In this article we aim to help you choose the best soil for growing cannabis. When you first start growing cannabis, you will notice there are a few different types of grow medium; soil, hydro and coco. Soil is the most common grow medium, but there isn’t just one type of soil!
If you have decided you want to grow cannabis in soil, the next step would be to figure out wat kind of soil you want tog row in. Do you want to go fully organic? Do you plan to grow outdoors in the ground? Maybe you just want to keep it simple and use ordinary soil from the garden store with some bottled nutrients.
Well in this guide we are going to explain the pros and cons of each different type of soil. Then you will be able to make a well informed decision on which type is going to be the best for your gow. But before we begin, we should quickly explain what soil is!
What is Soil anyway?
Soil is the top layer of the Earth’s surface where plants and trees grow. It’s a mixture of minerals, organic matter (like decomposed plants and animals), water, and air. A plant’s roots will grow into soil which will not only give it stability, but the roots will also take water and nutrients from the soil it is growing in. This is why it is important to give plants the best soil possible if you want them to grow happily and healthy.
Not all plants will grow happily in one type of soil though. For example, if plant a carnivorous plant like a Venus Fly Trap in ordinary soil, it will die! It just cant live in soil that has nutrients in it. You have to use the right soil for the right kind of plant. And this can be said for cannabis.
Cannabis likes a reasonably loose soil, where lots of air can get ot the roots and there is plenty of drainage to allow water to flow through the medium. Now will it grow in most types of soil, yes. But choosing a good soil, at the start of the grow, will improve the chances of your plant growing happily and healthy until harvest. So let’s take a look at some of these soils, and what their pros and cons are.
Normal Garden Centre Soil
If you go to the garden store, you will see lots of different types of soil. Most of them will be fine for growing cannabis in. Do bear in mind however, if you’re planting seedlings, you should opt for a potting mix, and then transplant into this soil later. Just to prevent any shock to the roots.
Using a store bought regular soil like this can be a great way to grow cannabis. But you will need to get nutrients for your plant too. The nutrient in soils like these may last for 4-5 weeks. It will not be enough to last for the whole grow.
If you chose a soil like this you should take into consideration that you will need to buy nutrients too. So though it may seem cheaper initially to buy this type of soil, over the whole grow it will cost a little more.
- Available in all gardening stores.
- Contains enough nutrients to last a few weeks.
- Very cheap compared to living/super soils
- Not enough nutrients for the entire grow cycle.
- Potential for pest and disease issues.
- May not have ideal drainage for cannabis plants
Soils Designed for Growing Cannabis
There are other types of soil that are not seen in ordinary gardening stores. These are more likely to be seen in grow shops as they are more cannabis specific.
With a nutrient balance that is suited for cannabis, and good drainage too, if you have a little bit more of a budget, it would be a good idea to go with one of these types of soil.
There are a few brands you will see used often amongst cannabis growers. Brands like Sohum, Eco Thrive, Dutch Pro and Canna are all common soils used for growing cannabis. They are popular because they do a good job. So if possible, try to stick with brands like these.
Again though, much like store bought soils, these soil will not be able to fed a plant for the whole grow. You will need to buy nutrients too to make sure the plant has enough nutrients throughout its grow cycle.
- This soil is more suited for cannabis plants
- Better quality soil with better drainage
- A well balanced nutrient content for cannabis plants
- Nutrients in this soil will only last 4-5 weeks
- More expensive than ordinary store bought soil
- Less discreet than store bought soils
What is Super Soil for Growing Cannabis?
Super soil is a soil that is packed full of nutrients. These soils should be able to provide a cannabis plant with enough nutrients to get it from seed to harvest. These soil are also known as water only soils, as they will only need water for their whole grow. In some cases however, the plants may need some nutrients towards the end of the grow if it goes on for more than 12 weeks
Super soil can often be confused with living soil though, they are not the same thing. Super soil simply means the soil has enough nutrients in it to last about 12 weeks and possibly the whole life cycle of the plant. You have to use big pots for this type of soil though, at least 30L per plant, and it isn’t cheap either. Definitely worth looking at, and if it’s in your budget try it out! It can be a very easy way to grow.
- No need to add any nutrients to plants grown in super soil.
- Has great drainage and nutrient balance.
- Makes growing cannabis plants very easy!
- Very expensive compared to other soils used for cannabis.
- May run out of nutrients toward the end of the grow
- Way too strong for seeds and seedlings.
Living Soil vs Super Soil
Living soil is very similar to super soil, and they are often confused for each other, though they are not the same thing! As mentioned, super soil is packed full of nutrients to try and get a plant through a 12 week grow with no added nutrients.
Living soil on the other hand is packed full of microbial life and organic matter that will be broken down to feed the plants over time. Living soil is a full organic symbiotic way of growing cannabis.
You can buy living soils just like you can buy super soils. But in some cases you may need to water the soil first then let it “cook” for a couple of weeks. This will allow the microbes to become active and colonise the medium. Like super soil, living soil should be able to get a cannabis from seed to harvest on water only. Then the soil can be amended and used over and over again! Some say it gets better and better as time goes on.
- Completely 100% organic and sustainable
- No bottled nutrients used throughout the grow
- Can be amended and used over and over again
- Expensive to set up as this soil is pricey!
- You need a lot of it! At least 50L of soil per plant
- Not easy to find locally, will have to be bought online
Growing Cannabis with Soil from Outdoors
If you’re growing outdoors then using the soil in the ground is a great option, if it is in good condition. As we already mentioned, cannabis plants like airy soil with lots of space for air to get to the roots. It also likes soil with good drainage.
If you plan to plant your plants into soil outdoors, make sure it is good soil first! In most cases it will need some amendments to it to make it more suitable for cannabis plants. If the soil outdoors isn’t good, the best thing you can do is dig a deep hole, and fill it with a soil that is good. This can be any one of the soil we have mentioned so far. Cheap soil from a garden store, grow shop soill, or living and super soil. Any of those would be better that using poor quality soil from you back garden.
On another note, some growers may be tempted to go to the woods, find good soil, and bring it home to grow in. This can be a really good way to grow, again, if the soil is good. But with it comes the potential for lots of bugs and nutrient imbalances along with poor drainage.
You have to balance out the pros and cons and decide what’s best for you. Buying soil would be best in my opinion, but if you do have good natural soil near you, maybe give it a go.
- Contains microorganism that are from the local area.
- Completely natural and locally sourced.
- Cost effective and abundant.
- May introduce pests and diseases to your grow.
- Unsure of what nutrients are available.
- May have poor drainage.
Sohum Living Soil
Sohum Living Soil is a high quality organic soil is designed specifically for cannabis plants. It is a living soil which means it is packed full of microbial life that will break down organic matter and make it available to your plants. It is recommended you use big pots for living soils, and you should consider around 50L for each plant.
At first this can seem expensive. But with pots that size, you will not have to feed your plant at all for the whole grow! Which means you don’t have to spend money on nutrients. You will only need to give it water. Let the microbes do the rest.
If you are looking for a high quality living soil, but do not feel like building your own, Sohum is a great option that you should definitely consider
Eco Thrive Super Soil for Growing Cannabis
Eco Thrive Super Soil is a great super soil and it is perfect for new cannabis growers. Because this soil is packed full of all of the nutrients a cannabis plants need for its whole life cycle, all you have to do is water it.
No need for mixing bottled nutrients or trying to figure out what to feed your plants. This makes it very easy for new growers to plant a seed and grow a plant. However, because this is a super soil, it is very strong. I wouldn’t recommend planting seeds or seedlings into this.
Get some potting soil first, just to get the small plants started. When the roots are well established, plant it into this super soil and watch it go! If you’re a new grower and you want an easy no fuss way to grow, this might be a great option for you. Oh, and yes, this soil comes in a box!
Fox Farm Ocean Forest
Fox Farm Ocean Forest is a very popular soil used for growing cannabis plants. It’s a super soil so it comes with everything your plants need to grow happy and healthy.
The soil is made up from things like worm castings, bat guano, and sea fish emulsion. Your plants will love it. It’s ready to use right out of the bag too. Just fill your pots, plant the plant, and your good to go.
This soil is also used by growers on all levels, beginners and experts. It has a great mix of everything a cannabis plant needs to grow big, healthy buds!.
Dutch Pro has been used by cannabis growers with great success for decades! This kind of soil will be reasonably cheap compared to living soil and super soils like the ones listed above. But they will not have the same nutrient and microbial content.
Soils like Dutch pro will have enough nutrients packed into the to last a cannabis plant around 4-5 weeks. Then you will have to start adding nutrients when you water the plant to keep it well fed.
This is easy to fix though because Dutch Pro also have their own nutrients line that is designed to be used with their soil. They are a good price too, and very easy to use. If you want to start growing cannabis in soil, but don’t want to spend a lot on the soil right now. Buying Dutch Pro with some of their nutrient line would be a good alternative.
Canna is a great brand for many things related to cannabis growing. They make lots of different grow mediums and nutrients that have been used by cannabis growers for many many years with great results.
Canna are perhaps best known for their brand of coco “coco profesional”, but they also have a great soil called Canna Terra. Much like Dutch Pro, Canna makes their own grow medium, and their own nutrient line to go with that soil too.
If you plan to grow in Canna Terra, you should also buy the line of nutrients that go with it. They are designed to work together to produce nice big healthy plants. The price of the soil and nuits are great too, not too expensive, but also not just a cheap line of nuits. A quality range for any grower. If you’re planning on growing in soil, consider using Canna Terra, you won’t be disappointed.
Regular Store Bought Soils
Regular store bought soils, the type everyone buys to use in their gardens can work well for cannabis. But they are not ideal. If you are on a budget, or find it difficult to source soils like Sohum, Canna, Dutch Pro, then maybe locally store bought soil is the only option you have.
The most important thing to do, is grow! If this soil is your only option, you can work with it. Just make sure you get quality nutrient to use with it. Anything like Canna, Dutch Pro, Old Timers and things of that calibre would work good with any regular soil.
If you are starting your grow and plan to use normal soil bought from the store, bear in mind it still may be a little strong for seeds and seedlings. So just incase, get a small bag of potting mix. This will have less nutrients in it and will be less harsh on young plants and seedlings. You can then transplant into the stronger soil when the roots are established.
Build Your Own Soil for Growing Cannabis
This can often be the best option if you have all of the ingredients available to you. Building your own soil for growing cannabis is like preparing a long term meal for your plants and ensuring everything they need is in there before they even need it.
You would start with a base like peat moss or coco, add some aeration with something like perlite, and mix in something that has a lot of nutrients and organic matter in it like compost and worm castings. You can use your own locally made compost, so the microbes are native to your local area too. This will give your plants a great immune system against local bugs and pathogens.
There are many different living soil recipes on the internet. One of the most famous is the “Coots Mix”. With a little research and some preparation you could build your own soil and tailor it to be perfect for your cannabis plants.
Building your own soil is something you have to try. But if this is your first grow, maybe try something a little more simple first and progress on to making your own soil after a couple of grower.
- You know what nutrients are available to your plant from the start
- Environmentally friendly and sustainable.
- Can be amended and used over and over again
- Requires knowledge of organic nutrient amendments.
- Takes time to “cook” before you can use it
- Can be difficult to source all necessary ingredients.
Can I Use Miracle Grow to Grow Cannabis?
There are some soils you should avoid for growing cannabis. This can be for many reason. Too strong in a particular nutrient, made with chemicals and pesticides, heavy metals in the soils, things like that. It is best to just use the brands and types of soil we have recommended in this article. Soils like Miracle Grow and anything they make will not be good for cannabis plants.
Sure miracle grow can be used to grow ornamental house plants, but not for cannabis. You’re going to consume the cannabis, not just look at it like you would an ornamental plant. So you want whatever you’re putting into the plant to be as clean and chemical free as possible. Use the soils we recommend here for best results. If you have any questions about a particular soil, feel free to ask for help in the cannabis growers forum.
Choosing the best soil for growing cannabis can be a tough job. There is a lot of options out there nowadays. From store bought simple soils, to complex soils you have built yourself from scratch. It can be hard to choose what is right for you. I hope this article has broken down the pros and cons and explained enough about how all these soils work. Now you should be able to decide which one you want to use for your first grow.
If you need help choosing your soil, or finding ingredients to build your own soil, come and ask for help! We have lots of people who grow cannabis in soil in our forum and they are all always more than happy to help new growers get involved with growing cannabis. Don’t be shy, come and join the community and get the most out of your grow. We look forward to seeing you there.
What brand of soil do you use? Do you have a favourite brand we have missed off the list? What would you recommend for new growers? Let us know in the comments below, it would be great to hear from you. Thanks for reading!