There are lots of different ways to grow high-quality cannabis. As a grower, you may find that one way suits you more than an another, based either on your own personal set up, or based on the outcome that you are trying to achieve.
Aeroponics and hydroponics are two prominent methods regarded as the top options for beginners and serious growers of cannabis alike.
Fun Fact: Soil-less growing methods were developed in the 1920s, and gained popularity amount scientists as it made studying the roots easier. It wasn't until the 1970s that these methods became common for commercial growers and home grown gardeners.
Today, we will provide an overview of both methods and from there, you get to choose which way you want to grow your own cannabis.
Defining Aeroponics & Hydroponics
First, let’s get to know exactly what processes we are talking about here.
Aeroponics refers to plant growth of any kind that utilizes open air or space. Rather than planting in the ground, your cannabis plant is suspended in the air and nutrient-rich mist is sprayed directly on the plants roots for maximum impact. The roots are separated by either a wall of plastic, foam or other material. This helps keep the mist on the roots, and not on the leaves and buds of the plant.
As one might imagine, aeroponic growing is done in an enclosed closed environment, which further serves to protect the plants, from wind, and other external variables. For commercial gardening, this is often done in a large greenhouse.
The emphasis with hydroponics is to streamline nutrients exposure directly to the roots for maximum growth. This is accomplished by orienting the plant in clay pebbles, coco coir, gravel, or suspending it in tubes and running nutrient-rich liquid through the system.
There are technically many ways to attempt this method, but each and every one of the methods emphasizes maximizing root exposure to water and nutrients.
There are 5 common hydroponic methods:
Nutrient Film Technique
This method involved having a small stream of water contantly being run over the roots. the container holding the plants is on a slight tilt, so the water and nutrient mixture is constantly circulating.
Deep Water Culture
In this method, the roots are suspended in a reservoir of water and nutrients, and oxygen is circulated through the water tank using an air stone and pump.
Fun Fact: This is how Grobo works!
This method uses a wick (generally made of string, or other absorbent material), and a grow tray that is filled with a growing medium (often coco coir or peat moss). This system also doesn't require any electricity. This is an easy hydroponic setup to DIY!
Ebb and Flow
Also called flood and drain systems, this method where based on a timer, water will flood the growing area, with a sensor so it does not overflow. Eventually the timer will tell the system to drain the water, draining back into the reservoir.
This system works by having a small tube go to each plant, and deliver water and nutrients. some systems are circulating, others and non- circulating.
Why Use Aeroponics?
Why might someone use aeroponics over hydroponics? This is all highly dependent on the type of weed and quality you’re looking to grow. For one thing, aeroponics generally has a higher yield than hydroponics.
Better aeration of the roots.
Though plants being grown with a hydroponics system do sit in oxygenated water, they still cannot compete with the oxygen exposure enjoyed by the roots of aeroponic plants.
Aeroponic plants are also often healthier, or at least less at risk for encountering disease. This is largely due to the fact that they are grown in a highly controlled environment that are not subject to the variables of the outdoors.
This is also due to the fact that the constant exposure to water that hydroponic plants deal with can result in bacteria growth. Growers can prevent bacterial growth by paying close attention to the water and keeping the temperature of the water cool enough to inhibit growth.
If you are looking for dependable plant growth and health, you may find that aeroponics is the most stable option for providing you with it.
Some planters may also appreciate the fact that it's slightly more environmentally friendly than hydroponics.
While both methods are less environmentally impactful than traditional grow methods, aeroponics is given the slight edge in terms of environmental impact because it uses less water.
Why Use Hydroponics?
While it does seem like aeroponics wins out in two of the most important categories (plant growth and health) there are certainly reasons that people would choose hydroponics as well.
Namely, cost, and stability. Both options require an upfront cost that is higher than that of traditional planting. However, because of all the equipment that is necessary in order to make aeroponics viable, the upfront cost is significantly higher.
How much either option might cost, or what they might entail in terms of equipment will ultimately be mandated by what you are trying to achieve. In either case, professional quality setups can cost in the $5K - $10K range or you can find individual hydroponic setups like Grobo for $1999.
However, once the upfront costs are paid, hydroponic growing operations are usually self-sustainable enough not to require much in way of further expense.
Aeroponic growth, on the other hand, is entirely contingent on the well-being of the machines that facilitate the operation. If one of the machines goes down, the plants will die within hours of the error. This is why this method is more common for commercial growers, as they have a whole team making sure that nothing goes wrong with the setup.
This margin of error leaves growers with two options. Either they can accept the possibility that their growing efforts have a built in element of instability, or they can invest heavily in back up equipment, which further increases the cost.
It's also worth noting that, while aeroponics does often produce bigger, healthier plants, both options do usually produce good yields.
Choosing Between Aeroponics and Hydroponics
Ultimately, deciding between aeroponics and hydroponics will be contingent on what you hope to accomplish. However, if plant quality is your exclusive concern, you will probably find that aeroponics wins the ware, even if they did lose a few battles.
The high plant yield, and the low risk of disease makes it a very good option for professional cannabis growers.
However, if you are working with a restrictive budget, you can also find good results with hydroponic methods. Ultimately, you will simply need to decide on the set up that suits you best.
Finding a aeroponic setup for at home can also be an issue. often aeroponics is used by commercial growers, so they can make a large setup to help keep costs down.
If you're looking for a stress free way of growing, Grobo is the choice for you. Grobo is a hydroponic deep water culture automated grow box.
With thousands of seed recipes to choose from, we are certain you will find at least one that fits your needs. Grobo takes care of lighting, nutrients, and pH balancing. All you need to do is refill the water tank!