Posted on

best marijuana growing medium

Of these types, loam is by far the best soil mix for growing marijuana plants and many other types of crops. Loam is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt, bringing forth the best qualities of these disparate types of soil while minimizing their worst attributes.

The optimal ratio for loam is 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand. Most folks think a pH of 6.0 is best for cannabis, with a range of 5.8 to 6.3 being acceptable. With a pH close to neutral, loam is typically in that zone or close to it.

In addition, you do not necessarily have to provide costly soil for your plants outside. But for the best results, you want good marijuana soil that will help your plants grow healthy and happy. DripWorks is here to offer you a few simple tips for finding and creating the best soil for growing marijuana outdoors.

Loam for Growing Marijuana & Other Crops

Growing cannabis outdoors offers many benefits. Firstly, it can be very affordable. You do not need to provide a structure like a greenhouse or high tunnel. In addition, artificial light is not necessary if you place it in the right spot in your yard, because your plants can benefit from the sun’s abundant and free energy.

Just like humans, plants need the right nutrients. The most important ones for your cannabis plants are nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphate (P). These make up the ratios you will typically see on fertilizer labels.

Soil Types

Sand is easily permeable for root growth, for instance, but it does not hold on to water or fertilizer well.

Four basic soil types exist: sand, clay, silt, and loam. Each has its pros and cons for gardening.

Best marijuana growing medium

Hardened expanded clay (HEC) being used in a flood-and-drain hydro table.

A gray-white mineral mined from volcanic lava flows, perlite is also heated and expanded into small, sponge-like kernels that are extremely lightweight with decent water-retention properties of three to four times its dry weight. Its best feature is that it is very neutral with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0. Unlike vermiculite, perlite has no cation exchange capacity and therefore is poor in buffering. This is why perlite is often used as a spread on top of soilless mediums to help keep moisture locked in below.

Often referred to simply as “coco,” coconut fiber can come in a variety of forms including shredded fibers, small cubes or a finer, more granular medium. Coco is often mixed into soilless mixtures with peat and vermiculite, but it can also be used as a stand-alone medium for potted plants. Derived from coconut husks, coco is sterile and has good water-retention and buffering properties.

Hardened Expanded Clay (HEC)

A soilless, peat-based mixture with perlite mixed in.

Obviously, choosing one of the above mediums hinges a lot on the type of grow system being used in the garden. In terms of the question posed, I would concur that for a first-time grower, using a soilless mix (such as Sunshine #4 or Pro-Mix) and utilizing a daily hand-watering regiment is the best option.

Thanks for writing in Carlos & Melinda—and congratulations on starting your first grow! That is music to our ears here at High Times!

Perlite

Most commonly known as Rockwool (a brand name), mineral wool is an extremely popular medium for rooting and growing plants, especially in heavy hydroponic systems. Spun from fibers created by melting various rock types, the “wool” is then pressed into various plugs, squares and slabs for growing plants. Mineral wool will hold a considerable amount of water while also allowing for good air permeation. Mineral wool is sterile and inert with a neutral pH, however, it has poor buffering and is generally regarded as a medium for advanced growers.

For those with previous experience looking to use a hydroponic system, soilless mixtures are still good for top-feed or drip-irrigation systems. Once you move into the more advanced hydro setups, such as flood-and-drain tables, deep-water culture (DWC) or nutrient film technique (NFT), mineral wool and HEC become better choices.