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What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)?

What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)?

What is Deep Water Culture (DWC)?

DWC (Deep Water Culture) is a Hydroponics system that involves suspending the plant roots directly into a highly oxygenated nutrient solution. DWC is effective, easy to construct and operate and ideal for hydroponic cultivation beginners. With DWC, the roots are immersed in a nutrient bath at an optimum pH of 5.8. most growers will use a deep (black) bucket (hence DWC). Since there’s no light coming in, chances of algae or slime forming in the bucket are low.

Recirculating DWC (rDWC) works in the same way but with a central reservoir feeding several buckets. DWC is preferred because;

  • High efficiency
  • Low maintenance system
  • Ideal for budding and experienced growers
  • Explosive fast growth,
  • Half the normal veg time and;
  • More plant production during flower.

The nutrient solution acts as a buffer for continuous uptake of water and nutrient. Since the process is automatic, you can confidently leave your grow unattended for some time.

With DWC, you can get max yield working with the normal 4-6 plant max. Sterile DWC involves sanitation of water reservoir (Hydroton) with a constant temperature of 68F, zero light leaks, and an air stone to minimize dissolving of oxygen so that harmful bacteria don’t thrive. This also prevents root rot by encouraging only beneficial bacteria.

Why DWC?

  • Done well, DWC promises fast growth rates and huge dry yields of several hundred grams per plant. You can push your favorite cannabis genetics to their limits too.
  • Aerating the roots improves water absorption as well, resulting in improved cell growth within the plants. Also, because the plants are suspended in the deep-water culture nutrients, you won’t use as much fertilizer.
  • Simple in their design and require little maintenance. The setup has no nozzles, feeder lines or water pumps to clog.


How DWC works
The roots are permanently suspended in the nutrient solution which also provides oxygen. The plants are grown in net pots suspended in the lids of plastic buckets. The young plants start out in rockwool cubes and later in net pots filled with inert growing medium. The bucket is filled with the required nutrient solution and an aquarium air stone placed into the bucket. An air pump is attached using air tubing. The roots grow downwards into the solution and assimilate needed nutrients.

What you will need for DWC:

  • 3 ½-5-gallon (13 l.) bucket (opaque)
  • 10-inch (25 cm.) net pot + Lid
  • An aquarium air pump
  • Rockwool
  • Approx. 5’ of ¾” silicon or rubber tubing
  • Aquarium air stone;
  • Expanded clay pellet growing medium or another preferred medium.
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