What Do Marijuana Plants Need?
Those who are interested in growing marijuana should learn what this plant needs for healthy development. Growing healthy marijuana plants can be challenging. Knowing what your cannabis plants require for healthy growth is essential. This guide is intended to help new growers fully grasp what their plants need so they can end up with a healthy and bountiful harvest.
Understanding the Fundamentals
Plants are living and breathing. They have fundamental needs that must be met. Although cannabis plants will grow reasonably fast without much intervention, the care you take to provide them with what they need will help to ensure a higher and healthier yield. Because there is so much expense involved in growing marijuana, you certainly do not want to waste your money or time.
Nothing alive can live without water, and this is no different for cannabis plants. If you are not watering your plants, they are not going to thrive and will quickly die. Water gives a cannabis plant its strength because it allows the plant to utilize the nutrients it is being fed and spread them where they are needed.
Water also helps plants to grow strong and regulates their internal temperature, so they do not overheat and begin to wilt. Without adequate water, your cannabis plants will suffer.
So, you know water is vital, but how much is too much? Overwatering a cannabis plant is just as bad as not watering enough. Overwatered plants end up developing root rot, which will destroy the plant quickly. When you overwater, the plants will struggle to take in oxygen, and they will die.
When plants do not receive the adequate water they require, they cannot regulate their temperature, and overheating is likely to occur. When cannabis plants become overheated, they will begin to wilt and eventually dry up.
Did you know a cannabis plant is about 80% water? Knowing this makes it clear why watering your plants is so vital. If you are growing in soil, check the soil regularly. It should be moist but not overly wet. Remember that plants absorb a lot of water, but much of it is evaporated through the leaves, and very little is stored.
Signs you are watering too much include the following.
- The leaves will begin to curl downward.
- Chlorosis may begin to occur, and this means the leaves will start to yellow.
Signs you are watering too little include the following.
- The leaves will become very dry and brittle.
- The plant will appear limp and lifeless.
- The growing medium will be very parched.
So, how often should you water your cannabis plants for healthy growth? Consider the following tips for ensuring you are watering cannabis plants appropriately.
- You should wait until the growing medium is dry up to an inch deep.
- Add water until it begins flowing out of the bottom of the growing pot.
- You should water the plants every two to three days.
- If the soil gets dry before two to three days, you are underwatering.
- Should the soil remain wet after two to three days, you are overwatering.
Keep a constant check on the appearance of your plants and the moisture in the growing medium to correct any watering issues. With proper watering, your cannabis plants will begin to flourish.
Marijuana plants can sometimes be a bit finicky regarding pH. Although problems indeed arise when a grower does not water their cannabis plants appropriately, pH issues are more common. When pH issues begin to emerge, it is common to see signs of growth problems. Being able to recognize these signs is essential for keeping your marijuana plants healthy and strong.
Before addressing the signs of pH problems, it is crucial you know the proper pH level for healthy cannabis growth. If you are growing in soil, the pH should range between 6.0 – 7.0. If you have a hydroponic system, the pH should range between 5.5 – 6.5.
Symptoms of pH problems are much the same as occurring when overwatering or underwatering, and they include the following.
- The leaves will become burnt around the edges.
- The leaves will begin to droop or turn yellow.
- Your plants will start to appear lifeless.
If you notice any of the above and you know overwatering or underwatering have not occurred, pH problems are likely. Consider the following tips to help you avoid pH problems from developing.
- Try to avoid using too many liquid nutrients. Many new growers think more is better when it comes to nutrient additions, and this simply is not so. Using too many liquid nutrients is just as bad as not using enough.
- If you are adding macronutrients and micronutrients to your water, add the micronutrients first and give them time to dissolve before adding any macronutrients.
- You should never mix nutrients before adding them to your water. Always add each nutrient addition to the water and allow everything to have time to mingle.
- Although many growers swear by using highly filtered water, this can produce problems with pH. Generally speaking, tap water is easier to control the pH with than a highly filtered water source.
- As long as the pH levels are staying within the suggested range, it is okay to see drifting. Do not be worried if your pH levels are continually changing. The main concern is making sure they stay within the normal range at all times.
There are a couple of products you can use to measure pH. The cheapest and easiest method is using pH strips. You just need to dip the paper test strip into the water and compare it to the color chart.
There are also pH pens that can be used. These are dipped into the water source, and a digital number is given that shows the pH reading.
You must check the pH level daily. Just a few hours of too high or too low acidity can cause harm to your vulnerable cannabis plants. It is wise to keep a log recording of the pH numbers so you can learn to detect problems and where they are stemming from in each growth cycle.
Light is one of the most critical needs of cannabis plants. Without a proper light source, your plants will not be able to go through photosynthesis, and plant death will quickly occur.
The quality of the light inside your grow room is the quintessential environmental factor for healthy cannabis growth. It is vital to choose the best lighting you can afford. If you have a low budget, it is always possible to make new purchases as you go.
Indoor cannabis growers use various types of lights. If you are new to growing marijuana, it is crucial to become educated on the topic of lighting.
HID Grow Lights
HID (High-Intensity Discharge) lights are one of the industry standards. They are valued for their consistent output, value, and efficiency. Although they are more expensive than some other lighting choices, most growers find them worth the money.
There are two main types of HID lights, and they include Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium. If you purchase a HID bulb, you will need a ballast and a reflector.
Fluorescent Grow Lights
Small-scale growers often rely on fluorescent grow lights to get started. The high output T5 fluorescent bulbs are considered the best.
One of the reasons many growers rely on fluorescent lighting is because of cost-effectiveness. The ballast, reflector, and bulbs are all included in the unit, so there is less to purchase. They can also save you money because they do not generate a lot of heat like HID grow lights do, so you are less likely to need a cooling system.
The biggest drawback of using fluorescent grow lights is they generate much less light. On average, these bulbs produce around 20% to 30% less light per watt. Because of less light output, fluorescent lamps need to be placed closer to the plants for the best results.
LED Grow Lights
LED (Light-Emitting Diode) lights are growing increasingly popular in the marijuana cultivation community. LED lights produce the full spectrum of light that is needed from the sun, and they are available in different color chips. While these lights are more energy-efficient than other types, their initial expense is higher.
LED lights last much longer than HID lights, and they produce far less heat. When purchasing LED lights, you must carry out careful research. There are some unscrupulous manufacturers in the industry and they are producing substandard lights that are practically useless. With thorough research, you will be able to make the best choice for your growing needs.
Induction Grow Lights
Induction grow lights are one of the least popular choices among lighting options for growing cannabis. These lights are also known as electrodeless fluorescent lamps. Essentially, this type of light is simply a better fluorescent lamp. This lamp is more efficient and longer-lasting, but it can be pricey.
Plants need fresh air to grow healthy and strong. Although cannabis receives plenty of fresh air in the outdoors, inside air can become problematic. Did you know the EPA warns indoor air can be two to five times as polluted as outdoor air?
CO2 is essential for healthy plant growth. Plants take in CO2 and exhale oxygen. A secure and reliable stream of fresh air is vital for the health of your marijuana plants. When the air becomes stagnant, cannabis plants grow starved for CO2.
An exhaust fan positioned near the top of your grow room will ensure the plants have a reliable supply of CO2. The size of the fan will entirely depend on the size of the grow room. If you are only growing one to two plants, you may be able to use an oscillating fan to keep the airflow at a healthy level.
Proper airflow is also essential for keeping your grow room at the right temperature. The best temperature for your marijuana plants ranges from 70 – 85 degrees. You should monitor your grow room temperature daily to ensure fluctuations are not causing problems with healthy plant growth.
For healthy cannabis plants, you are going to require a growing medium. The growing medium is the material your cannabis seeds or clones are planted in so they can grow healthy and strong. You have multiple choices when it comes to growing mediums. Consider the following.
Soil is undoubtedly the most common medium for growing cannabis. It is also the most forgiving, making it a viable choice for novice growers.
You can use any good quality potting soil if it does not contain any chemical additives. Never choose a potting soil that contains an extended-release fertilizer because this is not healthy for cannabis plants.
Ideally, you should choose organic soil that does not include any chemicals. You can also make your own potting soil, using various natural materials, including compost.
Hydroponics is considered a soilless growing medium. You can use coco coir, perlite, or even clay pebbles for this type of system.
You will need to feed your plants nutrients through their water. Ensuring you have the ideal ratio of micronutrients and macronutrients will help to protect the health of your plants and offer a more significant yield. Hydroponics is typically best reserved for those who are experienced in growing cannabis.
Growing cannabis may seem a bit overwhelming at first, but it is not very stressful. It takes a concerted effort and providing for the needs of the plant for healthy growth and yields.
Preparing to meet the needs of marijuana before you start planting will help to ensure issues do not arise in the growing process. It takes time to grow cannabis from seed to harvest, but it is well worth any effort spent.
If you are considering growing cannabis, allow this guide to assist you in making sure the needs of your plants are fully met. Consider these suggestions during your growing process to reduce specific plant health issues.
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