It’s a battle as old as time – hydroponics vs soil. The two different growing methods for cannabis are constantly compared. Seasoned hydroponics growers swear their systems grow better cannabis, and those who grow in soil bring fair arguments to the table as well.
Today, we are going to share our thoughts on the matter, and go in-depth into the pros and cons of hydroponic and soil grown cannabis.
Growing cannabis in soil
Growing in soil is considered the more traditional way of cultivating cannabis, and is what most people think of when they think of growing weed. However, the phrase “growing in soil” can be misleading, as soil is a term used loosely.
There are many different types of grow media traditional growers use, such as normal soil, living soil, coco coir, soilless mixes, and more.
The benefits of growing cannabis in soil
Growing in pots and soil, or one of these similar media, provides many benefits, particularly for new beginners. Here are four reasons you should consider growing in soil.
Soil is best for beginners
Growing in soil is much easier, and the best way for beginners to get started. This is not only because it is less labor-intensive, but because of the buffer soil provides.
When first starting, the biggest mistake new growers make is overfeeding. Whether it’s by accident or by operating under the principle of “more is better”, new growers commonly give their plants too many nutrients.
However, soil acts as a buffer, soaking up a lot of the nutrients and diluting them for the root zone. This helps to prevent toxicity, which can lead to stunted growth or worse.
Soil is cheaper than hydroponics
Another reason soil is favored is because of price. When first starting out, most growers look for cheap, budget-friendly supplies. Pots and soil are incredibly cheap, especially compared to a high-end hydroponic system.
Growing organic cannabis
With soil, you have the option to grow organically. This means your media and the nutrients you use will both be listed as organic, ideally OMRI listed.
Organic cannabis is highly sought after, due to the taste and purity of the flower organic plants produce.
Growing outdoors in soil
While many consumers consider indoor cannabis to be superior, this isn’t always the case. And from a growing perspective, outdoor cannabis is a cultivars dream. This is because you can grow huge plants outdoors, with more space, and lower costs since you won’t be using grow lights and environmental equipment.
Drawbacks of growing cannabis in soil
Soil grown cannabis can be great, but it does have its cons, so let’s address those now.
Soil grown plants are slow
Plants grown in soil have longer veg and flower cycles, and adjustments in feeding also take longer. So, if you spot deficiencies or toxicities, it will take longer to correct them.
Soil grown plants are pest prone
Growing in soil, especially outdoors, presents perfect conditions for pest problems. It is not uncommon for your grow media to provide a breeding ground for mold, fungi, and insects. These conditions can also make some serious messes, something indoor growers want to avoid.
Growing hydroponic weed
Growing hydroponically is a more advanced form of growing, and isn’t necessarily new, but is less prominent.
What is hydroponics?
Hydroponics is growing plants without soil, and instead using an inert medium or nothing at all! There are many different hydroponic systems, such as deep water culture (DWC), ebb and flow (flood and drain, aeroponics, and hydroponic drip systems. To the untrained eye, these systems can look strange at first.
Benefits of growing hydroponic cannabis
Hydroponics is a highly touted growing method, and for good reason. There are plenty of reasons you should want to learn more about hydroponics, and even give it a try!
Your plants will grow much faster than in soil, getting you to harvest faster. You can fit more growing cycles in a year by growing this way.
On top of quicker harvests, they will be more plentiful as well! You can see higher yields from hydroponics.
Fewer pests and diseases
Hydroponics is regarded as “cleaner” since there isn’t soil present. This takes care of many of the insect and disease issues you run into with soil growing.
Hydroponic systems use up to 90% less water than soil plants, and nutrient recycling hydro systems are even more efficient.
Can be more fun
These systems are different and can be fun to explore for seasoned growers. If you are looking to challenge yourself, give hydro a shot!
The drawbacks of growing hydroponic cannabis
Now, it wouldn’t be fair to hype up hydroponics without presenting you some drawbacks to consider as well. Here are some reasons hydroponic growing might not be for you.
Steep learning curve
There is a very steep learning curve for beginners to hydro, and this style of growing is less forgiving. Since there is no soil acting as a buffer, and nutrients are introduced directly to the root zone, there is a high chance of overfeeding, and the results will be more severe.
Hydroponic systems are expensive
These systems also have a higher startup cost than traditional soil and pots. A decent 4-6 plant hydroponic system can run you a few hundred dollars easily. You also need to buy special hydroponic nutrients to prevent clogging your system.
Hydroponic system maintenance
Since there are more moving parts, there’s a higher chance of something breaking or going wrong, especially in active hydroponic systems. You will likely spend a fair amount of time cleaning and tweaking your system.
Cannot grow organically
Organic nutrients are generally very thick and are notorious for clogging hydroponic systems. The vast majority of hydroponic growers use synthetic nutrients.
Hydroponics vs soil – which style is best for you?
It depends on how invested you want to be in your cannabis grow. If you want low maintenance, low investment weed, stick with pots and soil, especially if you are a novice.
If you are a seasoned green thumb with years of growing under your belt and want a new challenge, try hydroponics.
Or, grow both! The best way to figure out which style best suits you is to try different things and find one you are passionate about.
Does Elyon Cannabis grow hydroponically or in soil?
We grow organic sun grow cannabis, right in the middle of Sonoma County. We use strictly OMRI listed nutrients, and seek to provide the best consumer experience.
If you are here in California, find out products at a dispensary or delivery service near you here!
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