- According to William F. Gericke, the founder of modern hydroponics, this is an artificial but not anti-natural method which is based on the same principles that nature has established as a pattern for life.
- At first glance, you might think that the method is complicated and expensive.
- However, this couldn’t be further from the truth and if you use it, you’ll discover a clean, productive way of growing cannabis.
Hydroponics is essentially a system that uses aqueous solutions or inert substrate (coir, sand, gravel) for growing marijuana plants. Nutrients are added to the water or substrate (via watering), which means that the grower has complete control over all the variables which could affect the plant (PH, EC, fertilisation). In other words, the food that your marijuana plants receive does not come totally or partially from the soil, as is the case with the traditional method. Instead, you have to add it yourself. But does this method actually make a difference when it comes to the final yield? Is the system worth the trouble? Here we explain the advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics so that you can judge for yourself.
Advantages of the hydroponics growth system
- Nutrition can be controlled: The quality and quantity of the nutrients that go to your plants will depend entirely on you. You'll therefore be able to optimise fertilisation and easily correct any excesses or deficiencies. As marijuana plants have different nutritional needs during their two stages (vegetative and flowering phases), hydroponics also offers a major advantage in this regard because it is as easy as emptying the tank and refilling it. This drastic change in the composition of the nutrient solution is one of the reasons why plants have a significantly greater yield in a hydroponic growth system; the flowering process happens at a faster rate because the plants receive a strong signal to say that the moment has arrived.
- It saves water: All the water used will be transpired by the plant; none of it will be wasted on the soil or lost through evaporation.
- The growing area is optimised: In a hydroponic system, the roots of the plant require less space than they would with soil as they can obtain all the nutrients they need in a small space. We'll therefore be using less substrate. The substrates which are most commonly used in hydroponic growth systems are: • Coir • Pearlite • Vermiculite • Rock wool
- It is cleaner and more practical: You don't need to move bags of soil from one place to another.
- It saves nutrients: All the food you give to your plants is absorbed - nothing is lost in the substrate.
- Plants become stronger: Plants which are grown in a hydroponic system have more stamina.
- Better productivity: Thanks to the fact that this system enables us to have complete control over all the factors which could affect the development of the plant, we can create the ideal conditions for growth and thereby help productivity to increase.
- Accessible roots: It is highly advisable and practical to check the health of your marijuana plant's roots. Healthy roots should be white in colour. The darker the roots (e.g. yellow, brown), the less healthy they are.
Disadvantages of limitations
- Mistakes can be very costly: Soil has the ability to keep a particular balance around the roots. For example, if you accidentally over-fertilise your plants or the pH level is incorrect, the micro-organisms which live in the soil will help to restore balance. By contrast, the nutrient solution has a very limited ability to rectify any such error, which means that one mistake could be fatal and do away with your yield in a matter of hours.
- Temperature: In a hydroponic system, roots grow better in a temperature range of 18-22°C. They can tolerate upto 26°C but their metabolic function will start to slow down at that point. From 35°C upwards, the roots and plants will start to die from the lack of dissolved oxygen.
- Financial cost: Hydroponic growing systems can be more costly in the beginning.