Best Soil For Growing Cannabis
For our cannabis enthusiasts and those wanting to try their hand at their own grow, this article will be discussing how to identify the best soil for growing weed indoors, the best soil for cannabis in general, and how you can better inform yourself on which type of soil you need for the type of weed you’re growing.
How To Identify Quality Soil
The best soil for your weed should be balanced between its ability to retain water, drain water and excess nutrients, and have a healthy texture. Before growing cannabis in soil, make sure you’re familiar with how to identify healthy soil from unhealthy soil!
Check Your Soil’s Texture, Drainage And Water Retention
To have the best soil for weed, the most important aspects of your soil will be its texture, water retention and drainage. Having a light and fluffy soil encourages microorganisms to move around, making it easier for your roots to grow. The soil’s drainage and water retention are also crucial to ensuring cannabis health. Soil that retains the right amount of water will help you avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot.
How’s My Soil’s Composition?
The composition of your soil is also important to ensure a healthy community of microorganisms that can freely move around. It’s necessary for your soil to have a healthy community of fungi and bacteria while also avoiding the growth of invasive pests. Soil that’s composed of multiple textures helps these organisms function while also encouraging root movement and airflow.
What Ingredients Can I Add to My Soil?
Adding beneficial ingredients to your soil will guarantee the best soil for weed. Some common ingredients include:
- Perlite: small white “pebbles” that encourage drainage and add oxygen to your soil.
- Worm castings: these improve the texture of your soil and are a natural source of nutrients.
- Coco coir: coconut husks that are lightweight and improve water retention.
Other common ingredients to look into are peat moss, sandy loam, bat guano, fish meal, bone meal, pumice, kelp, mycorrhizae and dolomite lime. All of these, depending on your goals as a grower, can be helpful in enriching soil with beneficial macro and micronutrients.
What Kinds Of Nutrients Are In My Soil?
Soil is the direct pathway to providing nutrients to your roots. Cannabis needs three main macronutrients to maintain its health, which are nitrogen (N), the main component of chlorophyll; phosphorous (P), which is essential for developing ATP energy; and potassium (K), which enables photosynthesis and regulates carbon dioxide in the plant. Other micronutrients that are important to plant health are calcium, iron, zinc, boron, copper, sulfur and manganese, all of which can be found in worm castings, molasses, kelp and coffee grounds.
How To Identify Bad Soil For Your Plants
Soils that are bad for your cannabis are those that contain too much moisture and retain too much water; thick, heavy and muddy soils can drown your plants and suffocate them from lack of oxygen. Cannabis soil needs to be rich and fluffy to encourage a healthy ecosystem for your roots to thrive; if the roots are the major organ of your cannabis, the soil is the body from which this organ is able to sustain its life.
Main Types Of Soil
Before we get started on which soil is right for your plants, we first need to identify the different types of soil that are out there and the qualities of each, so that you know which soil is right for you.
Sandy soil is typically light in color and fluffy, with a large granular shape and size. Sandy soil has a low pH and good drainage, which prevents compaction. This increases the levels of oxygen in your soil, which is important for root health; however, because of the texture, it dries out easily and does not retain important nutrients.
Silt is pale in color and is medium in granular size. Because silt is a very firm type of soil, it keeps your roots grounded, which stabilizes your plant and is good at retaining water. However, because of the firmness of the soil, it has poor drainage and is easily compactable, which are unproductive to both overall root health and growth.
Loam is a combination of sandy, silt and clay soils. Loam should be dark, rich and squishy in appearance and texture. It’s also one of the best soils at retaining the necessary amount of water and maintaining good drainage, which prevents a plethora of plant diseases. The only real downside to loam soil is its price point.
Clay soil is reddish-brown in color and clumpy in texture, with a small granular size. Clay soil also has a higher pH, which can be unhealthy for particular strains of cannabis. Although clay soil naturally provides minerals – stabilizing for plants – and is good at retaining water, it is often too heavy, which causes poor drainage issues and can be hard to work with.
Supersoil is the best organic soil for weed, with well-mixed combinations of multiple types of soil. Supersoils are packed with nutrients and organic life in an almost-perfect combination, mimicking the root conditions that allow cannabis to thrive in the wild and therefore sometimes referred to as “living soil”. Supersoil creates a better taste, smell and smoothness in your weed, and makes your cannabis much easier to grow.
So, Should I Buy Soil Or Collect It?
In general, if you are a beginner in the world of growing cannabis, it’s safest to stick with a store-bought soil. As you can see from the descriptions above, the best growing media are those that combine different types of soil and textures, like loam or supersoil, which are difficult to mix on your own. Creating soil from scratch is time-consuming, technical and expensive, whereas store-bought soils usually do not need any amendments or added ingredients. Most store options are also organic, and it’s easy to buy high-quality supersoil at certain garden shops or specialty cannabis stores. However, be sure to watch out for “time release” soils, which release chemical nutrients over time, as these can release too much of one nutrient at once and harm plant development.
Strains For Beginners
Different Soil For Different Strains
The best soil for growing cannabis is dependent on the type of strain you’re growing. Different strains require different levels of nutrients and water, so make sure you know what type of weed you’re growing before you plant your seeds.
Soil For Photoperiod Strains
Photoperiod strains take a longer time to grow and also grow much larger than autoflowering strains. As saplings, avoid using nutrient-rich soils and go for a lighter, perlite-based mixture. As photoperiod strains mature, this is really the only place in which a supersoil, especially a homemade mixture, is appropriate, as photoperiod strains can easily thrive and enjoy living in a nutrient-rich environment. You will find an ideal recipe for a supersoil below which can be used for all your photoperiod strains.
Soil For Autoflowering Strains
Autoflowering strains grow much faster but do not grow as large as photoperiod strains. Unlike photoperiod strains, autoflowering strains favor light and airy soil that’s unfertilized; too many nutrients damage the growth of these strains. The ideal soil would be a 50-50 mix of coco coir in a light, peat-based soil with plenty of perlite to encourage aeration, especially as seedlings. Supersoils are not ideal for young autoflowering strains, as this will cause serious nutrient burn.
Autoflowering Cannabis Strains
Store-Bought Vs. Homemade Soil
Store-bought soil is an easy go-to if you’re a beginner at growing cannabis. However, if you want to try your hand at your own homemade mix, here’s a recipe that’s sure to make your plants extremely happy:
Recipe For The Best Potting Soil For Weed
This recipe is guaranteed to give you the best soil for growing weed. Here are your ingredients:
- 3 parts organic starter soil
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part worm castings
- 64g (2.2 oz or 1/2 cup) greensand
- 43g (1.5 oz or 1/3 cup) guano
- 64g (2.2 oz or 1/2 cup) dolomite lime
After mixing everything together, soak for two days in pure water, keeping it wet constantly. Make sure your soil is mostly dry before transplanting into the soil. Note: this homemade soil is super nutrient-rich and shouldn’t be used for seeds, seedlings or clones, as it can result in nutrient burn.
Best Options For Quality Store-Bought Soils
If you’re not ready to make your own cannabis soil, there are plenty of options available to you to purchase on your own that are both high-quality and affordable. Here are some of our favorite types of soil for growing cannabis:
Try This: FoxFarm Happy Frog
FoxFarm Happy Frog is one of the best soils for growing weed indoors. This soil comes equipped with the perfect pH levels to ensure a high-quality bud, and naturally has the perfect blends of fungi and microbes living in the soil. Ideal for indoor growing, this soil is naturally aerated and doesn’t require added chemical nutrients. It’s also one of the highest-rated cannabis soils for growing on Amazon, so be sure to check it out if you’re an indoor grower.
Good Choice: Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix
With great texture and drainage, Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix is 70% coco pith and fiber blend with 30% perlite. Because this is not a potting soil, it’s best used in combination with your favorite soil. The perlite in this potting mix adds extra aeration and better drainage, which increases oxygen flow to your roots and ensures your plants will become extremely healthy and avoid becoming overwatered. The coconut coir resists compaction and lasts longer in containers versus other traditional potting materials.
Another FoxFarm Gem: FoxFarm Ocean Forest
Ready to use out of the bag with no need for extra nutrients, FoxFarm Ocean Forest is a wonderful blend of earthworm castings, bat guano, and fish and crab meal for a guaranteed nutritious environment for your roots. It also contains composted forest humus, peat moss and sandy loam for a light, fluffy texture and added aeration. With a pH between 6.3 and 6.8, this soil is ideal for many different strains of cannabis without any additional work necessary to ensure plant health.
An Excellent All-Rounder: Espoma Organic Potting Mix
This potting mix is excellent in providing nutrition to your plants throughout their life. From seedling to harvest, Espoma Organic Potting Mix improves moisture retention in the soil and allows your roots to absorb as much oxygen and as many nutrients as possible. This mix is also excellent to use with added perlite or peat moss, which will further improve water retention and increase oxygen levels. Moreover, Espoma Organic Potting Mix is an excellent option to use to avoid drought sickness.
If the roots are the vital organ of the cannabis plant, then soil is the body which hosts these vital organs and provides them with nutrients. Having a healthy soil and using the correct type is essential to guaranteeing a happy cannabis plant, ensuring a successful growth cycle with plenty of flowers coming your way.
This article will be discussing how to identify the best soil for growing weed indoors, the best soil for cannabis in general, and how you can better inform yourself on which type of soil you need for the type of weed you’re growing.
The 5 Best Soils for Growing Weed
If growing cannabis is an art, then the soil is the canvas, paint and even a little bit of the brush. As your “grow medium” (the material that your plants grow in), the balance of nutrients your soil contains shapes how your plants grow, how fast and abundantly they flower and how many buds they yield.
Cannabis plants spring up like a literal weed. But growing weed optimally — in a way that allows it to express its best traits and produce trichome-rich flowers — demands care, attention to detail and a bit of trial-and-error. At the same time, there’s no better way to develop a closer, more connected and more rewarding relationship with cannabis than growing some yourself. To get you started, here’s our list of the five best soils for healthy weed.
Fox Farm’s Happy Frog Potting Soil
Fox Farm’s specialized line of soils for cannabis are some of the most widely acclaimed grow mediums available. If you’re beginning your grow journey from the ground up, Happy Frog is an excellent soil to nurture seeds and seedlings.
Designed for indoor and outdoor cultivation, Happy Frog potting soil takes care of young cannabis plants’ essential needs, from correct pH levels to balanced nutrients, including a vital combination of microbes and fungi from earthworm castings and forest humus.
Nature’s Living Soil Organic Super Soil
From planting seeds to harvesting buds, Nature’s Living Soil’s Organic Super Soil has you covered through cannabis’ entire grow cycle. Reviewers love the ready-to-use simplicity this soil provides: just plant, water and wait. For those growing on their own for the first time, this is one of the best soils you can buy.
If you’re digging through the literature on growing weed, you’ve probably seen the term “super soil” come up quite a bit. Coined by the legendary grower and seed producer Subcool, the term generally describes a neutral organic soil base that’s been enhanced with a comprehensive range of “amendments,” i.e., added nutrients and microorganisms. Using a super soil eliminates the need for liquid nutrients as your cannabis plants grow.
Red’s Premium Biochar-Based Soil
Red’s Premium is another all-in-one, ready-to-use soil blend. But what makes it one of the best soils for weed is its stand-out feature: biochar. Biochar is an amendment that excels at protecting and promoting the growth of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that are essential for root development and strengthening your plant’s immune system.
Your soil’s nutrients and the water you provide need to link up to be available for and absorbed by plants’ roots. Biochar, a carbon-rich charcoal amendment, not only facilitates this process but it also provides a large surface area for microorganisms to live and thrive. Red’s Premium Biochar-based soil thus creates an ideal “habitat” for all the living beings that help your cannabis plants reach their full potential.
Aurora Innovations Roots Organics Formula 707
If you’re planning on planting a large container cannabis garden outdoors, Roots Organics Formula 707 is a versatile and capable option. An organic soil designed with greater water-holding capacity, Formula 707 contains ingredients and beneficial microbes specific to using larger containers.
But just as important as what’s in this soil is what’s not: less perlite, less pumice, and fewer amendments. This makes Formula 707 a highly customizable soil, allowing you to add your topsoil and liquid nutrients at various growth stages depending on your cannabis plants’ needs.
Still, Formula 707 has enough nutrients to last 10-14 days before you need to add anything. And for convenience, you can use the soil bag itself as a pot. Just cut off the top, poke some holes in the bottom, plant your seedlings and you’re ready to grow.
Sungro Black Gold All-Organic Potting Mix Plus Fertilizer
The best soils for weed don’t always have to be products specialized for cultivating cannabis. Sometimes, a good organic potting soil is all you need, and Sungro’s Black Gold all-organic potting soil is an excellent case in point.
At a price point that won’t put a hole in your pocket, Black Gold boasts all of the essential traits of a strong soil for growing weed. Its loamy mixture contains an optimal blend of pumice and perlite for hydration and microorganism development, and its balanced nutrient blend won’t burn young cannabis plants. Those features have won this soil praise from gardeners of all stripes, cannabis growers included.
Every ingredient in Black Gold is organic, and it’s suitable for a wide range of environments, from patio containers to indoor hanging baskets. The bottom line: Black Gold is a reliable and high-performance base soil for cannabis. You can also get hands-on with this soil, since adding amendments as your plants grow is super easy.
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
The balance of nutrients your soil contains shapes how your plants grow, how fast and abundantly they flower and how many buds they yield.