Hydroponics vs Soil: Best Cannabis Growing Method

hydroponics vs soil

It seems that the debate over the different growing methods of cannabis, particularly hydroponics vs soil will not end anytime soon. This will just continue to create a division in the world of cannabis cultivation because of the information that people believe in. This is pretty hard to put a conclusion to this comparison, however, there are many distinct differences between the two.

Their differences make them unique to each other and should be understood closely rather than creating an argument about it. With the rapidly growing legalization of cannabis around the world, more and more people are encouraged to cultivate cannabis in the very comfort of their homes. Harvesting and consuming cannabis in your home is now the new trend and it is also one of the most satisfying things to do especially that people are growing fonder of growing plants at their backyards.

However, starting which growing method is the best always give them a hard time to decide. In this post, let us talk about the differences between hydroponic and soil-based cannabis cultivation so that you can be enlightened which one is best for you. In this post, let us cover the most important pieces of information between soil-based and hydroponic growing methods to help you, especially those newbies in cannabis growing learn something important. 

Why both methods are considered essential? 

To start, water and soil are two key parts of our planet. Our plant is surrounded mostly with water while we are living above the soil. Even though the Earth’s surface is only composed of 30-percent land or soil, you have to remember that the majority of plants grow on soil even way back almost a billion years ago. With that in mind, the soil is considered as one of the most ideal growing media for plants including cannabis because of its accumulated nutrients as well as the organic matter that cannot be found in other growing mediums and cannot be copied with other growing methods. 

With that being said, the most veteran and traditional cannabis cultivators always choose soil as their growing medium while those who are consuming cannabis since way back before it was legalized always choose the varieties that are grown on soil. However, you have to remember that it is completely important to take note that a lot of cultivators that use soil add other key components to provide healthier and nutrient-rich soil so that they can further enhance its ability to nurture and grow the cannabis plants. 

The hydroponic growing method, meanwhile, is the innovative way to grow plants by removing all the unpredictable things that can happen to soil-based cultivation. Hydroponic growing means that it uses water as it is medium instead of soil for its growing environment and operations that come with no stationary medium which is called the solution culture. 

What is hydroponics for growing cannabis? 

This innovative method has been applied way back, but with other plant varieties and not with cannabis. Hydroponic growing for cannabis has been used not so long ago. This type of growing method lets cannabis grow properly using the needed nutrients and apply it directly to the water source or the water reservoir. In technical terms, if you are growing your cannabis plant instead of soil, this is already considered a hydroponic method which includes the coco coir growing medium. This is to clarify things up since a lot of people believe that hydroponics is all about using a water reservoir. 

In general, regardless of the type of hydroponic that comes without a medium is considered a solution culture. 

Advantages and disadvantages of hydroponics

  • The rapid growth of plants- Since the grower directly applies the nutrients to the water resource or water reservoir to the cannabis plant, it will surely provide a quicker vegetative grown compared to other methods of growing cannabis. This means that the cultivator can harvest cannabis sooner compared to other methods. 
  • More generous yield- For those that are seasoned in hydroponics growing, they are very good at earning a larger yield compared to seasoned soil cultivators despite having the same growing conditions such as nutrients, lighting, and environment to name a few. 
  • Less prone to pest infestation- Among all the types of growing methods, hydroponic cultivators are less likely to suffer from pest infestation by insects or diseases, however, this does not mean that it is not susceptible. It is just lesser prone to pests and diseases. This is because the majority of pests and diseases thrive and need the presence of soil as part of their food and breeding ground. 
  • Lower maintenance- Various hydroponics methods are known for its very low maintenance which makes a lot of growers tend to believe that these options are better than growing their cannabis on the soil. 

Disadvantages of growing cannabis using hydroponics 

  • It can cost you a fortune- There are hydroponic setups that are very expensive to build which needs a considerable financial investment while some needs you to make it on your own. Because of the expensive cost of setting up a hydroponic growing environment for your cannabis, many aspiring growers are avoiding this kind of method and prefer to cultivate with soil. 
  • Difficulty in using the right nutrients- Applying the nutrients that should be given to the cannabis plants is proven difficult for those that are not that familiar with the proper way to do this. This can be more difficult when they are starting to combine the necessary nutrients as well as supplements that are developed by different agricultural companies. This is unless you are already following a tested and proven formula from a known grower. However, there are hydroponics growers can control the nutrients of their cannabis plants which means they can easily fix this hiccup. 
  • Problems with the roots- For those who are not entirely prepared to grow their cannabis plants with the hydroponics method, they always run into this kind of problem. Even though it has a permanent and effective solution to fix this problem, many are still facing a blank wall. That is why it is important to determine the right oxygen level and water temperature in the water reservoir. 

What is using soil in growing cannabis? 

People who want to grow cannabis should have experience growing other plants before this. If you can grow your plants successfully in soil setup and have maintained your garden. Well, this can the perfect choice for you since you are already familiar with the method and the process of growing plants, how much more cannabis? You have to fully understand and familiarize the ways to grow cannabis using soil as your medium. 

However, there are various reasons why a lot of cultivators have stopped growing their cannabis with soil, and in this part of the post, let us talk about the advantages and disadvantages of using this medium so that you can know how to deal with the problems that come along with it. 

Advantages of using soil in growing cannabis

  • Many are using soil- Even with the popularity of hydroponics and other growing methods over the soil, still, a lot of cultivators prefer to use soil for their cannabis. This is, because of their vast experience of growing crops and other types of plants using soil. Some are former farmers while some are former botanists who know the proper methods of using soil as their medium to grow cannabis. In short, they have a very good gardening experience which makes it easy for them to get rid of the problems that come with it. 
  • It is very simple to grow cannabis- Of course, the soil is the most common medium to grow plants. It has less process; it has less maintenance and it has a very easy process to plant cannabis. You are not required to be a rocket scientist to plant cannabis on the soil. All you need is your basic knowledge of growing plants. 
  • Best for outdoor growing- Naturally, cannabis grows in the wild, the outdoors so there is more reason for you to grow your cannabis outdoors for it to thrive better and get more abundant yields. It is the plant’s natural environment and it has lesser maintenance since you don’t need lighting and ventilation. 

Disadvantages of growing cannabis on soil

  • Prone to pests and diseases- Soil, in general, is an organic material where organisms and insects, in particular, thrive and live. Using soil has its risks especially if you do not treat the soil before planting it with your cannabis plants. In general, the soil is very prone to pests and diseases that is why farmers use pesticides and insecticides to stave off these menacing problems. 
  • Slower plant growth- using soil as your medium will not make your plant grow rapidly compared to hydroponics. It will follow its natural lifecycle. It takes time, resources, and effort for the cultivator to wait for an additional month or two. 
  • Needs maintenance and resources- Growing plants using soil as the medium needs more fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, and nutrients which requires more compared to the hydroponics type of growing. This is because has lesser absorption of these materials which makes it difficult for the cannabis’ roots to penetrate and feed on the nutrients that the cultivator applied. 

Which one is better for you between soil and hydroponics? 

If you are someone who wants to keep the natural way of growing cannabis then growing it in the soil is the best choice you can go. There are tons of reasons why you should grow your cannabis outdoors in soil because it adds more flavor to the buds. However, you have to consider cultivating your cannabis in the soil if you have access to a high-quality medium. 

It would be better if you maintain your soil by using compost materials to increase its nutrients. Maintaining or growing your soil does not entirely need a lot of attention, all you need is feed the soil with compost material to increase its nutrient level until it becomes fit for cannabis growing. 

Hydroponics meanwhile gives you a lot of ways to modify the quality of your cannabis plants. This makes hydroponics very popular nowadays, especially that you can unlock the ability to modify the percentage of the THC and CBD content of your plants. This happens if you modify the growing system through automation. Even though there is no way for you to fully automate the entire process of hydroponics, however, you can improve its quality through drip irrigation which reduces your attention. This is very great in growing your cannabis plants’ buds where most of the THC and CBD content is concentrated. 

It is very important to learn how you can grow your cannabis especially its behavior given different conditions and environments. With this, you can earn better results regardless if it is soil or hydroponics. 

What should be your choice? 

Always remember that your best choice is always your choice. This means that your choice will be your best direction in cultivating cannabis is the one you have chosen whether it is hydroponics or soil. What matters most also is your passion and your motivation that will drive you to take extra care of your precious cannabis plants. 

Cannabis cultivation has been practiced for thousands of years already, however; it’s been recently that there’s extensive research about this. Perhaps, you might find a new way to further enhance the cultivation and contribute to the community. 

Final words

Is there a difference with hydroponics vs soil? There are tons of differences, both have their good side and downside, but that does not mean that one is better than the other. Regardless of what you are following, you don’t have to worry about anything. After all, you are in a good place right now because these are the two most popular and most effective ways to grow cannabis. Now that you know the difference between hydroponics and soil in growing cannabis, you might want to share this post with people you know.

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