There are two major ways in which you can grow marijuana. The first is using soil as a medium of growth, and the second is non-soil growth. In soil-based growth, you provide water to your plants on limited occasions. In a non-soil medium, there can be a constant flow of water around your plants which carries a nutrient solution in it.
Now you might be wondering, if it is so easy to grow weed in soil, why would one want to switch to a setup that is as elaborated and as complicated as a hydroponic model? The answer lies in the simple fact that hydroponic growth is generally much faster than regular soil-based growth. In fact, marijuana plants even grow bigger and produce more yield when you grow them using hydroponic techniques. When we say that the plants grow faster, it is a significant boost – an improvement of about 30 to 50% compared to regular growth.
This happens because of better access to nutrients. In a hydroponic system, the roots don’t have to wait for the water to reach them and they don’t even have to seek out water like they would in a soil-based system. The nutrient-rich solution is always in contact with the roots and there’s constant access to the plants. This ensures that plants have a constant source of energy and growth and hence grow faster. Hydroponic marijuana is generally considered ‘purer’ to smoke by stoners.
You can further boost this process by using the right LED grow lights and providing the right kind of lighting hours to your plant. Besides, choosing the right nutrients will also give them another major boost. There are a number of other factors that are also responsible for a better growth which we will cover below:
Growing Hydroponic Marijuana Plants: A Guide
While at first glance, it might look like a daunting task to grow weed using hydroponics, but it isn’t really that hard.
Choosing the Seeds
First up, you need to get the right seeds. Not all strains respond well to hydroponic growth. While all strains of weed do grow in hydroponic setups, some of them really thrive in it. The best place to buy marijuana seeds is indeed a seed bank. Make sure that you are getting the kind of strain that can thrive in hydroponic setups so that you get the most out of your plants.
Also make sure to check the THC/CBD ratio of your strain and ensure that this is something that will satisfy all your needs. Medicinal marijuana requires plants with higher CBD content while people who need to smoke weed for recreational purposes generally prefer high THC content.
Choosing the Medium of Growth
Up next, you also need to choose a medium of growth before you start. It can be either rockwool or coco coir, but some people also choose to use perlite or clay pellets as a medium. However, we’d suggest the first two are a better option. Post that, you need to decide a setup of growth. Here are the three most popular options for you:
Choosing the Method of Growth
1. Deep Water Culture: If you are a beginner, we strongly recommend you to go with this one because DWC setups are the easiest to maintain and they are also the cheapest option that you have compared to others which are more elaborate and expensive. Here, your plants are placed atop a bucket which is filled with nutrient solution and there’s an air pump which helps oxygenate the water.
2. Drip System: The next most popular option that you have is the drip system. This is actually comparable to the large-scale drip irrigation system that you might notice in agricultural growth. There’s a large tray here which is filled with a growing medium like coco coir, and there’s a reservoir below the plants which is filled with nutrient solution.
However, the plants are not in direct contact with the water. Instead, the water is provided to the plants via a drip feed via a pump. Air stones help keep this reservoir oxygenated. The same water keeps circulating throughout the system which helps save a lot of water.
3. Aeroponic Growth: While the two systems above are more suitable for a home-based growth, this sort of requires a larger setup but it is essential for anyone planning on growing hydroponic marijuana to know about how an aeroponic setup works. Here, water is placed in a reservoir below the plants, with it being sent to plants via misters. The benefit here is that misters help provide air and water to the plants at the same time, helping them grow even better. These, however, are way more elaborate setups.
Choosing the Right Grow Lights
Besides choosing the right kind of setup, the third most important thing for you while growing hydroponic marijuana is that you need the right kind of lighting too. Choosing the Best LED grow lights for your plants is equally important because much of your plants’ growth actually depends on the kind of lighting that they are getting.
You need to know the exact lighting requirement of your plant and make sure that you are providing the right kind of light that suits its needs the best. You also need to get a light that provides the right spectrum of lighting at the right wattage. Besides, you also need to hang it from a distance that is good enough to ensure that the plant grows well, but not so close to the plant that it might have a negative effect on it.
The timing of the light also needs to be tweaked based on the phase of growth. When your hydroponic marijuana plants are attaining the flowering phase, you need to reduce the lighting hours. Similarly, in the early phases, plants can take as many as 20 hours of lights with ease.
These are some of the factors that need to be kept in mind if you are planning on growing your plant using the hydroponic technique of growth.