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Growing Marijuana in Soil vs Hydroponic Systems

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  • Growing Marijuana in Soil vs Hydroponic Systems

    Cannabis, like many plants, can be grown in more than one way. Most people think of roots growing in soil, but hydroponics offers the ability to work in smaller spaces with more control over your green’s food source. If you’re looking for flavor and forgiveness in the occasional mistake, take up the traditional soil method. Of course, any experienced grower will have a preference with first-hand accounts of why they stick with their technique. If you’re looking to plant a marijuana seed and help it grow, there are a few things you should consider before planning things out.

    Intro to Growing Cannabis in Soil

    Growing plants in soil seems to be what many people try first when it comes to growing in cannabis. If you’ve grown other plants in soil and/or have maintained a soil garden, this may be the best choice for you because you will already be familiar with a lot of what you need to understand to grow cannabis in soil.

    Cannabis plants prefer rich soil that allows for maximum drainage, in fact, many growers switch out soil for perline to increase drainage. Nutrient rich materials like earthworm castings or manure can be added to improve the health of your greens and make sure the crop gets everything it needs. Plants absorb nutrients from soil, so during the flowering stage it’s important to use just the right kind and amount of nutrients to maximize your yields and prevent any a nutrient deficiency. Even with the best soil you will still need to supplement some nutrients to maximize your results.

    Note: Do not use “Miracle-Gro” soil or any soil that has “extended release” nutrients for growing cannabis. These types of soil will continue to release nitrogen to your plant roots for up to 6 months.This can burn your cannabis plants in the flowering/budding stage and reduce your overall yields.

    Pros vs Cons:


    · Can be more forgiving for inattentive growers
    · Growing in soil is easier than some types of hydroponic growing
    · Better flavor in the end
    · Natural product


    · It takes up a lot of space
    · It is usually more expensive
    · Problems take longer to become evident and be recovered
    · Doesn’t produce as high of a volume of nutrients than hydroponics do

    Intro to Hydroponics for Cannabis

    Hydroponics refers to growing plants in pretty much anything besides soil, including growing mediums like coco coir, sand, gravel, straight water, 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.

    Hydroponic systems come in different forms, here are the top 5 common forms: aeroponics, deep water culture, drip irrigation, nutrient film technique, and ebb-and-flow.

    1. Aeroponics
    Aeroponics uses a grow chamber to suspend roots in the air with no medium inside of a closed-loop system. Water, rich with nutrients, douses the bases of these plants as they hang in the air. By providing an oxygen-rich environment, the microbes on the plant are able to digest and process the nutrients for its circulatory system.

    2. Deep Water Culture
    Deep Water Culture is a method of growing which uses a bucket of nutrients, also called bubblers. The plants are suspended over the nutrients as the roots grow into the nutrients below. The bubblers’ mixture is filled with air using an aquarium pump and pays off by speeding up the growtime. The oxygen and fertilizer enriched mixture work wonders for the end product.

    3. Drip Irrigation
    The drip irrigation system feeds each plant individually in its own chamber. Nutrients are administered by a dripper, and then the solution is recycled, much like the already mentioned methods. Each plant is located in separate chambers where the nutrients are fed to the medium by means of a small dripper.

    4. Nutrient Film Technique
    The Nutrient Film Technique is a hydroponic method which involves a nutrient solution being pumped onto a tray or gulley to form a shallow and slow moving film that moves through the plant’s roots. These roots grow into the solution, creating a large root mat in the tray. Having round the clock access to water and nutrients along with more than enough oxygen for the roots, makes for rapid development with maximum yields.

    5. Ebb-And-Flow
    Ebb and Flow replaces soil with a medium like rockwool to produce very large yields. This type of system stimulates a natural cycle of rain and the time in between it, therefore giving off a more natural environment for your grow.

    Pros/ Cons


    · Maximize yields by accurately providing just the right amount of nutrients to your cannabis
    · Soil born diseases and pests are less likely because of the lack of soil and the grow is usually indoor
    · Larger yield
    · Problems are easier to correct because you’re more in control
    · Doesn’t take up a lot of space
    · Get a result quicker
    · Better looking product “in the bag”
    · Grows are able to be automated by using techniques like bubbleponics and deep water culture


    · A lot more maintenance cleaning the equipment
    · Doesn’t taste as well as soil grown
    · Need to pay a lot of attention during the entire process