Choosing the right soil for growing cannabis is crucial and can make a massive difference to your final results and yields. Many people argue that cannabis is a super resilient crop and can grow in practically any medium. However, growing for high cannabinoids requires special care to ensure your plant has all it needs to produce beautiful, potent buds. So, how can you choose the best soil for growing cannabis while guaranteeing a great harvest?
Is it better to grow cannabis in soil or hydroponic systems?
Although hydroponic systems for cannabis are known for enabling stronger roots and massive yields, these systems have little to no room for mistakes and can be costly. Organic soil for cannabis is the favorite for most growers because it’s easily available, natural, cheap, and low maintenance. If you’re a beginner and you’re just setting up your grow room, using organic soil is a great place to start.
What is the best soil for cannabis?
In short, good soil for cannabis should be rich in nutrients, fluffy, airy, and light with a loose texture. The texture, breathability, and drainage of the soil is crucial because these factors will allow the plants’ roots to have access to water, nutrients, and oxygen. Factors such as lighting, temperature, and humidity can play a more critical role in your crop’s final results, but soil quality is also essential.
So can you just go to the local gardening store and purchase the regular gardening soil that you’d use to grow your tomatoes? Whether you’re working with cannabis seedlings or purchased cannabis clones, gardening soil should work just fine. Any organic soil potting mix is okay. Watch out for the labels though. If it says slow-release or time-release nutrients on the packaging, the soil will keep releasing nutrients that are not a good fit for your plant once it enters the flowering stage. You should also pay close attention to the pH as this can impact the nutrient’s in the soil. The ideal pH for cannabis is slightly acidic: between 5.8 and 6.3.
How to know if you have good soil growing for cannabis
The first pro tip is to avoid any sort of backyard or outside dirt. Firstly, because you don’t know what nutrients are available, if there’s organic matter, or even if there are any harmful chemicals present. Secondly, bringing outdoor soil to your indoor grow room can also bring unwanted pests and bugs that can ruin your crop.
As mentioned earlier, an excellent organic soil for cannabis should be breathable enough for the plant to grow healthy roots in. It should also look rich and dark and have a loose texture. The most affordable way to start is by getting an organic soil potting mix and adding organic fertilizers. Super soil mixtures, especially those catered to cannabis, will not require supplementation in the first couple of weeks.
As soon as the plant starts to enter the vegetative stage and uses all the nutrients in the soil, you can add liquid nutrients (grow) with a nutrient composition (NPK) close to 2-1-6. To learn more about the steps you should follow, head to our marijuana grow guide.
What are the characteristics of good soil for cannabis?
Texture and color: the ideal soil for growing cannabis should be light, fluffy, and airy. If you grab it, it should crumble easily. Dark, rich, and free of objects or wood chips, the right soil will give your plants roots room to grow without resistance while the oxygen circulates. Perlites, on the other hand – small little white rocks – are a great sign because they’re a mineral that’s rich in water and will help with proper drainage.
Water retention: your chosen soil should drain correctly, and the water shouldn’t be logged into a pool for more than a few seconds. However, the soil should hold the water long enough for the roots to absorb it. Once you water the soil, the water should drain relatively fast while it remains slightly damp – but not muddy.
Ingredient composition: some crucial ingredients to look for in super soil mixtures include organic fertilizers that bring the essential macronutrients to your cannabis roots: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Worm castings or vermicompost, crustacean meal, and bat guano are rich in nitrogen. Chicken manure, rock dust, and bone meal are rich in phosphorus. For potassium; compost, wood ash, and kelp meal are known as great sources. Other ingredients, such as coco coir and perlite, will help give the soil the ideal texture and water drainage you need.
What are the characteristics of bad soil for cannabis?
Hard objects: The presence of hard objects like woodchips means nutrients are not readily available, and the compost is not yet complete. These hard objects will also get in the way and hinder the root’s growth.
Heavy and thick soil: a soil that is heavy, compacted, and thick will make it hard for water and air to penetrate, and there will be no room for roots to grow. If your soil is muddy when watered, this is also not a good sign because it can cause roots to rot.
Should you purchase or prepare your own organic soil for cannabis?
The answer to this question depends on your budget. There are various options of super soil potting mixtures tailored for cannabis. Fox Farm Ocean Forest Soil, Fox Farm FX14047, Coast of Maine Platinum Grower’s Mix, or Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil, to name a few. However, when compared to regular organic soil potting mix, these can be a bit pricier.
If you are tight on budget, you can create your own super soil, nutrient-rich. Simply choose a good base soil that is airy, light, and fluffy; it can be a basic potting mix. Then, add organic fertilizers with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. On a daily basis, mix all ingredients thoroughly until the soil is no longer warm when you touch it.
Good soil doesn’t last forever because the roots will consume the good contents and nutrients as the plant grows. Make sure you supplement and feed your plants properly during the growing stages and keep a close eye on the pH. If you plan to grow multiple cycles of plants in the same soil, try mixing, amending, and treating it regularly. Replacing soil every time you start a new crop will also save you lots of time and ensure good yields.