Hydroponic cultivation of cannabis: what does it consist of?

What is the hydroponic cultivation of cannabis?

Hydroponic cultivation: the cultivation technique that does not require the use of soil

If you have decided to open this article, would you like to learn more about hydroponic cultivation?

You must know that this technique is particularly complex and, if carried out by inexperienced hands, risks irreversibly compromising the entire crop.

Which would be a complete disaster.

That is why we have gathered all the information about this cultivation technique in this article.

Hydroponic cannabis cultivation

What is hydroponic cannabis cultivation?

Simply put, hydroponics involves growing plants by eliminating the use of soil.

As you have probably heard or read elsewhere, the soil is essential for growing cannabis because it provides vitamins and minerals. The advantage of this technique is that it allows the grower to obtain the same nutrients without using soil.

For hydroponic growing, plants need:

  • light;
  • carbon dioxide;
  • oxygen;
  • water.

Plants can be grown by placing them in rocks or coconut fibre and feeding them with primary, secondary and micronutrients.

With hydroponics, plants can be grown closer together without the roots having to reach the nutrients. This results in higher plant yields and more significant water conservation.

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Hydroponic cultivation: how it works and where it occurs

Hydroponic cannabis cultivation can be done several ways to maximise yields and growth speed.

The most popular method – the nutrient film technique – involves placing the plants in a plastic tub and letting a nutrient solution run down the exposed roots.

Thanks to gravity and an air pump, hydroponics is relatively easy to implement: essential nutrients are supplied by continuously running the roots.

However, if the grower has less time on his hands, he may consider using nutrient-rich substrates to support the roots, such as rockwool, vermiculite or sand, which are excellent substitutes for soil.

Hydroponics is mainly used indoors, where growers can precisely control all environmental parameters. But some also operate hydroponic systems in greenhouses or outdoors.

Growing hydroponics outdoors is possible just by utilising sunlight instead of artificial light, further reducing cultivation costs.

But keeping the temperature of the nutrient solution around the desired 20ºC is usually a challenge even for the most experienced hemp growers.

Hydroponic cannabis

Pros and cons of hydroponic cannabis cultivation

Many die-hard fans of hydroponic cannabis cultivation would not switch to any other cultivation method because they believe this technique has numerous advantages.

First and foremost is the speed of growth.

Few cultivation methods can claim to be faster than hydroponics. Cannabis grown this way grows bigger and faster.

Other advantages include the following:

  • a cleaner growing room with no soil or soil-based pests to worry about;
  • no need to dispose of large quantities of soil or coco fibre at the end of cultivation;
  • overall water consumption levels are lower than soil-based cultivation, as water is constantly recycled and reused.

But that is not all.

Perhaps the most significant advantage for the hydroponic cannabis grower is their total control over the various aspects of plant growth compared to other cultivation methods.

Furthermore, with this technique, nutrients are dissolved in water, which makes them much more accessible than nutrients locked in the soil, which the roots would otherwise have to seek out.

However, there is a technical price to pay for these growth advantages.

In addition to knowing the best nutrients for hydroponic cannabis, a precise touch on the nutrient application is also necessary. Knowing how to keep plants at nutrient strength throughout hydroponic cultivation is critical to the success of the entire plantation.

Therefore, it is essential to avoid over- or under-application of nutrients and match them to the needs of the plants at each stage of growth.

This is one of the reasons why novice growers often avoid hydroponic growing because it is a very complex technique.

Remember that control of the hydroponic nutrient solution is crucial: pH and EC meters must be known, used and understood, and these must be calibrated regularly. An incorrect setting of these values risks damaging the entire crop irreversibly and quickly.

Finally, some growers dislike the extra equipment required for hydroponic cannabis cultivation.

Compared to simple soil cultivation, they require

  1. an air pump (potentially noisy);
  2. a hydroponic system (which may have a water pump);
  3. a heater or chiller;
  4. additional timers;
  5. etc.

So, in summary, the best hydroponic systems for cannabis can produce explosive growth if used correctly. Still, if you get the conditions and nutrients wrong, you can devastate your crop just as quickly.

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In this article, we have seen what the hydroponic cannabis cultivation technique consists of and its main advantages and disadvantages.

Given its complexity (and the penalties for unauthorised cannabis cultivation), this technique should only be practised by experienced cannabis growers.

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