It’s a simple fact: Marijuana plants need water to survive. However, most amateur growers don’t realize that improper watering is one of the most common reasons plants fail to thrive. In this guide, you’ll learn how to prevent issues with good watering practices.
Cannabis is a tough plant and most strains will be very forgiving if you are imperfect with their water supply. However, consistent water stress can be detrimental to the health and ultimately the quality of the plant. It is, therefore, imperative for every grower interested in fresh, robust and healthy pot plants to know how to water the plants in the right manner and at the right times.
Cannabis plants require a lot of water, especially when they are just about to flower. As a general rule, cannabis plants should never be allowed to go for long without water. Depriving them of water for long will hamper their nutrient intake and as a result, the growth will be stunted, leading to poor yields.
While watering the plants however, caution should be taken to ensure you don’t supply too much water since this may lead to other undesirable conditions such as botrytis and root rot amongst other problems. Ideally, you should determine the critical amount of water needed by the plant based on the strain, the size, as well as the stage of growth.
Just as knowing the amount of water to be supplied to the plant is crucial, it is vitally important to know when you should do the watering. Most growers agree that the best time to water the cannabis plant should be at night time or early in the morning.
It is argued that watering at night or earlier during the day will allow the plant adequate time to utilize the nutrients effectively since most of the plant processes depends on sunlight and this is available only during the day.
Watering when the sun is up is, however, not encouraged, since in the natural set up, precipitation never take place then sun is shining. Besides, the water droplets which will remain on the leaves will act like magnifying glass when sunlight falls on them and this may lead to leaf burn.
Watering cannabis plants isn’t an exact science, and numerous factors determine how much water the plants should receive. For instance, as seedlings grow, their watering requirements change. There are other variables at play, as listed below.
Growth stages largely determine a plant’s water and nutrient needs. Seedlings consume less water than well-rooted plants in the flowering stage. You may end up watering small plants twice a week, but bigger plants might need daily watering.
The growth medium also plays a crucial role. It determines the amount of water the soil will hold, and drainage quality plays a big role in how much and how often plants must be watered. Cannabis prefers airy, rich, and well-draining soil. Furthermore, every growing container should have holes in the bottom so water can drain away. Compact soils will hold onto moisture, so they’ll need less frequent watering. If water remains in the soil too long, it may lead to root rot, fungus, pest infestation, and nutrient deficiencies, among other problems. Here’s an easy way to determine if the soil is draining properly: If it takes more than three or four days for the soil to become completely dry, there’s a drainage problem.
In these cases, adding perlite to the soil will aerate it and improve drainage. When creating good soil for marijuana plants, it’s important to balance water drainage and moisture retention. This typically means choosing a dark, rich soil and adding substances such as perlite to create an efficient, healthy medium in which the plants can grow.
Container size is another aspect to consider. The dimensions of the containers you choose will affect the balance between drainage and water retention. If seedlings are grown in big pots, saturating the soil will likely drown the plants before they have a chance to grow. Likewise, you may experience issues with huge plants grown in small pots. That’s why experienced growers typically start seedlings in small pots, then transplant them as they grow. Small pots make it harder to over-water delicate young plants. All good things to consider before planting your Lemon OG or Mochalope seeds from i49.
Light intensity and outdoor temperatures affect plants’ growth. Marijuana plants do not grow at a constant pace. Plants in cooler environments, for instance, will grow slower than those in warmer places. Light intensity is another factor to consider. Plants that get more light and heat will inevitably have greater nutrient and light requirements than those grown in colder temperatures with little light.
The vitality and health of the plants will also determine how much water they need. If the plants’ growth is stunted, or if they’re suffering from pest infestation or disease, they won’t need as much water as plans that are thriving.
Now that you have an idea on how much water is necessary and when the times to apply it are, the next thing is to work out the frequency of the application. The recommended frequency is twice every day on days when the temperature is high and the humidity is low. But as the plant continues to mature and approach flowering, the frequency should be reduced as the quantity is increased. When the plant reaches full flowering, the marijuana plant must be watered only once every two to three days.
The ideal frequency for watering the plant should be determined after you evaluate the moisture levels in the soil or the growing medium. Ideally, the medium should be dry on the top and slightly dump beneath the surface. If the medium is dry up to 5cm beneath the surface, then the plant is probably too dry and the plant may be undergoing water stress. In such a case, you should supply water to restore moisture content of the soil and avoid further water stress to the plant. One handy tool to add to your home grow kit for convenience is a digital soil moisture meter, available at many stores or online.
Now that you know what determines the amount of water your plants need—and how those factors may differ from one grow op to the next—it’s time to learn how to tell when a plant needs water. Here are a few unmistakable signs that your plants are parched.
Drooping and weakness. If your Power Plant or Purple Kush plants are extremely dry, they’ll droop. The entire plant will look lifeless and sickly, so this symptom is easy to spot. However, it’s important to keep in mind that a thirsty plant may look much like one that’s drooping because it’s been overwatered. There’s one notable difference; the leaves of an overwatered plant usually turn dark green and curl downward, giving the plant a waterlogged, heavy look. An experienced medical seed grower will likely be able to distinguish these two conditions. In most cases, it should be obvious if the problem is due to under- or over-watering. If the growth medium is dry and you haven’t watered the plants in a while, their sickly look is probably from under-watering.
Slight under-watering is better than over-watering. If you continue to water healthy, yet thirsty plants, they will recover within a few hours. Though occasional under-watering doesn’t have harmful effects, over-watering is a guaranteed killer. Even for resilient premium strains like Zombie Death Fuck.
Leaf discoloration. Along with thirsty plants drooping and wilting because they aren’t getting enough water, they may display brown and yellow leaf discolorations. While it’s normal for plants to develop a few yellow leaves at the end of the flowering stage, a vegetating cannabis plant should have no brown, yellow, or dry leaves.
An easy way to determine if your indoor or outdoor plants need water is to get a little dirty. Stick a fingertip into the soil; if it feels dry to the touch, it’s time to water the plants. Another effective test is to lift the growing container to see if it feels heavy from watering, or if the water has evaporated or drained away. For this test to succeed, you’ll need to know about how heavy a dry pot is.
When watering cannabis plants, it’s best to focus on quality rather than quantity. Instead of giving the plants a bit of water, but giving it too often, saturate the growth medium less frequently. How much water is enough? Saturation involves watering the substrate with approximately half the container’s capacity. For example, if you’re using four-liter pots, add two liters of water (or slightly more).
As we discussed earlier in this guide, determining your plants’ watering needs depends on a few factors. You should see roughly 10-20% of the water flowing out of the bottom of the container. This runoff will remove excess minerals, reducing the chances of a nutrient deficiency or lockout.
Remember that if you are using certain growth media, like peat, the soil may absorb water slowly, repelling it until saturation occurs. This means that if you water the growth medium in one shot, most of that water will flow down the container’s sides and out of the bottom.
In these cases, it’s best to pre-water the substrate and allow it to soak in. Wait about ten minutes before adding the remaining water. Repeat the process if necessary and lift the pots to see if the soil has absorbed enough liquid.
Not only should cannabis plant containers have holes at the bottom to ensure adequate drainage, but they also need to be slightly elevated so the water can drain away, and the plants won’t sit in stagnant liquid. Though drainage trays can be used to catch most of the runoff, this excess liquid should be dumped right away to prevent the growth of harmful mold and bacteria.
Water quality is one of the most important parts of a successful cannabis grow op. Though filtered or reverse osmosis water is ideal, most home growers simply use tap water because it’s plentiful and convenient.
However, tap water quality varies from one place to another. Along with the water that comes out of the tap, you’re also getting plenty of minerals such as sodium, magnesium, and calcium. It’s nearly impossible to know what’s in the water without testing it. Many cities offer free water testing, but these tests aren’t comprehensive.
Aspects such as climate, geographic location, and municipal filtration all affect the quality and mineral content of water. These factors are so variable that it’s hard for home growers to rely on tap water or predict its effects on growing cannabis plants. When starting a garden, choose the highest-quality water you can find. Your plants will thank you!
If you’re growing marijuana in an organic soil garden, there’s no need to worry about the water/nutrient solution’s pH level. However, those using store-bought nutrients and growing cannabis in coco coir, soil, or a hydroponic garden must consider pH at every stage in the process.
Cannabis plants have a narrow pH range where they can take in nutrients. If the water’s pH is too low or too high, the growing plants cannot absorb nutrients even if they’re readily available. This phenomenon is commonly referred to as nutrient lockout, and it adversely affects the health and vitality of cannabis plants.
Marijuana plants grown in soil should receive water at a pH of 6.3-6.8. When growing hydroponically or in a coco garden, the pH should be significantly lower at 5.5-6.1. To test the water’s pH, use measuring drops or a testing stick. In most cases, tap water’s pH is too high. If you’re adding nutrients to the water, do a pH test before and after doing so. Frequent pH testing may be time-consuming, but it’s time well spent.
If you learn when and how to water your cannabis plants, and you’re aware of any issues that could potentially arise during the process, it’s possible to prevent most problems. Learning proper watering practices will help you raise healthy, happy plants that offer bountiful yields.