Grower tips: how to grow cannabis hydroponically
How hydroponics grows and the types of hydroponic systems, how to grow hydroponics at home, how to prepare a hydroponic solution – these and other important questions for the novice grower have already been touched upon in other articles. Now let’s move on to the fun part – how to grow marijuana hydroponically at home. Use coco for cannabis.
Why grow cannabis hydroponically
How long does hydroponics grow and how is this method better than others? A quick reminder of why growers use different hydroponic technologies. So hydroponics:
- grows faster than the soil method;
- gives a rich harvest (cones are larger and more powerful);
- not susceptible to diseases caused by soil fungi or parasites;
- allows you to reuse the substrate;
- does not need careful monitoring of soil Ph;
- makes it possible to accurately calculate the necessary nutrients;
- allows you to grow a good harvest even with a lack of space.
How to grow marijuana hydroponically: substrates
Let’s talk about substrates. Mineral wool as a hydroponic substrate is not the only option. Coconut fiber, expanded clay, perlite (agroperlite), vermiculite are popular substrates. But which one is better? We offer a comparative table where each filler is rated on a five-point scale according to five characteristics.
As you can see, coconut fiber wins, mineral wool is only slightly inferior to it in terms of moisture capacity. As for expanded clay, perlite and vermiculite, these fillers are usually used in combination with other substrates, such as coconut. Coconut substrate – neutral, compatible with different types of hydroponic systems, supplied in briquettes. Coconut is also suitable for growing outdoors (it is mixed with soil and used as mulch). Its advantages as a substrate: lightweight, good aeration, does not contain parasites and fungi, does not grow moldy, can be reused (after washing).
Minwata has been known as a hydroponic substrate since 1969, when it was first used as such in Denmark. It consists of basalt, limestone and coke, but is neutral (i.e., contains no nutrients, has a pH of 7.5-8.5) and sterile. The mineral substrate does not accumulate nutrients, it just holds the plant.
Growing on coconut is a way to get healthy plants “organic” without any extra effort. Some gardeners and growers practice mixing coco soil with soil – for example, outdoors: this way you can improve the quality of natural soil, even clay, enrich it and increase aeration.
How to grow marijuana hydroponically: tips
The principle of “one gram of preventive medicine equals a kilogram of medicine” works when it comes to growing. Attention to detail is a key tenet of how to grow marijuana hydroponically; it will allow you to get the maximum yield with the minimum of effort.
The type of hydroponic plant depends on your space and available resources, and of course the needs of the particular cannabis strain you will be growing.
There are also universal tips on how to properly grow hydroponics at home.
- Keep it clean. Use only sterilized trays, containers, canisters. If you can afford to buy new grow equipment, go for it. Note that even new equipment will need to be decontaminated over time to minimize the risk of spreading root rot pathogens. Purchase isopropyl alcohol and hydrogen peroxide to disinfect equipment and hands.
- Make sure to use clean, neutral acidity water (pH 6-7). Distilled water is also fine.
- Monitor the temperature of the water in the hydroponic system (18-20 C). This is for good absorption of nutrients and to prevent algae build-up. The air temperature, however, can be higher (24-25 C).
- Maintain the correct humidity level. Cannabis plants develop at different moisture levels, depending on the stage of growth. Young cannabis plants need a humidity level of 60-70 percent. During the flowering stage, humidity should be reduced to 40 percent. This can be achieved by using a humidifier and dehumidifier.
- Get the right lighting. Different types of phytolamps (HPS, LED, ESL) are suitable for different stages of growth, sizes of grow boxes, etc. We have an article dedicated to phytolamps growpro.com.ua/articles/fitolampy-dlya-rasteniy-tsvetov-i-teplits/.
- Maintain ventilation in the grow box or room, monitor the air flow. Ventilation is important for plant health and affects the temperature in the grow box and air exchange.
- Understand what the acidity of the water and the finished nutrient solution is. It is not difficult, but it is critical for plants. If the acidity of the water for the solution is higher or lower than the correct one, the crop may die. For hydroponic cannabis, the pH is around 6.
- Understand the electrical conductivity (EC) of the nutrient solution. It depends on the amount of total dissolved solids (TDS) in the nutrient solution. The EC level indicates the saturation of the nutrient solution. If the EC is too low, the plants will not receive enough nutrients, if it is high, there is a risk of destroying your plants due to oversaturation of micronutrients. Check the EU frequently. The closer the indicators are to the optimal ones, the higher the probability of getting a crop. The hydroponic solution should also be changed depending on the stage of cannabis growth (for more information on how to prepare your own hydroponic nutrient solution, see growpro.com.ua/articles/kak-samomu-sdelat-rastvor-dlya-gidroponiki/).
- Only use cannabis seeds from trusted sources. If the seeds are bad, neither proper lighting, correct water acidity, nor better nutrient solutions will help.
- Keep records of significant indicators: acidity, conductivity, composition of the solution, ventilation, light, frequency of immersion of roots in the solution, etc.
It is easier for a novice grower to correct mistakes by tracking them down in the records.