How to grow aeroponic cannabis?
Aeroponics is technically a kind of hydroponic cultivation, yet the two are frequently confused. Aeroponics, from the Greek words "aer" for air and "ponos" for labor, is distinguished by the absence of a growth medium. Instead, Cannabis plants are suspended in the air, while a fine mist that is frequently sprayed on the roots is providing water and nutrients to the plant.
Aeroponics produces Cannabis plants in which the roots are hung in the air and sprayed with water inside a chamber. It is a unique growth method that eliminates the need for a growing substrate. Also, it is typically used to start Cannabis clones to have a healthy root system before being potted into the soil or another growing media. It can also be used to grow your entire Cannabis plants from seed to harvest.
Aeroponics, which began as a research tool, has grown in popularity to grow cannabis clones and plants.
How to grow aeroponic cannabis?
What is the difference between aeroponics and hydroponics?
Aeroponics and hydroponics are different, as we mentioned earlier, yet both systems provide a nutrient solution straight to the roots. Hydroponics uses an inert growing material such as clay pebbles, perlite, or rock wool to sustain plants. On the other hand, aeroponics does not directly allow the roots to touch the water reservoir or a growing medium. Instead, they dangle in the air above the reservoir, where a mist of nutrients is sprayed on them.
Due to the lack of a growing medium and lower water usage, hydroponic and aeroponic growing systems are more environmentally friendly. The cultivation of both of them occurs in enclosed, controlled environments, making them less susceptible to wind and weather damage. They take up less space growing space, with aeroponic growing allowing for vertical grow racks.
There is no better or worse alternative when it comes to the debate between aeroponics and hydroponics. Both hydro and aero setups are comparable in many ways because none employs soil as a growth medium. Both of them can be exciting alternatives if you’re seeking to move away from traditional soil grows, and which one you choose will depend on your experience as a grower, your budget, and your tastes. Anyhow, aeroponic system are more complex and expensive than hydroponic systems.
What are the benefits of growing Cannabis aeroponically?
In some ways, the upkeep and attention required for a successful aeroponics producing system are more intensive than traditional farming. If done correctly, the rewards might be enormous. Not only will you be able to create healthier and larger plants in a shorter amount of time, but you will also be able to add more harvests to your grow schedule. To dig deeper, the following are the benefits of cultivating Cannabis aeroponically:
- Pests are less likely to attack. Because aeroponics systems do not use a growing medium, plants dwell in a much cleaner environment, reducing insect danger significantly.
- Access to oxygen is easy. Aeroponics requires the roots to be suspended in the air so they have easy access to oxygen. Growers must make additional efforts to ensure the root zone is oxygenated while growing in soil or breaking the roots directly in a nutrient solution by selecting the proper medium or adding air pumps to the hydro reservoir. There are no such problems with aeroponics.
- It requires less amount of water. Aeroponics uses the least quantity of water when compared to other growing methods. The water utilized is recycled, allowing producers to save money and reduce their overall water usage. Cannabis is not necessarily the most efficient plant in energy and water use, so any reduction is good for the environment. Regardless, your plants will receive all of the water they require in a fine mist.
- Complete management of nutrients and the environment. Aeroponics allows the complete cultivator control over nutrient and pH levels, allowing you to dial in parameters to the desired range and ensure optimal nutrient uptake and vigorous growth. Not only that, but you’ll be able to customize your grow room’s lighting, temperature, and humidity that fits your young Cannabis plants. This level of environmental control is essential for fussy strains and allows you to get the most out of your nutrients and other resources.
- It occupies less space. Because there is no growth medium, growers may save a lot of space and fit as many Cannabis plants as possible. Indeed, aeroponic operations frequently entail growing many plants close together with little competition for soil or nutrients among the roots. Harvesting is also more accessible and less messy due to the homogeneity and absence of soil.
What are the disadvantages of growing Cannabis aeroponically?
Despite all the advantages of growing Cannabis aeroponically, we also have to accept all its drawbacks. Let us start with the fact that aeroponic is best recommended for experienced growers. They can easily manage growing Cannabis aeroponically because they have strong knowledge about it already. To understand it better, the following are its disadvantages:
- It is not suitable for novice growers. Aeroponics necessitates a well-managed atmosphere. Nutrient concentrations, pH levels in the water, temperature, and other elements all require continual monitoring. It would help if you do not commit any errors as much as possible, or your Cannabis plants will suffer. Hence, aeroponics is most appropriate for seasoned growers. While systems are automated to make things easier, they will still need to be maintained throughout the growing process.
- Aeroponic is quite pricey. The cost of an aeroponic system might be pretty high. Aside from the system itself, the expense of nutrients, the necessity for temperature control and air filtration, measuring equipment, and maybe even an emergency backup power supply must all be considered. While the investment is well worth it for those, who are up to work, spending all of your money is not worth it if this is your first or second growth.
- Your Cannabis plants will be at risk if you make a mistake. The aeroponics cultivator must constantly monitor their setup and check to ensure that the pumps and tubing are functioning correctly and that the plants receive the proper nutrients. If something goes wrong and your plants get the wrong solution or a contaminated water supply, it can rapidly become a disaster. You should be aware that when there is no soil to cushion inappropriate feeding, mistakes can have far more severe consequences.
- Equipment requires strict maintenance. A power outage or a pump that fails abruptly can be a headache. The roots will dry, and the plants will suffer if the system is down for one hour. You must ensure that you can handle your equipment, including extra components, the appropriate tools, and a game plan for growing Cannabis aeroponically.
How to make a growing aeroponic system for Cannabis?
One of the disadvantages of the aeroponic system, as mentioned earlier, is that it is pricey. However, you can make a DIY aeroponic system. Here are some instructions for making a simple one-bucket aeroponic system that can support medium-sized Cannabis plants.
What will you need?
- bucket with a lid that has a capacity of 20 liters;
- threaded poly cut-off riser with a 30cm length and 1.25cm diameter
- 360° sprinkler head, 1.25cm (½ inch);
- hydroponic pump capable of 1200 L per hour with matching 1.25cm thread;
- an electrical timer that allows a constant 30mins on and 30mins off cycle;
- hydroponic net pots with lids;
- saw to be used for cutting the riser;
- electric drill;
- hole saw attachment for drill;
- Safety glasses;
- Begin by drilling 3–8 holes in the bucket lid with the hole saw attachment. The holes should be a few millimeters smaller than the diameter of your net pots so that they can fit properly inside. The exact number of holes to drill depends on how many plants you want to grow in a single pot. Now, insert your net pots into each of the holes you created.
- Insert the pump into the bucket. Screw on the threaded poly cut-off riser, and cut it off at the desired height with the saw. On top, place the sprinkler head.
- Then, you have to run the pump plug through one of the net potholes on top to connect it. Then, connect it to the timer. Set your timer to a 30 minute on, 30 minutes off cycle. It will spray for 30 minutes, with a 30-minute break in between feedings.
- Fill the bucket with about 8 liters of water per nutrient solution.
- Put your Cannabis plants in the net pots. Your simple, low cost and efficient aeroponic system are now ready to produce excellent Cannabis.
What are the steps in growing aeroponic Cannabis?
Step 1: Selecting your Growing Environment
An aeroponic system can be set up almost anywhere an indoor soil or soilless grow would be. It is recommended to buy a grow tent and outfit it with the same grow lights and ventilation system for regular grow. After that, you can proceed to set up your reservoir, pump, and pipe routing on the floor of your tent.
Step 2: Creating your Reservoir
The size of the reservoir you utilize will be determined by the number of plants you want to grow, the amount of space available, and your cost estimate. A 100-liter reservoir is common, but you can go higher or lower depending on your needs.
Plastic storage bins or buckets are some of the most basic materials we see producers use. In choosing, make sure it is a dark color and completely seals. Any light seeping through your reservoir from your grow lamps increases the likelihood of bacteria, fungi, or other pathogens developing in the water and attacking your Cannabis plants.
It is recommended to incorporate a small cooling fan directly into your reservoir for even better results. Run the fan 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to maximize oxygen levels at the root zone and boost plant growth and harvest.
Step 3: Position your Plant Pots
Your plants in an aeroponic system are located above your water reservoir. You can easily set up this space using plastic buckets or storage crates with lids by cutting holes in the covers and placing small net pots inside. If possible, use insulating tape to seal off any areas where light could enter the reservoir.
Remember, how you use the space above your reservoir is entirely up to you. Like soil or hydro grow, overcrowding in an aeroponic setup forces plants to compete for light and space and creates a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Step 4: Direct your Water from your Reservoir to your Root Zone
Now, you will need to consider how to get the water from within to the roots of your plants. Most growers keep it simple by submerging a small, low-pressure pump in their water reservoir. Others prefer to keep their pumps outside of their reservoirs.
Your budget and setup size determines the type of pump you will use for growing Cannabis aeroponically. It is advisable to use a pump with an LPH (liter per hour) capacity roughly 2–3 times the volume of water in your reservoir to ensure that your pump moves water quickly and efficiently.
Remember that your pump must direct water from your reservoir tank to the spray atomizers at the roots of your plants. We recommend keeping both the route from your reservoir to your pump and your pump to your spray nozzles as short as possible for best results. It will optimize the pressure of your spray nozzles, reduce the possibility of leaks, and help simplify your entire setup.
Step 5: Atomize Water at the Root Zone
The spray atomizers that mist your Cannabis plants’ roots mark the end of your aeroponic system. It is where the water and nutrients in your reservoir are converted into tiny droplets that the roots of your plants can absorb.
The use of simple sprinkler heads can already suffice. Just make sure that the size is appropriate for the number of sprinklers, several plants you are growing, and your root systems’ size. To avoid spraying the sides of your tank, we recommend using heads with a 360° radius in the middle of the root zone and leads with a 180° radius at the edge of the root zone.
Step 6: Automate your Grow
One of the best things about aeroponics is that you can completely automate your growth using a timer. We recommend spraying your plants every 3–4 minutes for about 3–5 seconds for best results, but this may need to be adjusted depending on the genetics you are working with and the nutrients you’re using.
What are the common types of aeroponic growing systems?
The attention required for a successful aeroponics growing system is more intense than traditional farming. Aside from your knowledge, you have to secure a sufficient budget. When done correctly, the payoff can be enormous. If you have enough funds to purchase an aeroponic system, there are several types available.
An aeroponic cloner has multiple racks for your cuttings to start root growth. It is perfect for commercial growers who want to increase cloning volume and speed by using a modular growing system.
Two-Layer Aeroponics Rack System for Flower
You can now move your nursery plants into their final growing apparatus after propagating your clones. Plants can grow strong and healthy in multiple racks provided by aeroponics towers. Using multiple racks allows Cannabis plants to grow vertical and maximize production in less space.
Central Control Software for Automation and Management
Growing Cannabis plants aeroponically is time-consuming due to the attention to detail and consistency required during the process. A control system allows you to automate much of your feeding and misting schedules and have remote control over your crop. These digital hubs enable you to set environmental parameters, track the progress of your plants, and receive alerts if any equipment fails.