The Ultimate Hydroponics Weed Growing Guide

Hydroponics is a method of cultivating plants in water as growing medium, and it’s growing cannabis plants without using soil as medium.  Plants are placed directly in nutrient solution without soil medium acting as a buffer between roots and water.  This method demands more attention to detail since it’s much easier for nutrients to get too…

The Ultimate Hydroponics Weed Growing Guide
John Kees

Author: John Kees

Publish Date: July 17, 2023
Last Update Date: September 13, 2023

What Is Hydroponics

What Is Hydroponics

So what exactly is hydroponic grow? Definition of hydroponics is technique of growing plants using a water based nutrient solution rather than soil as growing medium. In addition to water, nutrients are added to system, usually in liquid form.

Water used contains nutrients required for growth of plants directly from reservoir/feeder tank instead of being dissolved in soil medium like in regular cultivation method, thereby creating much more controllable environment for your cannabis plants to develop optimally in compared to traditional farming method. 

It also eliminates chance of diseases caused by fungi gnawing at roots – because there aren’t any! 

For nutrient solution not to stagnate too quickly, you must add fresh feeder water regularly throughout the day – about every 3-4 hours – depending on wattage you generate with lamps/energy usage per square meter divided by capacity (gallons) size tank you have installed.

Lighting duration also influences frequency of feedings that need to take place; If led lights stay turned off longer than normal lights-off cycle (12 hours), roots will eventually no longer be able to provide sufficient supply through capillarity effect drop tubes are placed under pots anyway.

You would then require some sort of freestanding reservoir system. 

Furthermore, these systems often come with pH controller or EC controller that automatically adds fresh nutrient solution once desired values regarding pH value or conductivity level reach certain limit set point max value indicated maximum level which could occur at given time since last feeding took place – giving really good control over entire process.

No more worries about fungal infections due to lack of proper nutrition supplies either.

Hydroponic Setup

In this chapter, I will explain how to set up hydroponic systems from scratch.

First, I will provide an overview of systems and what your needs are for each type and I will show you how to build your system step by step.

Hydroponics Home Growing

Hydroponics Home Growing

Hydroponics is a method of cultivating cannabis plants, and you can also grow indoors or outdoors on hydroponic systems. You’ll need tent, grow room, or greenhouse for this.

You have to install an EC system on your water. This determines amount of nutrients in water.

It’s important never to give your plants too many nutrients because they can evaporate, and this could cause damage to roots.

In addition, it could affect the growth of plants. It is, therefore, essential to have right measures on your EC system.

pH value determines if water contains more nitrates or phosphors. If you have high pH value, you probably have too many nitrates in water because plant doesn’t absorb them well enough.

This can lead to slower growth and discoloration of foliage because of excess nitrogen. Use a pH-down agent to lower pH value of your nutrient solution.

Indoor Growing

Hydroponic system is very suitable for growing cannabis indoors because it’s just too easy.

If you don’t want to mess with water and nutrients, I would definately advise you to go for a growing hydro kit, and you probably have this selling at local garden store.

It will contain everything you need and will take care of pH level and nutrient supply.

In order to create optimal growth conditions, you could build your own room or buy tent.

What you need for indoor hydroponic when it comes to supplies:

  • Lights 
  • LED Lights 
  • HPS Lights 
  • Hydroponic systems 
  • Nutrients and fertilizers  
  • Ventilation and odor control Systems 

Plant Care and Maintenance when it comes to indoor hydro grow: 

  1. Selecting Right Strain of Marijuana  
  2. Watering and feeding Plants 
  3. Pruning and training Plants  
  4. Harvesting Cannabis  

Grow Room

If you’re growing indoors, you can use your garage or basement. If you have time and space, I advise taking advantage of it and making your grow room indoors because growth outdoors also involves risks, and it’s not always easy to ensure no one will notice your plants. 

Grow room is ideal for growing cannabis with hydroponic and is easy to set up. 

Setting up room or tent:

  1. Choosing Location  
  2. Preparing Room/Tent for growth of cannabis  
  3. Installing Lights  
  4. Installing the Hydroponic System  
Grow Room

This is where your plants will spend majority of their lives. It’s important to have optimal climate for growth and production of buds.

Temperature has to be kept between 70 and 77 degrees, and humidity around 60% and air circulation around 40%.

You’ll need to install some kind of fan for your grow room. This will blow air and help keep temperature cool.

Also, fans create air circulation, wich improves health of your plants. 

I’m using fan from my grow tent, but you can buy regular ones at any hardware store.

Make sure you turn it on couple minutes before turning on your lamp.

That will create nice climate in room by blowing off warm air and bringing in cold air through vents.

I always grow with 400 watt MH lamp. You could also use HPS lamps, but these only have red/orange light and don’t provide as much blue light.

Blue light is important for formation of buds and red light is needed for flowering phase.

I hang lamp about 1.5 feet above surface of growing medium, so plants get maximum benefit from this light.

If you place it too high, you won’t get many side shoots and your plant will get very wide, but not very tall.

When it comes to installing hydroponic system it is very easy if you bought complete set like I did. You’ll need to install water tank, pump and nutrients.

You have to make sure everything is running smoothly. This can be done by connecting all three to a water hose and turning on tap.

Once water starts flowing through system you can check for leaks and see if water pressure is sufficient. It should be around 1.5-2.0 gallons per minute.

If you bought complete kit, chances are high that you also got an EC/ pH meter and an oxygen injector with airstones. These are also easily installed on back wall of your grow room or tent.

It’s always good idea to place them higher in room than lowest point in plants roots will grow towards so no oxygen will be sucked away from roots or any dissolved nutrients won’t be suctioned away by plant roots.

Grow Tent

Grow Tent

If you don’t have enough space, you can always make micro grow tent or buy it. Grow tent is an ideal mini space made for cultivating small number of plants.

Tents are very popular among cannabis growers because they’re cheap and easy to set up.

You can buy them in different sizes at garden store and online store locator. In addition to that, you get instructions with it on how to assemble tent.

Since they’re waterproof and see-through, they’re perfect for growing indoors. You can easily let some light through by opening flaps if plants need more light or in warmer climates.

Outdoor Growing

You can use hydroculture systems for cultivating weed outdoors as well. You just have to make sure your plants get enough sunlight, and you’ll have to protect them against cold.

Harvest per plant will be higher. You could also start seeds in greenhouse and move them out side when they’re big enough.

Since we’re talking about growing outdoors, I thought it would be nice to show you how my outdoor hydro setup looks. It’s not very big, because I only grow a couple of plants at most per season.

These plants are grown in simple pots with clay pellets as substrate and will be placed on table underneath cover net.

Now that you know what’s possible and what steps you need to take to grow outdoors, it’s time to get started!

  • Outdoor growing offers lot of advantages:
  • Quicker harvest time
  • More natural taste and smell
  • Cheaper
  • More fun

Outdoor growing also has its cons: 

  • In nature, plants experience many different kinds of weather
  • They have to deal with rain, wind, storms, and cold spells
  • These all influence way plant grows

Even if you have to deal with some cons, you’ll still have best quality weed possible at end of day.

Outdoor growers have to deal with number of issues. Not all of them can be controlled by you, but there are measures you can take to lower risks.

Check location at different times of day and night to see if it’s suitable for outdoor cultivation.

Check that no children or pets regularly visit location, because they could accidentally ingest your plants or come into contact with harmful substances like fertilizers or pesticides.


Greenhouse is a very useful tool for outdoor growing. It creates perfect climate and allows you to keep an eye on your plants at all times.

Greenhouse consists of frame with glass panes or plastic sheets, that you can heat up when it gets too cold, or cool down when it gets too warm.

It’s possible to install lights in greenhouse to create optimal light climate during winter.

If you’re growing outdoors, it’s important to identify right climate for your plants during certain time of year.

Advantages of greenhouse growing cannabis:

– Airflow: Greenhouse creates nice airflow, wich prevents fungi and rot from developing.
– Climate: Greenhouse creates perfect climate for your plants.
– Light: Greenhouse has optimal light distribution, making it possible to grow all sorts of plants.

How To Build Cannabis Hydroponic System

In this guide, I will teach you how to build a very cheap and easy hydroponic weed system.

You could also call it bucket system because buckets are used to grow your cannabis.



To build your own hydroponic growing setup, you will need:

– buckets/cups

– PVC pipes

– Air pump for oxygen with air stone

– Electricity cable with plug and socket on both ends

5 Gallon Bucket

Bucket or cup acts as reservoir and will contain all plants.

A lid with hole is placed on top of bucket line so that water can be added through this. 

You do this by placing the lid on top and drilling several small holes .

Be sure not to make them too big, otherwise, too much oxygen will get into bucket where cannabis grow, and plants won’t flower properly.

PVC Pipes

PVCs are used so frequently in hydroponics because they are affordable, accessible, and simple to cut.

PVCs can also be swapped out for organic materials like wood or bamboo. 

They are not evenly shaped like PVCs, therefore, it can be challenging to saw and fit them into the desired shape, length, and width. 

It’s crucial to keep in mind that prices may vary based on where in the world you are.

Drill holes in pipes and put buckets or cups through. You can now see how many holes you need to drill to get all your pots on.

Different Hydroponic Growing System Types

In nature, weed plants grow in soil as medium. That contains many nutrient and can absorb water from groundwater or rain.

In hydroponic systems, you have to provide everything weed plant needs from nutrients solution, lights, reservoir to air.

Three most common types of weed systems are deep water culture (DWC), wick system, and drip system.

Deep Water Culture – DWC

Deep Water Culture – Dwc

DWC is simplest and cheapest system to set up.

You don’t need any equipment like pump or pipes at all because your plants will grow in regular drinking glasses or other suitable containers.

In order for plants to get enough oxygen, you have to place some airstone underneath each side pot that constantly pump air bubbles into water and provide plants with oxygen.

This system requires constant temperature between 70 and 77 degrees and pH value of 6.0 or 6.5. It takes about a week before roots are well developed enough so plants can start receiving their nutrient through water by themselves.

Wick System Hydroponics

Wick system is very similar to deep water culture, but with one big difference; they do not include any pump or air stones. Plant hangs in air above reservoir through its roots.

This way, it can access oxygen and nutrient water that flows through pipe under plant. Wick system is often used for growing plants you want to flower without light stress.

Drip System

In drip system water is distributed via drippers or sprayers. Water lands on leaves of plants and evaporates through stomata.

This method uses lots of water because it constantly flows through plants.

Pros of this method are since roots are always wet, they never have chance to dry out, so chances of fungi developing in roots are small. This system can also be used for growing on soil!

Nutrient Film Technique

NFT is quite similar to flood and drain. Instead of water, here nutrients solution is pump through channel in bottom of pot.

Since there’s constant circulation and plant stands in water,pros are they can better absorb nutrient.

Reservoir contains an air stone to aerate the solution and an electric water pump to circulate the solution into the growing tray.

Upside Down Technique

This technique is often used in grow rooms, grow tents, or greenhouses because it only takes up a little space.

You hang pot with plant on rope over water tank filled with nutrients solution.

Hydroponics Organic Grow

Some hydroponic systems are more complex and take longer to set up than others, but they’re also more effective.

This is what happens when you grow organically: roots of your plants will spread out into clay pellets (hydroculture). They’ll attach themselves to these pellets and get all nutrient they need from them.

In this way, the plant creates a substrate that contains all necessary minerals and oxygen. It’s perfect method for those who want highest possible quality of their weed.

Vertical Technique

Vertical hydroponic weed system is system in which you grow your plants on different kinds of wood or metal structures.

In addition to roots, leaves will hang down and get enough light this way. You can use wooden pallets, pipes, or any other construction material.

Hydroponic For Single Plant

Hydroponic For Single Plant

If you only have single plant, it’s possible to grow it in hydroponic irrigation system.

You could, for instance, make an ebb-and-flow system with one reservoir in pot and a simple circulation pump that makes water irrigation from reservoir up through net pots and back into reservoir again.

You could also do this without any equipment by simply filling pots with water once they start running low on water. 

And don’t forget about air pump! It’s important that roots get sufficient oxygen, so always provide some air stone or use airstones connected to your external water supply. 

Also, check nutrient solution and water temperature, ideally between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C). 

Light is also needed to stimulate growth promotion hormones such as gibberellin and auxins.

Hydroponic Vs Soil Growing Medium

Hydroponic Vs Soil Growing Medium

In soil, roots can spread out freely and can dig deep into ground to find water and minerals.

Plant, therefore, creates their support system through very deep roots. In hydro, plant doesn’t have any soil around them and needs other forms of support.

Germination process is the same; soil and hydroponic growers can start seeds in same way.

Once germinated, hydro plants typically remain in the same net pot and hydroponic system, while soil growers usually transplant more often.

Most significant difference between these two growing cannabis methods is growing medium.

Soil growers uses soil to supply vital nutrient to cannabis plants, and water serves as the nutritional growing medium in hydroponic growing.

Aeroponics Vs Hydroponics

Aeroponics is irrigation system without substrate. Instead of water as growing medium, roots hang in air.

In order to provide cannabis plants with sufficient nutrient and oxygen, spray nozzles are located above root system that continuously apply irrigation with nutrient-rich water onto roots.

Growing Weed With Water Method

Water method is very simple way to grow cannabis and cheapest. Hydroponic cannabis setup tends to produce plants more quickly than regular growing cannabis methods. You only need some pots, clay pellets, and some water.

By adding nutrients to water, you provide your plant’s roots with sufficient nutrients they require for growth. 

It’s best to use a specialized organic nutrient solution for hydroponic because it contains all minerals your marijuana plants needs in perfect ratio.

What Is Best Water Temperature For Hydroponics Grow

Water temperature can have a significant effect on plants. Too warm, and plants doesn’t grow as fast but will use large amounts of water.

Too cold water could cause roots to rot or fungi. Best water temperature for hydro is around 72 degrees Fahrenheit (22 degrees Celsius).

Marijuana Buds Produced With Hydroponically Grow

There are critical phases involved in developing amazing high-quality buds:

  • when to harvest nugs
  • nugs drying 
  • nugs curing

When growing in hydroponic systems cannabis, it usually takes four months from seed to harvest, but it all depends on growth factors such as light, nutrients, temperature, etc.

Harvesting buds is same as with any other growing method. When hydroponic growing, buds marijuana produces are massively huge and are very potent. 

Cannabis Plant When Grown In Hydro

During its life cycle, cannabis plants goes through series of stages.

First, it grows from seed to small plants, then it starts flowering phase, and finally, it gets harvested.

It is not any different when cannabis is grown hydroponically. Germination process is first step in life of cannabis plant.

When growing in hydroponic, the germination process is no different from growing in soil or any other growing medium. 

There are various methods of germinating cannabis seed, most popular is paper towel method.

Seedling Stage

Seedling Stage

Once seedlings emerge from seeds, they immediately need to get used to hydroponic. No need to transplant your seedling.

You can add some perlite or gravel to the bottom of the pot.

This will already provide low EC value with a pH of around 5.5. Once plants are a bit bigger, you can add a regular hydro setup with an organic nutrient mix.

Vegetative Stage

During vegetative phase, plant will grow in size.

Also, number of leaves will increase, and they’ll get nice green color. Leaves are very important to photosynthesis process, which is converting light energy into chemical energy plants can use to grow cannabis more.

During this phase, plants don’t produce buds or flowers yet and only need normal nutrients. Fertilizer with higher ratio of nitrogen (such as Grow Power) is, therefor, better choice for flowering phase.

Flowering Stage

Flowering phase starts when plant gets 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness.

This usually happens when plants are about four months old, but it depends on type, climate, and the grower’s preference.

Hydroponic Growing Marijuana Effects

You can actually control most of plant’s development by way you feed it.

In soil, roots will grow canabbis as far as they can to find nutrients and water. In hydroponic, we provide growing plants with everything they need in one hand.

This allows us to let them develop more heavily towards buds without worrying about lack of nutrients or too much light.

Is Hydroponics Weed Stronger

Many people argue that hydroponic is better for taste and smell of your weed, but extra care you take in growing your marijuana will definately affect its quality.

One of big advantages of cultivating hydroponically is that you can control everything.

So, if you want to, you can make your marijuana bigger and increase their THC production by suffiently exposing them to more nutrients.

Hydroponics is known as fastest cannabis-growing method. Cannabis plants grown with hydroponic will be bigger than plants grown in soil.

But potency and size of weed depend on many factors, including which strain type you choose and environmental conditions like light, water, air, and nutrients.

Pictures Of Hydroponic Weed Growing

Pictures Of Hydroponic Weed Growing

After a hydroponics growing period of 12 weeks, buds are ready to be harvested.

As you can see in the picture, plants are very nice looking, with very compact buds containing a lot of resin.

Best Cannabis Strains For Hydroponic Grow

All cannabis kinds can be grown hydroponically, but there is number of considerations that you must take into account to avoid problems.

Pure Sativa can grow rapidly and can be challenging to attach to hydroponic systems, and they are generally not recommended for hydroponic.

Vast majority of hybrids also adapt very well to this type of cultivation, but within the latter, some varieties respond better than others due to their adaptability and capacity to assimilate large amounts of nutrients. 

Indicas, especially autoflowering ones, respond very well to this type of cultivation.

Famous Sativas are great for outdoors or in greenhouse because they grow very quickly.

Here are some best strains, that you can take in account for hydroponic growth, we offer at Dutch Seeds Shop:



Sativas are best known for their energetic, cerebral high. It will make you feel active and inspired with a boost of creativity.

Strains like Super Lemon Haze or Sour Diesel are an excellent choice for the morning as they’ll get your day off to a flying start!

Super Lemon Haze

Super Lemon Haze is Sativa-dominant strain with powerful effects and a delicious lemony taste.

Super Lemon Haze is made by crossing two legendary weed strains Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze.

This plant grows very tall and can produce harvest up to 24 to 32 ounces of top-shelf bud per square meter in an outdoor grow!

Super Lemon Haze has won multiple awards, including Cannabis Cup in 2012, one of the most prestigious acknowledgments any cannabis strain can receive.

Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel is one of most popular Sativas. Sour Diesel is cross between Chemdog 91 and Super Skunk.

It has good yield and harvest, and its buds are sticky with dense trichomes with strong Diesel taste.

Smoke is energetic and lively, perfect for social occasions or any activity requiring alertness. 

Sour Diesel balances mood between happy euphoria and clear thoughts. You can buy Sour Diesel Seeds at Dutch Seeds Shop!


Indica strains are best choice for relaxation. You’ll feel heavy, soft, and comfortable.

They’re well known for their relaxing effects, which is why they are often used to help with insomnia and stress. 

They also have very high pain-killing properties. They contain lot of THC, which makes you very high immediately after smoking.

Most popular Indica Strains for system hydroponic growth are Grandaddy Purple and Bubba Kush.

Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is very potent strain that crosses Purple Urkle and Big Bud.

This Indica-dominant hybrid has won countless awards, including two Cannabis Cups in 2004 and 2005. Thanks to its parent strains, it will produce dense buds with purple-colored hairs that are highly aromatic. 

Granddaddy Purple is not a wonder cure, but it does pack strong narcotic effects to help you relax your body and mind.

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is an Indica dominant strain. It has high THC content of up to 24% and CBD of 2,4%.

This strain’s buds are dark green in color, and is medium sized with thick branches that show sign off lot of leaves.

Smoke taste of Bubba Kush is sweet with an earthy undertone; while high, it gives you feels warm and hazy sensation throughout your entire body. 

This makes it ideal for stress relief or just lounging around on couch! You can buy your Bubba Kush seeds at Dutch Seeds Shop!


Here are most commonly asked questions with answers regarding cannabis hydroponics growth.

What is most important in hydroponics?

In hydro, most important thing to take into account is water quality. You want to give your cannabis clean and properly pH-balanced water with sufficient nutrients. 

Proper EC value of nutrient solution depends on type of strain you’re growing and phase is at, but values between 0.8 and 1.2 are suitable for all phases. 

These values indicate amount of nutrients dissolved in water per liter (mg/l).

You can lower pH by adding phosphoric acid or raise it by adding potassium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate. 

Troubleshooting Common Issues:    

  • Diseases and pests
  • Nutrient deficiencies   
  • Temperature and humidity issues

What should be water temperature when growing hydroponics?

Temperature should always be between 68 and 77 degrees, so make sure you have thermostat system that automatically adjusts temperature based on desired value.

What nutrients do I have to give my plants?

In hydro, you have to give your cannabis specific nutrients in water.

These are salts of various minerals such as nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg).

Number after ‘N’ indicates amount of nitrogen in fertilizer; number after ‘P’ indicates amount of phosphor, and number after ‘K’ indicates amount of potassium.

Do roots get too big for pot?

If you want to transplant your weed into grow tray after few weeks, you don’t have to worry about roots getting too big.

Roots of hydroponically grown plants never get bigger than diameter of grow tray they grow in.

This is possible because they can optimally supply themselves with nutrients through their root system.

What are cons of hydroponic method?

Cons of hydroponic marijuana systems are:

  • Hydroponics systems is more expensive than regular soil systems
  • Depend highly on power as source
  • Requires constant monitoring
  • Problems affect cannabis quicker

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