Plants need water, sunlight, nutrients and air to grow; providing a plant the proper amount of water is arguably the most difficult of these needs to fill. There is no exact science for how to water your cannabis garden, and because most growing mediums prevent you from observing the roots, you have no way to directly know what is happening below the soil. However, there are a number of products and strategies that can help you keep your garden healthy and properly hydrated.
Products for a Well-Hydrated Cannabis Garden
Perlite comes from obsidian which is a volcanic glass. It is produced when obsidian is heated to a high temperature and then expands. It is light, porous, and organic, making it a great addition for your soil as it prevents soil from clumping and promotes good oxygen flow.
2. Smart Pots
“Smart Pots” are pots that are made with canvas. The fabric containers help the roots breathe, allow heat to escape, and allow water to drain. All of these traits are directly related to improving the quality of the roots and how they handle being watered.
3. Drip line
Drip lines allow you to water plants consistently and distribute the water evenly across the pot. They also prevent your pots from flooding on the surface when watering. Flooding your pot with water will cause the perlite to come to the surface where it is useless. Drip systems also help prevent evaporation when you’re gardening in a hot climate.
It’s crucial you measure how much water you are giving your plants. If you figure out the flow rate of your irrigation system, you can set a timer to know when it is time to move to the next pot, ensuring every pot is receiving the same amount of water.
How Often Should You Water Cannabis Plants?
The amount of water your plants need will always vary due to size, temperature, health, and stage of growth. An under-watered plant looks droopy and weak. There is no strength in the leaves and they feel lifeless. Overwatered plants look similar, but the leaf tips will curl as if they are hiding from the water in their pot. Obviously you don’t want your plants to ever be seen in either condition, but as you figure out your cannabis watering schedule, it is preferred to underwater than to overwater your plants. The roots need oxygen to survive and be happy.
When you think your cannabis garden might be thirsty, take time to observe:
- Do the leaves look vibrant?
- Are they rigid and strong?
- How does the soil feel?
If the soil is dry when you stick your finger into the soil a few knuckles down and the plant seems weak, it is time to water. The weight of the pot can also be an indicator of hydration, if it’s small enough to lift. Ideally, pay attention to timing and work towards watering your plant right before it starts to look less vibrant. A healthy cycle of wet to dry is necessary for the roots to grow and reach deeper into the pot.
Is Your Container the Right Size?
To hydrate cannabis plants properly, its container needs to be the right size; a plant cannot drink water where its roots do not reach. When the plant can’t drink all of the water, the water will sit and evaporate slowly, promoting unwanted insects, fungus, and root rot.
Plants should start in 1×1 inch cubes then move onto 4×4 inch pots, 1 gallon, 3 gallons, 5 gallons, and so on as it outgrows its container. Plants are ready to transplant when a healthy root structure encompasses the soil. Transplanting is a good opportunity to see the quality of your roots: bright white roots, with a strong thick structure is a sign you have been watering your plants correctly.
How Much Should You Water Cannabis Plants?
You want to soak the pot and have run off. Water should reservoir at the top of the pot while you are watering, but it should not sit on the surface after you move to your next plant. Look for signs of a healthy plant and wait for the soil to begin to dry up before watering again. If you aren’t confident in your ability to tell when it is time to water again, wait until you see the first stages of underwatering and water immediately.
Take notes, make calculations, and get your plants on a watering schedule. Setting a cycle where the plant needs to be watered every two to three days is ideal. As the plants grow, so will their need for water. When you increase the amount of water you give your plants, oftentimes they might need a top-off in between their full waterings; simply give it a splash to hold it over and then increase the amount of water allocated during its normal watering to keep it on schedule.
Over-thinkers tend to overwater their plants. Cannabis plants are like any other plant: they can handle some overwatering and some underwatering, so take your time in figuring out its ideal watering schedule. The sooner you find the sweet spot, the sooner you’ll watch your garden flourish.