How to Grow Hydroponic Cannabis?

Hydroponic cannabis is simply cannabis grown in water that’s rich with the nutrients needed by the plants, and in an inert medium rather than traditional soil. This approach does provide some advantages to growers, which is why you might want to consider it yourself. First of all, you may not have soil available for indoor growing, and that could be costly to bring in artificially. There are also far fewer pest problems to worry about, since most of those are associated with the soil itself.

How to Grow Hydroponic Cannabis?

It’s much easier to exert a controlling influence on the quality of your cannabis when you grow it in water, because you can manage the levels of nutrients going into your inert medium, and you can carefully balance pH of the soil. Many growers find that their hydroponic plants are bigger, healthier, and even have higher potency. On top of all this, your crop will grow faster and in virtually all cases, produce a greater yield.

Step 1 – Get Your Hydroponic System Setup

There are two approaches to setup. You can either buy a complete startup kit that gets you ready for growing immediately and lets you learn the ropes at a slower pace, or you can do it all yourself from the ground up. If you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need a 3-gallon bucket for each plant, enough clay pellets to fill each bucket, one 1.5 Rockwell cube for each bucket, a growing table, a reservoir tank, a large water pump, plastic tubing, an air pump, air stone, drip line, and two drip line emitters per plant.

Next, you need to setup your reservoir with the water pump, air pump, and air stone, at a level below the grow table, so excess water can drain into it, and so water can be pumped to the buckets. The grow table should drain toward the middle, where tubing will conduct water back to the reservoir. The buckets can be filled with clay pellets, and they need to have holes drilled in the bottom which are smaller than the pellets. The tubing will be used to conduct fresh water and nutrients to the plants, and return used water to the reservoir.

Step 2 – Get the Necessary Nutrients

The three main nutrients needed for cannabis growing are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, but to ensure a good crop, you’ll also want to purchase smaller amounts of magnesium, sulfur, zinc, boron, copper, calcium, and iron. During the vegetative phase, you must provide a solution rich in nitrogen, and during the flowering phase, it should be a phosphorous-rich solution. It’s better to buy the pre-mixed versions of these nutrients, so that you don’t have to guess about content level.

Step 3 – Growing and Tending

The most important thing to remember about tending is that it will be necessary to prune bottom foliage frequently because of the rapid growth enjoyed by hydroponic cannabis. This allows the all-important top buds to receive more nutrients and gain potency. You’ll also have to be on the lookout for tall-growing plants to break or tip over – trellising can solve this problem nicely, since it provides needed support and trains the growth direction.

Once you get the hang of hydroponic growing, you’ll probably be so pleased with the results, that you’ll never want to try it any other way.

Techniques for Growing Hydroponic Cannabis

Techniques for Growing Hydroponic CannabisHydroponic cannabis are plants grown in something besides soil, with nutrient-rich solutions that provide what the plant needs to grow.

The reason marijuana plants, or any other plants, are grown hydroponically is that growth can be sped up and yields can be increased by directly controlling the volume of nutrients received by the plants.

Small-scale hydroponic operations can be as simple as hand-watering plants which grow in pots containing any inert medium. Much larger operations might have more sophisticated systems, automated to manage irrigation and the flow of nutrition.

Hydroponic marijuana media

Strictly speaking, no medium is really necessary for growing hydroponic cannabis, as long as the plants receive the nutrients they need. Since growing mediums are easily obtained and support root development, most hydroponic operations make use of one or more of the following:

  • Rockwool – probably the most commonly used medium and is made by spinning molten rock into single-filament fibers that hold water well
  • Growstones – a recycled glass product which has tremendous properties for retaining air and water
  • Perlite/vermiculite/pumice – all three of these contain a great deal of air space, and they have the added appeal of being re-usable
  • Coco peat – a by-product of coco husks, which holds 1,000 times more air than natural soil
  • Expanded clay pebbles – super-heated to more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, these tiny clay bits retain their heated size and hold air extremely well

Hydroponic growing methods

Having settled on the right medium for your hydroponic growing operation, you then need to select the actual growing method to be used.

  • Aeroponics – this method does not require any growing medium, but instead works by spraying or misting the roots of plants to provide them with needed nutrients
  • Continuous flow solution – by constantly irrigating plants with nutrients, the continuous flow method ensures that individual plants receive nourishment through some kind of setup where roots are supplied with water containing vital ingredients
  • Run-to-waste – a simple hydroponic system has the grower watering a medium either by hand or automated until waste is created in individual pots or containers, then discarded
  • Deep water culture – roots of the cannabis plants are suspended over nutrient-rich water some are even completely out of the water. The very high levels of oxygen in the area directly above the water triggers rapid growth among the plants
  • Flood and drain – a simple cultivation method where trays are used to provide water to plants from below, with plants, either grown in media or not, and wastewater drains away to a main tank for recycling

Grow Marijuana Indoors

Growing marijuana indoors is a very convenient and cost-effective proposition because, over period of time, it will save you a ton of money. It’s a very hardy, quick-growing plant that only takes around four months to go from seed to a mature plant, and it doesn’t even require ideal growing conditions. Chances are even a first attempt at growing will be successful.

The best place to grow is indoors

It’s much safer to grow indoors, because it can be hidden from public view, and it’s not dependent on external weather conditions. The best place to set up would be in a small room like a closet, a shed, a garage, a cellar, or an attic – any enclosed area which no one else has access to. The area selected must have a source of electricity, and some kind of venting system to supply fresh air and exhaust used air.

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Growing requirements

The equipment needed for growing indoors includes standard hydroponic parts

  • A good source of light
    • Use High-Pressure Sodium (HPS) lamps, because they produce a good supply of light with very little electricity and they’re inexpensive. If HPS lamps are unavailable, LED grow lights can also be used, although these are a lot more expensive. Fresh air is important, because if the growing area is not well ventilated, it will have a tendency to develop insects, which can reduce your harvest.
  • A reliable fan
    • Getting rid of old air inside is a good idea so there isn’t a powerful smell accumulating in the growing space, and a carbon filter will help immensely with this. The simple combination of a fan and a charcoal filter is all that’s really needed to remove the strong smell.
  • Fertilizer
  • Fabric pots
  • Seed germinations
  • Potting mix
  • And optionally, a grow tent

The last item is extremely useful for keeping the light contained and concentrated, so it helps the process considerably.

The last requirement is, of course, great cannabis seeds, which can be ordered online from several discreet vendors overseas.

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Grow Marijuana IndoorsGrowing your plants

  • Germinate the seeds – start with between 10 and 20, embedded in peat pellets. Only feminized seeds (those which parties female plants) will actually produce marijuana, so male plants must be discarded later. Within 3 to 7 days, plants will sprout, after which lighting must be provided for 18 hours a day, with six hours of off-time, keeping the plants moist at all times.
  • Transfer to pots – When the roots can be seen growing outside of the peat pellet, transfer the whole peat pellet with plant into a pot filled with potting soil, and water lightly.
  • Water the plant – Young plants need water once a week, mature plants once a day – just water when the soil is dry
  • Switch to flowering mode – after 3-1/2 weeks, the plants will switch to flowering phase and begin to make seeds, and then the light source should be dropped down to about 12 hours a day
  • Eliminate males – after four weeks of flowering, the first buds will appear on all the plants, but the females will have whitish-looking hairs and the males will have hanging balls. These have to be eliminated because they will pollinate the females and drastically reduce your yield.
  • Fertilize regularly – with regular watering and fertilizing, the plants will ripen in 2 to 3 months, and there isn’t much else to do except let them grow.
  • Harvest – use scissors to cut away all the leaves from the buds and discard them, since they have no active ingredients. Trim the buds – and enjoy!

What Not to Do When Growing Medical Marijuana: Part 2

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Careful Growing Marijuana

Continuing with our three-part series, here are three more no-no’s to avoid when growing medical grade marijuana using a hydroponic system. These common mistakes can be quite costly in terms of money, time and the finished product. Take heed from these mistakes to ensure a healthy production of crops that can be used to alleviate or lessen pain in cancer patients.

5. Failure to invest in the proper equipment. Growing medical grade marijuana involves lots of specialized equipment as part of your hydroponics system, along with a dedication to ensure the crop is plentiful. Don’t skimp on the equipment, and don’t forget to set it up correctly — the first time. This means remembering to plug your pump back in, and checking that meters are calibrated, timers are working right, temperature gauges are working, light systems are good, and all other systems are in sync.

6. Taking bad advice from others. Like any hobby or business, it can be very helpful to take advice from others who are in the same place as you. But while many people like you may have some nuggets of advice, it’s best to approach this as a serious business from which you want to profit. That means you should get instruction from reputable sources, such as gardeners, botanists, scientists — anyone who can give you some good plant propagation advice and growth principles backed by scientific proof. If you’ve got a trustworthy hydroponics supplier, it’s likely he or she will have no problem answering your questions and providing helpful tips. Read books, scourge the Internet, and take everything with a grain of salt.

7. Failure to brush up on the laws in your state. While 23 states have legalized medical marijuana in this country, according to, this doesn’t necessarily mean you can grow it in those particular states (although many states do allow that). This could mean your state simply allows for possession and use of medical marijuana. That being said, each state has different allowable limits for possession. For example, while the possession limit in Alaska is one ounce, with three mature plants and three immature plants, California has a possession limit of eight ounces, with six mature or 12 immature plants.