A common mistake first-time growers make is to overwater marijuana plants. A healthy cycle of wet and dry is necessary for the roots of a plant to grow out and reach deeper into the pot. Roots pull in oxygen as soil dries and when soil is too wet, the plant essentially can’t breathe.
To see if a cannabis plant needs watering, stick a finger down 1-2 inches into the soil. If it’s wet, hold off. If it’s dry, it’s time to water.
You can also pick up a pot and feel its weight to determine if it needs water. This will take some experience—be sure to lift up your pots after watering to get a feel for how heavy they are when full of water. This will give you a sense of what a light, dry, plant feels like.
An under-watered marijuana plant looks droopy and weak, with yellow or brown leaves. There is no strength in the leaves and they look lifeless. Leaves of an overwatered plant look slightly similar in that they droop, except the leaves will be dark green and the leaf tips will curl.
Note the intervals at which you water your plants, and even write it down in a log. Take notes, make calculations, and get your marijuana plants on a watering schedule. Setting a cycle where plants need to be watered every two to three days is ideal.
Keep in mind that as plants get bigger, they will need more water and need to be watered more frequently. When growing weed outdoors, you’ll need to water more often as the weather gets hotter.
The sooner you find the sweet spot between too wet and too dry, the sooner you’ll see your garden flourish.
How much should you water marijuana plants?
The amount of water your marijuana plants need will depend on a number of factors, including:
- Outside temperature
- Overall health
- Stage of growth
You want to soak the pot and have runoff through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Water should pool up on the surface of the soil when you’re watering, but it shouldn’t sit on the surface after you move on to the next plant.
If a weed plant is very dry, water will run straight through the pot and quickly come out the drainage holes. If this happens, water the plant a little bit and come back to it after 10-15 minutes and water it again, and maybe even a third time. This will allow the soil to slowly absorb water incrementally, until all soil is thoroughly wet.
Roots are constantly on the hunt for water as they grow and move farther away from the main taproot. As a plant gets bigger, so should the watering radius—the area around the stalk of the plant that you water. Doing this will help guide roots to the edges of the pot as they seek available nutrients in soil.
But watering too far away from where roots currently are can create standing water, which can lead to root rot, mold, and pest issues.
What Is Water Cured Weed?
As most cultivators already know, curing involves placing buds in glass jars for several weeks at a time. Although it sounds simple, a lot of important processes happen during this time that vastly improve the quality of the flowers.
When cured buds are kept at an optimal humidity—Moisture Fighters make this process a lot easier—their phytochemical properties change. Much of the chlorophyll, sugars, and other molecules that make weed harsh to smoke begin to break down. With far less of these molecules lingering in the end product, the terpene profile of each strain really begins to shine through.
Curing also increases the quality of the smoke itself, turning harsh hits that irritate the throat into rich, creamy, and soft tokes that go down a treat in bongs, vapes, and blunts.
Water curing achieves a similar outcome to air curing in jars, just through a different mechanism. Instead of waiting weeks for these harsh molecules to degrade, direct contact with water pulls them swiftly out of the flowers.
Although this method works much faster, it comes with some significant trade-offs that growers should be aware of.
It is also frequently mistaken for the bud washing technique, which is a distinct practice (more on this later).
How Water Curing Works
Many of the harsh and undesirable chemical compounds in cannabis flowers are water-soluble. This means that, upon contact, they diffuse out of the resin and plant tissue into the water.
But not every water-soluble molecule in cannabis tastes bad. In fact, some of them are very valuable.
Fortunately, cannabinoids such as THC and CBD are fat-soluble and hydrophobic, meaning no amount of contact time with water will remove them from the trichomes.
Terpenes are a different story. These aromatic molecules underpin the signature scent of cannabis, and also contribute a different flavour profile to each individual strain.
Terpenes even dictate how stimulating or couch-locking the psychotropic effects of a strain are by synergising with cannabinoids.
Because terpenes are water-soluble, water curing removes a large quantity of these tasty molecules from cannabis flowers. This brings us to the major trade-off of water curing: flavour for speed.
Some smokers describe the taste of water-cured buds as grassy and flat. However, in times where growers desire a smoother smoke above all else, this method comes into the fore.
What Are the Benefits of Water Curing Cannabis?
Many growers rely on water curing to bring their operations to an end as quickly as possible.
Water curing doesn’t require any specific skills or equipment. A jar, some clean water, and a small amount of patience will get you through the entire process.
Water curing saves time. If you need to get your buds harvested and processed as quickly as possible, you should consider water curing. Whether you want to smoke your stash ASAP or stay as stealthy as possible, water curing will speed things up.
- Less Smell, Less Obvious
By pulling terpenes out of your buds, water curing will decrease the aroma and flavour of your harvest. However, a lack of terpenes also means your buds will smell a lot more discreet. Hitting a vape in the city centre or blazing a joint on your lunch break suddenly becomes a lot easier to conceal.
- Smooth Smoke
Much like air curing, water curing makes cannabis smoke much more pleasant. After wrapping your water cured buds in a blunt or packing them into a bong, prepare your lungs for a silky smooth hit of smoke.