Hands-Free Maintenance: What Does a Cannabis Automatic Watering System Do?

A cannabis automatic watering system can be an incredibly helpful tool. Although there is a certain satisfaction to be gleaned from hand-watering your marijuana plants, wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to do it so often?

With an automatic watering system, you don’t have to! Once you get it set up, you can leave your plants alone for several days (although it’s wise to check on them regularly).

Keep reading to learn how to water your marijuana plants several times a day without even being there!

What Is an Automatic Watering System?

The clue is very much in the name! It is a system of automatic watering that enables you to deliver water to your cannabis crop without having to be there. Although the process doesn’t allow you to completely wave goodbye to your plants for the duration of their life cycle, it can significantly reduce the amount of work you need to do.


Most growers hand water their marijuana plants, which means regular trips to the cannabis grow room. This is perfectly fine if you have the time to spare, but many people don’t. What an automatic watering system does is keep your plants hydrated without much input from you. It’s the ideal solution if you need to be away from home for a few days, for example.

The most common method is an automatic drip irrigation system, which involves setting up a water pump to give water to the plant’s roots on a timer. The system can generally be set up to work for an entire week without interference.

How Does Automatic Drip Irrigation Work?

As you might have figured out, it’s an irrigation system that drip-feeds water to your plants. Thus, your crop receives water slowly but surely, avoiding any issues with overwatering. After all, it’s easier to overwater your plants than you think. If you try giving a couple of liters of water to a small plant at once, you’ll soak the soil, increasing the risk of root rot.

Drip irrigation is a low-volume, low-pressure method that has been used for at least 2,000 years. It typically consists of a large water reservoir (or tank) placed outside the marijuana grow tent. Inside the reservoir, a water pump is plugged into a timer.

The pump moves water via a main water tube into the tent, where it is given to the plants. You also have the option of purchasing or creating draining saucers that drain to a container outside the tent. This lets you get rid of run-off water quickly and easily.

Below, let’s first check out what is included in this system.

Components of an Automatic Watering System

Below, I outline a typical automatic watering system. It’s best to use it within a grow tent because it should have a waterproof tray capable of holding a lot of water. You’ll be glad of this “protection” if there is ever an issue with your watering system that results in large volumes of liquid being released!

Water Tank

There’s really no need to overthink things here. You simply need something that can hold water. Thus, you can use a bucket, a tub, a barrel, or anything that can hold a reasonable quantity of water.

You’ll need to calculate the size of your water tank according to the dimensions of your grow tent. For example, a 4’ x 4’ tent could use as much as 12 liters of water a day. You also need to determine how many days’ worth of automatic watering you want.

Furthermore, when selecting a water tank, avoid white or clear plastic material, as you want the water and nutrient solution to remain protected from sunlight.

It’s also a good idea to ensure the tank is taller than the tips of the tubing you place on top of the plant pots. This ensures that the water is pulled down by gravity, which means there will be no issues with water pressure.

Finally, make sure that the water temperature remains between 62 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Water Pump

You need to select a pump powerful enough to pull water into the cannabis grow tent and have sufficient pressure to ensure the water is equally distributed across the plants. One rule of thumb suggests opting for an 1100L/H pump if you have nine plants or less (like most growers).


However, if you’re growing 10+ plants, 200 L/H per plant is a solid starting point. Thus, if you cultivate 12 plants, you need 2400 L/H capability. Also, you need a second water pump if you’re growing more than 10 plants. Otherwise, it becomes difficult to distribute the water evenly.

Drip Irrigation System

There are several drip irrigation options, but the most common are drip line and bottle drip.

Drip line irrigation involves using lines of tubing to transport water from faucets to your cannabis garden. If you buy such a system, make sure it comes with a pressure regulator, which decreases the water pressure and allows for a steady stream of water. It should also have a timer and a water filter.

Bottle drip irrigation uses plastic bottles placed around the marijuana garden to ensure your plants get a reliable stream of water. The bottles must be situated close to the roots of your plants.

Programmable Timer

It’s best to opt for a digital timer. Old-fashioned analog timers only allow you to turn them on or off at certain intervals (usually 15 minutes). Therefore, if you want to establish proper watering intervals, you need a digital timer with one-second intervals.

Air Pump

It’s crucial to ensure the water and nutrient solution in your water tank remain oxygenated. Otherwise, you’ll experience problems with harmful bacterial growth. A standard air pump is fine if your water tank is no larger than 100 liters. However, if you’re using a bigger reservoir, you may need to invest in a stirring pump.

Other Tools

Here are some other things you may want to have to get the most out of your cannabis automatic watering system:

  • Scissors to cut tubing to the right size
  • Additional tubing and joints
  • Something to catch extra water; most plant pots have holes to let water seep out, so it’s important to have saucers or trays to catch this water
  • A digital thermometer to ensure the water and nutrient solution remain in the right range

Automatic Marijuana Watering: Making Your Life Easier!

A cannabis auto watering system means you no longer need to rely on hand watering to give your plants the nutrition they need. While there are readymade kits, they are relatively expensive, particularly if you have a small crop. However, you can create your own system on a budget, helping you to greatly decrease the amount of manual labor required to run your cannabis garden.

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