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Hydroponic cannabis

Hydroponic system for weed: how to create the best environment for growing

More growers opt for using a hydroponic system for weed as it gains popularity. Hydroponics setups vary in size, style, and price, requiring some research before you start using this method. 

Let’s go over everything you need to know about using cannabis hydroponic systems before taking the plunge.

Hydroponics is one of the most exciting parts of the cannabis industry today, however, the one thing that stops people from using hydro is a lack of knowledge or understanding. To that end, find out everything about using hydroponics for growing weed here!

How does a hydroponic system for weed work?

In marijuana hydro setups, plants are placed in buckets or baskets and filled with an inert growing medium. Some common examples include clay pebbles, coco coir, perlite, and rockwool.

Hydroponic System for Weed

Your buckets are then suspended over a tank full of water containing your preferred nutrients. The tank should be filled with air stones to circulate air or aerate the tank.  

Using a hydro setup means you completely bypass the need for soil and standard watering cycles; hydro allows you to feed and hydrate your plants simultaneously. 

While there are various types of hydroponic systems for weed, some are more difficult to use than others. Since we’re approaching weed hydroponic systems from a more novice perspective, we’ll look at two categories:

  • Reservoir: this is the more standard hydroponics system for weed. Your plants sit in the reservoir of water so that it isn’t completely covering the growing medium (water should be about ¼ height of bucket). 

As the water evaporates, it leads to a higher concentration of nutrients which you could remedy by topping the water up.

  • Drip system: this system also includes having plants sit in containers with inert mediums suspended over a reservoir but with the addition of a continuous drip.

A pump supplies the continuous drip into the tank(s) via a tube system, allowing water to run through. 

The advantages of a cannabis hydroponic system

There’s no definitive answer as to which hydroponic weed system is better—it’s more a matter of personal preference, requirements, and available materials. Let’s look at the various advantages of growing marijuana with hydroponics:

Faster grow time

Growing with a hydroponic weed setup allows your plants to grow between 30–50% faster than they would in regular soil grows. 

Hydroponic weed growing systems give the plants easier access to nutrients at all times. The nutrients are mixed into the water and therefore can enter directly into the root system. 

This allows weed in hydroponic systems to grow faster than soil-grown plants, where the roots must find the required nutrients.

Higher yields

As with the time advantage, the free and easy access to nutrients in a hydroponic system for weed allows your plants to grow larger—producing more bud.

When applying a training technique to your weed in hydroponic systems, you’ll create more budding spots, increasing your yield. 

Low maintenance

Once you have your system set up for hydroponic growing, you don’t have to do all that much compared to soil growing. This is because the plants already have access to water full of nutrients; therefore, you don’t have to feed them in the conventional sense.

Everyday maintenance of marijuana hydroponics setups is minimal. If you grow using autoflower seeds, the required maintenance is reduced more without changing light cycles.

Hydroponic System for Weed

Lower risk of pests

As cannabis hydroponic systems don’t use traditional grow mediums, pests are less likely to target the plants. 

Soil and other mediums make the perfect home for bugs and pests and pose a major risk for indoor or outdoor soil growers.

As hydroponics utilize inert grow mediums, there is less of a chance of pests proliferating. 

How to create the best environment for your hydro setup

So, now you know the advantages of using a hydroponic setup for growing weed, but how do you make the most of it? The answer is; by creating the best environment to help your plants grow. How do you do that? Let’s find out!

Managing temperature

As with any type of garden, your hydroponics weed kit needs to maintain the optimum temperature(s) for proper growth. 

The ideal or average cannabis temperature changes your grow light settings.

  • Lights on: 72–76°F

This temperature changes depending on if you add Co2 into the grow room for your hydroponic weed setup. 

If you aren’t supplementing your room with Co2, then the recommended temperature falls around 74°F. 

With Co2 added, the temperature with the lights on can rise to 84°F without harming the plants. This temperature is providing you are adding Co2 at a measurement of 1100ppm (parts per million).

  • Lights off: 66–70°F 

Pay attention to the marijuana in your hydroponic system while in the dark. It’s important to check for any signs of heat stress so that temperature can be adjusted accordingly.

It’s also important for growers to monitor the temperature of the water nutrient solution in their hydroponics setups. Ensure that water temperatures are around 66–68°F. Anything exceeding this can stunt root growth and encourage harmful organisms.

For best results, maintain a steady root zone temperature between 67–68°F.

Proper lighting

Providing you aren’t growing with autoflowers, photoperiod plants require proper light cycles in a cannabis hydroponic system. The ideal guidelines are:

  • Vegetative period: 18 hours on–16 hours off
  • Flowering period: 12 hours on–12 hours off

For autos growing in weed hydroponic systems, 24 hours of light is recommended. If you wish to save on electricity, you can give them a few hours of dark.

LED lights are probably the best marijuana grow lights to use in your hydroponics weed kit. Using 1000 watt bulbs, you should have ample power to cover a good amount of plants. If you have fewer plants, then maybe choose 400-watt lights. MH (metal halides) and HPS (high-pressure sodium) lamps work fine too.

Use reflective materials like mylar or glossy poly plastics to line your grow space and reflect light.

Finally, ensure enough space between plants and lights, so you don’t end up with light burn. Leave around 28–32 inches between the top of the plant and the bottom of the light.

When looking at how to set up hydroponics, lighting is an extremely important element.

Optimizing nutrients

Nutrients are quite tricky to get right for several reasons. The first comes down to the manufacturer, as they each have different recommended PPM values. Just remember that nutrient burn is a real problem. 

As a result, we recommend that you start using ¼ or ½ of the manufacturer’s recommended PPM and build up from there.

If you’re using high PPM numbers, make sure to flush regularly.

Remember that your plants require a different amount of macronutrients and micronutrients at different growth stages. Most manufacturers tailor their nutrient blends to the relevant growth stage.

Optimizing pH

A balanced pH for a hydroponic system for weed growth should be between 5.7–6.1.

Monitor pH regularly and, if necessary, amend your solution by adding water.

Hydroponic System for Weed

TDS and EC values

The total dissolved solids (TDS) is a way to measure the water quality in your hydroponic system based on the number of minerals dissolved in it. 

You can use this measurement to determine which nutrients are in the water and how much of them. It’s important to understand that most water contains calcium, magnesium, and chlorine before adding any nutrients.

You should invest in a TDS meter to measure this. TDS is also measured in PPM; an ideal range should be 750–1500 PPM in your cannabis hydroponic system. 

The electrical conductivity (EC) reflects the extent to which electricity is conducted through the water. 

In the early stages of growth, EC in your hydroponics weed setup should be between 0.8–1.0 before rising to 1.2–2.0 during the flowering and later stages.

FAQ related to hydroponic system for weed

Do you still have a few questions after all the information we’ve provided? No problem. Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions about hydro setups. 

Does weed grow faster in hydroponics?

Yes, by using a hydroponic system for weed, your plant will likely grow much faster than it would in soil or other mediums. This is because your plants have easier and faster access to nutrients, which are absorbed directly through the roots.

Does hydroponics increase yields?

Yes, due to the roots being able to absorb the nutrients directly from the water, your plants will likely grow bigger. Bigger plants allow for more bud and larger harvests. This is a great bonus of using a hydroponic setup for weed.

Why is hydroponics expensive?

The initial cost of a hydroponics weed kit is a result of their longevity. While the energy costs can be high, they can work out cheaper in the long run as you are using fewer materials. Often growers can reuse kits and materials throughout several grow cycles.

Why does hydroponics not use soil?

Hydroponic weed systems do not need soil. The plants receive all their nutrients from the water below; an inert medium is directly beneath the plants to filter and bolster your growth.

What are the main points to consider when growing cannabis in a hydroponic system?

For optimal cannabis growth in your hydro setup, make sure that you check these boxes:

  • Maintain pH levels between 5.5–6.5.
  • Keep your cannabis humidity levels around 6.–70% during the vegetative stage and 4.% during flowering.
  • Select the right grow lights for your setup and maintain the required light cycle for your strain’s development. 
  • Always ensure that you provide sufficient airflow. 

Conclusion 

Overall, there are many benefits to using a hydroponic system for weed growing. This method is becoming increasingly popular among growers due to how effective and potentially sustainable it is. 

Furthermore, there are many different methods like DWC (deep water culture), aquaponics, and such, which each have their unique benefits.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to start playing around with your hydro setup, and buy your seeds from i49 today