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.
1. What is hydroponics?
The origin of growing plants in water goes back thousands of years, maybe as far back as the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. The Latin word for “water working,” hydroponics is a popular method for growing cannabis because it helps speed up growth and maximize yield. A preferred option for many indoor cannabis growers and those growing cannabis organically
, marijuana plants are grown in an inert, sterile growing medium instead of soil. This soil-free practice uses a bath or flow of highly oxygenated, nutrient enriched water. Because of its superior air to water ratio and sterile characteristics, beginners and expert cannabis growers have embraced the hydroponic method of organic growing.
2. How does hydroponics work?
Growing cannabis hydroponically uses water as the primary medium and usually uses air stones for oxygenation. Hydroponics takes the desired amount of food directly to the root instead of the plant having to work for the food in soil. Soil quality makes a big impact on your final product. With a soilless system for cannabis production such as hydroponics, you don’t have to worry if your plants are getting the desired nutrients needed. Soil is a breeding ground for unwanted pests, too. Hydroponic growing creates a hygienic cannabis environment for organic weed plants
3. 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. In a soilless environment, if the right precautions are taken, you’ll end up with an organic cannabis crop with a higher potency and better smell and taste, too.
4. How do I get started?
The key to starting off with hydroponic growing for beginners is to start off simple. Hydroponics, with all its moving parts can look scary and be intimidating. Buy only what you need and be sure to choose a hydroponic-friendly cannabis strain. Next pick a growing medium that replaces soil such as:
- Coco Coir – coconut fiber
- Rockwool – volcanic rock with a wool texture
- Perlite – volcanic glass
- Clay Pebbles – preferably pre-altered to protect pH levels
Then choose a hydroponic setup that you can monitor and maintain effectively:
- Ebb and Flow – The most popular method used to grow cannabis is the Ebb and Flow hydroponic system for its simplicity, efficiency and effectiveness. A reservoir containing a nutrient solution is located below a growing tray. The nutrient solution is pumped just below the top of the growing medium for a predetermined amount of time (usually seconds) using a timer. The solution drains back into the reservoir over the course of about 30 minutes. Then the process repeats itself over and over again. Water and nutrients “flow” and drain or “ebb” freely in and out, pulling a fresh supply of oxygen to the plants’ roots.
- Deep Water/Direct Water Culture – A cheap and easy option for the beginner, this method consists of plants whose roots are encased in a grow pot/bucket that is suspended from a lid with the roots hanging into the nutrient solution in the reservoir container. An air pump aerates the nutrient solution.
- Drip System – Similar to drip irrigation when growing in soil, this system uses a large tray filled with your growing medium with plants placed directly into the medium. Each plant has a nearby drip pipe where an external water tank pumps a constant supply of water and nutrients over each plant.
- Wick System – Using a growing tray like above, a tank of water underneath the tray uses several wicks that exit and enter the growing medium. Water travels up the wicks and hydrates the medium then heads back out another wick to repeat the process.
- Nutrient Film Technique – This involves placing plants in a sloped container so water can enter at one side and use gravity to exit out the other. The roots dangle allowing the nutrient solution to return back to the tank to begin the process again.
5. What steps are important to ensure success in growing cannabis hydroponically?
Step 1: It is critical you choose the right strain upfront for hydroponic cannabis. Because the plants will grow faster and larger, more compact strains are ideal for indoor hydroponic growing so you don’t have to worry about space issues.
Step 2: Regularly test the pH levels. The more acidic the better for improved nutrient delivery. Optimum pH is 5.5-5.8 and once flowering begins, a pH of 6 is best.
Step 3: Using a thermometer, check that the water temperature is always near 20°C or 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Step 4: Purchase hydroponic nutrient solutions to ensure you are getting the required substances for both the vegetation and blooming stages. Follow instructions for frequency and dilution.
: Keep things clean and contaminant free. To grow hydroponically, cannabis growers need to control the entire atmosphere within the hydroponic environment to produce a superior marijuana crop
. That’s where GrowFloor® comes in!
How Can GrowFloor® greenhouse and grow room flooring help hydroponic growing?
Smart growers of indoor hydroponic cannabis turn to GrowFloor® vinyl hydroponic flooring and greenhouse and grow room floor covering to help create a clean environment for their plants to thrive. Constructed in the USA of 100% premium, waterproof polyvinyl, GrowFloor creates an air-tight, sterile, lab-like surrounding to produce organic crops and a perfect harvest. GrowFloor seals and locks out plant harming microbes, bacteria, mold and mildew. This DIY roll out greenhouse flooring comes with an Absolute White ceramic surface and high-gloss top coat to make spotting contaminants even easier when tracked in from outdoors.
GrowFloor greenhouse and growroom floor covering can actually help enhance the indoor hydroponic growing process. It increases overall lighting efficiency, insulates and cuts cooling costs. GrowFloor is easy to clean with a hose or household/vinyl-safe cleaner. It won’t scratch, tear, peel or curl even under heavy water tanks and excessive use. GrowFloor is cost-efficient grow room floor protection that is repositionable, reusable and recyclable and won’t need replacement for years.
Pair GrowFloor with companion GrowWall™ hydroponic wall covering for the ultimate hydroponic growing experience!