Growing cannabis in a hydroponic system can be very simple depending on which medium you use. The main difference between media lies in how often they have to be watered. The most common media of choice are coco and rockwool, other popular choices include hydroton clay pellets, perlite and mapito. The same general rules apply for all of these media. Most nutrient companies also sell products that are specifically designed for this medium, allowing you to skip a lot of guesswork.
You should consider a number of things in your hydroponic system design, the main thing being how you intend to water all your plants. With the exception of Deep Water Culture DWC , hydroponically grown cannabis plants will require much more frequent waterings and feedings than soil grown plants. Most hydroponic growers use digital watering systems that automatically feed plants every day or multiple times per day. Does your plant count warrant using a reservoir and drip system, or is your setup manageable enough that you can hand water?
If you only have a small setup with a few plants it is usually easier to mix your nutrient solution every time you water. The most reliable ways to deliver these nutrients are top feeding through a drip line or bottom feeding through a flood and drain setup. Make sure your reservoir is always properly aerated by using an air pump with one or more air stones. A simple aquarium pump will add plenty of oxygen, keep the water moving and prevent algae, mold and harmful bacteria from growing in your reservoir.
Mixing your nutrient solution is a simple process, but has to be done accurately. In a normal workflow you would fill up your reservoir or watering can with preferably reverse osmosis water, add nutrients and possible additives and finally adjust the pH. The ingredients for a basic nutrient solution are: Overfeeding can shock a cannabis for days if not weeks and basically cripple a plant, while plants can go without nutrients for days without any health problems. Having a bit of faith in your nutrient companies of choice is one thing, but you should always be aware that your tap water can be very different then theirs.
We recommend getting an EC or ppm meter so that you can accurately compare nutrient concentrations between different feeding solutions.
Growing marijuana hydroponically simply means that you grow the plants in an . are easily measured and maintained, so plants always have enough to eat. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Author of The Hydroponic BIble; Destroy Your Life U.S. Marijuana Law.
If you decide to go with a hydroponics system over soil, you will not be disappointed as the results are nothing short of incredible. Hydroponics have become massively popular among modern cannabis growers today. Now that you have chosen your ideal grow location, you will now need a hydroponic system, also commonly referred to as a Hydroponic Garden.
There are different types of hydroponic systems available to marijuana growers today. Hydroponic systems are distinguished by the way that the nutrients are applied. Passive systems have no moving parts, so seldom does anything break or malfunction. These passive systems rely on capillary action to transfer nutrients to roots from the reservoir to the grow medium via a pump. Growing mediums such a peat moss and vermiculite are ideal for passive systems.
Low initial cost, and low maintenance are the main reasons why growers choose passive systems. Active hydroponic systems actively move the nutrient solution. Active hydroponic systems use growing mediums that drain rapidly and hold plenty of air such as expanded clay, pummus rock, rockwool and coconut fiber.
Keep in mind the NFT and Aeroponic systems are the most efficient types of systems, but they are the hardest to maintain and the most expensive. The Ebb and Flow system is currently the most popular hydroponic method for growing weed. It will produce potent quick-flowering crops and is easy to use!
This is an all-in-one system. The growing bed can usually hold about 2 inches of nutrient solution. Nutrient solution is then pumped onto the table or growing bed, flooding the medium from the bottom up while also pushing out oxygen. An ebb and flow system uses a timer to activate a pump that periodically floods the plants grow medium with nutrient solution and then drains the solution out.
Often these system are designed using two plastic tubs, one sitting in another. The bottom tub contains the nutrient solution reservoir, the water pump, and an air stone more oxygen means healthier roots and the top tub or tray contains the plants. A single hole in the top tub allows the pump tubing into the tub, when the pump shuts off or in the event of a pump failure the water drains right back down the hole it came out of.
It is usually best to put another hole where it will drain down to the bottom tub at the highest level you want the water to reach. A system like this can run at different intervals depending on the grow medium you use but a common choice is 15min on and off cycles, or 30 minute on and off cycles.
Be very careful with a system like this. If a pump failure is not detected plants can die in a very short time period. An NFT system is an all-in-one package system. The reservoir that holds the pump and nutrient solution is contained within the same system. This enables a constant flow of aiirated nutrients to the roots located in gullys and the runoff nutrient solution is then directed back into the reservoir.
These systems tend to be flat, and long. NFT generally involves plants potted so their roots dangle down into a thin film of constantly running nutrient solution. This technique can work well for large scale hydroponic growing operations but if the nutrient film is interrupted it can be devastating. Seedlings or cuttings with a strong root system are placed on capillary matting located on the bottom of covered channels. Constantly aerated nutrient solution flows down the channel gully over and around the roots and back to the reservoir.
Only growers with a year or so more of experience should try growing with a Nutrient Film Technique setup, as they tend to be quite tricky! The Drip Irrigation System is another all in one system that feeds each plant individually. Each plant is located in separate chambers where the nutrients are fed to the medium by means of a small dripper.
Growing in a deep water culture system is easy and productive. The benefits of using this system is that it is very cheap to assemble and it provides pretty good growth rates. As you will see, the bubbler is also a very fun rewarding way to grow some serious buds. A Bubbler, as complicated as it may sound, is actual quite simple.
Seedlings or clones are held in net pots in expanded clay pellets, rockwool, or another growing medium. The net pots are nestled in holes in a lid that covers the reservoir. While the roots of seedlings and cuttings dangle down into the nutrient solution, a submersible pump lifts nutrient solution to the top of a discharge tube where it splashes into the access lid. Nutrient solution then cascades down, wetting the roots and splashing back into the self-contained reservoir below, aka it BUBBLES constantly.
The potential of this little hydroponics system is awesome — it can grow a plant from 5 ft. That is, if you maintain it properly. A deep water culture setup is excellent for the personal use marijuana grower. Starting marijuana seeds for this popular cannabis growing method is rather easy. This system is excellent for germinating marijuana seeds.
Start with standard rockwool cubes.
Soak them in water. Get your marijuana seeds ready. When your cubes have soaked up enough water take them to a bathtub. Give them 2 or 3 hardy shakes. A few hard shakes will release plenty of water, making air pockets within the cube itself. These air pockets are very important for marijuana seed growth.
By shaking out the cube you keep your marijuana seed from drowning to death too much moisture will kill delicate little marijuana seedlings. Poke the marijuana seed in the rockwool cube where the hole is pre-made. Carefully squeeze the hole closed and place in a humidity dome. Warmth will speed up the process considerably. Leave plenty of space for the roots to grow. It might take a few times to master, but use the free marijuana seeds most marijuana seed banks offer to learn on.
These free marijuana seeds are excellent way to learn germination without possibly ruining the best marijuana seeds you actually want to grow. Deep Water Culture is excellent for the personal use marijuana grower who plants a few marijuana seeds. The method of gardening cannabis is known to produce very heavy yields.
These systems consist of pots used for growing one plant at a time. You can also feed them by hand. The nutrients are fed into the bottom of the pot until they reach the roots, then the roots suck up the nutrients until dry, where more nutrient solution is then added and the cycle continues. These Hydroponic Systems are ideal for the grower who wishes to grow very large bushy cannabis plants in a simple standalone unit.
Wick systems and Hempy buckets are very similar. In a wick system a pot with medium has a wick placed down it that extends down into a reservoir and draws up nutrients via capillary action as they are needed or water evaporates. This is much like the way a lantern or wick lighter works, drawing flammable fluid up the wick to be burned until it is exhausted. Depending on the medium and size of the medium used it may not be needed but it is common to glue a piece of plastic screening over the hole on the inside of the bucket.
This bucket is then filled with a mixture of perlite and vermiculite popular mixes are 3 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite and 1 part vermiculite to 1 part perlite. The bucket is then watered with full strength nutrient solution every days, you water until nutrient comes out the hole in the bottom. This flushes out any built up nutrient salts with every watering assuring that you have a perfect balance.
A hempy is as simple as hydroponics gets and is capable of producing the same yields and quality output as other more complex hydroponic systems. Because it allowed to mostly dry between waterings and pulls nutrients up via perlite wicking the roots are very well oxygenated. Since fresh nutrient is added every days there is no reservoir to become imbalanced. Plants can drink all the nutrient they want just as in other hydroponic systems. The hempy system has the advantage that because it is simple there are fewer mistakes to be made. Also important is the fact that the hempy bucket has no pumps of any kind that can fail without you noticing.
Hempy buckets can be used in a greenhouse outdoors with no power at all. Like a soil grow the medium retains moisture so you can leave the bucket for up to a week with no adverse affects. The downfalls compared with other hydroponic systems are that plants must be moved one by one in buckets if moved. You also must water a hempy bucket by hand every days and with a large number of plants that can become very labor intensive. For instance, for someone who could not carry a five gallon bucket filled with water a hempy installation of more than plants would probably be unmanageable unless the water source was very close by.
Because you flush out the nutrient solution and any unused nutrients in it every few days the hemp bucket also requires more nutrients than other hydroponic methods. Aeroponics are an extremely efficient hydroponics systems. Expert growers unanimously agree, these are the best systems money can buy. Aeroponic systems are very expensive and generally are only used by professional growers.
They offer the highest performance possible featuring unsurpassed plant growth, resin, potency and yields with incredible aromatics and taste. They also require heavy maintenance and great attention to detail. Aeroponic systems require extremely close monitoring of pH and ppm levels and have a total reliance on constant electricity. Aeroponics is a relatively new technique. Like in NFT, plants are suspended over the nutrients, but instead of a film of moving nutrients there are instead air stones spread under the roots in the nutrients that highly oxygenates them and produces bubbles.
The bubbles burst and splash the roots with highly oxygenated nutrient solution. This can stimulate very impressive root growth, which leads to unbelievable bud growth. This type of system is very often used for maintaining small clones. There is no growing medium to act as a water nutrient bank, which makes the system very delicate to use. The plants are grown in a medium that is placed into slots along a long tube. Roots are suspended in a dark chamber without growing medium where they are misted with oxygen rich nutrient solution at regular intervals.
If the pump fails roots will soon dry and plants will suffer almost immediately. Tubes can vary in length anywhere from 1 meter to 20 meters! Looking inside the tube we will discover nozzles which mist down the roots of each plant with grow nutrients. The nutrient-filled reservoir is kept outside the tube in a tank. The nutrients are pumped from the tank into and out of the nozzles and then the remaining solution that drips down from the plants is drained into another tank that is monitored and modified before being recycled and used again.
Well, Stealth Hydro has done it again and came up with a solution for modern day growers. Many growers right now are raving about their newly developed Bubbleponics line. Bubbleponics is a hybrid design that takes the best from both worlds of the bubbler and drip systems. Since the nutrient mix is highly oxygenated, Bubbleponics converts its drip function to a constant feed flow directly to the inner roots.
Without needing to take breaks to allow the root base to drain and absorb oxygen, plants in the Bubbleponics system are able to deliver unparalleled growth energy. Cuttings placed into the system experience no noticeable transplant shock and practically start growing immediately. As the root mass of the respective plants grow larger, growth rate advantages were less evident, however, the plants in the Bubbleponics planter maintained their day lead over the Aeroponic plants throughout the entire cycle.
In a series of stress tests, plants in the Bubbleponics system performed remarkably when recovering from an over-fertilized condition. None of the other plants in the Aeroponic products survived this stress test. The tests concluded that the Bubbleponics system provided significant recovery advantages over other systems when it came to anything that stressed or killed that root mass.
The Bubbleponics system is great for the grower who is turned on to the incredible benefits hydroponic systems offer growers, but turned off from the heavy maintenance and complicated operation involved. Stealth Hydro has designed their Bubbleponics line with ease of use in mind. Considering that there are no timers to set and tweak for the water pump, and that the unit is totally self contained and mobile, this is one of the simplest hydroponic designs most growers report they have ever used.
From setup to final clean up, bar none, one of the best high speed hydroponic systems on the market. Before you make your final decision on what type of hydroponic system you are going to use, consider these last crucial factors: It is important with any hydroponic system to remember that unlike with soil, there is no buffer. Roots need high oxygen levels or they will rot. And remember that plants need ample space to grow and should never be planted where their roots will intermingle. If you can effectively monitor and maintain a hydroponic system, go for it.
You will not be disappointed. They are incredibly fun systems to grow some awesome weed in. Hands down the single most important aspect of Hydroponics. The importance of clean fresh air or oxygen in the water is critical for vigorous plant growth aka dense heavy big resin-rich potent buds! Add an air pump. The addition of a 2nd air stone can make a significant difference in the speed of growth.
You can use a plastic T-coupler so you can add a second stone to the one air pump. Your plants will thank you. Refer to the Lighting section, same rules apply. You should be able to grow about 4 to 12 plants at a time. Anything bigger next standard size is watts and you are going to draw a lot of electricity. Anything smaller will limit the size of your garden to one or two plants.
Hydroponic grow mediums exist to provide a stable base for your plant to grow its roots through and to hold up the weight of the plant. Over the years many substances have been found to fill this role and they have different properties. Often a grower will use one or more of these mediums depending on the methods he has chosen for growing and the desired properties of the medium in the container being used.
Remember the media will not provide any nutrition, it is just a support for the roots. All nutrition comes from the hydroponic solution. Also keep in mind rockwool and other media may have to be soaked in pH adjusted water prior to use, especially when seeds are involved. Grow mediums are designed to be the perfect substance for your plants will take root in. Growing mediums such as rockwool or clay pebbles are the most popular and commonly used today.
Grow mediums are artificial grow substances designed to contain all the plants mineral needs and allow air to reach the roots to promote exceptional growth. Rockwool is the most widely used. Rockwool is literally spun rock; the rock is spun into a material that looks similar to the spun glass used for insulation. Most growers are using rockwool in some form. If allowed free drainage rockwool will retain just the right amount of moisture.
Rockwool comes in multiple sizes of cube. Some of the large blocks have holes in them to make it easy to insert the small plugs or cubes you used to clone the plant directly into the larger block. Rockwool must be completely submerged in water for 8hrs prior to use in order to remove any air bubbles in the medium. Rockwool cubes can be reused several times, and are pre-made for use with hydroponic systems.
Perlite is nice, since it is so light. Perlite can be used instead of or in addition to lava, which must be rinsed and is much heavier. They are also excellent for cloning. A lot of growers also use rockwool cubes for seed germination and rooting cuttings, as this is one of the easiest methods. Rockwool has many advantages. It is also impossible to over water and there is no transplanting involved. Rockwool holds 10 times more water than soil, yet is impossible to over-water.
This is because it always retains a high percentage of air. There is no transplanting — just place a starter cube into a rockwool grow cube, and when the plant gets very large, place that cube on a rockwool slab. Since rockwool is easily reused over and over, the cost is divided by 3 or 4 crops, and ends up costing no more than vermiculite and lava, which is much more difficult to reclaim, sterilize and reuse repot when compared to rockwool. Vermiculite is also very dangerous when dry, and ends up getting in the carpet and into the air when you touch it even wet , since it dries on the fingers and becomes airborne.
For this reason, I do not recommend vermiculite when growing indoors. The thing is, it has a base alkaline pH, so you must use something in the nutrient solution to make it acidic 5. And it is irritating to the skin when dry, but is not a problem when wet. To pre-treat rockwool for planting, soak it in a solution of fish emulsion, trace mineral solution and phosphoresic acid pH Down for a minimum of 24 hours, then rinse. This will decrease the need for pH concerns later on, as it buffers the rockwool pH to be neutral.
You must do this. After check the pH of the medium every time you water to be sure no pH issues are occurring. Hydroton clay pellets are also very effective and quite popular. Be sure to occasionally move them around so that the hydroton stays wet all the way through. Hydroton consists of lava rock or clay pellets that are available in different sizes and usually have a red coating on the outside.
This inert medium is effective in continuous drip and ebb and flow systems. It is also an excellent choice anywhere you need drainage and some have used it for the bottom couple of inches of a hempy bucket to facilitate free drainage. Soil is actually a composite of a number of substances and varies from on location to another. It is typically composed of rock, sand, clay, and organics. Organics are decomposed plant and animal matter and provide the nutrient content that is contained in soil, clay binds soil together and retains moisture, rocks and sand provide drainage to allow for root oxygenation.
Additionally soil is usually teaming with microorganisms that are feeding on and breaking down the organics contained within it. When growing a potted plant indoors you will probably want to mix perlite with your soil to enhance moisture retention. It is also highly recommended that potting soil be used in a pot rather than soil that you have dug up from the ground. A potting mix can be more carefully designed for optimal plant health and the soil outside will contain many unwanted forms of insect life that can, and will, infect and kill your plants.
Another common concern with soil is that potting soils often already have fertilizers in them in addition to the nutrients contained in the organics. In general, try to avoid potting soils with time release nutrients. If you do purchase a bag, be aware that the plant will not need any nutrients for a period of time.
Perlite is a porous white substance that is very absorbent and excellent at retaining and wicking moisture. Perlite is often used for cloning and mixing with other grow mediums, but it can also be used on its own. Growers who use perlite as a sole grow medium will often purchase large coarse chunks rather than the smaller porous perlite that is more readily available in most areas.
It is not recommended to use perlite in a circulating system because the fine dust that comes off the perlite will clog pumps over time. The same fine dust brings a recommendation that when handling perlite you utilize a respirator device so that the dust does not harm your lungs. This expansion is due to the presence of two to six percent combined water in the crude perlite rock which causes the perlite to pop in a manner similar to that of popcorn.
When expanded, each granular, snow-white particle of perlite is sterile with a neutral pH and contains many tiny, closed cells or bubbles. The surface of each particle is covered with tiny cavities which provide an extremely large surface area. These surfaces hold moisture and nutrients and make them available to plant roots. In addition, because of the physical shape of each particle, air passages are formed which provide optimum aeration and drainage.
Because perlite is sterile, it is free of disease, seeds, and insects. Perlite has been used for many years throughout the world for soil conditioning and as a component of growing mixes with materials such as peat moss or bark. Extensive studies have shown that the unique capillary action of perlite makes it a superior growing media for a hydroponic growth medium.
Perlite is a completely inert substance so will not interfere with your feeding schedules. That being said, there are some manufacturers that put nutrients in their brand of perlite even though it is not indicated on the product label. This material can be used but should be flushed thoroughly with water to wash out the nutrients. Perlite should be washed anyway to remove the fine dust that builds up in it. Vermiculite is a crushed volcanic rock medium that provides excellent drainage when mixed with other grow mediums. Vermiculite is inert but is not particularly suitable for use as a grow medium by itself.
It consists of any of various micaceous minerals that are hydrous silicates resulting usually from expansion of the granules of mica at high temperatures to give a lightweight highly water-absorbent material that both is sterile and light in weight 5 to 8 lbs.
It is also an excellent choice anywhere you need drainage and some have used it for the bottom couple of inches of a hempy bucket to facilitate free drainage. One of the most common problems reported with hydroponics is plant burns. A simple aquarium pump will add plenty of oxygen, keep the water moving and prevent algae, mold and harmful bacteria from growing in your reservoir. While soil contains nutrition, bacteria and fungi that promote plant growth, hydroponic grow media contain absolutely nothing. At this point, most elements are assimilated highest and atmospheric oxygen is most readily dissolved.
The pH of vermiculite will vary depending on where it is mined. Vermiculite is used extensively in the greenhouse industry as a component of mixes or in propagation. It is usually sold in four size grades: The finer grades are used extensively for seed germination or to topdress seed flats. Expanded vermiculite should not be pressed or compacted, especially when wet, as this will destroy the desirable physical properties. Yours is the type of comment why we are making this blog.
We are so happy to know that we are helping you! As you said, this can be a hobby that can last a whole lifetime. I myself find it very hard to explain with words the passion I have for growing cannabis. Have you ever tried automated feeding with coco? Should do it, results are awesome. It basically consists in a setup like this one.
This all seems really complicated. Is there not a single tool that can measure, monitor and control this all for me? We have a wide range of hydroponic and aeroponic systems either single pots or multi-pot kits. We also offer you many pH and Ec meters , from the basic ones to systems that automatically regulate these values. Using this systems makes everything much easier, since almost everything is automated. The only thing you have to do is preparing the nutrient solution every days, and monitoring the temperature and humidity level of the growroom which can also be done automatically using thermostats and humidity controllers.
It may seem complicated at the beginning, but growing hydroponically is much easier than any novice would think. Always keep in mind that, the bigger the plant, the more water it needs, so you can be sure that your plants will need much more water at the end of flowering that during the pre-flowering stage. Check your substrate and increase the number of irrigations — or the amount of water per irrigation — if necessary.
Always make sure that your water pump is completely covered with water, otherwise it can overheat. I guess my first mistake was to start off with a DWC hydro system. But being a reasonably intelligent person who can read and follow directions I thought that I should be able to do it. Boy seems that I was wrong. On my first try I believe that it was my inability to keep the pH level down that caused the loss of my seeds.
Seems like you should check the moisture level in your rock wool cubes. If you find the rock wools too wet, you can germinate your seeds first in your rock wool cubes and once they have sprouted and you have small seedlings put them in your DWC system. Are you using nutrients already? If so, what EC level? I guess your pH level is around 5. Watering frequency mostly depends on the chosen substrate and the growth state of the plants.
In coco coir , you can water your plants minutes times a day always with the lights on. As your plants get bigger, you can increase either the waterings or their duration. Hi good people of earth. Just set up hydro tent. About 2 to 3 mins? In the the h2o? Your plants will need more water and nutrients as they grow.
Other than that, the plants are very healthy.