Tips and tricks for watering your cannabis plants

Published Sep 20, 2020 12:00 p.m. ET
iStock / aedkais

Everything requires water to survive, and though all species get theirs through different means, often cannabis plants rely on us to fulfill this essential need. It seems like a simple enough task, after all, dumping some water on a plant from time to time sounds about as easy as it gets, but this particular species likes its water a certain way, and if you don’t know what it wants, you can actually cause damage just by adding water. Since you want to avoid that, or your yield may suffer, it’s important to know these five tips and tricks for watering plants.

1. Watch for chemicals

When you water plants where is it that you get the liquid from? Is it from the tap, a bottle or a rain barrel? Or perhaps, you’re fortunate enough to have a pure fresh spring source that is easily accessible. No matter where you get your water from, there is always a potential for chemicals, which is why most growers will let the piqued sit for at least 24 hours at room temperature. This gives things like chlorine enough time to evaporate so that they won’t cause harm to your cannabis plants.

Even rivers, streams, and wells can be home to several toxins that can cause serious damage, so this rule is a good one to live by in every situation. Though it might sound easy to just pour a glass or fill a watering can full of water from the tap, it’s much safer to utilize safer sources such as rain barrels or distilled water as they aren’t treated with hazardous toxins or chemicals.

2. Temperature is important

Cannabis plants are quite a tough species, and they can thrive without a precise measuring of the amount of water that you’re providing, but what they can’t take is a sudden change in temperature to the roots. Water that is too cold or too hot could put your pot plant into shock, causing long term damage and even death in some cases, so it is essential that you use only room temperature water to hydrate your cannabis plants.

3. Misting can be just as effective as full-on watering

A lot of beginner growers assume that they need gallons upon gallons of water each day that is perfectly treated and applied, but the reality is that each plant doesn’t need a whole lot, and in some cases, they will do better with less. Though we would never recommend using misting as a complete alternative to watering, as this species needs more than what you can give it in a reasonable time through a spray bottle, it’s not a bad idea to take every third day or so and skip the watering in exchange for a nice gentle mist bath.

This can help to hydrate the leaves, something that is important for cannabis plants that are kept in direct sunlight, or indoors where they never get to experience a natural rain, and man-made temperature controls dry out the environment to a point where it can be dangerous for an indoor pot plant. For each plant, one-quarter of a full-sized mister bottle full of chemical-free water should do the trick, and your plant will thank you for it.


4. Add nutrients

This isn’t a necessary step for every single time that you water plants, but it’s something that should be seriously considered as an addition to your watering schedule on a regular basis from early on in life. Natural nutrients are the best, as they won’t burn the plant, and they are the easiest for it to consume and turn into energy that comes out in a boosted growth and adding them doesn’t have to be difficult.

You can buy powdered nutrients, liquid nutrients, or make your very own cannabis nutrients for a fraction of the cost by using things like compost to deliver a condensed hit of essential vitamins, and they will all do pretty much the same thing. They will boost your yield and contribute to extra growth that typically results in a higher production of flowers, which is the portion of the plant that we all want in the end.

5. Be wary of excess water pressure

Watering plants isn’t hard, but there is one mistake that almost every first-time grower makes at least once, and that is using too much water pressure. We tend to think of this as something that is only present when we turn on a tap due to man-made plumbing, but it doesn’t take very much pressure to cause serious damage to a cannabis plant.

It can happen with a regular old watering can that is tipped just a little bit too far, or with a garden hose that isn’t kinked enough to slow the flow, and it can also happen if the container that you're using doesn’t allow for a slow trickle of the liquid, so for example, dumping a bucket all at once rather than slowly pouring it through a filter spout. These bushy little beasts can stand up to a lot but if you want to avoid damaged leaves and broken branches, then it is important to pay attention to the water pressure behind whatever you’re using for watering plants.

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