Congratulations on your decision to cultivate a cannabis supply at home. But before you start turning your home into a marijuana garden of Eden, understand that growing cannabis inside presents some unique challenges beyond those of growing most other indoor plants and that the volume of information out there on this subject is vast and overwhelming.
Our guide to indoor marijuana growing for will help simplify the process of watering with clear, easy-to-digest sections designed to help the novice marijuana grower and enlighten even the advanced indoor cannabis farmer.
The Vegetative Phase: How to Quench Marijuana Plants without Over-watering
Leave the plants under constant light for at least 18 hours per day for about three and a half weeks. Water when necessary but not too much. It's during this time that you will do more waiting and monitoring of water levels than just about anything.
Cannabis grows fast and loves water, but there is such a thing as over-watering. One easy trick that works for all indoor plants—not just marijuana—is to touch the soil with the back of your fingers. Cool to the touch means there is enough water, and slightly warm means it needs a top-up. Dry growing medium, plus leaves that hang, says you've neglected the watering too long; don't make this mistake twice or your harvest will pay the price.
The great thing about using fabric pots is that you almost can't over-water the cannabis plants, especially when they mature. But keep the watering of young plants to about once per week with distilled or filtered water.
Science Says: Strategically Dry Out the Soil around Your Cannabis Plant
As a general rule of thumb, a plant that already has water doesn't need to be watered. But, did you know that it's even better to let your cannabis homegrown plants to dry out? Just a little!
Amateur cannabis growers spend a reasonable amount of time and money buying and growing their plants, but not paying attention to the full spectrum of the grow cycle. My best piece of advice: Put away the watering can and turn down the irrigation system. Let your soil dry out a little, and here's why. If a plant is watered too much or too often the roots will prematurely get root bound when a lot more roots could have grown in the pot. They become water-logged and may even become subject to rot due to bacteria. Healthy roots more significant yield you want nice white roots, but about the three weeks into flowering, they will start to darken.
Even if you have a hobby hydroponic greenhouse, the first thing to come to terms with is the fact that a plant is so much more than humidity, plus co2, plus nutrients. Water and light play a more substantial part than even those elements. And after all of that is said and done, letting the soil dry out is part of the gentle balance with the Calvin cycle, CO2ppm, and other processes. Without it, your plant can't reach its full potential.
Here's what to do: Wait until the top one-inch of soil is dry. Too dry will damage the root system but so will leaving the growing medium too wet. If you let your plants dry out during all your growing, you will have a far better root system. One that can absorb water and nutrients, and the chance to take a break.
Water cannabis plants thoroughly until the water runs out of the bottom of the pot, and just leave it without watering until the top inch is noticeably dry, but not until the leaves begin to droop. Does this make you too nervous? This process allows the roots to reach out and search for water and nutrients. You may also consider just adding water to the perimeter of the pot.
Water in this way until roots show at the bottom of the growing container. When you transfer the cannabis plants to their final vessel, during the flowering stage of life, and the roots are showing, just add a few inches of your chosen medium to line the bowl, make sure drainage is possible and re-pot your marijuana plant. A few large garden stones can help with drainage if adding drain holes to the container is not realistic. Got $5 to spare? You can purchase a soil moisture meter from just about any home hardware or garden store.
Of course, it's important not to let the organic material dry out too much or for a sustained period since even if you reconstitute the moisture the damage to some of the compounds are irreversible.
Do's and Dont's of Growing Your Medical Marijuana Plant
DO Start with a clone (a young plant) instead of seeds if you can get your hands on a female one. Ask you local compassion club for leads on clones—they are way easier to start from than seeds.
DO Use a fabric plant container to grow your plant as they offer the most breathability. Look for pots, if not fabric, with drainage holes and saucers to catch run-off.
DON'T Let your plants sit in stagnant water for extended periods of time. Doing so will change the pH of the soil and may also attract bugs and mold.
DO Use organic potting soil, or a medium of your choosing that promotes air penetration like a peat, coco or sphagnum base. Find a nutrient-rich medium with some sea kelp or guano, and you won't have to add store-bought nutrients until flowering time.
DON’T Use salt-heavy synthetics such as Miracle-Gro; they are not worth the "convenience" in the long run.
DO Ask your local municipality for information on your water source. If the municipal water contains less than 200-300 PPM (parts per millions) of extra minerals and impurities, then it is likely okay to use, untreated, to water your cannabis plant.