If this is your first time growing a cannabis plant, then these 5 tips for watering your precious crop are SURE to help. Especially tip #3 Watering cannabis plants may seem simple, but there is an art to it. Learn how to avoid the usual pitfalls and make the most out of any grow! You probably never thought about it but watering weed is a science on its own. Here are all the ins and outs of how to water like a pro.
Top Five Tips for Watering Your Marijuana Plants
As marijuana is a plant, it needs water, nutrients, sunlight, and air to grow. Although it is traditional to use soil as a planting medium, there is a myriad of alternatives on the market. However, no matter the medium, proper hydration is the be-all and end-all of successful marijuana plant growth. It is especially the case since it consists of 80% water!
Too many new growers make the mistake of believing that watering their plants is an easy process. The main crime against weed plants is overwatering. For some reason, newbies also tend to think it is essential to saturate their crops. If you add too much water, you run the risk of obstructing your crop’s oxygen intake. But if you under-water your plants, they get thirsty, and their leaves start to wilt.
An overwatered marijuana plant often has drooping leaves. Unlike wilted plants, the leaves of overwatered plants are so saturated with water that they curl in on themselves. Remember, your weed uses its root systems to breathe air. When you flood these roots, you’re in danger of drowning the unfortunate plants. Another sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves.
Spotting an under-watered plant is easy. Such marijuana plants look weak, lifeless, and will display clear signs of wilting. In extreme cases, the leaves are brittle and feel like paper when touched. If you have a cannabis garden for the first time, keep reading to learn more about optimal watering strategies.
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Best Products for Hydrating Cannabis Gardens
Below, we provide you with a list of useful products that will help you water the plants correctly. They are designed to take the guesswork out of proceedings and reduce the risk of underwatering or overwatering your precious plants. No matter what option you choose, bear in mind that there are different growth cycles. Each of them requires a unique watering schedule.
Here is a quick overview:
- Seedling Stage: It is best to water twice a day, to begin with, but focus on frequency over volume.
- Vegetative Stage: Daily watering works best if you’re using small pots. If you have large containers, switch to watering every two days.
- Flowering Stage: Water every 2-3 days.
As for pot size, you have to choose your container carefully if you wish to hydrate your marijuana plants properly. Common sense tells us that the plant can’t consume all of the water if its roots can’t reach! If you have a container where the roots don’t reach, you have leftover water. This moisture then becomes a target for root rot, insects, and fungi.
As a rule of thumb, start things off with pots or cubes that are one square inch apiece. As your plants grow, increase the size of the container to four square inches. Eventually, you will need a one-gallon pot, followed by a two-gallon container, and so on. Upgrade the pot each time your plant outgrows it.
Tip #1 – Use Smart Pots
These particular pots are made with canvas to help your marijuana plants’ roots breathe. They also enable water to drain and ensure heat escapes. Smart Pots are a prevalent option amongst indoor growers. Some users point out that they tend to dry out faster than with standard containers because the air passes through them. Once you get used to this adjustment, you’ll thoroughly enjoy using Smart Pots.
Tip #2 – Employ a Drip Line System
If you have a large crop or are gardening in a hot climate, a drip line system could be a lifesaver. It enables you to water your plants and distribute the liquid consistently evenly across the container. Let’s say you use Perlite and overwater your pot. You will find that the volcanic glass rises to the surface where it loses its effectiveness.
As a bonus, controlling the frequency of watering and the volume of water you add helps you manage nutrient supply. A proper drip system will include a series of small tubes and droppers. These connect your water supply to each plant in your garden.
Tip #3 – Add Perlite
Although this heat-treated volcanic glass is an exotic material, it is becoming increasingly popular in marijuana growing circles. It is typically added to growing mediums because it improves the structure of organic soils. As it is a neutral substance, it doesn’t impact the pH of your water or nutrient EC.
When you heat this natural substance over 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit, it expands enormously to become Perlite, a commercial material. You will notice how white it looks, and you can purchase it in fine, medium, and coarse grades. If you use a lot of nutrients in your plants, add up to 50% perlite. Reduce to 20% if you don’t plan to add a massive amount of additives and nutrients.
Tip #4 – Invest in a Timer
If you use a drip line system, you automatically use a timer. It reduces the amount of work you need to put in because the system waters the plants on a schedule. It also controls how much water you use. Once you have a system with a timer, it ensures your marijuana plants are well taken care of. You can even leave the state and allow your timer to do its thing.
Tip #5 – Look at Other Auto-watering Cannabis Systems
We have already mentioned the drip line system, which is a form of auto-watering cannabis plants. It is difficult to emphasize how much time and stress one of these systems will save you. It is only when you attempt to water manually that you genuinely understand.
Aside from the drip irrigation option, you can also choose sprinkler irrigation. Once again, it is activated when scheduled. Instead of providing water to each pot individually, a sprinkler system disperses water across all plants.
It would be remiss to suggest that auto-watering cannabis systems are foolproof or free from disadvantages. They aren’t especially easy to set up, and such a system could prove excessively expensive for small home growers. If you use a drip system in particular, you have to check and clean the pipes regularly to stop clogging. Otherwise, you risk allowing mineral and algae build-up, which may result in hampered water flow.
Also, if your system dispenses the water beneath the soil, you won’t know if it is feeding your plants properly. If there is a problem, you won’t notice for several days until your plants start showing signs of distress. Finally, you can’t merely set up your system and leave your crop alone for days on end. Regular checks for signs of disease or ill-health are essential.
How Often Should You Water Cannabis Plants to Benefit from Good Buds?
We offered some very generic outlines of how often you should water your seedlings, along with plants in their vegetative and flowering stages. However, there is no ‘hard and fast’ rule. Everything depends on the climate, type of strain, the growing medium you use, and whether you’re growing indoors or outdoors.
Overall, it is a ‘safe bet’ to water your plants a little. Ideally, you’ll reach the point where you soak the pot with a little bit of runoff. While the water should remain on the surface briefly, it needs to drain into the growing medium relatively quickly. Next, you have to monitor your plants carefully and look for signs of underwatering or overwatering.
As for when to water your plant next, experts agree. They say that when you use soil, you should water the plants once the first couple of inches of soil feels dry. Another telltale sign is if the container feels exceptionally light. Are you adding nutrients to the water regularly? If so, add enough water to get up to 20% runoff that drains out of the container’s bottom. This process prevents a build-up in your soil.
When you know about checking the soil regularly, you should get a feel for how often you need to water. You also learn more about the volume of water required. Water the marijuana plants at the first sign of the leaves wilting.
A lot of new growers tend to rely on their trusty watering can. It isn’t a bad option when you only have a handful of cannabis plants to worry about. However, once you have a substantial garden, your can is too small to fulfill the demand for water. You can persist, but it will involve multiple refills.
An increasing number of cultivators are investing in devices such as Battery-Operated Liquid Transfer Pumps. These pumps enable you to pump water from a large container to your weed. The most popular options are capable of reaching the bottom of a 3-gallon jug.
When watering weed, there are some other considerations.
Even if you get the watering process correct, a low-quality water source could undo all of your hard work. The pH scale runs from 0 – 14 and determines how acidic or alkaline a substance is. 7.0 is considered neutral, and clean water’s pH is in and around that mark. The pH of water dictates your plant’s capacity to absorb nutrients. For the record, 0 – 6.9 is acidic, while everything from 7.1+ is alkaline.
Through trial and error, growers have determined that marijuana plants grow best at a pH of around 6.5. You can measure pH by adding a pH meter to a sample of water runoff. This is ideal because runoff water has passed through your grow medium and drains from the container. If the pH is too high or low, you need to purchase a particular product. The goal is to ensure it is as close to 6.5 as possible.
Parts Per Million (PPM)
PPM measures the number of minerals dissolved into your water source. For instance, a reading of 115ppm means there is 115 milligrams per liter of minerals present in your source. During the vegetative stage, the ideal PPM is 500 while it rises to 1,000 during the flowering stage. Invest in a TDS meter. It measures the water source’s PPM and ensures your plants are not receiving too few or too many nutrients.
Unfortunately, you may live in an area where the water quality is compromised (Flint, Michigan anyone?) If this is the case, the water you use on your plants may have bacteria and other pollutants. These unwanted additions could contaminate the water. Trying to grow plants in these circumstances will only lead to disaster.
To prevent a catastrophe and the waste of countless hours, money, and energy, invest in a reverse osmosis (RO) filter. These filters remove up to 99% of dissolved salts within the water. As a result, your marijuana plants get the cleanest possible end product.
Conclusion: Watering Cannabis Plants
If you have never grown marijuana plants before, you will be shocked at how much effort goes into the process. It isn’t just a case of planting them, adding nutrients, and watering as and when you feel like it. There is a range of details to consider if you want a strong and healthy crop.
Watering your marijuana plants is the most crucial consideration. However, it isn’t as easy as getting a watering can and using it like you would with a bunch of roses. When choosing a watering schedule, you have to adjust depending on whether you grow indoors or outdoors. Climate considerations are also of paramount importance since heat and humidity have a significant impact on cannabis plants.
Finally, you have to consider your growing medium. If you have a small garden, manual watering with a traditional watering can is fine. If you have a more extensive operation, it is worth investing in an auto-watering cannabis system. It will help take the stress out of matters. When all else fails, the weight of your pots can serve as a useful watering guide.
If they are cumbersome, it means the soil is too wet, and you should wait for a few days. If they are too light, it is time to water immediately. It is especially the case if the plant’s leaves are showing signs of wilting.
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Homegrown CannabisCo are the masters when it comes to seeds. Offering a massive variety of cannabis seeds that are well categorized, not only does this company create a resource for superb quality options including feminized seeds, it also provides extensive growing information for those looking for some support along their journey.
Watering Cannabis Plants: How, When, And How Much?
Watering cannabis plants doesn’t sound like a big deal; any idiot can do that, right? Well, wrong, actually. There’s a bit more technique involved in watering weed than simply sloshing some H2O at your pots every once in a while. At least, that’s not going to do if you’re aiming for strong, healthy plants with big, beautiful buds. Watering cannabis plants is all about finding that sweet spot between giving too much water, or giving too little instead. If you approach watering marijuana the wrong way, you may cause nutrient shortages, or your plants could get sick. To prevent that from happening, this blog gives you a clear guide to wearing cannabis plants, including how much to give, when to do it, and in what way.
The Art Of Watering Cannabis Plants
Watering cannabis plants may not be the first challenge that comes to mind when ordering marijuana seeds to grow. Most people think they’ll be fine as long as you just keep their feet wet. It’s not quite that simple, though. Growers looking for strong, healthy plants should be careful about how much water they give; when they do it, and how they keep them watered. Sure, talking about the art of watering weed may sound awfully zen, but there is an art to it nonetheless. If you just keep the following guidelines to heart, it can really up your growing game.
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Why Weed Needs Water
Without water, there would be no weed plants – it’s that simple. But what do cannabis plants actually use all that water for? It seems so obvious, but here are six reasons for watering your marjuana grow – bet you didn’t know all six of them…
1) Cannabis plants are almost 90% water. They need water to keep their cells firm so the plant remains steady and upright while retaining its structure.
2) Plants need water for photosynthesis. That means without water, plants would have no energy to store, or to use for growing and flowering.
3) Seeds won’t germinate without water. As you can see, even the very first step of any grow is 100% dependent on water.
4) Water is necessary for transporting and absorbing nutrients. Although a plant’s roots absorb nutrients from the soil, they can only do so if nutrients are dissolved in water.
5) Plants use water for ‘transpiration’ so they can keep their temperature stable when it gets (too) hot.
6) Soil life needs water, and without the right life forms in the ground, many vital processes would stop working.
Right. Now that we know why we need to water our cannabis plants, let’s proceed to the best water management techniques.
The Main Danger: Too Much Of A Good Thing
Everyone knows that water is essential for a plant’s survival. What many people don’t know, however, is that too much water can harm or even kill a plant. It’s all about having too much of a good thing, really. Most rookie growers tend to give too much water to their plants rather than letting them dry out. That is why you should always be sparing in watering cannabis plants, as you’re more likely to cause problems by overwatering than by dehydrating them. In fact, for very young plants, even the splash that your average watering can produces can be harmful. There’s your first lesson on watering cannabis plants already, then: don’t damage shoots and roots by using a watering can for seedlings and young plants. The best way to go with the little ladies is to use a spray nozzle instead.
Spraying water is better for young plants.
The next tip is more of a where than a how, really. Always start watering cannabis near the stem of the plant, and work your way towards the edge of the pot from there. This encourages the plants to extend its roots outwards to all sides. A more elaborate root system equals a stronger plant with better resilience to outward influences. This applies both to plants raised in pots and to marijuana grows in open soil.
Learning When To Water Cannabis Plants
Too much or too little water can be equally bad for marijuana plants. How much water any individual plant needs depends on several factors, including the stage of its life cycle, soil type, and temperature. As a basic principle, keep in mind that cannabis plants have to be watered every two to three days. The exact watering frequency is determined by the variables listed below.
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Indoor Or Outdoor Grow?
Let’s start with an obvious one: watering outdoor grows is very different from watering cannabis indoors. Inside, growers provide every last drop of water themselves, while outdoor growers have to take drought and rainfall into account. Although this is part of the charm of growing weed in a natural environment, it does add some complications to the process (or at least, different complications). The following tips all apply to outdoor grows, with one crucial addition. Always keep close track of how much rain falls, and when, using a simple rain gauge or similar technique.
While applying the tips from this blog, always take into account what nature has already provided. In dry, hot weather, water evaporates from the plant and from the soil at increased rate. That means you’ll have to water more often. Rainy days can make watering almost unnecessary. In fact, if it keeps pouring for days on end, finding your plants some shelter can be a good idea. Obviously, that’s not going to work for plants out in the open soil, but this problem is partly offset by better drainage than your average flower pot.
Indoor grows grant much more control over the grow environment. Temperature and air humidity can be kept stable, allowing growers to curb evaporation rates. However, watering cannabis indoors poses its own set of challenges. If you forget to water your plants, there is no natural backup rainfall to save them. On the other hand, you don’t want to overwater them either. That is why indoor growers usually work by cycling from wet to dry, letting their grow medium dry out almost entirely before adding new water.
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Indoor growers differ in the level of automation they use. Some grow systems are fully automatic, watering at given times with all the nutrients added to the liquid. Others just use a watering can instead, and then there are many grow setups that are somewhere between these ends of the spectrum. Generally speaking, the less tech and automation you use, the more you should use the guidelines in this blog for careful watering of your cannabis grow.
Ebb And Flow
When growing weed indoors, watering can be arranged by using an ebb and flow setup. This involves temporarily submerging the roots of the plant, allowing them to absorb water rapidly. Usually, nutrients are already added to the water in advance, and the water is flushed out afterwards. That calls for regular refreshment of the water reservoir to deny fungi and bacteria a foothold.
Grow Medium And Watering Cannabis Plants
The soil type in which you decide to grow your cannabis affects the preferred frequency of watering. Different grow mediums have different properties. Clay, for instance, has very good water retention, while sand has excellent drainage properties. Cannabis prefers loose soil that is capable of draining away excess moisture fast. That’s why you should remember to drill a few holes in the bottom of your pots. If you don’t, water will collect in the lower soil strata, which will get you in trouble eventually.
No matter whether you grow indoors or out, the following summary lists some of the main benefits and drawbacks of various grow mediums:
(Potting) Soil: Depending on composition, soil or potting soil provides growers with rich organic soil life, good drainage, and adequate retention capacity (ability to trap moisture). Many soil types offer their own supply of nutrients, reducing the need to add fertilizer. Natural soil also has high buffering capacity, which adds stability to the grow and limits the impact of mistakes.
Perlite/ Clay Pellets: Growers often add perlite or clay pellets to their grow medium to amp up water retention capacity. This extends the wet-to-dry cycle, reducing the need to water often. Clay pellets can also help keep evaporation in check in hot weather.
Coco Fibre/ Coco Peat: Coco fibre can be used as a grow medium instead of potting soil. It is highly effective at trapping water, thus prolonging the wet-to-dry cycle. That means you should pay extra attention to remaining moisture, because the risk of overwatering is bigger
Rock wool: Rock wool is an alternative to soil used almost exclusively indoors. This fibrous material has excellent water retention power as well as good drainage capacity, which generally decreases the required watering frequency, too.
Hydroponics: Growing cannabis using hydroponics is an altogether different affair. This method involves growing plants directly in water, without using soil or any grow medium whatsoever. The water holds all the necessary nutrients if you do it right. As you’ll understand, the guidelines in this blog do not apply to hydroponic grows. You can read more about hydro grows in our dedicated hydroponics blog.
Especially when growing weed indoors, water quality makes all the difference. This is where individual approaches differ considerably, though, mainly because many weed growers only have access to regular tap water. Of course, tap water quality varies wildly between regions and countries, but generally speaking, cannabis plants can handle whatever spills from the tap. Growers living in hard water areas (where groundwater and tap water contain high levels of calcium) may want to purify their cannabis water supply to prevent mineral deposits, though. Weed can suffer from calcium and other mineral deposits. High-tech indoor growers should note that mineral deposits can damage automatic irrigation systems too.
Ideally, the purest and – according to many – best water quality comes with purified reverse osmosis (RO) water. This can be tricky to come by in large quantities, however, so we are just going to leave the suggestion here and repeat that generally speaking, clear tap or rain barrel water will do nicely.
Outdoor growers can also install a rain barrel for a water reservoir. This takes some planning ahead, but on the plus side, it can seriously cut water expenditure and ecological footprints, as well as supporting any attempt to grow weed organically. Incidentally, building your own filter for water barrels is not as hard as it may seem.
Clean, fresh water is always a good idea; however, pH values and nutrient contents are equally essential.
The Right pH For Watering Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants can make the best use of water that is slightly acidic, at pH values (representing acidity) of about 6.5. You can use a pH meter to gauge whether your water is too acidic, or too alkaline instead. If that happens, the roots become unable to absorb the nutrients from the grow medium. That will slow down growth and could eventually be fatal. Here too, outdoor grows in open oil are less vulnerable to acidity fluctuations; indoor growers should pay extra attention to pH.
pH meters are useful tools for any grower.
Adding Nutrients, Yes Or No?
Then there is the question of which nutrients, if any, to add to the water you’re using. There are as many preferences as there are growers when it comes to nutes, but being cautious is always a good idea. Nutrient deficiency harms plant development over time. Overfeeding can cause ‘nutrient burn’, which will also prove fatal in the long run. Here too, the grow medium makes a big difference. In potting soil, for instance, many of the important nutrients are already naturally present, whereas rock wool offers no nutrition at all. As mentioned earlier, many indoor growers automatically use premixed vats of water and nutrients, with different composition for growth and flowering stages, specifically attuned to what the plants need at any given time.
The Life Cycle Stage Of Your Plants
Young plants and seedling require less water than larger, more mature plants. Generally speaking, the bigger a plant gets, the more water it needs. Yet even though nutrient requirements can change as cannabis passes from growth to flowering stage, the demand for water tends to rise stably with plant size irrespective of these stages.
Flushing Before The Harvest
Growers also use water to flush their plants before harvesting. By giving only pure, nutrient-free water in the lasts two weeks before harvest time, the plant flushes out any leftover nutrients, for a harvest that is as pure as can be.
Temperature And Light
Light and temperature also co-determine your cannabis watering regime. Generally speaking, your plants will grow more slowly in cool conditions than in warm weather. That is why a rapid-growing plant standing in the full sunshine will need more water and nutrients than a grow in colder conditions, all other things being equal.
How Much Water Does A Cannabis Plant Need?
So how much water should you give to one pant? As a rule of thumb, watering up to 25-30% of the total pot volume (the flower pot, that is) should do the trick. That gives the plant enough water to absorb all the nutrients it needs, without soaking the soil to the point where problems arise. Still, even if you know how much water to give, you’ll need to know when to water your plants for successful growing.
When Is It Time To Water Cannabis Plants?
To some extent, growing marijuana is always a matter of intuition. Good growers, however, will keep a close watch on their plants to detect just when they need a splash of fresh water to drink. For outdoor growers, the advice is not to water plants during the hot hours of the day, as the sun can easily burn the leaves at high noon. Wait until the sun starts to set, or get up early and water your plants before the sunlight hits them.
For indoor growers, the best course of action is determining their own wet-to-dry cycles. Do keep in mind, however, that plants will finish their water rations faster as they grow bigger, or if temperatures rise for instance. Indoors as well as out, paying constant attention to water conditions remains crucial.
Whether you grow inside or out, though, you can use the following simple checks to quickly determine the moisture balance of your plants:
Fingers In The Dirt
A very simple method of finding out whether your plants are thirsty is simply to stick your finger in the soil, down to about 5cm depth. You’ll feel whether the top soil stratum has dried out easy enough. Even though you won’t get all the way to the middle of the pot in this way, you will have a rough indication of whether it’s time for water yet. In normal conditions, the top 5cm of the soil will dry out in two or three days, so you’ll know when it’s time to get your hose or watering can ready.
Another method to check whether the soil is dry is to weigh your pots. Put your pots on a scale while the soil is dry. Now, water the plants and weigh again. Regular weight checks are a good indication of when it’s time for watering.
How To Recognize Water Issues
Now that you know how and why to water cannabis plants, we round up with a few water issue symptoms. That will help you detect moisture management problems early on. There is a catch, however: some of these symptoms can signal water deficiencies as well as surpluses. So if you spot the signs of water issues, always check whether your grow medium is too dry or too damp (once again using your fingers). That way, you’re making sure you don’t pick the wrong solution and kill of your grow instead of saving it!
Limp Leaves: Not Enough Or Too Much Water
Dehydrated plants lack so much moisture inside their cells that they grow limp. Be sure to check whether the soil is dry, though. This is important, because plants can go limp after receiving too much water, too. Thirsty plants will display fragile, softened leaf structures, though, whereas drowning plants have dark green, curling leaves.
If the soil turns out to be dry, water your plant right away and watch the leaves pop back up. Don’t wait too long; weed can handle a bit of a dry spell, but regular droughts will make it difficult for them to bounce back up.
Leaves Turning Yellow Or Brown: Nutrients, Water, And Balance
If your plants are chronically dehydrated, you will notice the signs in their discoloured leaves. They may turn yellow or brown on the edges, or the leaf can lose colour altogether. What actually happens is that your cannabis grow is unable to absorb sufficient nutrients, which will retard growth and prove fatal if left unchecked.
Don’t jump to conclusions, however, as yellow leaves can signal other problems than water shortages as well. Too much water can cause discolouration too, so check your grow medium before you intervene. Moreover, too much or too little nutrition can produce similar symptoms, as can light stress. That’s why you should always pinpoint the actual cause of leaf discolouration before you act.
If the leaves of your weed plants appear swollen, similar to basil leaves for example, you are probably giving them too much water. In this case, you’re fairly certain to tackle the issue by cutting back on your watering schedule. Do make sure your drainage is in order, though, as blockages can cause water to accumulate at the bottom of the pots.
Muddy Or Bone-Dry Soil
If the soil in your pots keeps looking like mud or damp clay, you are either messing up your drainage, or you are giving too much water. Add some clay pellets or similar material to your medium to improve drainage capacity. Also make sure the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are unobstructed. A bit of gardening mesh or some pottery shards at the bottom of the pots can help prevent them clogging up.
If the top stratum of your soil resembles a patch of the Sahara Desert, chances are you’re working with dry dirt. Try to increase the water supply, but be gentle about it or you may end up drowning your plants instead.
Conclusion: Watering Cannabis Plants, Done Right
Watering cannabis plants is not as simple as you may have thought at first, then. No matter how tricky, though, it is still one of the most important parts of growing weed. In fact, it is nearly as crucial as picking the best cannabis seeds to work with. If you want to give your crop the best shot at making it from germination to harvest, be sure to water them with proper care and attention. In your expert hands, they are bound to flourish and yield the harvest you were hoping for. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our other grow blogs, because the right knowledge can help any grower get more joy and better results from every single grow!
The germination of cannabis seeds is illegal in most countries. Amsterdam Genetics cannabis seeds are exclusively sold as collectable souvenirs to customers living in countries where the cultivation of cannabis is illegal. All information on this website is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to incentivize people to engage in illegal activities.
A Guide To Water your Marijuana Plants
But, when it comes to marijuana plants, the whole watering process requires a little more finesse.
Not to worry though! In this article, we will cover all the ins and outs of watering weed so you can run a smooth-flowing operation.
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- The importance of H2O
- Types of water for watering weed plants
- What is the right temperature to water your plants?
- How often should you water your plants?
- How much water do marijuana plants need?
- The best method for watering weed
- Why the right ph value is key
- Watering weed in a nutshell
The importance of H2O
Cannabis plants, like most living things, consist largely out of water. Needless to say that maintaining that water balance is of vital importance.
Watering cannabis is a science in its own right. You will be dealing with meticulous PH values, various types of water as well as fluctuating needs during different life stages.
Overwatering could lead to nutrient deficiencies and diseases while providing too little water is often the reason for stunted growth.
It’s a delicate equilibrating that you need to maintain at all times in order to get that thriving crop every grower desires. Don’t let this discourage you though, we are here to walk you through how to water cannabis every step of the way.
Types of water for watering weed plants
We often don’t think about it, but water comes in different types and qualities. While some are perfect for watering pot plants, others might be ill-advised due to the water containing harmful substances or unwelcome minerals and bacteria.
pH and EC values are important factors when it comes to watering plants. Not only do these factors have a strong influence on your root development and the number of nutrients they can absorb, but they also play a vital part in the general health of your plants.
What you need to keep in mind is that these pivotal factors may strongly fluctuate, depending on the source you are getting your water comes from.
Let’s have a look at a few varieties and what makes them suitable (or not).
- Tap water
- Bottled water
- Distilled water
- Reverse osmosis water
- Spring, reservoir, or well water
- River water
By far the most frequently used source of water for watering weed. It’s cheap and widely accessible. But, there are a few things to take into consideration before you reach for your garden hose. Water has different degrees of hardness. We determine the hardness of water by the amount of calcium and magnesium in the water. These elements occur naturally in rocks such as lime and chalk and our groundwater. The more of these minerals in the water, the harder the water will be.
As such, tap water can be either soft (EC – 0.4), medium (EC + 0.4) or hard ( EC + 0.8). Also, tap water generally has a pH value of over 7.0 and often contains lime, chlorine, and fluoride in some cases, which can kill soil life and decrease its quality.
To make sure your tap water is in optimum condition for your plants, there are a few precautions you can take: let the water sit for about 24h so some minerals and other components can sink to the bottom of your watering can. You could also use an osmosis filter in order to filter your water.
Bottled Mineral Water
Bottled water is perfect for people to drink. But, aside from becoming a costly affair, it might not be the best option for watering your cannabis plants. While mineral water does not contain any harmful substances, and its EC levels are lower than 0.5, with a pH around 7, it still contains high amounts of some minerals such as calcium, which may end up affecting your soil life and how your plant grows.
Most supermarkets and convenience stores sell distilled water, but you can also quite easily create it at home, which makes it, even more, cost-efficient.
Distilled water doesn’t contain any minerals or any other type of microorganisms. This water is perfect for plants since you basically start with a blank slate. In order to use it on plants, the only thing you have to keep into consideration is that it usually has a pH value of over 7.0 and an EC (water hardness) of 0.0. We advise simply adjusting the pH value and adding some calcium and magnesium until it reaches 0.4 EC.
Reverse Osmosis Water
Reverse osmosis water is quite similar to distilled water, just not as pure, since it doesn’t remove all the minerals such as chlorine, lime, etc.) and impurities from the water.
Reverse Osmosis water arises by using a filter that traps the minerals and other unwanted particles.
You can make this type of water by simply using a decent osmosis filter and setting it up. Depending on the filter, osmosis filters tend to produce less than 0.4 EC and a pH value of about 7.0. This makes the water potable and safe to used to water your plants without needing to modify it further.
Rainwater sounds like the most logical option, as the water comes naturally from nature. Growers who use rainwater usually do this by using tanks that fill them with rainwater and then store it for later use.
Rainwater is one of the cleanest types of fresh water on the planet. It usually has a pH of 7.0 and an EC that does not exceed 0.4. This makes it suitable for watering almost any type of plant, as nature tends to automatically remove all harmful elements before the rain falls.
To get the highest quality rainwater, you need to set up a water collection system. Keep this as clean as possible to avoid the inclusion of elements that could reduce the quality of the water or contaminate it.
We advise you to also use an impurity filter and recommend using rainwater outside the cities. This because the rain that falls in the city contains traces of pollution because the air here often contains traces of smog or pollution.
Spring, well or reservoir water, etc.
I would honestly not recommend using water obtained from wells, springs, reservoirs, and other similar sources since you cannot be sure of its composition. A visit to the city waterboards might supply you with more information about its mineral and chemical content. This is highly important since there is a possibility that the water could be polluted with chemical insecticides or mineral fertilizer, which renders it useless for your plants. Also, these types of waters tend to contain large amounts of harmful fungi and bacteria.
In order to use this type of water, we recommend doing some serious research beforehand. If you should decide to go forward, make sure to treat the water accordingly and meticulously prepare your storage area to avoid fungi and bacteria from spreading. If you prefer to use water from your own well, you can drain it first and treat the surface using ultraviolet light or shock chlorination before use.
River water may sound like a great idea for watering weed, but I personally would advise against it. Aside from having to deal with a lot of similar issues of the previously mentioned well water, rivers are generally miles long and often polluted with pesticides or harmful substances by industrial areas or factories along the stream. Aside from that rivers can also contain dead animals that contaminate water during decomposition.
In order to use river water, you should probably live near somewhere where your town waterboard can assure you that the rivers don’t contain any sort of contamination which is, in all honesty, a long shot.
What is the right temperature to water your plants?
Aside from the pH and EC levels, the third most important factor is your water temperature. If there are wide fluctuations in temperature, this may lead to problems along the way. Water that’s too hot or cold will not be able to absorb certain nutrients.
When growing in soil the perfect temperature is between 20 and 23 °C, keeping in mind that the soil acts as a sort of wall between the inside and outside, which allows for slight variations in the temperature in your grow room and water.
By using a simple thermometer you ensure your plants get watered at the correct temperature.
There are a plethora of different water thermometers available, most of them pretty affordable. Some EC and pH meters can also measure water temperature accurately. Depending on the temperature, water can actually suffer certain changes in its composition, including oxygen levels.
How often should you water your plants?
How much water your plants need and when it is time to water, depends on various factors. One of them is the life phase of the plant. For instance, seedlings and clones have a much lower water requirement than vegetating and flowering plants.
Let’s look at the individual stages
Germination: One of the basic things in seed cultivation is that you need to make sure to keep seeds damp but not wet. This generally means you need to water them once per day. Using a starter tray is a great option since the plastic cover works well to contain heat and moisture. Another solution to ensure the soil remains moist is to cover your container with plastic wrap.
How much water do marijuana plants need?
How much water your plants need depends on a number of factors, including:
- Outside temperature
- Stage of growth
- Size of the plant
Larger plants will require more water than smaller plants. If you’re growing the plants outdoors, provide them with more water when the temperatures are up, and make sure to reduce the amount of water when the humidity level is high.
Water should pool up on the surface of the soil while you’re watering, but it shouldn’t sit on the surface after you move on to the next plant.
If a plant is very dry, water will run straight through the pot and quickly come out of the drainage holes. When this occurs, water the plant a little, move on to the next plant, and repeat after 10 minutes as necessary. This allows the soil to gradually absorb water incrementally until all of the soil is thoroughly wet.
As the plants’ lifecycle progresses, so will their need for water. You might want to provide some individual plants with additional water in between their main waterings as they grow.
Take notes and make calculations. Setting a cycle where the plant needs to be watered every two to three days is ideal. As you continue your growth you will eventually come up with the perfect watering schedule for your plants’ needs.
How to tell if you are underwatering cannabis
Wilting is the first sign your marijuana plants are in desperate need of some additional H20. The cannabis leaves drooping will seem limp and lifeless and, in worse cases dry or even crunchie. It is of the essence to take action now because this condition will inevitably kill your plants if not corrected at once.
How to tell if you are overwatering cannabis
Overwatered your cannabis plants can be just as harmful as underwatering them. Overwatered cannabis plants are droopy with leaves that curl down. As a result of overwatering, leaves often turn yellow or show other signs of nutrient deficiencies (Particularly younger plants and seedlings are very sensitive to this).
When your plants are showing signs of overwatering, this does not necessarily mean you need to give them less water but rather to adjust the frequency of watering and make sure your growing medium has proper drainage.
The best method for watering weed
Instead of watering your plants in small quantities multiple times, try giving them a less frequent but efficient soak.
A proper soak implies watering them to 25–33% of the pot’s capacity. This amount provides the root system with sufficient water to quench its thirst, without excess puddling and potential fungal issues.
When watering, you want to start in the middle first. After allowing the roots to breathe, continue watering the edges of the container too. This way the root ball also transports nutrients residing in the top of the medium down to the root system below.
This results in the correct amount of water minus the hassle of possible puddles. This is especially beneficial to avoid fungal pathogens that lead to root rot, which are often caused by excess water.
Besides creating holes at the bottom of your containers allowing the water to escape from, the containers should be lifted slightly off the ground, allowing the water to drain and plants won’t be left in puddles of moldy water.
Why the right pH value is key
When growing in soil, the pH range of your water should ideally have a pH value of between 5.8 and 6.5
To test your water pH, you can a measuring stick or some pH measuring drops. If the pH is too high or too low, you need to adjust this. Using a few drops of pH up or pH down to reach the right level. This is especially important if you’re using tap water which generally has a higher pH.
If you do not have this ready-made formula at hand, don’t worry! There are other ways to get the desired ph level.
Lemon juice has high acidity and a pH between 2.0 and 3.0, so when you add a few drops to your water, this will certainly lower the pH. Appy, as needed until achieving the result you want.
Baking soda does exactly the opposite. This multifunctional substance, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is naturally alkaline and has a pH of 8. When adding baking soda to your water, you will raise both the pH value as well as the alkalinity.
A word of advice: If you’re adding cannabis nutrients to your water, measure your pH after each feed. This will provide you accurate information for future growths (make sure to add this data to your growth diary). And on top of that, it will tell you if you need to increase nutrition or modify the next dosage.
Watering weed in a nutshell
Well, sorry for this lengthy narrative, there is just so much to tell!
After going through the various different types of water you can use when growing cannabis, including some you may not have thought of, the best water for growing plants is clearly reverse osmosis or distilled water. These two types of water can guarantee that your plants aren’t getting any toxic minerals or anything they shouldn’t get unless you’re adding it to the water.
Make sure your soil never completely dries out and always, always check your PH values before watering weed. Hopefully, you will never feel like a fish out of water again when it’s time to water your marijuana plants 😉