Grow Media

December 12, 2021 3 min read

Grow Media

The Pros & Cons

Cannabis growers have various grow media options – the four most popular being Soil, Coco Coir, Rockwool and fully Hydroponic. All these options provide excellent access to water, nutrients and oxygen for your plants and all of these options have pros and cons, so you want to pick the one that best suits your resources and preferences.

Soil & Compost

Growing cannabis in soil is the easiest way to go and can produce excellent results when enriched with quality compost and microbials. The advantages: It’s good for beginners; it’s easier to manage pH; it holds nutrients for up to 2-3 weeks; it’s easy to grow fully organic; traditionally thought to produce the best tasting cannabis. On the downside: soil is much more susceptible to molds and pests; plants grow slower in soil; not all soils are good for growing cannabis so you might need to spend time pre-treating your soil. Ultimately, soil is considered both easy and cheap.

Coco & Perlite

Coco and Perlite is the middle ground between Hydroponic and soil cultivation. It is important to know that this media contains zero nutrients, so the grower needs to provide them from the onset of the grow. On the plus side, this gives you full control of your plant’s feeding regimen and this can increase the plant’s rate of growth. You don’t need any special equipment to grow in coco and it’s a renewable resource. You do need to feed you plants your nutrients from the onset and pH and EC levels tend to fluctuate more than in soil, so you need to monitor closely to stave off potential issues. Ultimately, this method of cultivation has a medium difficulty and cost rating.

Rockwool

Rockwool is one of the most popular grow mediums in cannabis. Like coco, it is nutrient free and affords the grower complete control of the plant’s feeding regimen. It has excellent moisture retention; provides little risk of pest infestations and disease; there are multiple shapes and sizes, making easy to transplant throughout all phases of growth - from seed to flower. Like coco, you do need to provide nutrients from the start of your grow; pH and EC levels can easily fluctuate, typically, rockwool needs to be presoaked in low pH water before use; you cannot grow organically, rockwool is not biodegradable and typically not reusable. The difficulty/cost ratings would be medium to high.

Hydroponics

There are multiple hydroponic setups that can either allow you to grow in pots filled with clay pebbles, perlite or rockwool, or no grow media with the plant’s roots reaching down into a nutrient solution, or a combination of both. The advantages: large and faster growing plants with high yields; total control of pH and feeding uptake; low risk of pests or other soil-based pathogens. The cons: You need to closely monitor and maintain correct pH & EC levels; periodic tank and system cleaning is required; set up can be expensive; a natural quality of taste is harder to accomplish. Ultimately, this is the most difficult and expensive method of cultivation

 In Conclusion

All of the above grow media are effective and used regularly in the cannabis marketplace. One is not better than the other. It really comes down to what your specific growing needs and goals require and matching them with the best grow medium. Soil is the easiest and most “natural” way to grow; Coco will accommodate a more confident grower who wants to upgrade their process and yields; Hydroponic growing will offer faster growth with higher yields. There are multiple books and articles on this topic if you want to further your knowledge about these different mediums and which would best suit your cultivation needs.

 

 

scott doggett
scott doggett



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