Picking the right grow system for your marijuana plants is essential to reap a bumper harvest of juicy buds. The choice of aeroponics vs. hydroponics is a common debate among cannabis growers, but which is better?
Both these methods involve growing soilless, providing nutrients directly to the roots of the plants. If done correctly, they result in quicker development and higher quality yields.
We compare the two systems looking at their pros and cons, guiding you to select the right option for your marijuana garden.
What’s the difference between hydroponics and aeroponics?
There are many methods of growing hydroponic weed, including aeroponics. Both techniques involve growing soil-less in a controlled environment, where waste gets reduced as a nutrient solution is applied directly to the roots.
So, what is the difference between hydroponics and aeroponics?
- The nutrient delivery system. In hydroponics, the plants grow in nutrient-rich water, while aeroponics exposes the root to air sprayed frequently with the nutes they need.
- The required indoor grow space. Many cultivators choose to use a hydroponic grow box for both methods. Aeroponics requires less square footage than hydro when using vertical grow racks.
- Quality vs. quantity. With hydroponics, plants tend to produce buds in greater quantities. The increased oxygen in aeroponic systems promotes better quality.
- The environmental impact. The lack of a growth medium means little water is needed. Aeroponics requires less moisture and nutrients for optimal absorption and development, making it more environmentally friendly than hydroponics.
Now that we know the differences let’s look at hydroponics and aeroponics individually.
Hydroponics vs aeroponics: Hydroponic cannabis growing
Plants in hydroponic setups get placed in grow trays with their roots submerged in a nutrient-rich solution. Though this method is soilless, other mediums, like coco peat, clay pebbles, or rock wool, work well with it.
The plants receive their hydration and nutrients from the water when needed. Oxygen is provided by oxygenating the H2O with air rocks or draining the system periodically.
There are several different setups to choose from, including the nutrient film technique, the wick method, or the deep water culture cannabis system. Below, we explore the pros and cons of using a hydroponic vs. aeroponic system for cannabis growing.
Pros of hydroponics
The three main advantages of hydroponics are:
Better control of nutrition
You have better control over the nutrients provided to plants when in a hydroponic system. Roots get what they need when they need it, resulting in healthier plants, faster growth, and consistent results.
With hydroponics, the demand for fresh water can reduce by up to 80% compared to traditional methods. There’s also less waste as the nutrient water can be recycled and reused several times.
Installing a hydroponic system is relatively affordable and cheaper than an aeroponic one. Enjoy a high return on investment as cannabis plants grow fast, leading to shorter farming cycles and increasing output and quality.
Cons of hydroponics
When looking at hydroponics vs. aeroponics, there are some disadvantages to consider. For hydro, they are:
Easier spreading of diseases
Water-borne plant diseases can spread quickly to plants that share the same reservoir. Dealing with this potential risk can be especially hard for inexperienced growers.
Low oxygen levels
Submerged plants need oxygen, or they drown and die. Add this element to a hydroponic system through various means—air stones are one of the best. Your setup requires daily monitoring to ensure adequate oxygen is readily available.
Aeroponic vs hydroponic: Aeroponic cannabis growing
For aeroponics growing, you expose the plants’ roots and suspend them by either a net or a pot. Here they get sprayed with a nutrient solution every few minutes in the form of a fine mist.
The 24/7 moisture and increased exposure to oxygen and CO2 encourage more rapid growth in aeroponics vs. hydroponics systems. Aeroponics delivers large and frequent yields, making it ideal for commercial cannabis growers, even if it is costlier than traditional methods.
This method works great when propagating clones and nurturing seedlings. Northern lights cannabis seeds are perfect for cultivating in an aeroponic system—they’re easy to grow, stout, and deliver high, resinous yields.
Pros of aeroponics
The pros of using an aeroponic setup are:
Less space required
Due to the lack of a growing medium, you can place cannabis plants closer together. Save even more space by stacking grow trays in a vertical gardening setup, taking up less room than hydroponics.
Improved nutrient absorption
When comparing aeroponics vs. hydroponics, the former is more efficient as plants can thrive on fewer resources. In aero, plant roots are in complete contact with oxygen and receive nutrients directly from the moisture mist, improving absorption.
Higher quality yields
Constant exposure to oxygen, and efficient nutrient absorption promotes rapid growth and the development of large healthy buds. Aeroponics is known to produce buds that blossom with ripe trichomes in high yields, delivering a high-quality end product.
Cons of aeroponics
Aeroponics has many positives but also some downfalls.
The initial cost to build an aeroponic setup can be high as it needs lots of specialized equipment. The system also requires uninterrupted electricity and water to maintain the plants’ development.
Aeroponic vs. hydroponic systems require more maintenance and are super sensitive. Heavily dependent on equipment, aero setups need 24/7 monitoring, making it somewhat labor-intensive and time-consuming.
As the roots are exposed, any equipment failure or power outages not dealt with immediately can result in irreparable damage to your crops.
Frequently asked questions about aeroponics vs. hydroponics
Before deciding between these two setups, consider the following questions and our expert answers.
Is aeroponics better than hydroponics for weed?
The choice of which is better, aeroponics vs. hydroponics, depends mainly on your preference and situation. Generally, aero produces higher quality yields but less quantity. Hydro provides larger amounts but slightly lower quality harvests.
Is hydroponics easier than aeroponics?
Both require careful monitoring, but hydroponic weed systems tend to be more forgiving to less experienced or attentive growers. Aeroponics needs meticulous full-time care to produce those coveted bountiful yields.
Does aeroponics grow faster than hydroponics?
Due to direct oxygen exposure and nutrient availability, cannabis plants grown in aeroponics vs. hydroponics usually grow faster.
Aeroponics vs. hydroponics: the choice is yours
Aeroponics and hydroponics both require 24/7 monitoring and for you to have some experience, but the results are well worth it. Every grower must consider their budget, experience, available space, and desired quality and yield.
Want to learn about more growing techniques to get the best harvest possible? Check out our blog, where we share more tips and tricks. Want to keep reading about hydroponic techniques? Read our article about “hydroponic vs soil weed“.
Homegrown Cannabis Co. has the marijuana seeds you need, whatever grow system you choose. Head on over and pick your next batch from our wide variety of weed strains.