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Growing Weed in Water Using Hydroponics

Last Updated: September 13, 2022By Joshua Mezher

Growing cannabis

Cannabis, or weed, has the ability to grow almost anywhere, be it under different climates or varying conditions. In fact, growing weed at home has a lot of pretty straightforward approaches, and one of the ways to do it is by using hydroponics. 

The word “hydroponics” is derived from Latin that literally translates to “water working”. 

Hydroponic weed is the method of growing weed such that each plant grows in a flow or bath of water that is heavily oxygenated and highly enriched with beneficial nutrients. No soil is used in this process, and instead, the plant grows in a sterile, inert growing medium.

All of the nutrients required for the weed to grow are mixed in a solution in the water in which the growth process takes place.  This unique method of growing plants took birth over a century ago when it was created by William Frederick Gericke.

Although initially it was meant for just vegetables and garden plants, it was soon realized that this is a smart method of growing weed / marijuana. 

Related: How to get a marijuana growing license?

In a hydroponic system, the plants don’t need to expend energy growing big root webs to absorb the nutrients. This is because they are set up so that they are able to consume all the nutrients directly. 

The plants take in their required nutrition both from the water and the air, therefore, it’s necessary to maintain a perfect atmosphere in your hydroponic system.

As you can tell, growing hydroponically can get complicated and expensive.  That’s why we recommend growing with natural soil, especially for beginners.  

If you’re looking to grow your own cannabis plant, consider a Pot for Pot’s all natural complete soil growing kits.

What To Know About a Hydroponic Grow System

These hydroponics systems use an inert growing medium to support the roots. You will want to use a nutrient-water solution to give your plants more water and nutrients. There are many benefits of growing hydroponics cannabis, but we will get more in-depth into that later.

Hydroponic Grow Supplies and Equipment

The possibilities are endless when you want to grow hydroponically. You can choose a basic setup where you have control of the water to feed the plants a nutrient-rich solution by hand. Other complex systems use a growing medium, air pump reservoir, timer, and growing tray to keep their plants healthy and well-fed.

You can find a variety of hydroponic growing kits that have everything you need to get started. However, some growers feel that the DIY methods can work more to their benefit. Here are a few supplies and equipment you will need to start your hydroponic garden.

  • Grow lights and tent
  • Nutrient-water reservoir
  • Inert growing medium
  • Growing tray
  • Net pots
  • Airstone and pump
  • Hydroponic nutrients
  • Cannabis seeds
  • Hygrometer
  • Oscillating fan
  • Carbon filter
  • pH and PPM meters

If you plan to purchase a kit, they can vary in equipment, price, supplies, and ease of use. Every hydroponic system has its advantages and disadvantages, but they all have one thing in common: help you grow healthier cannabis plants.

Some of the most popular hypnosis systems include:

Deep Water Culture

If you are searching for one of the most manageable systems to set up and maintain for your hydroponic garden, think about the deep water culture variety. Within these systems, the plants are placed in a self-contained bucket. There is a mesh bucket that is filled with hydroton pellets. The cannabis plants' roots are then submerged into a solution of nutrient-rich fluids.

There are many benefits to these systems. For one, since the roots are already underwater, there is no need to provide the plants with additional water. However, you still need to give them plenty of oxygen and a nutrient-rich solution. Many of these DWC systems will require an airstone and pump to provide the system with the right amount of oxygen. When you pump in more air to this system, you will end up with healthy roots and plants. This type of system is the first one that comes to mind when you mention the words "hydroponics."

Ebb and Flow System

Another great hydroponic technique is the ebb and flow system. This system is pretty straightforward, and the most novice grower can even use it. Within this setup, the roots of the plants will absorb a nutrient-rich water solution over a certain period of time. After a while, the nutrient solution drained from the system. This process is repeated several times.

An ebb and flow system uses inert mediums, such as coco coir, sand, pea gravel, or rockwool. All of these soilless mediums are used to absorb the nutrient solution and provide some support for the cannabis plant's root system. If you are going to use this medium, hydroton pellets offer more support than earlier mediums like perlite or coco coir.

Nutrient Film Technique

If you want a similar system to the ebb and flow, you should think about using a nutrient film technique. This system works in the same way as the ebb and flow ones. With this system, all of the dissolved nutrients are distributed to the roots in a shallow stream of water. This water does not go to waste. It will be recirculated through the bottom of the root system via a channel. The cannabis plants are placed in a net pot and filled with a growing medium. They are well-aerated at the top of the roots, while the bottom roots feed on the nutrient solution film.

Types of Hydroponic Growing Mediums

Now that you know about the types of growing systems for your hydroponic garden, take a look at the different types of growing mediums. You can choose from a wide variety of mediums. Every one of them will anchor your plant into the system as they provide oxygen, water, and nutrients to the plants. Some of the most popular types of growing mediums include the following:

Rockwool

This type of material is made from melted rocks. That substance is spun and turned into a natural fiber. When you use rockwool, it allows the plants' roots to be properly aerated. This material is known for its exceptional water retention properties. 

Hydroton

Growing mediums don't have to be expensive. Hydroton clay pebbles are reusable, perfect for those on a budget. These pebbles can retain water for an extremely long period. This material is a great choice to keep the cannabis plant's roots well-aerated while in the growing system. The pebbles allow for ample space between the roots so that they can get the right amount of aeration.

Perlite

Another great affordable medium is known as perlite. Many growers choose this product due to its excellent aerating and water retention characteristics. Unfortunately, perlite is not a renewable substance, but you can reuse it in your hydroponic grow system. 

Coco Coir

Coco coir is not as popular as the other mediums, but it is still an effective one to use in your growing system. This material is made from ground coconut husks. This medium allows the right amount of nutrients and water to reach the plants' roots. Along with those benefits, coco coir has antifungal properties, so there are no worries about harmful bacteria buildup in your system. 

Hydroponic Cannabis Growing Nutrients

Before you set up your system, you need to consider adding the proper nutrients for your plants. These hydroponic nutrients are different from those you would add to the soil. You always want to add nutrients designed to work with the hydroponic system


Your hydroponic plant will need both micro and macronutrients, such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, and nitrogen. You can find these solutions in premade or powdered formulas. You will want to add them during the plant's vegetative or flowering stages.

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How to Set Up a Hydroponic System to Grow Weed

There are several ways of growing weed hydroponically. Of those methods, one of the most popular ones is the deep water culture method. It’s a simple indoor method that requires the least amount of materials and works well for beginners who are trying this for the very first time.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Fill the reservoir with the necessary amount of nutrient solution.
  2. Suspend the root of the weed plant in the solution. This allows the roots to take in all the nutrients constantly and steadily. It also provides a continuous supply of water, nutrients, and oxygen.
  3. Keep adding oxygen to the water.
  4. Use an air pump to add the oxygen. An air stone pump can also be used to create bubbles. This is a good way to keep your weed from drowning. 

Related: The ultimate guide on how to harvest weed

Benefits of Growing Weed Hydroponically

Cannabis grow room

There is one reason in particular why some consider growing weed hydroponically better than soil-grown weed. That reason is yield.  Hydroponics, when done correctly, can yield about 20% more than soil grown weed. That’s why it’s the preferred option for commercially grown medical marijuana.  Here are the several benefits of growing weed hydroponically:

High quality weed that’s efficient 

Of the reasons why hydroponic weed is sometimes preferred, one of the top-most is that it allows you to have weed of the highest quality, without having to wait for the most ideal environmental conditions for growing it outdoors. 

This high quality is achieved because the hydroponic system makes complete use of water, nutrients, and the growing space efficiently. 

Related: Growing Marijuana: Step-by-Step Guide

Produce more weed than normal

The hydroponic method allows you to produce higher yields of weed from a particular plot size, which is a huge advantage when compared to soil-based cultivation when growing commercially.  However, this yield increase is negligible when growing smaller, personal amounts of cannabis.

It’s only the availability of light that limits the plant’s density in a hydroponic growth room. Quicker maturity also leads to an overall higher yield. If ideal conditions are maintained, growers can even choose to harvest about four to five times a year. 

Hydroponics reduces the risk of diseases 

Hydroponics reduces the risk of plant disease and pest infestations, as a result of which you don’t need to use a lot of pesticides. This leads to the creation of a product that is much safer for medical marijuana patients.

Because of this, hydroponic marijuana can benefit patients with cancer and AIDS because a regular intake of chemically contaminated marijuana can cause several unwanted side-effects.  Of course, you can also avoid harmful pesticides and other nasty stuff by growing weed at home, whether hydroponically or in soil.

More Control Outdoors

As hydroponics allows you to grow weed indoors, you can have much more control over the environment than you would have outdoors.

It lets you supervise the factors that affect the growth and quality of the plant along with its yield. This can lead to the production of higher quality weed than plants grown normally.  However, all that supervision and care creates more work and cost for the grower, and allows for more things to go wrong during the grow.

Grow in Small Spaces

If you have limited space, hydroponics can be a good option for you.  Since hydroponic weed can be grown in your bedroom or inside a closet, space is less of an issue.  Though with autoflowering cannabis and a quality soil grow kit, high quality weed can be grown naturally in very little space, and at less cost.

Want to grow pot indoors? Check out these grow pots for weed!

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Conclusion

A hydroponic system serves great for those looking to maximize yield and have total control of their grow.  However, it can be complicated and costly for first time growers. Not only are there various options available, the process for setting up and monitoring a hydroponic growth system can be time consuming. Some growers prefer alternative weed growing equipment due to cost and ease.

If you want to grow weed in a way that gives you control over the growing conditions and lets you do it within the space you have, hydroponic weed might be the choice for you. 

However, if you’re looking to save money and reduce risk, while still having a bountiful tasty harvest, stick with all natural soil grow methods, like a Pot for Pot’s Complete Grow Kits.

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