Soil is the mineral and organic material found on the surface of the Earth which is a natural growing medium for plants.
Cannabis prefers rich, slightly acidic, high-quality soil that drains well. Many growers supplement their soil with perlite for added drainage. Soil growers also almost always add either liquid nutrients or nutrient-rich materials such as manure, earthworm castings, or seabird/bat guano to make sure the marijuana plants get everything they need.
Organic potting soils often work well for growing cannabiswhen mixed with perlite. Fox Farm Ocean Forest is a popular soil choice among marijuana growers. Regardless of the soil you start with, most growers will need to supplement with nutrients for the best results.
Plants naturally absorb nutrients from soil, though especially in the flowering stage, it’s up to you to provide just the right amount (not too much) of the right kind of nutrients to maximize your yields and prevent nutrient deficiencies.
If you start with rich soil like Super Soil, you won’t need to add any extra nutrients for at least the first few weeks of growth, but by the time your plants get to the flowering/budding phase, it’s very important you add additional nutrients to support bud growth unless you have a very rich mix (since your plant will have already used a lot of the nutrients in the soil!)
Hydroponics refers to growing plants in pretty much anything besides soil, including growing mediums like coco coir, sand, gravel, purewater, or even misted air.
When growing marijuana hydroponically, as the grower it’s up to you to provide all the nutrients your plants need throughout the entire grow. This is done by adding nutrients to their water supply.
The benefit to this is that you can accurately provide the right amount of exactly the right kind of nutrients your marijuana plants want, to maximize your yields.
Common growing mediums for hydroponics (often mixed together):
- Grown directly in water
- Growers often use Hydroton (clay pebbles) to anchor the roots in a hydro system
- Coco coir (coconut shell husks)
- Peat Moss
- Soilless Potting Mix