Choosing the Best Soil for Cannabis

Learn how to choose the best soil for cannabis and what you can do to improve your mix.
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When choosing the best soil for your plants, you’ll want to make sure your plants have the best environment to thrive. There are many variables to consider, but one thing to focus on is the source of root strength in the soil. Read on to learn how to choose the best soil for growing cannabis and what you can do to improve your mix.

Starting with Soil

The root of all plant health starts in the soil. This is the source of essential nutrients and determines how well the plants grow, affecting the yield quality. But not all soils are the same. And when it comes to cannabis, not all plants require the same type of soil. So how do you choose the right one? Consider the following variables:

  • Type of cannabis plant
  • Temperature and climate
  • Growing indoors or out

One factor to consider when choosing the best soil is whether you’re growing photoperiod or autoflowers. Photoperiod plants work best if they’re started in small seedling pots or cups with soil that has little nutrients. After a few weeks, replant the seedlings and note that as the plant grows into a more mature plant, it can tolerate higher nutrient levels. For autoflowers, stay away from heavily fertilized soils and amendments such as bat guano that can be too hot and overload your plants with too much nutrients.

If you’re growing indoors, you have more control of the environment with the type of light and temperature of the space. But you still have to consider the threat of pests and provide adequate moisture. For best results indoors, soil should be lightweight, able to retain water, and sterile to reduce the risk of pests and diseases.

For growing outdoors , soil should be aerated and have proper drainage to prevent waterlogging. It should also be rich in nutrients to support the plant’s growth over a longer period in unpredictable conditions.

Understanding Soil Composition

In order to choose the right soil, you first need to understand the basic components and how it affects plant growth. Here are some key factors to consider for each type of soil.

  • Drainage and water retention. Cannabis plants require excellent drainage and do not do well in over-saturated soil. Your soil should be aerated enough to drain properly to prevent overwatering, but also retain enough water to stay moist and not dry out.
  • Minerals. Potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen levels vary in different types of soil, but all are essential for plant growth.
  • Organic matter. Some of the best soil is made up of decomposed plant and animal material which provides nutrients and improves structure.
  • Texture . Cannabis thrives in soil that has a light and loose texture because it ensures oxygen can reach the root zone.
  • pH level. This affects nutrient availability. Cannabis prefers slightly acidic soil, with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.0.

With these factors in mind, you can start looking into the different types of soil best suited for growing cannabis.

Choosing the Best Soil for Cannabis

Yes, there are still several soil options that work well for growing cannabis, but each have their own pros and cons. Remember to keep in mind the type of plant you’re growing and whether it will be indoors or out.

  • Coco Coir. Since it’s made from coconut husks, it’s a sustainable alternative to peat moss. This option retains moisture well and has a neutral pH.
  • Compost. Rich in organic matter, it provides nutrients while improving soil structure, but it’s best used in combination with other soil types. You can create your own compost with kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds, tea leaves, eggshells, and peels from fruits and vegetables.
  • Potting Mix. Usually a blend of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite. This option is lightweight and provides good drainage, but it may require additional nutrients.
  • Super Soil. A mix of soil, compost, and other organic materials, this nutrient-rich option can support the plant throughout its entire growth cycle.

Regardless of the soil type you use, adding amendments helps enhance quality and provide additional nutrients:

  • Blood meal is rich in nitrogen and encourages lush vegetative growth.
  • Bone meal is a source of phosphorus that promotes healthy root development and flowering.
  • Worm castings enrich the soil with nutrients and beneficial microbes as well as improve texture, drainage, and water retention.
  • Other natural materials such as sand, lime, dolomite, and epsom salt can also be added.

For a 15 liter pot, we like a basic soil recipe of starting at the bottom of the pot with 2 parts compost, 1/2 cup worm castings, 1 part coco coir, and 1 part perlite or vermiculite. Don’t forget to soak the coco coir in warm water and afterward mix in with the perlite or vermiculite. Also make sure that the compost you add has a pH value between 5.8 – 6.3.

Once you’ve chosen the right soil for your growing needs, your job is not done. You should still regularly monitor and test pH and nutrient levels throughout the growing process, especially if you’re not getting the desired results. Then make any adjustments by using organic amendments or other pH-based products to improve growing conditions for your cannabis plants.

Amending Soil with Harvest Hero

Since cannabis plants prefer nutrient-rich soil that’s light and loose with decent drainage and water retention, you can help improve your mix by adding one of Harvest Hero’s soil amendments.

  • Enhanced Perlite Mix offers a 3-in-1 mix of diatomaceous earth, perlite, and essential nutrients to improve drainage, airflow and offers the proper amount of nutrients for the first 4 – 6 week growth period.
  • Perlite+ Silica maintains the proper levels of oxygen in the soil, which increases the plant’s water and nutrient uptake.
  • Perlite improves the drainage, airiness, and water retention of the soil.

Harvest Hero products help your plants get the nutrition they need to improve soil conditions indoors or out. Contact us today to learn more and grow more robust plants!

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