Perlite is a volcanic glass that expands when exposed to high temperatures. It’s often used in garden soils to provide aeration, which is exactly why it’s beneficial to use as a hydroponic growing medium for cannabis.
Active hydroponic systems work well for larger growing operations. Despite their vulnerability to power outages, they offer the following benefits:
As one of the most popular options, clay pebbles are excellent at aerating root systems. Clay pebbles sometimes require that growers alter the pH in order to provide an optimal growing environment, however, pre-altered pebbles can be purchased. You’ll need to place clay pebbles into a plastic hydroponic basket that has spaces for roots to grow through.
2. Choose a Hydroponic Growing Setup for Your Plants to Thrive In
Strain selection is an important factor of hydroponic growing. Plants grown within these systems are free to uptake nutrients extremely fast, which often results in explosive and rapid growth. For this reason, selecting a large, towering sativa variety won’t be your best choice, especially if your system resides within an indoor grow tent.
Aeroponics is perhaps the most futuristic version of hydroponic growing, and uses misted water dispersed through the air to optimise aeration and hydration. Plants are placed into the top of a large tank of water filling the bottom 25%. Under the water is a pump that sends water into misters underneath the root systems. This fine mist constantly soaks the roots, allowing plants to receive massive quantities of air and water simultaneously.
Now that you’ve selected a growing medium, it’s time to choose which type of hydroponic setup to use. All systems are similar in that they utilise a nutrient-enriched water solution. However, setups can vary widely depending on factors such as water exposure and circulation. Most of the following systems can be purchased, but those with DIY skills could easily make them by using buckets, drills, pumps, and air stones.
Deep water culture systems are effectively active versions of Kratky systems. They feature a single reservoir filled to the top with nutrient solution. Plants sit in net cups that are slotted into holes in a Styrofoam sheet that floats on the surface. Unlike the Kratky method, deep water culture systems don’t need to maintain an air gap to allow the upper roots to breathe. Instead, the system uses an air stone to continually aerate the solution.
If you haven’t put your hydroponic system together yet, now is the time! Make sure your pumps are all running, and that you’ve made a reservoir with seedling-strength nutrients. You need a home to put your new plants!
I’ve tried a bunch of different germination methods over the years, and the technique I prefer is for hydroponics is starting with the “Paper towel method” to germinate, putting the germinated seeds into Rapid Rooters, and installing the Rapid Rooters directly into reservoir. Lots of other germination methods as well, but this has worked best for me!
I do agree that if the temperature is above 80°F, your plant is a lot more likely to get root rot. However, I personally have not found that cool temperatures are adequate to prevent root rot. Even if the temperature is 60°F, you still need lots of bubbles and a “good bacteria” supplement like Hydroguard to prevent root rot in many cases.
Gently place the germinated seed inside, root down
I’ve seen several growers buy a water chiller and still get root rot. So I personally don’t believe cold temperatures are the best way to go to keep roots healthy.
Growing systems are similar when it comes to using the nutrient-rich water solution, but they differ depending on the material used, setup, water exposure, and circulation. Still, farmers can go for DIY systems using buckets, pumps, drills, and air stones. The best growing systems to consider are:
Clay pebbles are great at aerating cannabis rooting system. Sometimes, they need farmers to alter pH levels to offer an optimal growing environment. They are set up by just placing in the container with gaps for easy roots penetration into the water.
Lately, pro growers often prefer full-spectrum LED lights as they give much control and are more energy-efficient than HID. Moreover, they are perfect for all growing phases and don’t need ballast.
Coco coir, sourced from coconuts hairy fiber, ensures proper aeration and moisture retention. It also protects roots from the harsh effects of plant-stimulating hormones.
Because most cannabis is light-dependent, farmers should carefully regulate their light during the vegetative and flowering stages. Indeed, this is a crucial step for how to grow cannabis seeds hydroponically.