Watering issues can be very sneaky, often times when you think something else is the problem, in reality, it’s something having to do with water sourcing or application. Cannabis Watering Tips is just a little collection of some pointers to enhance your skills growing cannabis in containers. When it comes to watering cannabis plants in containers, it’s really a “Goldilocks” situation. It has to be just right. Containers are far different from in the ground. Plants always have access to some level of moisture in the ground. This allows them to go much longer without water before suffering.
Likewise, in the ground, it’s much harder to overwater plants, because gravity keeps the water moving down. I mean, if the soil structure is bad, or there is way too much water, it can still be a big problem for sure. In containers it’s a huge potential problem if you overwater … in fact, it’s several huge potential problems. Even baked on killer Skyanchor hashish, I have some decent cannabis watering tips for you today—LoL—lemme ‘splain Lucy…
Cannabis Watering Tips—Underwatering
Now this is a rare bird compared to overwatering, but no less problematic, potentially. Underwatering is particularly hazardous to freshly planted bare-root clones and sprouts, deadly hazardous. But there are longer-term issues that can often occur as a result of underwatering with larger plants. Especially during flowering—yikes!
If your plants experience a hard stress drought where the plant mostly goes limp, it can still come back all fine. The real problem here doesn’t show up until about two weeks later and it is calcium related. Even with plenty of calcium for your plants to use in your soil. What has really happened here is a lot of your calcium availability has been locked out due to the catastrophic drought, and likely the crystalizing of various salts/minerals that alter the micro-pH zones of the rhizosphere.
Often times growers that are fairly well experienced at growing cannabis will correctly diagnose the calcium problem, but then make the horrible mistake of trying to add some available calcium. This sends plants into a downward spiral that will kill them slow and ugly.
Bottom watering is a lifesaver here. My best cannabis watering tip to avoid big-time drought stress is to use your containers’ catch trays to do a little bottom watering here and there. This way you can keep tender smaller plants and sprouts having access to water. Smaller plants dry out very fast once they start to dry out, so death can occur rapidly. Using some water in the catch tray can be a lifesaver here. Make sure the catch tray is wide enough so that at least 1.5-inches of space between the pot and the tray.
If plants are allowed to dry out way too much, they often develop issues revolving around calcium. If this happens, a transplant is recommended. And a better watering program—wink.
Cannabis Watering Tips–Overwatering
Yup, the number one issue I not only see a lot but one I still experience from time to time myself. Overwatering usually comes as at least a double whammy, where the condition catalyzes things related to aeration of the container. In the photo below you can see an example of something to look for. The photo is a great example of the double whammy, and you can see sudden nitrogen (N) and calcium issues. Normal N falling off expresses on the lower larger leaves first, but when it is rather suddenly screwed with, the expression is up top. This plant’s container went legit anaerobic from overwatering.
The pH drops radically, all the aerobic microlife (that needs fresh air to survive) gets devastated due to lack of fresh air. Anaerobic fungus takes over and makes things very stinky, like sewer stinky. You’ll smell it if you ease the root-ball out of the container. No worries, this is usually recoverable.
Allow your plants to dry out between watering for some period of time. Transplant any anaerobic plants ASAP and make sure to water them when they need it only. You can gently lift your containers to see how light they are telling you if they need water. Gently set them back down, or you will compact your soil exacerbating your aeration issues.
There is another skill you can develop pretty fast that will save your ass with regards to overwatering, for the greater part anyways. A whole day before your plants will be experiencing drought stress, where all the leaves start to go limp (lose turgor), the bottom larger leaves will angle downwards about 20-degrees or so, not a lot. But this is for sure noticeable and once you see it a few times, you will never again not see it, heh heh. Ya follow?
Measuring your water can help here. Generally speaking, you want to thoroughly water a plant with about 1/6th to 1/5th of the container volume in water. For example, I water my 3-gallon containers with ½-gallon of water each time. 5-gallon containers get about ¾-gallon of water each time. Different plants need water at different times, especially during flowering. You need to be able to check every plant individually unless you are running clones.
Cannabis Watering Tips—Water Source
Here’s an easy one, for you guys just starting out… You want your water to be groundwater, like from a well or city tap water. You need to remove the monochloramine (molecularly bonded and hard to remove) using active carbon filtering. PPM value should be around 50 PPM—40 to 60 PPM is all good and even a bit higher. You can dilute water that is too high in PPM using rain, distilled, or reverse osmosis (R/O) water to reach your desired PPM.
If you do filter your water, make sure to put a schedule up on your phone or whatever, reminding you to change out the filter cartridges in a timely manner. If your carbon filters go slowly bad, it will be a very sneaky attack causing your plants to just get uglier and less healthy over the course of 3 to 6 weeks.
Cannabis Watering Tips—Water Additions
Here’s where that pesky old ‘sneaky’ part really comes into play. I use some water additions all the time, and some of you may be familiar with ‘The Churn,’ and I also use additions in my Micropond style. It is best not to add things directly to your water, but rather use something like The Churn that I use. I just keep my groundwater around 50 PPM, and I use Churn additions to bring it up to about 65 PPM about 2 or 3 hours before watering. This keeps my PPMs consistent.
The really sneaky thing here is that there is a cumulative effect. If you are using a little too much (running PPMs a bit too high) the excess will build up around the rhizosphere altering pH and making various nutrients harder and harder to access. This can take a month to really set in and it usually results in ugly death. By that time, you are really clueless about what your actual problem is because it has just crept in so slowly over time.
Remember my esteemed homeskillets, watering skills don’t come naturally, so hone them in and do what it takes to acquire them. The payoff is huge. Here’s some of the best cannabis watering tips I can give you…
- Measure water per plant. Not only does this help out with over- or underwatering, it also can show you superior plants. Extra hungry and thirsty plants are often superior plants.
- Get wide catch trays, bigger than you think you need. This keeps your options open and safe and guards against overwatering as well as underwatering, well. Water spreads out wider and shallower. You can just put a ½-inch of water in the tray if you just want to buy a little time before watering time.
- Check your PPM like you are OCD about it. Run a consistent PPM for your plants when it comes to their water. Stay within 5 or 6 PPM.
- Always use a little bit of dolomite lime in your water. It buffers the pH and adds calcium and magnesium. Two things any growing cannabis plant needs lots of.
Alrighty then, grab some cool seeds over at Kingdom Organic Seeds and start your grow right. Another good tool to have would be my 2nd Edition TLO book. Learn the ways of recycling your soil. Back to work for me, L8r G8rs…
- REv 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.