Growing cannabis without prior knowledge of the finicky plant does not set you up for success. Fortunately, this article will explain everything you need to know about soil pH, water pH, and water ionization for your cannabis plants.
The Best Water for Your Weed Plant
You have gotten your cannabis plant, but now you are faced with a problem. Tap water has a pH ranging from 6.5-8.5 (1), meaning it can range from slightly acidic to basic. Rainwater pH (the pH that wild cannabis was historically exposed to), however, is between 5.5-6.0 (2). In short, not all water is the same (3), and your tap water may not be the best water for growing weed. It may surprise you that water safe for human consumption is not necessarily good for growing cannabis. In fact, according to Leafy, one of the five most common flaws of new cannabis growers is finding and maintaining a proper pH (4).
Before we dive into how ionized water can help your cannabis plants, let’s quickly review what pH is. pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a substance, as determined by its hydrogen ion concentration. A pH between 1.0-6.9 is acidic, 7.0 is neutral, and 7.1-14.0 is basic (alkali) (5). The pH is important for cannabis because nutrients are absorbed by plants best at specific pH’s (6). Finding the pH level of your cannabis plant, as well as the right pH for cannabis plants is especially important.
So what is the best alkalinity for cannabis? Scientists say that the best soil pH for cannabis growth, and flower abundance is a pH of 5 and pH of 6 (7), and that a soil pH of 7 results in significantly less plant growth, indicating that soil pH is very important for optimal cannabis growth (8). According to some, to ensure the best pH for your cannabis plant, you can even differentiate pH levels based on stage growing stage. From week 1-3, your soil pH should be 5.9-6.0, and then once your plant flowers (week 7-10), you should make the pH 6.2-6.5 (9). In the late stages of flowering, week 11-14, the pH should not be higher than 6.3. Though this is not yet confirmed by scientific research, soil microbiology and plant-soil-microbe interactions are complex (10). Therefore, it actually should not be too surprising that nutrients and pH need change during plant development. I bet you didn’t know that the right pH for cannabis growth may vary by week!
The water we feed our plants influences the substrate (soil) that our plants are surrounded by 24/7 (11). In order to maintain the healthiest cannabis plant, it is vital to pay special attention to the water you give it (12). But how do you control pH, and how do you even measure it?
Determine The pH of Your Soil and Water
The first step in maintaining the right pH for your cannabis plant is actually learning how to take a pH measurement. To measure the pH of your cannabis plant soil or water, you simply use a pH meter or pH strips. pH strips are cheaper if you’re on a budget, but a pH meter is a more accurate way to determine pH (13). Once you have your measuring instrument, follow the instructions included with it to determine your starting pH.
How Can You Keep the Right pH for Your Indoor Cannabis Plant?
Once you’ve learned how to take pH measurements for your cannabis plant, then you can focus on how to make it better and keep it better. Thankfully, you do not need to be a soil scientist to do this (14). Thanks to technology, this step is easy. All you need to do is invest in a water ionizer, which will take all the guesswork out of balancing your cannabis plants pH.
That’s all you need to know on how to maintain the right pH for optimum cannabis growth. But your water ionizer can do something else for you: pest control. Read on to see how.
Ionized Water and Marijuana Plants (Alternating pH Method)
Until now, it may seem like there is an ideal pH for your cannabis plant, and that the water used to hydrate your plant should be held constant during each stage of plant development. This is true for your plant; however, ionized water machines can also be used to get rid of harmful growth on your cannabis plant. Water with a very low pH (2.5) could potentially be used to eliminate harmful pests and microbes (15), and then alternated with a high pH water (11.0) to remove mold (16) (the enemy of cannabis production (17)). This potential method of using is a hot topic in agricultural research for a reason (18). It is especially useful to use this method of pest control (19)(chemical/pesticide free) because the inappropriate use of pesticides by at-home cannabis growers can result in toxic poisoning (20). The reason many individuals choose to buy from cannabis distributors is because they must meet rigorous standards that ensure safety. When you grow your own cannabis, you risk exposure to harmful molds (21). That’s why pH treatments are very important for your plants health as well as your own.
What Are the Benefits of Alternating pH Water Treatments?
The main benefits include enabling you to control the pH of your soil in a non-toxic way, allowing you to use an organic alternative to pest control, preventing the growth of dangerous molds and mites, and improving the bioavailability of nutrients for plant uptake (and therefore the growth rate of your cannabis plant) (22).
Kangen Water® Vs Life Ionizers® for Cannabis Plants
If you’re ready to invest in a water ionizer (which can also be used to improve your health (23)), you need to pay special attention to the one you buy. The Kangen brand name gets a lot of attention, which is why they cost two times more than other water ionizers, but it works in the same way as other water ionizers. The only thing different is the name, and in fact there is less platinum used in the Kangen Water® machine than the Life Ionizer MXL-9 plate (24). The Life Ionizer is a less expensive, higher quality version of the Kangen Water® machine.
Are Kangen Water® machines good for growing cannabis? Yes, they are good for growing cannabis in the same way that any water ionizer is good for growing cannabis. However, Life Ionizers provide a higher quality product for a fraction of the cost, a custom filtration, and lifetime warranty, amongst other benefits (25). Therefore, it is recommended that you invest in a product that serves you better and does not break the bank.
It may initially seem like a headache, but fortunately you can control the pH of the water you give your cannabis plant hassle-free. Water ionizers like Life Ionizers®, do the pH heavy lifting. You can maintain pH balanced water for your cannabis plant, and you can even use water ionizers to reduce harmful pests and molds in an eco-friendly way.
- (1, 3) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736366/
- (2) https://www.nature.com/articles/295683a0
- (4) https://www.leafly.com/news/growing/common-marijuana-growing-mistakes
- (5) http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/184ph.html
- (6) https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/plant-soil-interactions-nutrient-uptake-105289112/
- (7, 8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6158341/
- (9) https://www.dinafem.org/en/blog/how-regulate-ph-cannabis-growing/
- (10) https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0099641
- (11) https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-011-3438-5_14
- (12, 13) https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/9604/2d4e47d338289ce0448145bf7a1b7383a0f8.pdf
- (14) https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00012806
- (15) https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-40846-6
- (16) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880284/
- (17) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6811654/
- (18) https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1541-4337.12200
- (19) https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-16357-4_25
- (20, 21) https://www.ncceh.ca/sites/default/files/Growing_At_Home_Health_Safety_Personal_Cannabis_Cultivation_Mar_2018.pdf
- (22) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5990931/
- (23) https://www.fda.gov.tw/upload/189/Content/2014012910285936813.pdf
- (24) https://www.lifeionizers.com/blog/kangen-vs-other-ionizers/
- (25) https://www.lifeionizers.com/kangen-vs-life/