It is no secret that growing marijuana indoors minimizes risks like insect infestation and damage from weather changes while allowing growers to maximize the quality of their plants. Many people prefer to use soil to grow their cannabis plants, especially those who are new to cannabis cultivation. While hydroponics is an excellent way to get the perfect plant, growing in soil is much less complicated, and provides greater insulation against grower’s errors.
Those who have grown or maintained a typical soil garden will have the best knowledge base for how to grow cannabis in soil. However, it is critical to note that growers need to avoid using Miracle Grow soil at all costs. Though a popular choice for the average hobby gardener, Miracle Grow causes problems with cannabis plants during the flowering stage and rarely provides the correct amount of nutrients for each stage of cannabis growth.
Growing cannabis in soil has many benefits and some minor drawbacks of which growers should be aware of. Pros and cons of soil growing include:
Perhaps the most significant benefit of growing in soil is how simple it is. Plants are placed in appropriately sized containers and hand watered. Nutrient schedules do not need to be as precise as a hydroponic grow, nor does the grower need to invest in any high-tech watering system to manage their plants.
While cannabis cultivation has taken on new meaning over the last several decades, it is still a plant that grows wild outdoors. Indoor growing attempts to mimic the outdoor environment while reducing its risks, and potting soil is filled with nutrients normally provided from the fertile earth.
While hydroponic systems often require growers to seek out specialized parts, growing mediums, and nutrients, soil growing is much more accessible. Cannabis growers can purchase containers and high-quality soil from most gardening stores.
Growers who would prefer not to pH balance their water or worry about a complicated nutrient schedules can make their own soil, called super soil, which will meet the needs of the cannabis plant throughout its life cycle. Growers often take basic soil and add compost, an organic base, and an aerating agent to create super soil.
Since soil is an organic material, damaging pests can sometimes make their home in it unbeknownst to the grower. Soil growers tend to suffer from more insect issues, even if they’re growing indoors.
Cannabis plants grown in soil tend to grow at a slower rate than those grown in hydroponic setups. While the growth rate can even out during the flowering stage, plants that are grown in soil often see a slowed rate of growth during the vegetative stage.
Growing in soil is simple, but there are some crucial tips and tricks that growers can use to boost the quality of their cannabis plants, including:
For successful cannabis cultivation, start with a high-quality soil mix. Growers should look for a soil mix that includes 30 – 40% perlite for maximum drainage and to reduce root rot. There are cannabis-specific soil options that growers can use, but any high-quality organic soil mix will work if those are not available.
Soils with extended-release nutrients are not well-suited for growing cannabis. These soil mixes do not provide the right amount of nutrients during each stage of growth. This can lead to nutrient burn during the vegetative stage and diminish flower production during the flowering stage.
Growers who have decided to mix their own soil must add perlite to ensure proper drainage and oxygen reaches the plants’ roots. Soil without perlite can get packed down, making it difficult for roots to grow, which will inhibit the plant’s growth.
Growers need to choose the right container when growing their plants in soil. Marijuana plants need to have containers that allow the roots to stretch and become strong without being so large that it contributes to root rot, called over-potting. Most often, this means planting seedlings in a smaller pot and increasing the pot size as the plant gets bigger.
Growers should not transplant their plants after the flowering stage has started. The best option for a final pot size is about four gallons (15 L), though some strains may need an even bigger pot depending on their average size. Cannabis strain profiles are often found on seed bank websites, like i49.
Containers must have adequate drainage to avoid having the roots sit in water for too long. It must have holes at the bottom that allow for excess water to escape easily. Another excellent option is to grow marijuana in pots that are made of fabric.
Over-watering is rarely caused by giving too much water in one sitting, but by watering too often. While mature cannabis plants will soak up a massive amount of water, the surface of the soil must be dry to about an inch down before watering again. If a plant is overwatered, the root system will rot, and the plant may die.
Cannabis plants have specific nutrient requirements that differ from a lot of other vegetable or flower plants. Growers will get the best results from using nutrient solutions that are developed specifically for growing cannabis plants. One example of these nutrient solutions is the Fox Farm Nutrient Trio Soil Formula.
Whenever growers introduce a new nutrient schedule or are using a new nutrient solution for the first time, they should always start adding them at half strength. This allows the grower to ease the plants into their new nutrient schedule without shocking the plants. It also gives the grower a chance to monitor how the plant reacts to the new nutrients before giving it to them full force. After about a week with no negative consequences, it is safe to give plants nutrients at full strength.
Growing cannabis indoors is simple and straightforward, but there are still some maintenance procedures that should be considered, such as:
When growing in soil, it can be tempting for growers to reuse soil from previous grow operations. However, when soil is reused, it will produce a lower quality plant with each new grow, regardless of nutrients added. Instead, growers will want to purchase or compose their own soil for each new grow cycle.
Growing in soil requires the least maintenance of all the growing mediums, but there are still some things that need to be monitored. In terms of soil, growers will need to consistently pay attention to amounts and intervals of water, soil’s pH, and nutrients.
Since problems can creep up fast and get out of hand quickly, growers need to stay close to their garden throughout the entire grow cycle. Inexperienced growers will need to get familiar with the everyday issues plants may have and how to fix them fast. Experienced growers may be able to set up their grow operations to be more hands-off.
Growers who want to be able to spend less time with their garden can opt for larger containers that hold more water. They will need to be mindful of over-potting, but finding the right balance between the pot size and the plant’s water consumption may allow them to take time away from their garden without worrying too much.
Even in the best circumstances, growers should check in on their gardens once a day. Otherwise, an insect infestation or a plant falling over could go unnoticed, resulting in complications or even crop loss.
Growing hydroponically allows plants to access nutrients more quickly. While this is not the case with soil, a finely tuned nutrient schedule and perfect growing environment can still produce large, high-quality cannabis plants.
Plants grown in soil will take between one and three months to get the best results from their vegetative stage. Their flowering stage will probably require between two to three months of growth to reach harvest, for a total of three to six months from seedling to harvest. For faster growing plants, visit i49’s catalogue of fast cannabis seeds.
There is a reason that growing cannabis plants in soil has not lost popularity over the years, despite new growing methods being developed all the time. Growing cannabis in soil is relatively simple, and it has a more significant margin of error than highly sensitive hydroponic grow setups. Growing cannabis plants from high quality seeds in soil allows both novice and professional growers to produce high-quality, high-yield marijuana plants that require minimal maintenance compared to other growing methods. To access high-quality cannabis seeds from a reputable online weed seed bank, visit the i49 online seed shop.