5 Ways to Grow Cannabis in Hydroponics
In this article we’re going to talk about 5 ways to grow cannabis in hydroponics. Many people think that growing in hydroponics is the same every time, but hydroponics simply means working with water – there are many different ways to grow plants using this system.
People often speak wonders of growing in hydroponics, and while it’s true that you can get a much bigger yield through hydroponics, it requires much more care and tending to compared to growing in soil. In this article we’re going to show you different kinds of hydroponic grows; if you’re interested in growing hydroponically then this is the article for you. Read on to find out about this system and what you should and shouldn’t do.
First of all, you probably already know that plants need water, light, nutrients, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Cannabis plants are capable of absorbing everything available to their roots so if you’re giving them water constantly, you’ll need to keep control of the pH levels so they can absorb all of the nutrients and grow as much and as healthy as possible. You’ll need to keep an eye on them every day because if the pump malfunctions, your plants will die off, or if they have too high of an EC then you could have serious issues – pH and EC meters are extremely important.
You’ll need to keep some replacement pumps handy, both for the air and water flow, because your plants depend on these devices to stay alive when planted in this medium and if the pumps break down and you take too long to realize it, you’ll end up with some dead plants within hours.
Water temperature is extremely important – if it’s too warm it won’t have enough oxygen and the roots will rot, and if it’s too cold the roots won’t absorb anything at all. The water will need to be between 20 and 22ºC.
Here’s a list of some of the different hydroponic techniques:
This is the most used hydroponics system around, and many growers assume that this is the only kind of system around. The setup is simple; 12l flowerpots full of expanded clay balls where you’ll be planting your cannabis plants. The pots are connected through a drain on the bottom and they’re all connected through a pipe and drainage system.
A tank and water pump feed water to your plants alongside your chosen nutrients solution a few times a day; this is set up using a timer. A little hose at the bottom of each stem will water your plants as needed.
This is an effective system but you need to make sure that the pump doesn’t malfunction and have a replacement one or your plants could be in serious trouble. Everything else is extremely simple to use, and this system is the perfect one to start with if you’re new to growing hydroponically.
One of the few negative aspects of this method is that you need to pay special attention to your plants’ roots to make sure that they don’t clog up the hole where the drain is, or you might end up with some flooding in your grow.
DWC – Deep Water Culture
This is a hydroponics system in which the roots are suspended in air. Plants are grown in a container over a separate tank. The container is full of clay balls to keep the plant in place and act as a substrate, and the water goes in the lower tank along with the nutrients.
The bottom of the container is a sort of mesh so that the roots can grow through it without any of the clay balls falling through. Roots seek out the water in the tank and that’s where they feed from, although at the start they simply absorb humidity until the roots reach the water, which is when your plants will really begin to grow.
An air pump with its corresponding airstone will ensure that the water is oxygenated enough and so that it doesn’t stagnate, letting your plant live with the same water for more or less a week.
You need to mix water and nutrients up for your plant during the entire grow and your plants root systems will begin growing spectacularly. Your plants will steadily absorb more nutrients, accelerating an extremely productive process. You need to keep a close eye on your roots and air pump though, as the water runs the risk of becoming stagnant and rotting the plants’ roots.
Ebb & Flow
This system is similar to the DWC system, except that instead of allowing the roots to reach the water and sit there, the roots are flooded with water for a few seconds and then emptied again various times throughout the day. You use a sort of watering table with mesh pots that have expanded clay in them.
Underneath the table you should have a tank and a water pump – every now and then the pump should pump water up into the table to flood it, wet the roots with nutrient-rich water for a few seconds and then go back into the tank.
Your plants will be permanently hydrated and well-fed when growing in this system, and if you adjust the pH and EC adequately you’ll accelerate many processes in the plants making for more quantity and quality.
You’re going to need to keep control of how often you flood the table and for how long, or you could end up with some serious rot problems. This may seem like one of the simplest methods, but it’s reserved for the most professional of growers.
NFT – Nutrient Film Technique
This is similar to the DWC system again, although it’s used for clones rather than large plants. The DWC method can be a bit big for clones, as they don’t grow many branches nor do they have the same yield as a seed.
If you work with the NFT system then clones are your best option. This system is done on an inclined surface in which water is pumped to the top end and it filters back into the water tank at the bottom.
On the surface above the water flow is where the plants go, with the roots dipping down into the water flow. The roots reach the water which is full of nutrients, meaning that they’ll have a perfect, balanced diet. This makes for high yields in a small amount of time.
This is one of the easiest systems to clean and reuse, however you’ll need to control the water levels, as once the roots grow a bit they can block the water flow and end up flooding and rotting the roots.
Aeroponics is a variation on hydroponics that involves placing your plants in trays with holes that have neoprene discs in them. In each disc you need to place one clone, with the roots on the underside of the disc.
The tray is suspended in the air over a water tank that has a sprinkler system in a PVC tube circuit with holes in it and Sprayers, which are the devices that will keep the roots humid through a constant flow of water.
Your plants will have a never ending source of water and nutrients and this is the best possible technique for rooting clones. You take up the same space with one plant in an RSS system as you do with five clones in an aeroponic system, and you’ll get the same yield from those five clones as you would from the seed. Keep an eye on the sprayers so that they don’t get blocked and end up leaving your clones without any water or nutrients.
These are some of the most used hydroponic methods when it comes to grow cannabis. Hopefully this article has been of help, if you have any questions, doubts or suggestions go ahead and leave a comment down below; our team of experts will get back to you as soon as possible.
Author: Javier Chinesta
Translation: Ciara Murphy