What is Hydroponic Growing?

hydroponic cannabis

There are many methods by which one can cultivate cannabis. The most traditional approach, of course, is outdoor, in the dirt, and under natural sun—the way it has occurred for thousands of years. However, modern era cannabis prohibition has resulted in a black market that requires stealthy indoor gardens that yield every possible ounce of medicine from each plant.

Hydroponics = Plump Pot

While old school dirt in pots is certainly a viable option for indoor cultivators, many have chosen alternate means of producing the plumpest possible cannabis flowers. The most popular non-dirt method for growing indoor cannabis is hydroponics. Put simply, hydroponics suspends the roots of the plants in a carefully concocted water solution containing nutrients instead of dirt.

Many laypeople are unaware that plants can grow perfectly well without a soil medium for their roots. Cannabis, like any other vegetable or herb (it qualifies as both), requires a short list of basic nutrients that, in nature, are released from the soil by water. The water acts as a transport mechanism to deliver nutrients from the dirt to the plant’s roots, from which they are absorbed. In hydroponic systems, these nutrients are simply dissolved into a water solution in which the roots are suspended.

Put simply, hydroponics suspends the roots of the plants in a carefully concocted water solution containing nutrients instead of dirt.

A hydroponic nutrient solution must contain a proper Ph balance (a measure of acidity) and the right mix of nutrients (including nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur). It is the precise balance of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, in particular, that is so important in hydroponic cannabis gardening.

Why Hydroponics?

But why would a cannabis cultivator invest in hydroponic equipment and its maintenance when they could simply grow plants in dirt? At a basic level, hydroponic growing systems allow the roots of a plant more ready access to a higher volume of nutrients than a dirt medium. If performed properly, this equates to larger yields and more potent medicine.

In addition, hydroponics allows cultivators to make granular adjustments to the nutrient mix of the solution. This provides gardeners with the opportunity to carefully tune their nutrient levels, Ph balance, and the temperature of the water solution to the needs of a particular strain of cannabis. Hydroponics also allows gardeners to quickly compensate for other environmental factors, such as light type, air temperature, humidity, disease, and infestation. 

Multiple Configurations

Hydroponics systems are available in many varieties, including ebb and flow (sometimes called “flood and drain”), deep water culture, drip irrigation, and continuous flow. Often, creative gardeners customize and hybridize these basic configurations to accommodate their particular grow environments and preferences.  

Hydroponic systems are also highly scalable, meaning they can be very simple and small (and, thus, inexpensive) or large and quite elaborate. This makes hydroponic cannabis gardening even more attractive to all types of gardeners because it can be sized to fit a particular budget and room layout.

Where can I learn to grow hydro?

We strongly suggest checking out CaliCropDoc and their suite of online videos if you plan to grow hydroponically. Hydroponic growing is a very fickle process and the experts over there can guide you through every step of the process. They produce serious results. Check out the video below for more information.

About Gooey Rabinski 17 Articles
Gooey Rabinski is a technical writer, instructional designer, and photographer who has been covering the cannabis culture since 2004. His work has appeared in High Times, Cannabis Culture, WoahStork, SKUNK, The Emerald Magazine, MERRY JANE, Weed World, Grow Magazine, Whaxy, Green Flower Media, and Cannabis Health Journal. Rabinski crafts compelling educational media that focuses on the science of the cannabis herb, patient advocacy, and eliminating the social stigma that has existed for more than a century in the United States. His photography is available on Instagram at gooey_rabinski and he Tweets from @GooeyRabinski.

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