Growing cannabis is a complex process that requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and patience.
And one of the most important factors that affect the growth and yield of cannabis plants is the soil. The quality of soil can make a huge difference in the health and vitality of your cannabis plants.
In this article, we will discuss the best soil for growing cannabis in 2023, including the composition and characteristics of high-quality soil, the different types of soil used for growing cannabis, and the importance of nutrients and pH levels in the soil for optimal cannabis growth.
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What is the Best Soil for Cannabis in 2023?
While there are many types of soil available, we highly recommend using bio365 soils for your cultivation needs.
Sure, we might be a bit partial to the products we sell, but we've also tried loads of different pre-mixed soils. We've gotta say, we're really digging the quality from bio365.
You can use their BIOFLOWER blend from start to finish, just add water!
It's specifically designed for cannabis and made with high-quality organic materials. It has a perfect balance of nutrients, beneficial microorganisms, and minerals, all of which are essential for the growth and development of healthy plants.
Don't just take our word for it; bio365 gets rave reviews on all of the grow forums!
Plus, if you're looking for a renewable option, our Re-Amendment Pack allows you to reuse bio365 from your previous grow with new organic amendments.
Not only is bio365 a favorite among cannabis growers, but it's also highly respected in the industry. It boasts some of the following characteristics that make it stand out:
Bio-transformed Nutrients: Unlike synthetic or even regular organic nutrients, bio-transformed nutrients are more readily available to plants. This is because they are transformed by microbial activity, making them easier for plants to absorb.
Proprietary Blends (bioCORE™ and bioCHARGE™): These unique formulations contain a wide range of beneficial microorganisms, organic matter, and essential nutrients. They are designed to create a balanced and living soil that supports optimal plant health and growth.
Versatility: Some of their soils, like BIOFLOWER, are versatile enough to be used throughout the entire grow cycle, simplifying the growing process for cultivators.
Optimized for Specific Growth Stages: Bio365 offers specific soils like bioSTART for seedlings and bioALL for the vegetative stage, allowing growers to tailor their soil choice to different phases of plant development.
Reduced Need for Additional Inputs: The nutrient-rich, balanced profile of bio365 soils minimizes the need for additional fertilizers or amendments for extended periods, making it easier for growers to manage their crops.
Sustainability: The brand focuses on using sustainable, high-quality ingredients, contributing to both environmental responsibility and superior plant growth.
Science-Backed: The company leverages scientific research to create soils that are biologically active and nutrient-dense, aiming to meet the specific needs of plants at different growth stages.
High Porosity: The combination of long & short coco fiber plus unique biochar means moisture & air occupy the soil equally, creating an ideal environment for root growth.
Industry Recognition: Bio365 soils are often highly rated and recommended, indicating a level of trust and respect in the industry.
Ease of Use: Designed for both novice and experienced growers, bio365 soils make it easier to achieve consistent, high-quality yields with less effort.
While BIOFLOWER by bio365 steals the spotlight as our top pick, there are other standout soils that you might find intriguing. Sohum Soil, for instance, used to be our go-to choice. It has several remarkable features and benefits that many growers appreciate. However, we've recently shifted our focus to bio365 soils, particularly BIOFLOWER, and we couldn't be more thrilled with the results we've seen.
Another noteworthy mention is Roots Organics Lush. This brand has been a long-standing trustworthy provider in the soil market. Particularly popular among those who favor organic ingredients, Roots Organics offers a reliable and effective soil option that has stood the test of time.
Last but not least, we have a special affection for Great Lakes All Natural Water-Only soil. This product has received excellent feedback in various grower forums and is especially close to our hearts as it's made in the Great Lakes region, where we're from. What sets it apart is its ability to simplify the watering process, offering growers an easier cultivation experience.
The Basic Requirements
Before we dive into the details of soil quality, let's briefly discuss the basic requirements. Cannabis plants need light, air, water, and nutrients to grow and thrive. However, the type and quality of soil used to grow cannabis is one of the most important factors that determines the success of your grow.
Types of Soil for Growing Cannabis
There are several different types of soil used for growing cannabis, but the most common are potting soil and living soil. Potting soil is a popular choice because it is readily available and relatively inexpensive but typically doesn't produce the same results as living soil.
Living soil is a premium soil option that contains a diverse range of beneficial microbes and organisms, which can help break down organic matter and make nutrients more available to your plants.
Although it may be more expensive than regular soil, many growers find that the benefits are well worth the investment. With living soil, you can create a rich, healthy growing environment for your cannabis plants, which can lead to bigger yields and better quality buds.
What's in a High Quality Cannabis Potting Soil?
The best soil for marijuana plants is a well-draining mixture, rich in organic matter, and has a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. The ideal soil composition includes a mixture of perlite, coco coir, vermiculite, and compost.
- Perlite is a volcanic glass added to soil mixtures to improve drainage and aeration.
- Coco coir is a fibrous material derived from coconut husks and is used to improve water retention and root growth.
- Vermiculite is a mineral added to soil mixtures to improve water retention and aeration.
- Compost is a natural fertilizer made from decomposed organic matter and is used to improve soil fertility.
Choosing the Best Substrate for your Plants
Substrates are essential materials for providing a growing medium for your cannabis plants, and there are several popular options to choose from.
Coco coir is a versatile and popular substrate that is commonly used in hydroponic and soil-based growing systems. It has excellent water retention properties and is easy to work with.
At Happy Hydro we view it as a great introduction into what growing hydroponically would be like as you have to monitor your pH and nutrient levels more percisely.
Clay pebbles, on the other hand, are a popular substrate for hydroponic growers in DWC and RDWC systems. They are lightweight and provide excellent drainage and aeration.
Rockwool is another popular substrate for hydroponic growers and is commonly used for starting seeds and rooting clones but is also used for full-sized plants. It is made from spun volcanic rock fibers and has excellent water retention properties. It's popular in commercial facilities because of its ability to produce monster plants while providing a bit of "cushion" to the operation.
For example, if the power goes out, your plants won't immediately start dying like they would if they were in a DWC hydroponic system that relies on 24/7 oxygenation from air pumps and air stones.
Soilless peat moss/perlite mixes, like Pro-Mix, are another popular substrate option many growers prefer for their cannabis plants. These soilless mixes provide excellent drainage, aeration, and can be enhanced with organic cannabis amendments.
Finally, soil remains a popular substrate option for many growers, especially those who prefer a more natural growing approach. Soil can provide excellent nutrient retention and support for beneficial microbial life in the soil.
Soil Moisture and Watering Requirements
Marijuana plants need moist soil to grow, but overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems. The ideal moisture level for cannabis plants is slightly moist but not wet.
I like to follow some of the following guidelines when watering my plants:
- When transplanting, water the plants well, and then don't water them again until the pot is nearly as light as a bag of popcorn. The goal is to get the roots to search for water and grow towards the bottom of the pot. After you do this once, you begin watering normally.
- The finger test; stick your pointer finger in the soil as deep as it will go and if it's not dry, wait to water. You could also use a moisture meter to keep tabs on it.
- Look out for stunted growth and curling leaves, as these can be signs of overwatering.
Overwatering can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other problems, so it is important to monitor the moisture level of your soil and water your plants accordingly.
Feeding and Nutrient Requirements
Cannabis needs a variety of nutrients to grow, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to stunted growth, poor yields, and other problems.
While some soils may provide sufficient nutrients for cannabis, many growers choose to supplement with additional fertilizers to ensure that their plants have the nutrients they need to thrive.
Especially in the bloom phase.
It's important to give your cannabis plants the right nutrients at the right time to avoid nutrient deficiencies or overfeeding. We recommend purchasing a TDS or PPM meter to keep track of how much nutrients your feeding your plant.
Generally, they need higher levels of nitrogen during the vegetative stage, and higher levels of phosphorus and potassium during the flowering stage. Many fertilizers are designed specifically for cannabis, and these can make it easier to provide the right nutrients at the right time.
When choosing a fertilizer, look for one with a balanced N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
If you do deviate from them, less is always more!
Is Regular Potting Soil OK for Cannabis?
While it is possible to grow cannabis in regular potting soil, it may not provide the optimal environment for the plants to thrive.
Regular potting soil can become too compact and dense, making it difficult for the roots to grow and absorb water and nutrients.
Additionally, regular potting soil doesn't always have the right balance of nutrients for cannabis plants.
Do Marijuana Plants Grow Better in Pots or the Ground?
Cannabis can be grown both in pots and in the ground, and both methods have their advantages and disadvantages. The short answer is; they typically grow better in pots, but here's some more information.
Growing in pots can be a good option for those with limited space or for those who want to have more control over the growing environment. Pots can be moved around as needed, and it is easier to monitor and adjust the pH and nutrient levels in the soil.
On the other hand, growing in the ground can provide the plants with more space and is more efficient for commercial farmers.
Ultimately, whether to grow in pots or the ground will depend on your personal preferences and the growing environment available to you.
Should Cannabis Soil Be Moist or Wet?
Cannabis soil should be moist, but not wet. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, while underwatering can cause the plants to become stressed and wilt.
A good rule of thumb is to water the plants when the top few inches of soil feels dry to the touch.
It's also important to make sure the soil is well-draining, so excess water can easily escape from the pot or growing container.
Should I Water Cannabis Every Day?
Remember, we always want o make sure we don't overwater our plants.
There are very few circumstances where you should water your plants every day, such as when growing in rockwool, small pots, some coco coir situations, and other hydroponic or near hydroponic applications.
It's also important to note that plants may need more frequent watering in hot, dry weather.
When in doubt, it's always better to underwater than overwater, as your plants are generally more resilient to underwatering.
Fertilizing Your Plants
In addition to water, your plants also need nutrients to grow and thrive. While some soils may provide sufficient nutrients, many growers supplement with additional fertilizers.
It's important for cannabis growers to give their plants the right nutrients at the right time to avoid nutrient deficiencies or overfeeding.
Generally, cannabis plants need higher levels of nitrogen during the vegetative stage, and higher levels of phosphorus and potassium during the flowering stage.
Many fertilizers are designed specifically for this purpose, and can make it easier to provide the right nutrients at the right time. When choosing a fertilizer, look for one with a balanced N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio and follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Regarding feeding frequency, many growers recommend feeding every other watering, but this can vary depending on the fertilizer, strain, and growing conditions.
As with watering, it's important to monitor your plants closely and adjust your feeding schedule as needed.
Using Perlite in your Soil Mix
Perlite is a lightweight, porous material that can help improve soil drainage and aeration in your garden. Many growers mix perlite into their soil to improve its texture and structure.
When using perlite, it's important to choose a high-quality product that has been properly screened and cleaned to remove impurities.
Perlite can be mixed into your soil at a rate of 10-50% by volume, depending on the specific needs of your plants. Most good cannabis soil will already have some perlite in it.
A Brief Overview of Living Soil
Living soil is a type of cannabis soil that contains a diverse array of microorganisms and beneficial bacteria. This type of soil is often used in organic and sustainable growing practices and can help provide natural nutrients to plants.
It can be a great choice for growers who want to avoid synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. However, it can be more challenging to work with than traditional soil and may require additional monitoring and maintenance to ensure optimal growing conditions.
Soil Moisture When Planting Cannabis Seeds
When planting cannabis seeds, it's important to ensure that the soil is moist but not too wet. This will help the seeds germinate and establish roots without drowning or experiencing excessive moisture.
If you start your seeds right in the soil, you can put a clear plastic cup upside down over the seed to act as a mini humidity dome. Just remember to remove it once the plant starts growing.
To prepare your soil for planting, water it thoroughly the day before planting to ensure it is evenly moist. Plant your seeds at a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch and cover them lightly with soil. Water the soil lightly after planting to help settle it around the seeds.
Choosing the right cannabis soil for your plants is essential for their growth and health. When selecting a soil, consider factors such as drainage, nutrient content, and pH levels.
With the right soil and growing conditions, you can help your plants thrive and produce high-quality buds. And if you're looking for the best soil for cannabis, check out bio365.