There are almost as many styles of planting soil mixes as there are strains of weed, and it can be burdensome to change your growth medium once your plant growth is already underway. Your grow room setup is key to a successful grow, and that starts with your growth medium. So, what are the best growth mediums for cannabis plants? Let’s explore the most popular setups.
Soil systems are convenient because they’re the simplest to put together. Cannabis plants grow well in standard gardening loam soil, which makes this medium easy to find. It’s more complex to adjust levels of nutrients in a soil system than in hydroponic systems, and soil is nothing if not heavy.
Terracotta, clay, or ceramic pots are great for people in warm climates. Ceramic materials are good for keeping plants cool and for absorbing moisture. However, ceramic is heavy, and makes plants difficult to move. Also, in dry climates, the moisture-absorbing property of ceramic pots can dry out your soil quickly and potentially harm your plants.
Pots made of plastic are cheap and easy to find. A 5-gallon bucket is one of the most common DIY cannabis pots. They allow you to transplant your plants easily, which is ideal for an indoor cannabis grow, and it’s also easy to improve drainage if you need to. On the other hand, plastic pots don’t provide any temperature protection for your plants’ roots. Which means they’re easy to crack or break…sad face.
Fabric pots might be made of burlap or other semi-porous materials. These bags are great for allowing airflow to roots and encouraging drainage. This drainage requires significant and regular watering, so fabric pots aren’t for growers who want to “set it and forget it”.
Your plants roots will love fabric pots. Cannabis roots can pass through the material of most fabric pots, and when they do you can trim them back to the pot. This trimming encourages root growth within the pot, and helps your plant take in more nutrients efficiently.
Hydroponic systems involve growing your cannabis plants in an inert growing medium and irrigating them with nutrient-dense water. If you want to grow plants as efficiently as possible and you’re willing to put in some effort, hydroponics might be for you.
If you’re even passingly familiar with hydroponic systems, you’ve seen rockwool in use. It’s used to grow tomatoes commercially, as well as a wide variety of other plants. Wrapped cubes of rockwool can be placed in trays, and then the trays are flooded with water via the pumps of your hydroponic system. Rockwool does tend to have a high pH level, so you may need to treat your water to lower it.
Coconut Coir (aka Coir)
If you’re considering a slightly more “natural” style of hydroponics, coco coir is a great growth medium. Coconut coir is simply shredded coconut and palm tree husks. Coir is very fibrous and is difficult to degrade, making it ideal for regular submersion in water. The downsides are that coir frequently has high salt content from processing, and that you may need to supplement iron, calcium, and magnesium because of coir’s absorbent properties.
Choosing between the cannabis plant container types doesn’t have to be difficult, as they’re all useful. Even if you decide a certain growth medium isn’t for you during a grow, at worst you have one mediocre harvest and you’ve learned a lesson. This just means that your grow room setup will be all the better for it during your next cannabis crop!