Hydroponic Cannabis Growing Made Easy Guide

Due to the legalization of Marijuana across many states in the USA and Canada, the cannabis industry is progressing at a massive rate and is heading towards becoming one of the fastest-growing business sectors in North America. At present, people have also started to take a swing at growing cannabis through the process of hydroponics because of its benefits, both medicinal and economic.

What is hydroponics growing?

Thanks to the internet and its reach, you can buy different variants of weed such as edibles, concentrates, flowers, CBD oil, and budget buds online. Or, you can grow your weed hydroponically at home.

Growing cannabis hydroponically refers to the process of cultivating and harvesting it in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution, avoiding the traditional means of using soil. This way, the plant roots have direct contact with the nutrient-rich solution, ensuring their proper growth.

Hydroponic weed growing: Advantages

  • You get a better quality of marijuana.
  • You can cultivate the strain of your choice.
  • Weed plants grow faster in the hydroponics medium.
  • There is no overgrowth of weed plants and hence, a lesser mess.
  • Your weed plants do not contract any soil-borne diseases.
  • This method allows you to harvest more copious amounts of weed.

Now that we know about what hydroponics cannabis growing is and its benefits, let’s start with the process.

Guide to growing cannabis hydroponically

There are different hydroponic systems that you can try to grow cannabis. Here are the most popular ones —

  1. EBB AND FLOW SYSTEM – The simplicity and ease of use make Ebb and Flow system one of the most popular methods of hydroponic cultivation. In this system, you need to place the plants on a tray with a porous growing medium such as Rockwool or lava rocks to retain air and water. Followingly, place the tray on top of a reservoir and fill the latter with nutrient solution. An attached pump fills the growing tray with the solution from the repository. The fill tube drains out any excess from the growing tray.
  2. AEROPONICS – Growing mediums aren’t required in this type of hydroponic system. Hang the roots of the weed plant mid-air within the aeroponics chamber at a humidity level of 100%. The highly oxygenated roots then absorb nutrients from the solution sprayed by sprinklers. This method allows weed plants to grow almost ten times faster than traditional soil cultivation methods as there is no loss of water through evaporation.
  3. DRIP IRRIGATION – In this system, you must place the weed seedlings on a growing medium. Followingly, apply the nutrient solution to the root or stem of the plants drop-by-drop through droppers from above. This system is extremely efficient in saving water and nutrients. Again, the rate of evaporation is minimal.
  4. DEEP WATER CULTURE – The DWC method of cannabis hydroponic cultivation is an ideal way for beginners to start. It is also one of the fastest and cheapest means of cannabis growing. You can practically build this system with simple items available at your home. Here’s how you can build your DWC system to grow cannabis hydroponically.

Procedure to build your own Deep Water Culture

  • The very first step is to gather your essentials, namely a grow tent, grow light, DWC tank, nutrients, and seeds.
  • Once you have your essentials in place, fill up your DWC tank with a nutrient solution. Followingly, suspend your weed plants so that their roots are in direct contact with the solution.
  • Add continuous oxygen supply to the water. This can be quickly done with the help of an air pump and some airstones to pump bubbles in the solution.
  • Light is essential for plants to grow and blossom. Make sure you place your hydroponic system where your weed can receive a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight every day.
  • If you are new to cultivating cannabis and want to buy weed online, there are a plethora of websites that you can choose from. If it is your first time at growing cannabis hydroponically, it is advisable to use live plants rather than seeds, also known as cloning. You can and remove the seedlings from the soil and container that it came in. Wash off any dirt to ensure that there is no contamination in your nutrient solution.
  • Use RO or Reverse Osmosis water for your nutrient solution and keep the pH levels in check. Make sure the pH level of the solution is within the range of 5.5 to 6.3, or else it could cause some severe damage to your plants.
  • Lastly, get the best nutrients for your solution so that your weed plants can have faster and healthier growth.

Read more — Grow Weed Hydroponically (opens in new window)

As a beginner, you may find it difficult to grow cannabis hydroponically. Start with a simple setup and then move on with the more complex ones. The results of hydroponic growing are very effective. Its users will feel no difference in the commercially available and the hydroponically grown Cannabis at home whether they use it in a  glass percolator bong or make an edible out of it. 

This article is an attempt to simplify the process so that you can yield the best quality weed at home. After all, smoking self-grown weed is one of the most satisfying experiences for a stoner!

Easy tricks on Cannabis Soil you apply for better yields

This is already a small scientific job for a true hobbyist, if you feel passionate enough to maximize yields greatly by using worms, sand, clay or some your very own unique mix of nutrients. Quite an exciting quest – to design your own recipe for the best performing cannabis soil.

The Easy Guide for cannabis soil

This basic guide explains where to start from and what are the options. The first step however is to choose your basic soil, that you’ll find comfortable and most exciting to work with. Explore what is in the market, maybe you wish some specific parameters of NPK of some specific basic soil to start your experiments from. All professionally mixed soils may have different origins or the purpose, and the most of the commercially distributed cannabis soils from the grow shops contain common components such as Vermiculite, Sand and of course Humus.

1. Sand Soil use for cannabis growing

The issue with the sand soil is that it allows water to go through too quickly, it may result more frequent watering if you do not wish your plants to suffer and produce less or less potent weed in the end, and also wastes a whole lot of minerals instead of giving them to plants. However, designing your own soil, you can add sand or silt for improving the drainage properties.

2. Clay Soil use for cannabis growing

Clay is basically made of fine-grained rock material with a little of quartz (SiO2), fully loaded with aluminium and magnesium oxides (Al2O3 and MgO respectively). Clay is plastic when well moisted and hard when dry, it hosts the roots of your plants quite badly due to lack of ventilation. However you can add clay as 5-10% of the soil mass to manipulate ventilation property, when designing your own most efficient soil mix.

3. Humus Soil use for cannabis growing

Humus is the mix of organic matters like dead plants, for example, rotten fully to the end and already became a soil, so this is a “usual soil” what everybody means saying “soil”. Any regular grow shop (even if not any special cannabis grow shop but the normal flower grow shop) can offer you this very basic soil. And for cannabis this is the main material too like for any other plant.

Sometimes humus may be called compost, but to be precise the compost is the mix of humus and manure, which is the great thing too – you can guess: Cows are poor digesters, they intake about 15% and the rest 85% of yummi stuff goes into manure full of nutrients by that reason – and this is what every cannabis plant wants the most. Also manure is good for worm casting [ read below – touch this link to skip to worm casting below on this page ].

4. Nitrogen and other NPK members in Cannabis soil

Nitrogen is produced from soil matter by bacterias “converting” organic forms of nitrogen into mineral forms of nitrogen, and the latter can be consumed by plants. Cannabis plants love nitrogen and especially on the vegetative stage it helps them to grow better with bigger leaves and stronger stems. The overdose of nitrogen fertilisers may result burns on leaves and weaker plant in general (see below for details).

Lack of Nitrogen in Cannabis soil

Nitrogen deficiency is the most common weed grower’s problem with nutrients.

Older leaves become yellow or partly yellow;
The oldest of them may even get completely dry being yellow in colour too;
The veins (the vascular tissue) may get more of the red colour; Check the back side of the leaves too, sometimes they start from there on the early stage of the problem;
Younger leaves can also contain yellow areas;

These all the above indicate that the nitrogen is low and you need to add it. Nitrogen fertilisers is the easy thing widely available everywhere. This is the basic compound of the very basic N-P-K model, vital for all plants. Sea bird guano or animal blood may serve as the fast and the potent source of nitrogen for your plant.

Intoxication of Nitrogen for Cannabis plants

Big and a lot of leaves but they all appear weak and react any stress badly;
Such plants are abnormally often attacked by pests and deceases, and quite badly in the result comparing to the normal healthy plant;
Underdeveloped weak roots;
Week and too plastic stems and branches;
Small and loose flowers;
Leaves may become brown and even fall;

Any of the above symptom may mean a serious intoxication from Nitrogen, and obviously this is the sign to decrease the use of Nitrogen fertilisers for your cannabis. And of course it’s better to react the earlier possible. Always keep an eye if any of your plants starts showing Nitrogen intoxication – this is way too important. Keeping notes is also another brilliant idea to master your grower’s skills.

Lack of Phosphorus in cannabis soil – Symptoms

Slow grow or even sudden stop of any grow;
Dark leafs more blue than usual (well, they are still green but with certain blue component in the colour);
Low height of the plants in general;
Everything smaller and grim )))

However, the above symptoms may indicate that your soil require more Phosphorus now. But with the too high pH level, say higher than 7, the plant cannot intake Phosphorus efficient enough tho there’s plenty of Phosphorus in the soil. In this case – work with pH level instead of adding more Phosphorus.

Lack of Potassium in Cannabis soil

Potassium takes part in the photosynthesis process. And also participates in the synthesis of proteins and amino acids, which come from nitrogen in the form of ammonium, so the interaction between these two nutrients is vital to perform different metabolic processes of plants. Lack of Potassium is bad, and can be detected by the following visual checks:

Leaves loose colour yet quite healthy looking;
Increase in number of new branches but weak and thin ones;
Old leaves are yellow with the certain rusty colour on the edges;
Rust colour is on the younger leaves in a form of smaller stains, especially on the edges;
Too late and too short flowering stage (this is the sign for the next harvest already, mind keeping the notes of whatever you’re doing to the plants, that’s the certain way to improve your grower’s skills to the highest levels).

Potassium intoxication however is a rare problem. Potassium also provides to the soil the better ability to resist pests and undesirable bacterias. Also affects chlorophyl positively increasing its amount, and enables the cell division processes – having sufficient amount of Potassium the plant takes light better and exchange with the air more effectively. In other words, more healthy and strong plant in general you will get.

5. The Pot

The roots of a cannabis plant require space, and it is a very common mistake when roots go curving around in some too narrow pot. Give space to your cannabis, a lot of space. Recommended 8 to 15 litres pot for a plant. Give a first-class space to your plants to reach the best results from your soil experiments!

6. Nutrients (fertilizers) for Cannabis, N-P-K

As soon as N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium where “K” comes from its Latin name and used in chemistry for Potassium) are the main elements required for the plant to grow well and healthy, the nutrients delivered to the market fit this demand nicely. They normally appear liquid in the bottle, and marked something like 12–6-6, which means 12% of N-Nitrogen, 6% of P-Phosphorus, 6% of K-Potassium. The rest may be water with or without other nutrients of the “second class” if I may.

7. Use of Worms in Cannabis Soil

Use of Red Wiggler worms for cannabis Soil, Red Californian Earthworm
Red Wiggler worm (or Red Californian Earthworm)

The recommended worms are the Red Wigglers (on the upper picture), also known as Eisenia fetida or Red Californian Earthworm, and the other commercially distributed worm good for cannabis is the Night Crawlers (in the below picture). Both images are from wikipedia. Both these species of worms can be found anywhere, the Nightcrawlers are larger in size… I dun’no, try both to see the difference, or just choose one following your feeling, whichever of them seems more romantic to you, by the picture or for real in the grow shop, they are gonna be your pets for awhile, hahaha )))

Night Crawlers worms aka Lumbricus terrestris use for cannabis plant home growing
Night Crawler worms aka Lumbricus terrestris

Use cow manure for worms

If using worms for growing your cannabis, then mind the cow manure (if the situation allows – I mean mom or neighbours)))) Both worms and plants love cow manure, as soon as cows only digest 15% of what they eat and the rest 85% goes into manure, rich as hell with nutrients by that reason.

What worms do for the soil

Worms prove life and health to the soil and consequently to the plant. They are a natural fertiliser, making the environment of your plants rich in nutrients and minerals. Worms consume the organic matter and it goes through the digestion and what is left – called worm casting. Kind of a worm poo.

Their castings contain tons of bacteria, fungi, and other serious things.

Worm castings improve the germination and the full growing process;
More of your favourite fertilizer can be used with less fear to damage the plant;
Worm castings in cannabis soil efficiently hold water and nutrients;
Worms through their castings provide microorganisms and minerals to the soil, increasing disease resistance greatly;

They are good guys, these worms, you can see that.