
A dedicated space indoors is the best location to grow hydroponics at home. In addition to the hydroponics system, you can furnish your garden with supplemental grow lights to maximize the health and volume of the cannabis harvest.
What is hydroponic growing?
Technology: Hydroponics is a good method for the tech-savvy cultivator who understands that a power outage can spell disaster. Even if the system runs on a back-up generator, an extended outage could leave you watering your garden and administering plant food by hand.
Potency: Once you harvest the buds, there’s a good chance they’ll be more potent than if you had grown them in soil. Some dispensaries even charge a premium for buds grown in hydroponic systems.
Some benefits of hydroponic growing are easier nutrient delivery, faster growth rate, water conservation, space saving, and year-round growing. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.
For outdoor growing at home, a sunlit patio or deck make ideal locations. But if you live in a cold climate, it would be better to keep your hydroponic cannabis garden inside. Otherwise, the plants will be subjected to the elements and vital water could evaporate if you do not consistently monitor nutrient solution levels.
If the pros of hydroponics outweigh the cons, you may be ready to try your hand at employing this growing medium in your home.
As many benefits as hydroponic systems offer, the growing medium also comes with some potential disadvantages.
How does hydroponic growing work?
Water conservation: In rain-deprived places like California, water conservation is crucial. A hydroponics system may use 20 times less water than traditional soil cultivation. Water in this type of growing medium can be reused, meaning that none goes to waste.
Clean and green: There’s no need for pesticides in the sterile environment of a hydroponic garden, so you can go green and organic when raising cannabis plants.
While a soil-based garden may be easier to start, hydroponics facilitate easier nourishing of cannabis plants over time. Nutrient solutions allow for more precise dosing and direct feeding of the plants in a hydroponic grow system. The roots of the plant directly absorb the administered nutrients, often making growth an easier and more efficient process. Plus, once you’ve set up the hydro system reservoir, there’s not much maintenance to worry about.
Monitoring: Part of the time investment involves near-constant monitoring of the garden to ensure the health of the plants. If one cannabis plant in a hydroponics system becomes diseased, the entire crop may fail and die. Damaging microorganisms also thrive in wet environments and could threaten the health of the plants before harvest time.
What are the drawbacks of hydroponic systems?
It can be time-consuming and expensive for those setting up hydroponic systems for the first time. There are two other main drawbacks to consider before trying this growing medium.
A good water-based nutrient solution forms the basis of all hydroponic systems. Like other growing mediums, hydroponics requires the other building blocks of ample light, air, and space.
Before you get started, you’ll need to gather the following supplies:
Hydroponic growing is a horticultural method for growing crops, including cannabis, without the use of soil. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps.
Space saving: A hydroponics system is a major space saver that may require 20% less room than soil cultivation.
This article was co-authored by Lauren Kurtz. Lauren Kurtz is a Naturalist and Horticultural Specialist. Lauren has worked for Aurora, Colorado managing the Water-Wise Garden at Aurora Municipal Center for the Water Conservation Department. She earned a BA in Environmental and Sustainability Studies from Western Michigan University in 2014.
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Whether you call it weed, cannabis, pot, marijuana, or something else, the plant known as Cannabis sativa is actually easy to grow at home when you know what you need to do. Growing hydroponically will provide you with higher yields and a shorter grow time compared to growing in soil, but it can often be difficult for the beginning grower to get started with hydroponics. However, most people think of plants growing in water when they think “hydroponics” but actually your plants will get many of the benefits of hydroponics as long as they’re getting their nutrients directly in their water supply. However because of superior air to water ratio in hydroponics, it remains the industry standard. This tutorial will show you step-by-step how to grow your marijuana in 3-4 months using the (arguably) easiest hydroponic method: hand-watering in a soil-less medium.