There are many variables and processes in the cultivation of cannabis, such as deciding which strains to grow, deciding which grow-room design will work best and choosing the best lighting. A whole world of options opens up after you choose the best soil, soil amendments, pot, or container. Plus, you’ll need to consider whether your plant needs supplemental CO2. However, that’s all part of the fun!
Some gardeners don’t think about water quality as much as they should. In fact, some don’t even know what PPM means, or why it is important to know how much ppm is in their water. But good water management is essential for any successful garden, particularly indoors.
Plant irrigation and feeding are two aspects that are comparable to a working relationship. One cannot thrive without the help of the other. A cannabis plant’s roots will drink up to a gallon of water per day, becoming well nourished with nutrients—but only if they can easily absorb them. A grower’s job is not only to create optimal conditions for growth and bud production, but also to ensure that the plant has consistent access to nutrients. Nutrients in the water are dissolved into a solution that many plants absorb through their roots, especially if given adequate oxygen and airflow.
What do these water quality terms mean?
Soil cultivation involves the use of artificial nutrients added to water so that the liquid can be absorbed by the soil and into the root system. Before any grow operation begins, testing and evaluating water quality is vital in order to identify any needs or deficiencies.
Proper nutrition is key to plant health, but finding the right water-to-nutrient balance can be complicated. By using a measuring device, you can dial in the perfect water PPM (parts per million) for your cannabis plants. Cannabis is renowned for its ability to absorb nutrients. However, it can only absorb a limited amount of minerals each day. Increasing the water’s mineral content enhances nutrient uptake – making plants stronger and healthier.
But if your PPM levels are too high, your plant may become flooded with nutrients—or potentially be exposed to too much of them—too fast. This can result in leaf burn and nutrient burn, which will yield discolored leaves that start out brown and eventually die off altogether.
What are the best PPM levels for cannabis?
The growing needs of a marijuana plant are affected by its age. A plant that is young will get the best results with water in the 500-600 PPM range. As it gets larger, the PPM should be increased to 800-900. Once the cannabis plant starts the flowering phase, try increasing to maximum PPM levels of 1000-1100.
We recommend purchasing a water tester that measures your PPM levels and making any needed adjustments before watering your plants. With the help of a PPM meter, you can adjust to an appropriate dosage for your plants. These meters are very easy to use and can be used for any watering needs such as your indoor or outdoor garden.
A PPM meter is a total dissolved solids (TDS) water meter used to measure the concentration of various minerals in water. It’s a great tool for many applications, and can measure all kinds of things from water results to shower head flow rates. PPM meters are also known as TDS meters, and the two terms are interchangeable.
Calibrate with distilled water… Mineral levels vary due to a number of factors, but the range in most cases is somewhere between 50 – 700 ppm. If you have old pipes, however, or if you live in an area with “hard water”, the PPM may well be much higher than that, and at these levels, problems can occur.As you calibrate the meter, you will notice that PPM readings sit right near zero. This is because your filtered water has had all the minerals and impurities removed.
How to reduce PPM levels in water?
If you ever see a reading of 500 PPM or higher, you’ll want to take action quickly and bring the number down., because the high Phosphorus level competes with the good nutrients your plants need and blocks some of them from being absorbed. This can mean your plants will not be getting all the nutrients they need for optimum results.
These are very simple ways to fix hard water problems. If you find that the additives used in soil mixtures haven’t worked for you, there are several additives created and marketed for use with cannabis that should help you out. Ask a sales representative at your local grow store for advice, or contact the company that made the additive directly if you have any questions.
Another option… Carbon water filters are used to lower the total dissolved solids (TDS) content of water by reducing the amount of minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which can affect its taste.
What is a water EC level?
The conductivity (EC) of a water test measures the total amount of dissolved salts in your water. Distilled water does not effectively conduct electricity because it’s free of ions that have either positive or negative charges, which are present in tap water. Most soil cultivators add fertilizer to water as a way of providing nutrients to plants. Since fertilizer contains salts, they add charged ions into the water, increasing the EC level—just as they increase the TDS and PPM readings.
PPM and EC are similar, but PPM measures the overall mineral content of water––irrespective of how much each individual mineral contributes to that––whereas EC measures the exact number of milliequivalents per liter (me/L). For most waters, sodium chloride is the most common element measured, with other minerals making up a lesser percentage.
Calculating EC and PPM are an excellent way to test the purity of your water source. In fact, it’s really what the acronyms stand for. Water with a higher pH will actually pass more hydrogen ions through its solution, which has a higher EC reading. This lower-pH water is a more nutrient-rich solution for your cannabis plants.
Protect the health of your cannabis plants with a good TDS meter. It’s always good to know what is going on with your water. If you notice that your water is off, give your PPM and EC levels a check. It’s not something many people think about when they’re growing cannabis—water chemistry—but the manner in which you use it can make all the difference in your grow. Water is a solvent and H2O chemical reactions make the plant’s roots find nutrients in the soil, helping develop a strong root system.
Although it’s not necessary to test grow water, keeping an eye on levels will ensure your plant truly thrives. You can accomplish this by regularly checking your grow area’s EC and PPM levels.