Why Should I Use a Water Only Method to Grow Cannabis Plants?

cannabis plant grown using a water only method

There are many different methods used to grow cannabis plants, and they are not equal. Some cultivation methods produce a cleaner, greener product, while others may potentially result in the accumulation of substances which can be toxic to the human body over time. For this reason, it’s crucial to select a cultivation process which eliminates the risk of contamination with harmful substances such as heavy metals. To achieve this goal, a water only method in combination with a high quality living soil is a great choice.

What Is Bioaccumulation and How Does It Impact the Quality of Your Cannabis Plants?

cannabis plantCannabis is a bioaccumulator plant, making it prone to absorb heavy metals and other toxic materials in the soil. When this occurs, these substances may get passed along to the person consuming the cannabis plant, creating the potential for long term health risks.

Bioaccumulation is a plant process that results in the uptake of anything from heavy metals to salt-based nutrients in the plant’s root structure. These substances are then brought up through the plant and reside in the plant throughout its lifecycle. When the substances being absorbed from the soil are toxic, as with heavy metals and other inputs in certain soils or plant supplements, it can cause your cannabis plant to become toxic.

The most common heavy metals which accumulate in cannabis plants are:

  • Arsenic – As
  • Cadmium – Cd
  • Lead – Pb
  • Mercury – Hg

While the levels of these toxic molecular compounds in the harvested cannabis plant aren’t large enough to pose an immediate danger to the consumer, long-term consumption of cannabis plants containing these substances can pose significant health risks. Over time, these toxins can build up in your system and reach dangerous levels with irreversible results.

Flushing Plants Is an Ineffective Way to Remove Toxic Substances Absorbed by Bioaccumulation

Many growers will flush their plants with water to remove these harmful toxic substances created by bioaccumulation. Unfortunately, this  process isn’t very effective since the toxic substances have already been interwoven within the plant’s cellulose, and they can’t be entirely eliminated by flushing with water. At best, the flushing process will result in a dilution of these substances, but they will still be present in levels that can potentially be harmful over time.

A Water Only Growing Method Is the Most Effective Way to Eliminate Toxic Substances from Your Plants

If you use a water only method of growing, the chance of these toxic substances entering your plants is dramatically decreased. You still need to make certain your water source is free of any harmful elements. As the name implies, a water only growing method refers to a process that refrains from adding supplemental nutrients, chemicals and other substances to the soil. This is accomplished using a high-quality living soil that contains a diverse community of beneficial bacterial and fungi.  All nutrients necessary for a healthy, thriving plant are contained in the soil and as a result, all you need to do is add water to optimize the growing process.

Living Soil and Water Only Growing – The Recipe for Clean Green Cannabis

water only cannabis grow using living soilIf you’re going to use a water only growing method, you must use living soil. This type of soil is the only growing medium which contains all the nutrients necessary for a plant to thrive using this organic growing method. If you don’t use living soil, you’ll need to provide supplemental nutrients during the growing process, and this can result in plant toxicity due to bioaccumulation. Living soil eliminates the risk of bioaccumulation toxicity.

Living soil is the premium medium for growing cannabis, and it is the most effective way to achieve a Clean Green™ plant. Living soil contains all the nutrients needed to optimize the genetic potential of a plant through the life of its vegetative and reproductive grow cycles.

Each cannabis strain has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, some strains may be more disease resistant, while others may be more drought resistant. Using living soil allows you to optimize the genetic potential of your plant, regardless of the innate characteristics of the strain.

SoHum Living Soils® for Clean Green Cannabis Plants

If you’re looking to set up a water only grow process that achieves Clean Green Certified® cannabis plants, SoHum Living Soils® is an excellent option for your living soil medium. It contains all the nutrients necessary to optimize the health and potential of your plant. Simply add water for a hassle free cultivation process.

While SoHum is ideally suited for water only growing, it doesn’t have to be used exclusively in this manner. If you want to add nutrients and supplements to your cannabis plants, you have the option to do so.

SoHum Living Soils® is a Clean Green Certified® soil product. As a result, cannabis operators  can grow a certified Clean Green product once their growing process has been Clean Green Certified®. In this case, SoHum with a water only process will produce a Clean Green Certified® cannabis product. If you choose to add additional nutrients, you can still harvest an organic product if these nutrients are OMRI certified.

SoHum Living Soils® Is Participating in the Water Only Challenge

Chad Westport of the Future Cannabis Project has recently launched a Water Only Challenge in order to educate growers about the water only process. SoHum Living Soils® was selected as one of the four living soil products to participate in this challenge. You can follow the challenge on Chad’s YouTube channel.

Video by Chad Westport/Twin Peaks Cannabis
View our store locator to find a SoHum retailer near you.

What Style of Watering Is Best for Your Commercial Cannabis Grow Operation?

best watering style for cannabis plants

One of the most important decisions you have to make when setting up a commercial cannabis grow operation is choosing an irrigation system to use. When you are using living soil, it simplifies the process since all the nutrients you need are present in the soil (more on this later). That being said, how you water super soil will have a significant impact on the quality of your cannabis plants.

Different Solutions Used to Water Cannabis Plants

There are three main ways to irrigate cannabis plants:

  • best watering style for cannabis plantsTop-down watering – This method uses gravity as a watering process – whether via a bucket, hose, emitter or some other item – to drip water into the living soil. This is the most traditional way to water super soil containing cannabis plants.
  • Foliar spraying – This method involves spraying a light mist onto the leaves of your cannabis plant. This allows the plants to absorb water through small openings in the leaves, called stomata. In many instances, this method must be used in conjunction with a more traditional irrigation approach to ensure your cannabis plants receive a sufficient amount of water. In addition, this method requires more sophisticated knowledge regarding how and when to mist the leaves in order to ensure effective results.
  • Capillary irrigation – This is a bottom-up watering process which uses the capillary action of the super soil to deliver water to a plant from a capillary mat (a water source at or below the plant bed). This ensures all plants receive equal levels of irrigation.

Capillary Irrigation: SoHum’s Preferred Method to Water Cannabis Plants

At SoHum Living Soils, we recommend capillary irrigation as the best method to water your cannabis plants. There are several reasons why this is our preferred approach:

  • Most efficient and effective irrigation method
  • Eliminates human error
  • In the event that you want to add nutrients, you can insert water-soluble nutrients directly into the water reservoir during irrigation

Keep in mind that if you choose to add nutrients to facilitate the grow process, you’ll be able to maintain the organic nature of your growing process as long as you use OMRI-listed additives. That being said, using SoHum’s living soil products eliminates the need to add nutrients because it is a water-only, no-flush product.

Best Ways to Use Capillary Irrigation with Your Commercial Cannabis Grow Operation

At SoHum, we recommend two applications for capillary irrigation:

  • drip line cannabis irrigationDrip lines for raised beds – This system uses long tubes with emitters at the end. The tubes are connected to a main water line to deliver the hydration your plants need. This method allows your plants to receive more uniform watering. This will help with water retention and limit evaporation issues, which reduces the costs associated with outdoor irrigation.
  • AutoPot systems – This system uses gravity pressure to fill tubs with water. As the plants absorb the water and the tubs go dry, a special float valve will refill the tubs to provide the plants with additional water. This is essentially a “set it and forget it” type of irrigation system.

AutoPot systems are our preferred method for capillary irrigation because they eliminate human error, particularly associated with overwatering, which is the single most common problem we see with commercial cannabis grow operations. Cannabis is much more of a drought tolerant plant than a moisture tolerant plant. In the early stages of a cannabis plant, it’s important to regularly cycle from a wet stage to a dry stage in order to ensure proper root development throughout the entire container. If a cannabis plant sits in a really moist bed and never gets dry, the roots never have a reason to look for water, and the root bulbs never fully develop.

If you’re not developing the root system to get to the nutrients in the small pot, the plants won’t grow properly. This system ensures the plant drinks what it wants, when it wants, but no more. You completely eliminate overwatering as an issue. This process helps you develop proper root mass. If you develop your roots, you’ll significantly improve the quality of the plants you grow.

In addition, using the AutoPot system will save you time because it automates the watering process.

SoHum Living Soils: The Right Choice to Pair with Your Irrigation System

Regardless of the irrigation system you choose, SoHum Living Soils will set your grow operation up for success. All of our living soil products are designed to be a super soil – the soil contains all the nutrients necessary for the cannabis plant’s entire vegetation and bloom lifecycle. All you need to do is add water and your plants will grow properly. No chemicals are added.

This “no-flush” process delivers several important benefits:

  • It saves you time and money – You don’t need to buy, mix, apply and remove chemicals as part of your grow process.
  • It eliminates the need to flush the plants to remove harmful chemicals – When chemical nutrients are added as a supplement to the water in your irrigation system, the plants will absorb the chemicals. Therefore, it’s crucial to flush these harmful chemicals from the plants to ensure consumers don’t ingest them.

The flush process typically takes 7-10 days prior to harvesting. This is time consuming, inefficient and a non-scientific way to mitigate a problem that doesn’t exist if you’re using a water-only super soil such as SoHum.

In addition, SoHum Living Soils products all have a dual OMRI and Clean Green certification, ensuring our soil maintains the high standards necessary for organic, clean green and sustainable growing practices. This is essential if you’re trying to grow Clean Green Certified plants. Maximize your plant’s genetic potential with one of the most complete living soil products available.

View our store locator to find a SoHum distributor near you.


What Style of Growing Is Best for Your Commercial Cannabis Grow Operation?

best practices for commercial cannabis grow operation

There are many decisions to make when setting up a commercial cannabis grow operation. One of the most important choices involves which growing style to use. There are several different techniques. Each one presents its own unique set of advantages and opportunities, and the right technique for you will depend on your specific needs.

What Are the Most Common Cannabis Growing Methodologies?

best practices for commercial cannabis grow operationThere are four primary techniques used by commercial cannabis grow operations:

  • Hydroponics – Cannabis plants are grown in a nutrient-water solution as the growing medium. No soil is used with hydroponics.
  • Aeroponics – This is another soilless growing application. The roots of your cannabis plants are suspended in air inside a chamber, and misters are used to spray water onto the roots.
  • Aquaponics – Aquaponics uses a similar growing setup as hydroponics, but with a twist. Instead of inserting liquid nutrients into the water, your plants get their nutrients from the waste of fish swimming in the tank. While this is one of the most organic growing methods, it is very labor intensive. In addition, it’s expensive, comes with high risk management, and requires a very specific infrastructure to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Geoponics – Cannabis plants are grown in soil. This is the only growing process that isn’t created by humans. Instead, it uses the earth the way mother nature intended growing to work.

Based on years of experience as cannabis growers, we’ve found that geoponics tends to result in the best results for commercial grow operations.

Why Is Geoponics the Best Style for My Commercial Cannabis Growing Operation?

There are several reasons why geoponics is our preferred growing method.


Soil is the easiest growing medium. You can produce a high-quality product with the simplest process. This is by far the most important benefit provided by geoponics. The order of difficulty (from easiest to hardest) of the different growing techniques is:

  • Geoponics
  • Hydroponics
  • Aeroponics
  • Aquaponics

Aquaponics is by far the most difficult and labor intensive process due to the fact that you need to keep fish alive and constantly clean the tanks. Geoponics, on the other hand, is the easiest process since living soil contains all the nutrients and beneficial bacteria necessary to cultivate a healthy plant.

Cost Effective

Geoponics provides you with the most affordable growing method. Hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics all require special equipment. Geoponics avoids the need for this highly specialized (and expensive) equipment. All you need is a container, living soil, and a water source.

Reduces Potential for Issues During the Process

geoponics - best growing style for commercial cannabis grow operationGeoponics gives you a greater ability to manage potential problems that may arise during the grow cycle:

  • It reduces the chance of human error
  • It eliminates many of the extra components that may complicate the grow process – for example, environmental control problems associated with pH or chemical balance issues in your water aren’t present when you use geoponics


Soil is recyclable. You can use it over and over for future grow cycles. As a result, geoponics provides a cleaner, greener, more environmentally conscious growing solution.

SoHum Living Soils® Provides the Quality You Need for Geoponic Growing

SoHum Living Soils® has been created by long-time cannabis growers who know what it takes to achieve great results with your commercial grow operation. Our living soil has been specially designed to optimize your plant’s potential, producing higher yields and a better quality product.

You’ll benefit from using a living soil product that is both OMRI Certified and Clean Green Certified. This dual certification ensures all of our products align with clean green, organic and sustainable growing practices, allowing you to produce Clean Green Certified plants. In addition, you’ll experience a hassle-free growing process that reduces human error in the growing process.

View our store locator to find a SoHum distributor near you.

Best Practices for Clean Green Growing

clean green cannabis growing

clean green cannabis growingClean green growing is an emerging trend in the cannabis industry, and for good reason. Not only does it provide an enhanced overall experience, but it also addresses a social movement that is better for the consumer and the environment.

Clean green growing provides a more conscious cannabis product. Some of the benefits you’ll experience from clean green cannabis growing using SoHum living soils include:

  • Microbial interaction creating organic nutrients for flowering cannabis plants – 100% organic cultivation for the duration of veg/flower cycle using water only.
  • Higher terpene expressions creating a more intense “entourage effect” – increasing the overall effect of the cannabis experience.
  • Creating high-value quality products – at less than $1/gram.

At SoHum Living Soils, we’ve been committed to clean green cannabis cultivation since our inception. We’ve been refining our process for years and have identified the following best practices as essential to include if you are going to use a clean green growing method.

Follow the Integrated Pest Management Process

Integrated pest management (IPM) ensures that all pesticide and fungicide products used are truly organic and safe for human consumption. This process is stricter than what state regulators require of growers.

IPM provides an environmentally conscious approach to pest management that leans heavily on biocontrol products. Essentially, this involves using good bugs to eliminate the harmful insects that can damage your grow operation as an alternative to relying on chemical pesticides to accomplish this important task. While pesticides may still be used judiciously, IPM allows you to reduce the duration of pesticide use. Bugs will become the primary way to manage these pests, with chemicals only used sparingly to fill in the gaps.

There are 5 essential steps associated with integrated pest management:

  • Identify the pest(s) threatening your grow operation – Most insects interacting with your grow operation are not actually pests, but instead contribute to a broader ecosystem. By taking the time to ensure the insects you’re targeting are actual pests, you can eliminate unnecessary pest control measures.
  • Monitor pest activity – This will help you determine whether there is a large enough number of pests present to cause actual damage to your grow operation. Monitoring the rise and fall of pest numbers over time will help you avoid unnecessary treatments.
  • Determine action thresholds – This refers to the point where any additional damage will be considered unacceptable and would require the need for pest control measures. The higher you set the action threshold, the fewer treatments you’ll need to use. This will further reduce your reliance on pesticides.
  • Explore treatment options and administer treatments – Biological pest control measures should be considered first. In addition, you should create grow conditions which optimize fertility and plant health to minimize the need for pest control treatments. As part of IPM, pesticides should be the last resort and only include chemicals that are least toxic to human health and the environment.
  • Evaluate results – Pest management is an ever-evolving process. You’ll need to monitor results after treatments to determine the effectiveness of your efforts and whether the pest has been reduced to an acceptable level. This will allow you to discontinue treatments if pest numbers fall below your action threshold.

Ensure All Materials Used in Plant Cultivation Meet the Regulatory Requirement for Clean Green Certification

Clean Green Certified cannabis growing materialsThe Clean Green Certified program was established in 2004 in order to address the lack of a USDA organic certification program for cannabis products. If you’re committed to growing organic cannabis products, making sure you’re Clean Green Certified is essential.

In order to become Clean Green Certified, you must complete the following steps:

  • Undergo an expert materials review – The Clean Green Certified program has established their standards for organic materials based on the leading organic certification programs nationally and worldwide.
  • Establish your classification – You’ll need to apply under one of the three different classifications: crop producer, processer/handler making products, or an outlet/service company supporting the organic cannabis industry.
  • Complete an inspection – Once your materials and procedures have been reviewed and you’ve confirmed you’re licensed to do business in your state, you’ll need to complete an inspection to become certified.

Maintain Impeccable Levels of Employee Hygiene

Clean green growing requires adherence to strict hygiene standards. You’ll need to make sure all employees:

  • Wash their hands
  • Wear hair nets and beard nets
  • Use gloves when handling products

Practice Responsible Agriculture

Responsible agriculture refers to using ethical growing practices. It’s crucial to establish trust and reliability regarding what is done on the back end to comply with clean green standards. Practicing responsible agriculture involves promoting ethical and sustainable farming practices that are profitable, environmentally sound and good for communities.

In addition, you should be engaging in neighborly farming if you have an outdoor grow operation. It’s important to make sure your practices are considerate of other farmers nearby and don’t disrupt their harvest in any way.

Use Living Soil as Your Growing Medium

If you’re going to commit to clean green growing, living soil provides you with the most effective growing method to maintain these high standards. When choosing a living soil product for your grow, make sure to choose one that is both OMRI and Clean Green Certified.

SoHum Living Soils has developed a reputation as an industry leader in clean green, organic cannabis growing. Very few other living soils are as dynamic and possess as robust OMRI and Clean Green certified components to the soil makeup.

SoHum is a complete living soil product that allows you to maximize your plant’s potential. This water-only soil eliminates the risk of error in the growing process, and allows you to avoid the need for chemicals which may jeopardize your ability to grow a clean green product. With SoHum Living Soils, you’ll have peace of mind that you’re providing a safe, enhanced experience for the consumer of your cannabis product.

View our store locator to find a SoHum distributor near you.


Living Soil vs. Hydroponics: Which Is Better?

cannabis grow operation using living soil

When starting a new cannabis grow operation, there are a few key factors that one must consider as you begin setting up your space, specifically, whether you are going to utilize living soil or hydroponics as your primary grow medium.

There are many who will tell you that this is an open-and-shut case in favor of hydroponics, however, this may be due to the fact that they themselves may have limited experience with living soil. Truthfully, there is no right or wrong answer as both approaches offer a variety of specific benefits that can make this a complicated decision for any grower. Having said that, our preference will always be living soil, often referred to as, “Super Soil” for its ability to maximize key nutrients and other benefits to the plants without including unnecessary and even potentially dangerous additives to them.

Benefits of Hydroponics

hydroponics cannabis grow operation

Traditionally, hydroponics has been the leading method of cannabis cultivation for decades. In large part, this is because hydroponic set-ups work well for a controlled, concealable operation, which was essential for discretion when it was illegal to grow cannabis. However, while such precautions are no longer necessary in legal markets, hydroponic systems do offer some advantages that still make it a favored technique to this day.

Hydroponics is Simple

With hydroponics, you are not introducing anything unnecessary to the plant but rather, simply supplying it with the fundamental nutrients it requires to thrive, nothing else. However, while this simplistic approach makes it easy to monitor and control, it can also make it more probable for one to damage or even kill your plants if you add too many or too few nutrients.

Hydroponics Reduces Pests

Because hydroponics allows you total control over exactly what does or does not enter your greenhouse, you can mitigate the risk from various pests and diseases that can damage your crop.

Hydroponics Saves Water

With hydroponics, all the water you put into the system either goes into the plant or goes back into the tank. With living soil, some of the water gets absorbed into the soil where it either evaporates or is consumed by the other inhabitants within the soil.

Benefits of Living Soil

cannabis plant grown in living soil

Although, at a glance, it may seem like hydroponics would easily win this decision outright while the truth is living soil can actually provide a number of advantages over hydroponics. Let us to take a moment to identify and discuss those advantages.

Living Soil is Even Simpler

Living soil is among the simplest methods of cannabis cultivation in the sense that you do not have to add anything to the cultivation process. The only steps required is to transfer plants into the soil, add water and let them grow. To this point, SoHum Living Soils®, contains everything your plants require to go through and thrive throughout an entire growth cycle, including the vegetative and flowering stages.

Living Soil Makes Your Plants Robust

Hydroponics tries to protect your plants by minimizing their exposure to pests and disease. When this works, it’s great, but it also means that if something does get in, it can ravage your crop because the plants have no native immunities. By contrast, living soil helps your plants develop immunities to disease by cultivating relationships with symbiotes that help make them stronger.

Living Soil Improves Flavor

Many hydroponics advocates compare this process to getting all your food from a nutrient pill. While this would be adequate for keeping you alive, life would definitely lack flavor. Hydroponics is like a feedlot for your plants, giving them a life that is flavorless which can get passed on to the final flower product. As consumer tastes continue to evolve, the high-end customer will come to appreciate the richness, flavor and aroma that comes from growing cannabis in living soil. Just as people pay a premium for grass-fed beef or free-range chicken, the market is continuing to develop for super soil-grown cannabis with amazing terpene content.

SoHum Living Soils® Will Set Your Grow Up for Success

At SoHum Living Soils®, we are time-proven, experienced growers who are passionate about this aspect of the cannabis industry and have designed our living soil to fully optimize each plant’s genetic potential. Our process of growing in SoHum has set the new standard for cleaner, greener growing in the industry as it feeds and nurtures your plants throughout their lifecycle for a more efficient process, better quality plants and outstanding yield. Simply add water and watch your plants flourish.

You can use our store locator to find a retailer in your area.

Drying Your Cannabis Plants

Drying Cannabis
by Ellis Smith, Co-Founder & Chief Development Officer – American Cannabis Company


After spending over 100 days nurturing and growing your plants it is now harvest time! Drying your crop is an art form, as many people will tell you it is. The final steps of drying and curing cannabis are crucial to make certain your buds are rich with flavor and retain strong cannabinoid profiles. Although it may seem simple, drying is a stage where you can ruin your crop if not dried properly. You are poised to benefit from the fruits of your labor, so don’t mess it up!

When growing at home ensure you have a few things in place to guarantee success when drying your plants. Your drying space will need to have plenty of air flow; however, you do not want too much air movement as it can dry out your buds too quickly, but not enough air flow could allow for development of mold and mildew. There is a fine line but through trial and error you will find the sweet spot that works best for air flow in your drying room. Your drying room should also be dark during the process, so light does not degrade the THC. The ideal room temperature range is 68 to 75 degrees however you can run higher and lower temps but be sure to check moisture levels by touch to see how slow or fast the process is finishing.

Next take your harvested plants and break them down into smaller branches to hang on clothes hangers. I like to leave the fan leaves on to help cover and protect the flowers as well as help control the drying process. Place the hangers on a wire or rope where they can remain hanging in the darkened dry room for the next 7 to 10 days. As the flowers approach their optimal moisture level, touch them to feel how dry the outside of the flowers are and then squeeze the flower to see how that exterior dryness consistency compares to that of the interior.

Between day 7 to day 10, expect to have about 90% of the moisture content removed so you can trim and begin the all-important curing process….for more information on curing, see article entitled How to Properly Cure Cannabis by Ellis Smith. Once dried you are now ready to pull your flowers off the hangers so you can set up for hand trimming or machine dry trimming which is purely grower preference.

I prefer curing in glass jars and although that is my personal preference, I have used plastic containers before which worked great as well. Regardless of the type of container used, once the flowers are placed in your curing container, continue to keep in a dark place at the same 68 to 75 degree temperature range. Open the container multiple times a day to “burp” any remaining moisture out while monitoring how fast or slow the remaining moisture is being removed. For growers with a busy schedule, you can check once a day as well however you should do this for about 7 to 10 days or until you have reached the desired dryness. You can keep it jarred up and cure longer but that is all personal preference. Once cured, it is time to fully enjoy all of the work you put in.

Insider Tip:

Always check for smell to see if there is a foul odor or mold developing throughout the drying

Adjusting Your Environment: How Lighting Affects Cannabis Cultivation

In this webcast, Sean Sangster, project manager for Fluence by OSRAM’s horticulture services team, discusses:

*Horticultural lighting basics and light’s role in plant responses.

*Lighting’s effect on other key environmental inputs in a cannabis facility.

*Considerations for lighting in regard to integrated pest management strategies.

Beyond What The Eye Sees

How to save harvests, money, and maximize yield with spectral imaging for cannabis.

In this webcast, we hear from Rob McCorkle of Emerald Metrics about how spectral imagery is changing the game for cannabis grow operations. By monitoring plants and providing growers with actionable intelligence, the technology at Emerald Metrics dives into cannabis plant health and other issues which would typically go unseen to the naked eye.

While human intuition is incredibly valuable in cannabis cultivation operations, nothing compares to technology. Emerald Metrics uses spectral imagery for cannabis to detect plant diseases, pests, and environmental contaminants that can wreak havoc on a crop. In addressing issues early on in the growth cycles, their spectral imaging systems offer insights to growers, giving them the competitive edge in a vastly changing industry.

Cannabis Temperature For Indoor Grow Rooms

How to get the right temperature for growing cannabis plants

Growing temperature is very important to encourage photosynthesis and promote the health of cannabis plants, especially in grow rooms. Improper temperature can make or break a crop and should be very carefully monitored throughout the plants’ growth cycle.


Temperature and Cannabis Plants

The temperature at which a cannabis plant is grown is vital to the health of the plant. Temperature affects internodal growth, the rate of water absorption, respiration, and the PH level of the growing medium.

Sometimes even small variations in temperature over long periods of time can stunt growth and cause long-term problems in root growth.

Changes in temperature can also be used to simulate nighttime as well as a tool to trigger flowering.


Ideal Temperature In Your Cannabis Grow Room

A standard, well ventilated grow room should be kept between 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit under optimal conditions.

Temperature can be raised or lowered according to your plants’ needs. For example, if you’re providing extra CO2 to your plants, your cannabis grow room temperature should be raised to 86-90 degrees for efficient absorption.

“Nighttime” temperatures should be slightly lower at about 71 degrees to prevent stretching but ensure your plants “sleep” and recover.


Measuring Temperature In Your Cannabis Grow Room

It’s best to measure the temperature in the shade of your grow room, as well as in several different locations.

Using a digital thermometer with a separate sensor will allow you to measure temps from outside of the grow room while the lights are off.


Lowering the Temperature Of Your Cannabis Grow Room

HPS and other high output lights can produce far more heat than is safe for the survival of your cannabis plants.

Always run an extractor fan when using these lights to circulate and pull heated air from your grow room.

If your lights have ballasts or generators, keep them outside the growing area if possible.

You might also consider air conditioning units, but only as a last resort as these can drastically increase your overhead costs.


Increasing the Temperature Of Your Cannabis Grow Room

You’ll rarely need to increase temps during “day” hours, as the lights typically are sufficient. At night, you can hold heat in your space by shutting off the extractor fan.

You may need to add a simple space heater or radiator to supplement nighttime heat, though these can be costly to run.

Monitor the temperature of your grow room carefully (both day and night) and adjust the heat accordingly for maximum efficiency.

The botanical experts at SoHum Living Soil know all of the best practices when growing cannabis. Let us share our knowledge with you by clicking through our articles on the subject or stop by our store in Denver to speak to our knowledgeable staff.

Start growing cannabis the easy way

Quality super soil that yields high results with minimal effort.

Topping Cannabis Plants

when to top cannabis

When to Top Cannabis Plants

Whether you grow indoors or outdoors topping your cannabis plants helps to produce a bigger and better yield, which is every grower’s primary goal. The first thing to understand is that topping is an exact cut at the node, and while that sounds easy, the timing of topping is critical. Topping forces the plant to grow laterally rather than vertically, but when to do so depends on soil health, plant health, lighting, size and age of the plant, and the growth goals.

If you are new to cannabis cultivation, topping cannabis plants is a vital step to maximize the overall quality of the yield. It is a tool that helps to control the overall shape of the plant – by redirecting the growing tendency from vertical to lateral.

The effect is that the supporting branches develop a thicker and stronger cola. Topping,  however, is not the only factor that goes into producing quality and sizable yields. Other factors include soil health, watering, and light.


Topping Cannabis Plants – When is the Best Time?

All plants have stages to their life cycle. So, whether we are discussing an annual plant or a perennial plant, understanding the plant’s lifecycle is essential, especially if you want to control the results of each stage of growth. The key to managing a plant during each cycle has a lot to do with how much light the plant receives.

The vegetative cycle, for example, can last from two weeks to six months. That is a critical consideration because topping a cannabis plant is a traumatic experience for the plant. Therefore you want to top plants when that plant is at its healthiest – giving it additional energy into changing from growing vertically into growing laterally.

That also means that soil health needs to be ideal as topping increases the growing demands for the plant. The first thing you need to understand about topping is that the plant will need additional nitrogen to fuel the development of additional cola.

Healthy – What does that mean? The short answer here is actively growing. However, understand that plant health has a lot to do with watering cycles, light, and soil. Lush healthy plants require all three of these ingredients to produce optimum yield.


The Cannabis Life Cycle

Germination – generally 2-3 days, depending upon species type, mutations, etc. This cycle can also be as short as eight hours if growing conditions are optimum – good soil, proper watering.

Seedling – generally 1-2 weeks (though can be stretched longer).

Vegetative – generally 2-6 weeks, based on pot size.

Read more on tips for growing Cannabis if you’re just getting started.


The Vegetative Stage and Topping Marijuana

When to top a cannabis plant is a big question and it does not always have a perfect answer. This is because species vary, growing environments vary, and of course, there could be mutations – planned or accidental. Those factors all weigh in to determine “when” is the best time to top cannabis. However, the topping is also planned, and you manage a lot of what your plants do by controlling soil, water, and light.

You don’t want to top a cannabis plant too soon. The plant must be able to handle the pruning process. A cannabis seedling can range from 1-2 weeks old, and you would not want to top the plant at week three. It would likely not survive, even though at week three, it should be in the vegetative stage of its development.


Counting Nodes

A good rule of thumb is to count the nodes. A node is a junction on the stem where branches grow from the main stem, and cannabis plants tend to node in pairs. The spacing between nodes is called the “internode.” The internode is the stem that grows from one node to the next. Indica plants tend to have very short internodes, as these plants are short and squat. Sativa plants, which are taller, have a longer internode.  For topping cannabis, you want to have at least four nodes and preferably six-eight nodes. This is a general rule. Topping at four nodes is riskier than topping at six- to- eight nodes as plant health improves as the plant grows.



Counting the Nodes is one rule of thumb, but also consider topping when you change the plants light ratio. The shorter the light cycle, the closer the plant moves toward flowering or seeding. You certainly do not want to top a cannabis plant during the flowering stage. By controlling the light, you can extend the vegetative stage of growth. Generally, when the lighting gets to 12 hours of sunlight and 12 hours of darkness, the plant goes into flowering mode, as that signals the plant that the season is changing.


What Physically Happens When You Top a Cannabis Plant?

In the vegetative stage, the plant is putting on height and pouring energy into the main stem. When you top a cannabis plant, the energy that it feeds into growth immediately shifts into healing, and the plant goes into recovery mode. Plants have a competitive need for resources,  even though these plants are grown in a controlled environment, you are still dealing with the genetics of wild plants. It is, in short, a battle for sunlight. When you top at the terminal bud, the lower node suddenly has access to light and from that spot emerge additional cola. You have first stopped the upward momentum of the plant which is now forced to grow laterally.

1. The plant’s focus changes from growing a single cola into producing multiple colas. This occurs because the nodes beneath the topping point now have access to plenty of light, especially with indoor growing technology. You can control this through quality soil and additional water – two ingredients that cannabis needs to produce robust cola.

2. The plant immediately goes into a recovery mode. Having the top portion of the terminal bud removed is traumatic. Recovery means growth so to compensate for the loss, the plant begins to grow and as it does, more cola emerges from the node just below the topping point.


Considerations When Topping Marijuana Plants

The first thing to look at is plant health. A plant that is not getting enough light might have eight nodes but not be in excellent shape. Plants need to be robust, the main stem needs to be developing and the overall growth of the plant is even.

Soil Health is another consideration. As mentioned, the topping is stressful for the plant which is why:

1) plant health needs to be optimal before topping, and

2) soil health needs to be optimal after topping. The plant will need more nutrients to spur lateral growth. Growing uses energy, so the plant must have access to good soil energy, which in this case is nitrogen.


Boosting Plant Growth and Health

You can do yourself and your garden a favor by starting off with good quality soil and providing adequate water throughout the growing cycle. Also, plan each step and understand that the differences among species of cannabis will require different timing for topping.

This is not just indica vs. sativa. The requirements will vary from one strain of cannabis to the next. It is helpful to keep a growing journal so that you can build wisdom as you grow.

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