Guide To Soil Selection For Growing Marijuana

Whether you’re looking to grow a small plot of marijuana for your own personal use, or looking to jump on the growing train of commercial growers, getting started can seem a bit daunting. There is so much to consider when deciding how to set up your system, and marijuana can be a bit of a fickle plant.

If a hydroponic system is out of the budget or space for the time being, there’s no reason to stress. Growing marijuana in soil is a great alternative, and tends to be more cost effective and simple for the beginner.

Bush of cultural cannabis

Running out to your local large box store home improvement center will track you on the wrong course, though. In order to succeed at growing marijuana, you need to become a soil selection aficionado and learn to discern what your plants crave, and what will choke them.

What Kind of Soil Does Cannabis Need?

Let’s start by discussing what cannabis does not need. The biggest mistake inexperienced growers make is taking that lazy trip to Home Depot and choosing the seemingly-easiest option: that great big green bag of Miracle Grow that claims to have everything your plants need to thrive in the bag – including fertilizer.

Don’t fall for that trap. Ideally, you shouldn’t see “fertilizer” listed as an ingredient, and stay far away from anything that claims to be extended release or long-lasting.

A drop of water on the marijuana

A good specialty mix should provide everything your plants need to thrive without the addition of unbalanced chemicals and fertilizers. There are two main considerations you should be looking at when it comes to soil for your marijuana: texture and nutrient content.

Texture

Soil should allow for good drainage and air circulation while still allowing enough moisture retention to keep your roots happy. It needs to hold onto enough moisture so that the roots have easy access to nutrients, but not so much that air can’t circulate, rotting the roots.

  Guide To Soil Selection For Growing Marijuana

When you feel the soil, it should be light and spongy yet course.

A good soil may contain an additive that helps to break up the soil and keep it from clumping too tightly, or you can purchase that to add separately. Coco coir, peat moss, perlite or vermiculite are pH balanced additives that will do the trick.

Nutrients

The “dirt” itself only provides the growing medium and foundation for your plants’ root systems. But nutrients are what really feed the plants and cause them to grow.

Here’s where using a high quality mix or making your own gives you the upper hand. They’ll be established in the base mix so that they are broken down as food for your plants over time, providing nutrients like calcium, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and other micronutrients.

Some effective nutrients may include Azomite, Blood meal, Bone meal, Crustacean meal, Dolomite lime, Epsom salts and Wood ash/bio char.

Sprout of medical marijuana plant growing indoor

Providing these nutrients is just the first step, though. A healthy fungal population will work to keep the root system healthy through a symbiotic relationship.

Additives that can help establish a fungal population include humic acid, kelp meal or mycorrhizal inoculant/endomycorrhizae powder.

In addition, a good community of diverse bacteria helps to break down sugars in the soil and convert them into nutrients that the plants are able to use. These organisms will also serve as a bolster to the cannabis plant’s immune system, helping it to better combat disease, pests, and adverse environmental conditions.

Cannabis plant blooms, growing indoor.

Additives like bat guano, worm castings, and fishmeal can be very helpful here, too. They make for great sources of micronutrients and minerals that go into a thick and healthy bud.

The Best Soil For Growing Marijuana

You can always make your own soil, but you can skip a few steps (and sore muscles) by going straight to the source and purchasing one of these top-notch soils:

Happy Frog Potting Soil by Fox Farms

Hands down, this is a crowd favorite among growers both backyard and professional alike. Overall, people who have used this soil claim to get the best results for their plants.

  • Complete balanced nutrition
  • Perfectly maintains pH level
  • The right blend of microbes and fungi for maximum nutrient absorption
  • Contains bat guano, earthworm castings and forest humus
  • Ready to use
  • Light texture
  • Perfect for container plants
  • No topsoil, no fillers and no sludge.

Get it here.

Ocean Forest by Fox Farms

Perfect for growing in a small grow room or grow tent, this soil provides the right mix of ingredients and fertilizer. It’s ready to use straight out of the bag and is perfect for providing the right mix to help seedlings grow to hardy plants, giving it rave reviews from users.

  • Lightweight
  • Well-aerated
  • All-natural
  • pH allows for optimum fertilizer uptake
  • Contains worm castings, guano, and aged forest products

Get it here.

Mother Earth Coco + Perlite

Some experts argue that this is a really strong growth medium for marijuana. As a natural alternative to potting soil, it’s made of natural plant products.

  • 100% natural coconut coir
  • No artificial additives
  • Great aeration and drainage
  • High cation exchange capacity

Get it here.

Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil

Big Root All Purpose Potting Soil is the perfect beginner-ready choice, as it’s mixed and balanced for the easiest application.

  • Versatile for indoor or outdoors
  • Use as an additive to boost existing soil
  • Includes triple washed coir, peat, worm castings, compost and mycorrhizae
  • Completely organic

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Roots Organics Rod Original Potting Soil

With perfect consistency that enables proper drainage for an active root system, this soil comes ready to use.

  • Contains extra-long coco fibers, premium earthworm castings, bat guano, fish bone meal, feather meal, glacial rock dust, mycorrhizae, soybean meal, humic acid, pumice, perlite, and green sand
  • Excellent drainage
  • Better yields and healthy plants
  • Ready to use

Get it here.

The growth medium you plant your marijuana in can make all the difference to the life and vitality of your plant and its yield. The soil you choose needs to be able to support the functions of the plant through all stages of growth.

Even if you don’t fancy yourself with a green thumb, choosing the right soil can be easy if you follow these guidelines.