Hydroponic Systems for Cannabis: What to Know & Where to Start

What Is Hydroponic Cannabis?

Hydroponic cannabis is grown without the use of soil. Hydroponic cannabis relies on a nutrient-rich solution to replace the nutrients that it would usually get from soil. Directly giving the hydroponic cannabis the nutrients it needs allows it to use more energy to grow and produce buds. 

What Are the Benefits of Growing Cannabis With Hydroponics?

There are many benefits to skipping the soil and using hydroponics to grow cannabis, including:

  • More control over the growing process
  • Plants that are higher in density for increased yields
  • Increased chance for higher quality and more potent yields
  • Quicker harvesting cycles

Types of Cannabis Hydroponic Systems

There are many different types of hydroponic cannabis systems that someone can use depending on their levels of expertise and the equipment they have.

Ebb & Flow / Flood & Drain

Ebb and flow systems, also referred to as flood and drain systems, are simple, making them ideal for beginners. For this system, the cannabis plant sits in a pot with growing media. During a flow period, the plants are submerged in nutrient-rich water. The water then drains back into the reservoir, allowing the plant’s roots to dry out again. This cycle repeats several times each day. 

DWC: Deep Water Culture

Deep water culture (DWC) systems involve a continuous flow of nutrient-rich water over the roots of the cannabis plants. The plants are placed in a net pot and submerged in the reservoir, allowing them to receive a constant supply of nutrients. Since the roots are never exposed to air, it is important to oxygenate the water solution with the right aerator pump. 

Drip Irrigation

Drip irrigation involves the cannabis plant supported by growing medium. A nutrient-rich solution is then pumped to the grow medium, slowly dripping from a system of pipes to the roots. This provides the plants with a continuous flow of nutrients. 

Aeroponic System

An aeroponic system is a more advanced hydroponic system but can result in the highest rewards. This system involves cannabis plants sitting in a closed chamber where the roots are periodically misted with nutrient-rich water. In this system, the roots are constantly exposed to the oxygen and nutrients they need. 

Nutrient Film

The nutrient film technique (NFT) is similar to the ebb and flow system. However, NFT uses a pump to bring the nutrient-rich solution to a tray where the plants sit. The tray is angled to drain any excess solution back into the reservoir. 

How to Make a Hydroponic System for Growing Cannabis

When growing cannabis with hydroponics, you’ll have to decide if you’ll be using a commercial or residential system. This will depend on where and how much cannabis you intend to grow. If you grow residentially, you will need to look into your specific state’s limit on how many cannabis plants a person can have. If you choose to grow commercially, you will need the proper license and anything else your state requires when it comes to growing and selling cannabis. 

Commercial Hydroponic Systems for Cannabis

Commercial hydroponic systems will need to be scalable so cultivators can continue to easily grow their businesses. The Green Room offers fully customizable commercial hydroponic systems that can meet your unique needs. 

Residential Hydroponic Systems for Cannabis

With a residential hydroponic system, you can grow your own cannabis at home as long as you follow your state’s laws and guidelines. The Green Room offers residential hydroponic systems with everything you need to get started, including buckets, a stainless steel frame, reservoir, tubing, and pumps. 

Marijuana Growing System Supplies

Before setting up a hydroponic marijuana growing system, there are some basic supplies you’ll need. 

PPM + pH Meter

A PPM + pH meter is a tool that measures the content in water so you can ensure that you have the right temperature, conductivity, and pH level for your plants. This is an important tool to help you accurately adjust and maintain your growing environment. 

Grow Lights

Since hydroponic systems are set up inside, you will need grow lights to act as artificial sunlight. Plants convert sunlight to energy to grow, and cannabis plants need light to produce buds. 


Starting from seeds is often the best way to begin growing hydroponic cannabis, allowing you to have full control from the very beginning. When starting from seeds, you’ll want to make sure that the roots have something to anchor to.

Clay Pellets

Clay pellets are an alternative growing medium when not using soil. Clay pellets are good at absorbing water to keep the plants from drying out and giving their roots the nutrients they need. 

A Bucket for Each Plant You Want

Soil acts as a natural support structure for plants and their root systems. Since hydroponics doesn’t use soil, you’ll need to provide plants with support with buckets. 

Rockwool Cube

Rockwool cubes are composed of molten rock that has been spun into fibers and molded into sponge-like cubes. Rockwool cubes are airy, giving seeds the room they need to grow while providing a structure to anchor to. 

Get Started with Cannabis Hydroponics

Hydroponics can help you grow high-quality cannabis without the hassle of soil and regular watering. The Green Room has everything you need to get started, including residential and commercial hydroponic systems. 

Contact us today to learn more. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is Hydroponics Better Than Soil for Cannabis?

Growers can be successful at producing cannabis in soil or with hydroponics. However, there are some benefits to using hydroponics for cannabis, such as more control over the environment, faster growth, and higher, more potent yields. 

Is Growing Cannabis with Hydroponics Sustainable?

Growing cannabis using hydroponics is more environmentally friendly than using soil. Hydroponic systems typically use 10 times less water than systems that require soil, making them more sustainable. 

Do I Need a License to Grow Cannabis Hydroponics Commercially?

Yes, you will need a license to grow hydroponic cannabis commercially. You will need to check with your state guidelines to ensure that you have the proper license before growing and selling cannabis. 

Can I Transplant Hydroponic Cannabis Plants to Soil, or Vice-Versa?

Hydroponic cannabis plants can be transplanted to soil and vice-versa. However, when transplanting, there is the risk that the roots will become stressed and the plant could die, so extra caution will need to be taken.

Can I Build My Own Hydroponic System for Cannabis?

With the right materials and knowledge, you can build your own hydroponics system for cannabis. However, building your own system can become pricey. If you’re new to hydroponics, purchasing a residential or commercial system that is ready to use can increase your chance of success.