The best medium for growing cannabis is one of those questions that is very hard to answer. What do you mean by “best”? Are you looking for something that will give you a big yield quickly? Are you looking for a grow medium that is chemical-free, organic, and sustainable?
Deciding what the best medium for growing cannabis is for you will depend massively on your own circumstances. How much time do you have to spend with your grow? What is your growing experience? Even your budget plays a role. You need to take many things into consideration before deciding what the best grow medium is for you.
We are going to discuss some of these things in this article so you can make a well-informed decision on what medium you’re going to use for your grow. Of course, if you have any questions, just post at the bottom of this article or ask for help in our cannabis growing forum. But for now, let’s go on to the first, and most popular, growing medium: soil.
Is Soil the Best Grow Medium for Cannabis?
Before deciding if soil is the right grow medium for you, I suggest you take a look at the many different types of soil for growing cannabis. There are more than you think!
Most people who grow cannabis in soil will grow organically. But that isn’t always the case; lots of growers still will grow in soil and use bottled nutrients too. There are many ways to do it.
Take a look at our article “Best Soil for Growing Cannabis” if you want to know more about soil. But regardless of what type of soil you choose, they will all share some of the same features.
How Often Do You Need to Water Plants in Soil?
This is a difficult question to answer as lots of things need to be taken into consideration. The size of the plant, the size of the pot, and the temperatures and humidity in the grow room will all make a difference on how often you water.
On average, cannabis plants growing in soil will need to be watered once every 2 days. If it is a small plant in a big pot, it may be 3 or 4 days. If it is a big plant in a small pot, it may need watering daily.
Cannabis plant roots like to have some air get to them. If you overwater the soil, the roots will not get enough air, and they will suffer. You have to let soil dry out a little in between waterings. But, at the same time, you do not want the soil getting too dry. If it dries too much, the roots will start to die, and any microbes in the soil will die too. You have to practice a little and find the right balance. But watering once every 2 days is the most common.
How Often Should You Feed Plants in Soil?
For newly transplanted plants, in new soil, you shouldn’t need to use any nutrients for 3-4 weeks. If you have planted your plants into super soil or living soil, you may not need to give them food for the whole grow cycle!
But, if you are using regular soil, after a few weeks, any nutrients that were in the soil have been used up. This is when you would start adding nutrients to the water. Most people who grow cannabis in soil will add nutrients to the water every other watering.
So one day you would give them just water, then two days after, you would add nutrients to the water. 2 days after, just water, 2 days after that, food again. And just repeat. Nice and easy and, of course, if you have any problems figuring it out, ask for help in the forum.
What Equipment Do You Need for Growing Cannabis in Soil?
This is one of the huge benefits of growing cannabis in soil; you don’t really need anything! It would be nice to have a pH meter, but in most cases, you should be ok without it. All you really need is the soil and pots, and a watering can or something.
You may consider getting some moisture detectors. You can add these to your soil, and they will tell you when the soil is getting too dry and needs water, but this is all optional. All you need is soil. It’s a really easy, cheap way to start growing cannabis.
Pros and Cons of Growing Cannabis in Soil
- Cheap and easy to find.
- Does not need watering every day.
- Very easy to set up.
- Watering schedule will take practice.
- Slower growth compared to some hydroponic systems.
- Nutrient imbalances take more time to fix than hydro.
Is Coco the Best Medium for Growing Cannabis?
Coco is a great medium for growing cannabis. It is very popular amongst experienced and novice growers. Coco has no nutrients in it at all; you have to add them. This means you know exactly what is available to your plant every day.
Another great thing about coco is it holds a perfect amount of water. As we mentioned earlier, cannabis plants’ roots like a nice balance of water and air! Coco has that. You can water plants growing in coco numerous times a day and not have to worry about overwatering. If there is too much water, the coco won’t hold it.
Though coco looks a little like soil, it is treated as a hydroponic grow medium. This means you have to treat it a little differently than soil. pH’ing the feed before giving it to the plant is very important, and you should always keep the coco wet! Do not let it dry out like you would do with soil.
How Often Do You Need to Water Plants in Coco?
Coco should never dry out; it needs to be watered at least once a day. If it does dry out, you will get something called an EC spike. This will damage your plants. It is important to always keep coco damp by watering at least once a day.
Some growers would even water plants growing in coco numerous times a day using an automated watering system. This gives you a chance of giving your plants all the nutrients and water they need. As a result, they will grow quickly, and a lot! Plants growing in coco can grow huge!
How Often Should You Feed Plants in Coco?
Cannabis plants in coco should be fed every time you water it. The only reason you should ever give plants in coco just water is when you’re flushing them to either fix a nutrient imbalance or for harvesting.
It is very important to always give plants growing in coco nutrients when you water them. Never just plain water. This will cause problems. Keep it simple, water/feed at least once a day, and your plants will be happy.
What Equipment Do You Need for Growing Cannabis in Coco?
You need a little more equipment for growing cannabis in coco compared to soil. The coco will need to be at a pH level of 5.8-6.2, slightly acidic. If the pH in the grow medium is off by too much, the plant will not be able to absorb nutrients in the root zone properly, and this will cause problems. So make sure you have a good pH meter for testing your feed before you give it to the plants.
Also, you should get an EC/PPM/TDS meter. You won’t need it for every feed, but it is a great tool to have for troubleshooting. If you have problems with your plants, you can test the EC of the feed before it’s fed to the plants. You then test the runoff after you have fed the plant and check the difference. This will help you figure out if you’re feeding too much or not enough.
Pros and Cons of Growing Cannabis in Coco
- Very easy to grow in coco after a little research.
- Plants grown in coco will grow bigger and faster.
- Easy to fix nutrient imbalances if you have any.
- Will take daily watering at least.
- pH of the medium needs to be within the correct range.
- Requires nutrients every time you water the plants.
Is Hydroponics the Best Way to Grow Cannabis?
Though coco is considered hydroponics, there are many other ways to grow cannabis hydroponically. There is DWC, NFT, Ebb and Flow, and lots more. These methods essentially grow cannabis by suspending the roots in water, rather than soil or soilless medium like coco or rockwool.
Hydro is well-known for producing massive plants in a short time. If you do it correctly. There is a lot to learn when it comes to growing in hydro, and a lot of equipment you need to have to keep everything working correctly.
Once everything is dialed in, however, hydro can be very easy, and even automated! You know exactly what your plant is getting for nutrients, and you know how much it is using too. Though it might seem like a complex, difficult way to grow, it is actually straightforward when you figure out the basics.
How Often Do You Need to Water Plants in Hydro?
Well, the plants will be growing in water, so you don’t really water the plants. But what you will do instead is fill up the reservoir where the water is stored. The “res” may need filling daily, it may need filling once a week; it will depend on many factors. But, you must never let the plants get dry, so you can’t let the res run out at any time. Even after a few hours of no water to the roots, your plants can start to die. They will need to be kept in water, all the time, with an airstone running too!
How Often Should You Feed Plants in Hydro?
Plants growing in full hydro will always need nutrients! They will be in the water the plants are sitting in all the time. You will find a decent EC/ppm the plants are happy with and hold it there. The plants will have everything they need to grow available to them all the time.
The only time you should give plants growing in hydro water only is when you’re flushing them to fix a nutrient imbalance or before you harvest them.
What Equipment Do You Need for Growing Cannabis in Hydro?
Hydro takes more equipment than any other grow method. Depending on what method you’re growing will depend on exactly what you need. But all methods will need an airstone to oxygenate the water. A pH meter to ensure the pH of the nutrient solution is within range (5.8-6.2). An EC/PPM meter to make sure there are enough nutrients in the water. You may even need an aquarium cooler or heater to keep the water at the right temperatures so you don’t shock the roots.
It takes more equipment, but once it is all up and running and you understand the basics, growing in hydro is very easy. You just follow the numbers and adjust accordingly. You can learn more about hydro in our guide to different types of hydroponics.
Pros and Cons of Growing Cannabis in Hydro
- No soil or coco to get rid of after a grow.
- Plants grow huge, fast in hydro mediums.
- Easy to monitor what nutrients are available to your plant.
- Requires more equipment than soil and coco grows.
- You need a reservoir to store large amounts of water.
- Leaks can happen often if you’re careless.
Is Aeroponics the Best Medium for Growing Cannabis?
Before deciding if aeroponics is the right grow medium for you, you should consider a few things. This type of grow medium will take specific equipment and some knowledge of how it all works. I wouldn’t recommend this for new growers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t choose this if you wanted to.
Aeroponics is like hydroponics, but instead of the roots being submerged in water, the roots are sprayed with a mist of water and nutrients. This lets the roots get lots of air, and lots of water and nutrients too. Plants grown in aeroponics will grow very quickly and happily, as long as the equipment holds out. But if there are any problems with the misters that spray the plant, and you don’t notice, the plant can die within 24 hours.
How Often Do You Need to Water Plants in Aeroponics?
Plants grown in aeroponics won’t necessarily be watered, they will be sprayed. The root zone of your plants can dry out quickly, and they should be sprayed often. Some growers will spray the plants once every 15 minutes, others will spray them once an hour.
The number of times you spray the plants every day will differ based on plant size, root size, and growth stage. But on average, plants grown in aeroponics would need to be misted at least once an hour for amazing results.
How Often Should You Feed Plants in Aeroponics?
Much like hydro, plants growing in aeroponics should always be fed. Don’t give them just water unless you’re flushing them to clean roots or pre-harvest. Keep the EC/ppm reasonably low in the nutrient solution, and keep misting the plant regularly. Test the EC and PPM of the reservoir to know if the plants are eating too much or not enough.
What Equipment Do You Need for Growing Cannabis in Aeroponics?
Aeroponics takes even more equipment than hydro setups. You need everything you need for hydro (air stones, water coolers, EC/PPM meters). But you will also need some misters to spray the water at your plants.
The main problem is the reliability of this equipment. If it fails and you don’t notice, your plants can die. It is crucial to use reliable equipment that won’t fail easily.
Pros and Cons of Growing Cannabis in Aeroponics
- Very fast, happy growth!
- Uses nutrients and water efficiently.
- Very low risk of pests and diseases.
- Complex setup and maintenance.
- Requires regular monitoring.
- If equipment breaks, your plants may die.
In my opinion, and this is just my opinion, but the best medium for growing cannabis for new growers, is coco! It may take a little bit of extra equipment and nutrients, but if you have any problems, they are easily fixable in coco. Not only will you be able to check the feed so you know if your plant is eating enough or too much, but you will also have a hard time overwatering your plants. This is a common problem for new growers in soil.
At the same time, growing organically is also a great way to grow! But, if you do encounter any issues, they may take a little more time to fix than plants grown in coco.
Hydro is great too! But it does take a little bit more knowledge than growing in soil. Hydro grows are easy to fix if there are issues and deliver nutrients to plants efficiently, so they grow quickly.
It’s a really hard choice to make. I hope the info in this post can help you figure out which type of grow medium you want to use. To sum it up, growing in soil will take less of your time, as you only need to water every couple of days. Hydro needs daily watering. However, you can get your hydro systems set up so they feed automatically while you’re away. But it will be more expensive to set it up.
Your choice, let us know what you’re going to choose in the forum, and of course, if you need any help deciding, just let us know! We will be happy to help you make your decision.