8 Tips for the Biggest Hydroponic Yields

Ever wonder how many grams a single hydroponic plant yields? As you’d expect, there are a lot of factors that play into this equation. Genetics, grow tent size, grow light specs, and so much more can (and do) impact your hydroponic yields.

Estimates on grams per plant in a hydroponic system vary widely. An advanced grower could feasibly get over two pounds per plant with powerful grow lights and perfect conditions. However, most growers will likely max out around one pound per plant if they’ve mastered their indoor environment. 

What can you do as a hydroponic grower to maximize the potential of each plant? Learning from your mistakes, keep experimenting and work with the right equipment.

If you are hunting for hydroponic tips, here are a few — straight from the experts.

8 Hydroponic Tips for Bigger Yields

pruning scissors on white background
Encourage horizontal growth by pruning your cannabis plants early on.

1. The Importance of Pruning

Pruning is an essential process for pushing what’s possible for your hydroponic yields. 

It not only keeps plants short enough to fit under your grow lights but also encourages them to branch out into primary, secondary, and tertiary colas. More colas means more bud and the biggest possible yields. 

Just like there is more than one type of hydroponic system, there are also many pruning methods, including topping, lollipopping, fimming. 

Do your research and choose a method that best suits your space and end goals. 

2. Lighting Considerations

One of the most significant factors influencing hydroponic yields is lighting. It’s so influential you’ll often see yield estimates based on grams per watt. Generally speaking, the more watts (intensity) per square foot yield more flower — up to a point.

According to Cannabis Science and Technology, “Light intensity—the quantity of photons—is most important to plants; wavelength of the photons comes second behind intensity.” 

It’s also important to harness the light spectrum. For example, in the vegetative stage, plants thrive with blue light. In flower, you’ll want to lean into a redder spectrum.

Where should you start? Invest in the best possible indoor grow light that your budget allows, paying close attention to ​​photosynthetic photon flux density (PPFD).

3. Tweak the Temperature

If your grow room is too hot or too cold, your plants will suffer. Getting the temperatures right helps put the plant into efficient photosynthesis and peak production mode. 

There are slight differences in ideal temperatures for vegetative and flower periods, but going above 85°F (29°C) and below 50°F (10°C) will likely create irreversible damage.

Keep in mind that when you grow hydroponically, you’ll also need to pay close attention to water temperatures.

4. Monitor Relative Humidity

Hand-in-hand with temperature comes the relative humidity (RH) of the space. Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, impacting how much water the plants lose to the atmosphere. Ultimately, it impacts plant health.

Aim for between 40 to 50 percent RH, which is ideal for cannabis. Of course, when you are growing in a water-based system, you can struggle with too much moisture in the local environment. A proper HVAC system with exhaust fans will be your friend in this situation.

5. Add a Boost of CO2 into the Grow Room

Simply put, plants need light and carbon dioxide (CO2) to live. While humans happily live in an atmosphere with about 409 parts per million (ppm), plants will take much, much more. According to research presented by Cannabis Business Times, you can increase the CO2 in the grow room up to 1200 ppm.

Many growers use compressed liquid CO2, or in larger operations, burners for natural gas or propane.

6. Get the pH Right

Soil-based systems are much more forgiving, but the pH in deep water culture operations and other hydroponic systems fluctuates wildly.

The ideal range is suggested to be between 6 and 6.5 pH. Under five, and your plants will absorb too many micronutrients, leading to toxicity. Over seven pH in the nutrient solution and your plants will start to starve, as the micronutrients are no longer absorbable.

Monitor your pH levels daily. Know what to do should your pH skyrocket or drop out of the ideal range. That might mean flushing the system or adding pH stabilizers.

7. Grow Room Journal

Trust us: If you plan on growing hydroponically for years to come, you’ll want a grow room journal. Log all the essential data, from genetics to environmental conditions to nutrients used for each round, even the failures.

One of the only ways to improve upon the hydroponic yields of previous rounds is to know the details. If you grow successively, you’d be surprised to find out just how easily all these numbers and statistics blur together. 

Use your journal to crunch the numbers, and weigh the results.

8. Continued Experimentation

As the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” So the more plants you work with and the more successive crops you harvest, the more chances you have to get it right. 

Keeping a grow room journal is one way to build on the successes of that last growth and pivot from the mistakes. As the master of the indoor grow environment, there are unlimited ways to tweak the process, from lights to nutrients to timing and beyond. 

Master the Indoor Environmental for Bigger Hydroponic Yields 

When you grow indoors, your plants rely on you for all their needs. You’ve not only got to recreate the lights, nutrients, and other environmental conditions, but you’ve got to perfect them. 

But, that is always part of the fun with growing anything indoors. It’s always a learning process, with ups and downs along the way.

With resources like the HydroGuide forum and the HydroGuide app, the process doesn’t have to feel so daunting. With detailed instructions, a step-by-step nutrient-specific schedule, and a community of support, you’ll master your grow room for your biggest hydroponic yields yet.