How To Grow Cannabis Seeds Hydroponically – Hydroponic cultivation is a promising solution to many challenges of crop production. It fixes the need for arable land, deforestation, ecosystem degradation, climate changes, and other issues related to cannabis cultivation. For decades, hydroponics has proven its effectiveness in various settings, and cannabis farming is no exception.
What Is Hydroponic Cultivation?
Hydroponics is a method of cultivating plants without soil by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. In hydroponic cannabis cultivation, farmers plant their seeds in inert growing media and then supply them with nutrient-rich solutions like oxygen and water. To ensure that the plants remain healthy, farmers must control the whole environment, including nutrition, lighting, temperature, humidity, and oxygen. This system encourages rapid growth, high yields, and top-quality cannabis.
How to Grow Cannabis Seeds Hydroponically
To achieve successful results in hydroponic farming, cannabis growers must become acquainted with every component that ensures a smooth and efficient hydroponic grow. This includes selecting a grow medium, hydroponic system, lighting, nutrients, and more.
Choosing a Hydroponic Growing Medium
The first step to growing cannabis seeds hydroponically is to choose a growing medium. The medium allows roots to access nutrients in the water easily. There is an array of growing media to consider, but the right medium depends on which hydroponic system you will be using. Some of the most popular media include:
Clay pebbles, also known as hydroton, are great at aerating cannabis root zones. These particles have large pore spaces, allowing the nutrient solutions to flow through the medium easily. Their large pore size also reduces the chance of blockages within the hydroponic system. Clay pebbles are set up by simply placing them in the container and creating gaps for easy root penetration into the water.
Clay pebbles are a popular choice for small-scale growers; however, this type of medium might be too costly for larger operations. Another drawback is that farmers sometimes need to adjust the pH of the medium to provide an optimal growing environment.
Made using basalt rock and recycled slag, Rockwool is a type of mineral wool that is a popular medium for cannabis cultivation. Rockwool is excellent for water retention, allowing for adequate hydration of the upper root system. This medium also provides exceptional drainage, preventing the plants from becoming overwatered. Although Rockwool is a popular medium that offers many benefits, it is not environmentally friendly and requires pH adjustment for optimal plant growth.
Perlite is a volcanic glass that expands when exposed to high temperatures. This medium is affordable and easy to use, making it a popular choice for hydroponic and soil growers alike. Perlite provides adequate aeration and prevents compaction in garden soil as well as hydroponics.
This medium does not degrade or decompose and can be reused multiple times before it starts to break into smaller pebbles. Perlite has a neutral pH and will take on the pH of the nutrient solution it is submerged in, making it easy for growers to regulate the acidity or alkalinity of their media.
Coco coir is made from the hairy fiber on the outer shell of coconuts. This type of medium allows for proper aeration and moisture retention in hydroponic systems. It also protects roots from the harsh effects of plant-stimulating hormones. Coco coir is environmentally friendly, has a neutral pH, is reusable, and does not allow for the growth of fungi.
Choosing a Hydroponic Growing System
Most hydroponic systems are similar in their use of nutrient-rich water solutions; however, they differ depending on the material used, setup, water exposure, and circulation. Still, farmers can go for DIY systems using buckets, pumps, drills, and air stones. The best hydroponic systems to consider are:
Deep Water Culture (DWC)
Deepwater culture is a cheap and easy way for beginners to grow cannabis seeds hydroponically. To set up a DWC system, growers simply place their plants in buckets filled with nutrient-rich solutions and use air pumps to supply oxygen to the roots.
Because this system does not use a growing medium, it prevents pests from proliferating around the root zone. DWC systems are fully automated and require little maintenance to use, making them ideal for inexperienced growers or those with large-scale operations.
Ebb and Flow
This system consists of buckets hung over a growing tray with inlet and outlet waterways, both of which connect to an external tank. The tank periodically supplies the plants with fresh water that is rich in nutrients and oxygen. The system has a water pump and a timer to control the water cycle to and from the external tank and growing tray. Ebb and flow systems are ideal for beginners as these systems are highly effective, easy to use, and require minimal maintenance.
Nutrient Film Technique (NFT)
With the nutrient film technique, plants absorb nutrients and oxygen from a solution that flows through growing trays. The tube that circulates the solution is tilted slightly to allow the water to flow from one side of the reservoir to the other. With this system, crops receive a constant flow of nutrients and oxygen. Growers can conserve water and nutrients by using the nutrient film technique because the nutrient solution is constantly being recirculated.
A drip system is a type of irrigation method that slowly drips nutrients and water into the roots of the cannabis plants. This system consists of a large tray with a growing medium such as clay pebbles or perlite. Cannabis plants access the constantly flowing solution through individual pipes, and the excess solution drips down the growing medium and back into the reservoir. Because drip systems slowly release water to the plants, it reduces the amount of water lost due to evaporation. This system is also very energy efficient, as it does not require a great deal of pressure from a powerful pump.
Much like drip systems, wick systems use growing trays that are filled with clay pebbles. A water tank rests underneath the tray from which several wicks connect to the medium. The solution travels down the wicks, passively hydrating the roots of the plants. This type of system is entirely passive and does not require any pumps or air stones. Wick systems allow the plants to access only as much water as they need, meaning that growers need not worry about overwatering their crops.
In aeroponic systems, plants are suspended inside of a chamber, and their roots are misted with water. Aeroponic systems are often used to start clones but can also be used throughout the entire growth cycle. This type of system may not be ideal for inexperienced growers, as it takes some expertise to set up and maintain. This system also makes it easy for pests and diseases to take hold in the garden.
In the past, most farmers preferred to use high-intensity discharge lights (HIDs) such as high-pressure sodium (HPS) or metal halide (MH) lights. But the recent full spectrum light-emitting diode (LED) grow lights have had tremendous success.
MH lights are close to natural lighting and are abundant in blue and green spectrums, which are best for vegetative growth. HPS offers orange, amber, and red-light spectrums, which are best for later cannabis flowering stages. Farmers often use metal halide lights during the vegetative growth period and switch to high-pressure sodium lights during the flowering period.
Although HID lamps provide an excellent light source for plant growth, they waste lots of energy and produce excessive heat. To mitigate the heat, farmers should invest in robust ventilation systems, including can fans and oscillating fans.
Lately, many growers have started using full-spectrum LED lights, which are far more energy-efficient than HID ones. Moreover, they are perfect for all growing phases and don’t require a ballast to power them.
Because most strains of cannabis are photoperiod-dependent, farmers should carefully regulate the light cycle during the vegetative and flowering stages. This is a crucial step in growing cannabis seeds hydroponically.
Like other crops, cannabis requires an abundance of major nutrients, including nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Additionally, it requires smaller amounts of other nutrients such as boron, sulfur, calcium, magnesium. The best way to feed cannabis plants is to use hydroponic nutrient solutions containing all the required nutrients for the vegetation and flowering periods.
Best Cannabis Seeds
Greenpoint Seeds offers superior cannabis seeds that produce potent plants in any hydroponic growing system, regardless of your growing season or environment. We pride ourselves in providing the best feminized and regular cannabis seeds on the market.
Contact us for more information about how to grow cannabis seeds hydroponically. Have you ever tried hydroponics? Share your story in the comment section below.