Many times, we at Green Avenger Seeds get asked what is the best medium to grow cannabis in. If your just getting started with growing weed you may no know what you should be growing in and how to get it. It can really be confusing sometimes trying to put it all together and get growing that first cannabis plant. In this blog we will give you a look at what mediums work best and what they are.
What are marijuana growing mediums?
Cannabis mediums are anything that you can use to grow cannabis in. The medium and anything you can use in your pot for your roots to grow in. There are three types of medium normally used to grow marijuana. These three main types of mediums are soils, soilless, and water (Often called hydroponics). In this article we will discuss each of these mediums, with pros and cons of using each of them.
Using Soilless Mediums
These mixes don’t contain any soil in them and are one of the best mediums to grow cannabis. Soilless mediums are any cannabis mediums that do you have soil in them and normally also do not have nutrients in them and the marijuana nutrients must be added by the grower. Using a soilless medium can be quite helpful when growing cannabis as you are in complete control of the nutrients and PH that are being added to the soilless mediums. Another advantage to soilless mediums is that they are normally less threat of soil-borne diseases and are less likely to contain pests that can destroy your beautiful cannabis garden. Some different types of soilless mediums are:
Coco Coir – This soilless medium and the brown hairy hush outsides of a coconut and it taken and chopped into fine pieces and can be used in pots, and hydroponics and mixed with soil. It is one of the more popular soilless mediums. It has a neutral PH and holes water very well while also allowing for very good air exchange within the medium. It has excellent properties that stop it from rotting quickly so it can last for your entire grow. This medium is normal used to hold the root system, and you can either manually add nutrients and water or use a pump and a drip system to do this.
Clay Pellets – Another highly recommend soilless medium is clay pellets. These are pieces of clay that have been heated with a high temperature. They are about the size of a pea and have small micro pores that can hold water and nutrients in them. These work very well for hydroponic setups and they have amazing drainage and allow for the best air flow of any of the soilless mediums.
Sphagnum Peat Moss – This soilless medium is very light weight and completely sterile of pests and disease. It has excellent water holding capabilities and allows for excellent air flow in the medium. You would be best to use it with soil moisteners as it is sometimes hard to wet out of the bail and will contain dry spots in your containers. Since it is completely sterile peat moss is also an excellent marijuana seed starting medium. We don’t really recommend peat moss as a medium as it is not always obtained in an environmentally friendly way.
Vermiculite – This is often mixed with soil and not used as a complete soilless mix, it has excellent water holding properties however it does not work well for holding oxygen allowing the cannabis plant roots to breath. I also compact making it not as suitable for a soilless mix on its own.
Perlite – This soilless medium is used most often mixed with vermiculite above. When mixed it is an excellent soilless medium and many hydroponic growers use this mixture in “Hempy Buckets” this is an awesome why to get started grow hydroponically. Perlite is a form of expanded volcanic rock and is normally white in color. This medium had great drainage and unlike vermiculite does not compact with good air exchange for the roots. Always use a dust mask when using perlite, the dust can be harmful to humans, also wet it down before using.
Our Favorite Soilless Mix
The mix that we like to recommend to marijuana growers is a mix of Coco Coir, and Clay Pellets, with a bit of Vermiculite we find this to be an excellent mix for cannabis. It doesn’t break do easily, has very good air exchange for the roots, with a neutral PH. In our opinion we feel this is one of the best mediums to grow cannabis.
Using Soil Mediums for Marijuana
As a new grower we highly (pun intended) recommend a soil medium when you first start to grow your own marijuana. Not all soils are great for growing marijuana plants. If you are using outdoor soil from your yard, it may not be great for cannabis. You will need to test it to make sure it has the proper PH and has good drainage before using your soil. Soil is very popular with growers as it is all-natural, available everywhere.
Never bring in Outdoor Soil to Indoors
Never, ever bring outdoor soil into your marijuana grow room this is a very bad idea. You never know what unwanted pests could be hitching a ride into your room on that soil. If you do want to use your own soil and it has a good PH and drainage, get some “turkey tins” from your local dollar store. Put the outdoors soil in these, then heat your oven to 180 to 200 F, 82 to 92 C.
Use a meat thermometer to check the center of the soil that it reaches this temperature. This will for sure kill off anything that may be living in the soil. You will never have issues if you do this for soil that is brought from outdoors.
Soil is the easiest to work with
The benefit of soil is that it is very easy to work with. Normally it will contain all the nutrients you need to grow your marijuana, depending on its nutrient content you may not have to add any nutrient supplements till the plants flowering stage of life.
You can check out our organic growing guide to help understand what organic nutrients can be added to your soil. Normally using a soil mix to grow will be easier for a new grower to start out with. Most growers will often tell you that their finished soil cannabis buds smoke better when grown in a soil medium then a soilless medium.
Soil also is far easier for maintenance; the grower will not have to measure PH and nutrient content as often in a soil mix, maybe not at all if they start with a quality soil in the grow.
Higher Pest Risks in Soil
One disadvantage to growing cannabis in soil as opposed to a soilless mix is bugs, you will have a much higher rise of pest attacks in soil as this provides a perfect home for bugs to live in and a base to launch attacks on your growing cannabis. Some soils may also prone to different types of diseases that can and will attack your plants. This is especially true for outdoor growers, growing cannabis in soil. Growers can limit this by using new soil for every grow and disposing the used soil into a compost, and used on less important plants in the garden.