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Deep Water Culture for Cannabis Growing

Written by Janice Bernstein Dec 30 2021

Deep Water Culture for cannabis is becoming one of the primary forms of hydroponics for cannabis.

What is DWC?

So, what is DWC growing? This kind of hydroponics doesn’t need any media. It is possible to grow plants in a DWC system by suspending them in specific pots or nets, with their roots reaching down into an oxygen-rich pool of water. The advantages of cultivating cannabis in a DWC vs soil configuration outweigh the disadvantages of other approaches.

What’s the difference between Bubbleponics and Top-fed DWC?

As the name suggests, top-fed DWC systems are similar to bubbleponics systems. However, during the early stages of the vegetative cycle, there’s a slight change in how the roots are aerated, which helps boost nutrient intake and development pace.


Is recirculating deep water culture (RDWC) anything you have heard? RDWC systems have a separate reservoir that holds a nutrient solution instead of a DWC setup, which has plants that grow directly into the reservoir below. Gravity pours the solution into a second container containing an air stone for aerating the liquid. The fluid must first be forced via tubes connecting containers holding individual plants for recirculation back into the reservoir.

When using recirculating DWC with top feed to grow many plants, you don’t need to buy an air stone and pump for every container.

Why should you use Deep Water Culture?

Fast vegetative growth

Deep water culture cannabis has a more excellent supply of oxygen and nutrients, which implies they spend less time looking for resources and forming roots. Fast vegetative growth and high yields will come as a consequence. Cannabis may develop as much as 10cm in a single day in a proper DWC set up with the appropriate nutrients and strain!

Deep Water Culture Roots
Growing cannabis indica, cannabis roots in hydroponic system Roots of cannabis. cultivation cannabis cannabis vegetation plants, hemp CBD in roots, deep water culture

Know that the rate at which your plants develop in a DWC grow has no bearing on when they are ready to be harvested. There will be larger plants with more buds, but they will still need a typical blooming period because of their rapid veg growth rate.

Reduced risk of pests

Since there is no growth medium in a DWC setup, bugs and other cannabis pests are less likely to attack.

Low maintenance

DWC cannabis needs minimal to no daily maintenance once installed and operational. Even if you leave it for more than 24 hours, it will still work.

Easy to feed

Because a DWC setup is automated, you won’t have to worry about your plants getting too little or too much water. You may be sure that your deep water culture setup will provide your plants with the optimum quantity of nutrients and oxygen.

Plants can grow larger

In a DWC grow, your seedlings may use all the available room and nutrients to develop as big as possible. Look for the best hydro system for yields.

Disadvantages of DWC

Most of the time, deep water culture cannabis is excellent, but it’s not perfect. Plants produced by growers are dependably healthy and fast-growing. Because of this, many farmers lose interest in this method. The following is a list of the primary drawbacks.

Fluctuations in nutrients

Monitoring and adjusting DWC nutrients content, water level, and pH DWC is essential for deep water culture cannabis farmers. There is a lot of work involved in constantly resolving these challenges. Equip yourself with a DWC nutrients guide to be on the safe side.

Temperature maintenance

For best development, DWC hydroponics gardeners must maintain their solution at a temperature of 18–20°C. The heat created by the pump, on the other hand, may make this impossible. Have ice packs or hydroponic chillers on standby when temperatures rise over what your plants can tolerate.

Air pump failure

While producers are taking measures to automate their DWC hydroponics for beginners, there will always be a risk of an accident. Your plants will swiftly succumb to a lack of fresh air, regardless of whether the electricity goes out or your pump malfunctions. Slower development and the emergence of unwanted bacteria may be caused by anaerobic (oxygen-deficient) conditions, which can occur when there is a shortage of oxygen.

Is DWC hydroponics suitable for beginners?

Despite the belief that deep water culture is “tough,” there is no reality to this claim. With a step-by-step DWC grow guide, you should be good to go.  Just like any other technique of growth, it has its quirks and drawbacks. DWC systems are the simplest way to grow cannabis since they require very little time and effort, making them ideal for beginners.

Setting up a DWC grow

You need the following components to set up your DWC grow:

DWC reservoir 

In deep water culture systems, the reservoir differs from a medium like soil in which plants are grown. It’s possible to grow your plants above the reservoir, but their roots will be submerged in the nutrient-rich “deep water” in this configuration. Since you shouldn’t expose the roots to any light, the reservoir is often a light-proof container.

Deep Water Culture net pots

In hydroponics-focused grow retailers, you may get “net pots” that you can use for DWC cannabis. These pots contain a large mesh so that the roots may readily get to the water underneath, unlike standard pots.

Best nutrients for Deep Water Culture

Compared to other growth techniques, DWC grow start to finish requires fewer nutrients. However, it’s essential to evaluate the pH of your feeding solution frequently.

Refreshing and replacing the reservoir

A decent ppm/EC meter is one of the most crucial instruments in your DWC autoflower. Using this meter, you’ll be able to monitor any changes. If you have some expertise and keep an eye on your plants’ nutrient consumption, you may be able to avoid changing your reservoir until the end of your cannabis plant growth. You may be able to maintain your target ppm number by simply adding fertilizer to your tank.


The air pump in your DWC cannabis is vital to the growth of your cannabis plants since it provides them with the oxygen they need. Growers often have an emergency air pump on hand if their primary air pump fails. Since even one day without a functioning pump may do severe damage to your crops, having a backup pump is a wise decision that will give you a sense of security.

Choosing an air pump

There are a plethora of low-cost air pumps available for purchase online while doing your research. Choosing the proper one for your deep water culture cannabis might be challenging. The most significant difference between air pumps is the amount of air they can pump in an hour. A good rule of thumb is to acquire an air pump that can produce at least twice as much air per hour as your reservoir’s total capacity.

Maintaining pH in DWC

It’s best to keep your DWC’s pH at 5.8 for the best results. Make careful to keep your pH level between 5.5 and 6.5 at all times. A “pH Up” and a ‘pH Down’ may be purchased at any reputable hydroponics shop to address any pH concerns. A few drops of these pH correctors are usually all that is needed.

Grow techniques to use with Deep Water Culture


This method, known as the Sea of Green, involves growing many cannabis plants in tiny pots with little (or no) time allowed for vegetative development between each one. With so many plants, the outcome is a sea of green flowers. That is why growing autoflowers in DWC is pretty smooth.

Due to insufficient vegetative growth, the densely packed plants don’t have time to generate large blooms from the side branches. Instead, many buds are produced on the primary flower, which sits atop the stalk. That’s why it works perfectly with DWC yields.

The best strains for DWC

For deep water culture cannabis, you can grow just about whatever strain you want as long as you pay attention to the details. Hydroponics may benefit from breeds that are more resistant to variations in a DWC system. Choosing strains for your DWC grow that are successful in hydroponics is a good idea. Likewise, follow DWC tips to the latter for best results.

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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