Categories
BLOG

marijuana growing soil

Best Soil for Cannabis

Coast of Maine – Platinum Grower’s Mix, Super Soil

FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix

Cannabis, like all other plants, thrives from an ample supply of water, oxygen, and nutrients. These three base components are responsible for your crops’ overall health, growth rate, and final yield.

Of these three factors, soil composition is one of the most easily modified to suit the needs of cannabis crops. Due to this, cannabis-specific soil mixtures are a booming industry.

Although the nutrients themselves aren’t altered, they are added in specific amounts that promote healthy growth for cannabis plants. Without these pre-made soil mixes, cultivators would be left to compose their own.

The main question is: what’s the best soil for growing cannabis?

Pre-made cannabis potting mixes allow beginners and professionals alike to jump into the fast lane for growing marijuana plants. You’ll find everything your plants need in these soil mixes, such as beneficial bacteria, fungi, macronutrients, micronutrients, vitamins, and more.

Furthermore, cannabis-specific soil mixes provide a more natural form of growth, as compared to the hyper-accelerated growth of hydroponics or aeroponics.

We’ve sifted through countless soil brands to find you the best soil for growing cannabis. Whether you’re searching for an organic solution or an all-in-one soil mix – we’ve got your plants covered so they can grow on cruise control.

Coast of Maine – Platinum Grower’s Mix, Super Soil

FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix

Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil

Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength

Super Soil Autoflower Concentrate

Purple Cow IndiCanja Organic Living Soil

Canna Terra Professional Soil Mix

Coast of Maine – Platinum Grower’s Mix, Super Soil

Coast of Maine is a boutique soil mix brand. Their Platinum Grower’s Mix is intended for growers that don’t want to spend additional money on pH monitors and associated products.

Coast of Maine’s Platinum Grower’s Mix is a stand-alone organic soil mixture that contains mycorrhizae, kelp meal, fishbone meal, lobster compost, alfalfa meal, and worm castings. This organic soil mix is jam-packed with everything your plants need to thrive.

However, all of these high-quality ingredients come in at a hefty price. If you’re willing to stomach the bill, you’ll find a hearty harvest of aromatic and cannabinoid-rich flowers come harvest time.

Although Coast of Maine’s Platinum Grower’s Mix is expensive, it performs exceptionally well. This is one of the best soil mixes for cannabis we’ve seen, and it’s highly suitable for both beginners and professionals alike.

    High-quality organic ingredients No need to pH adjust No supplements needed Grows cannabis plants from seedling to harvest
    Doesn’t contain perlite for optimal drainage One of the most expensive brands on the market May contain fungus gnats

FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil

Fox Farm’s Happy Frog Potting Soil is one of the best and highly rated organic soil for cannabis plants. It’s perfect for seedlings and young plants because It contains mycorrhizal fungi and other beneficial microbes.

The nutrient source of Happy Frog stems from bat guano, earthworm castings, and forest products, such as wood chips. There are enough nutrients to last an entire cycle, from seedling to harvest.

Fox Farm didn’t overdo the nutrient content for a very specific reason, which was not to burn your plants. Many other soil brands create “hot” soil mixes by placing an overly-high nutrient content, but this is not the case with Fox Farm’s Happy Frog Potting Mix.

This is one of the best potting soil mixes for cannabis, especially for beginners. This is also the best soil for cannabis seedlings because they don’t require a high level of nutrients. If you’ve been looking for a gentle cannabis-specific nutrient mix – this is it.

    An ideal composition that doesn’t drain too fast Perfect soil for seedlings to mature cannabis plants Comes loaded with worm castings and soil microbes Insect free
    Doesn’t provide enough P & K for the flowering phase Contains a large number of wood chips Similar to standard garden soil mixes

Fox Farm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix

Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix is a tried-and-true soil mix for much of the cannabis community. It’s one of the easiest soil mixes to use for all stages of plant growth, whether from seedling to harvest.

A massive benefit for Ocean Forest is the fact that it’s already set to the ideal pH range. 6.3 to 6.8 pH is the ideal range for plants growing in soil for nutrient uptake. This makes Ocean Forest incredibly efficient, and your cannabis plants will likely show it with vigorous growth.

Fox Farm’s went above and beyond by offering a two-pack, which enables cultivators with additional potting soil. However, the price comes to $30 per bag, which is still on the high-end for an organic potting mix.

Although you’ll spend a substantial amount of money for Fox Farm’s Ocean Forest, it will pay for itself, considering you won’t need a pH pen. If you’re looking for an easy-to-use potting soil mix – this is it.

    Simple to use soil mix Two-for-one deal saves money in the long run pH adjusted Ideal soil mix for seedlings to mature plants
    Expensive if only growing a couple plants Not enough perlite for aeration May require supplemental nutrients for the flowering phase

Big Rootz All Purpose Potting Soil

When it comes to the best cannabis nutrients for soil, Big Roots falls short. Although the product claims to be built by growers for growers, this potting mix doesn’t appear to stand out.

Their ingredient list, lists pre-washed coco-coir, peat moss, and compost as their base materials. Coco-coir and peat moss are both inert substances, which also lead to pH swings within the soil. If the only food source is compost, then it’s likely that you’ll need to supplement your cannabis plants during the flowering phase.

Furthermore, pests, such as fungus gnats, may find the perfect environment in Big Rootz’ soil bag. Through the humidity of the soil or due to the compost, various pests have been found within this soil mix.

Lastly, the price is double (or triple in some instances) that of competing products. Considering a bulk of the ingredients are technically inert, you’re paying for only a fraction of actual plant food.

If you’re looking for the best soil mix for cannabis, you’ll likely find it elsewhere.

    Formulated with mycorrhizae for enhanced root growth Contains water-retaining peat Contains pre-washed coco-coir to reduce nutrient lockout Easy-to-use out of the bag
    Very expensive Possibility of pests in the soil It’s necessary to pH your water

Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength

The Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength is formulated to create the perfect growing environment for your cannabis plants. They contain a wide variety of beneficial microorganisms and organic nutrients, all of which work synergistically to provide rapid growth and bountiful yields.

Although Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength is one of the best organic soils for cannabis, it’s still relatively expensive compared to other products with similar ingredients.

A single bag will not fill an entire 5-gallon pot, which makes this an expensive product if you’re growing more than one cannabis plant. Although the instructions recommend cutting this product with a standard potting mix, it won’t last very long.

Furthermore, the Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength has a strong odor, which is a significant downside if you must be discreet.

Although Organic Super Soil Concentrated Strength is a premier potting mix for cannabis plants, it’s not recommended if you grow more than a handful of plants at once.

    Organic Contains a wide range of beneficial microorganisms Simple to use Perfect for all stages of growth
    Very expensive for its small size Will not fill a single 5-gallon pot May contain pests

Super Soil Autoflower Concentrate

Here we have a fantastic but pricey soil in the Organic Super Soil Autoflower Concentrate mix, which is a specially formulated version of the original “organic super soil”.

What makes Natures Living Soil so good is the microorganisms they include, everything from Glomus Aggregatum, Glomus Etunicatum, Glomus Intraradices, Glomus Mosseae, Pisolithus Tinctorius, Scleroderma Cepa, Scleroderma Citrinum, Trichoderma Harzianum and so much more!

This enables the cannabis cultivator to take their plants all the way from seed, straight through to harvest.

Natures Living Soil as always deliver a great organic Autoflower mix with some fantastic ingredients:

  • Organic Earthworm Castings
  • Azomite
  • Epsom Salt
  • Coconut Water Powder
  • Aloe Vera The Microorganisms
  • High Quality Bat Guano
  • Blood Meal, Bone Meal
  • Fish Bone Meal, Alfalfa Meal
  • Kelp Meal
  • Dolomite Lime

Yes, the Super Soil Autoflower Concentrate is expensive, and the quantities may not be the best, but when you’re after a premium autoflower soil and can stomach paying that little bit extra, then Natures Living Soil is always a safe bet.

    All-In-One Top Rated Established Soil Brand
    Price Could be Better

Purple Cow IndiCanja Organic Living Soil

Purple Cow IndiCanja is the new kid on block in terms of cannabis soil. They produce a whole host of different organic products, including seed starter mix, BIOActive vegetable Supercharger, right up to their Purple Cow IndiCanja Organic Soil.

This plant-based, natural organic soil mix contains the necessary minerals and nutrients to start your seedlings on their journey. Having been scientifically formulated and tested Purple Cow IndiCanja is lauded by the people at IndiCanja as good for all stages of plant growth, from young seedlings all the way through to flowering.

IndiCanja bills their soil as developed by growers, for growers as well as being ideal for beginners or pro’s, an all-in-one soil perfect for every stage of growth.

We already know about the qualities of someone like FoxFarm Soil, but the big question is, is there room for another organic soil? And ultimately does the Purple Cow IndiCanja have what it takes to sit among the top manufacturers?

Whilst a small number of consumers have experienced fungus gnats, the top-rated reviews from users so far would suggest they do, but the proof is in the pudding, or should we say the harvest…

    Certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute All-in-one Super Soil Good for Different Stages
    Expensive Some Bags May Be Infested With Fungus Gnats

Canna Terra Professional Soil Mix

CANNA Terra Professional soil is probably better known to cultivators that reside in the UK, as it’s not widely available in the USA or Canada.

This nitrogen-rich potting mix is not only highly rated but also very reasonably priced. With thousands of happy customers across the UK, Canna Terra has been in the soil business for a long time and knows it like the back of their hand. They make everything from potting soil to nutrients for plant cultivation.

What makes CANNA Terra Professional potting mix different from your everyday soil is the organic rich ingredients. Sphagnum moss peat, compost, worm castings, perlite, and a special ‘natural plant booster’ to name a few.

Canna Terra bills their potting mix as the ideal soil mix for indoor and outdoor cultivation.

The high value organic ingredients CANNA Terra uses such as airy peat moss helps to prevent diseases and promote exceptional root development whilst delivering formations of thicker stems and higher yields. Low sickness rates and faster metabolism helps to ensure increased production.

Because of the above characteristics, CANNA Terra Professional Soil Mix is preferred by many UK growers for growing a wide variety of plants.

CANNA Terra Professional Mix makes an excellent bed improver that delivers a complex water/air system ideal for virtually every form of cultivation.

    Highly Rated Great Price Popular in UK Cultivation Well-known Established Brand
    Availability Purchase from official store and look out for infestations

Best Soil for Cannabis: Buyers Guide

Buying soil for your cannabis plants might not seem important, but it’s one of the biggest deciding factors when it comes to plant health and overall yield.

Cannabis plants take anywhere from 4-6 months from seed to harvest. Clones may take upwards of 3 months to complete their life cycle. Not only is this a significant investment in time, but also the energy needed to fuel their growth.

This is why we’ve compiled this buyer’s guide to help you find the best potting soil mix for cannabis plants.

The Number of Plants

Before you give your hard-earned money away, how many cannabis plants will you grow? This is the first question you must ask yourself because it’ll paint a clear picture of how much soil you’ll need.

If you’re growing a single plant or 6-plants in small containers, you won’t require a bale of soil to fit your needs. Instead, you can get away with purchasing a single bag to keep your costs to a minimum.

However, if you’re growing multiple plants in large containers, then you’ll need to purchase multiple bags or a large bale-size bag of soil.

Whether you’re growing a warehouse full of cannabis plants or a single plant in your closet, knowing how much soil you need is the very first step you must take.

Stand-Alone or Supplement-Based?

This is the next important factor that you must consider. Do you want a soil mix that’s filled with all the necessary nutrition for your plants, or are you seeking a mild soil mix that can be amended with additional supplements?

If you choose a stand-alone potting soil product, then it might not be suitable for seedlings due to the overall strength. If you decide to go with a milder soil mix, then you’ll need to purchase additional nutrients.

Some growers find more freedom in purchasing soil mixes that contain fewer nutrients so they can fine-tune their overall overall nutrient content.

However, this method is only recommended for cultivators with experience. If you’re a beginner, fine-tuning your soil mix may prove to do more harm than good.

Beginners will benefit from utilizing a stand-alone soil mix for cannabis because it contains everything your crop needs to thrive from seed to harvest.

Although these products are not packed to the brim with nutrients, they will allow you to grow vigorous and high-yielding crops without the worry of nutrient burn.

Organic or Inorganic?

This is another essential question you need to ask yourself. Organic soil mixes contain ingredients that are from organic sources, which is scientifically proven to be better for the environment and your overall well-being.

Inorganic potting mixes tend to be cheaper in cost, but the price difference isn’t as large as in the past. Ultimately, this is a very personal question that only you can answer.

Living Soil Or Not?

Next, you’ll need to understand if you’re looking for a soil mix that contains beneficial microbes or not.

You may question this idea at first, but fungi (mycorrhizae) and bacteria play an integral role in breaking down nutrients for your prized cannabis plants.

In other words, beneficial microbes facilitate enhanced nutrient absorption, promote root growth, and provides a protective barrier against harmful bacteria and fungi.

Although you’ll likely see an increased price tag on soil mixes that contain beneficial microbes, it’s well worth it when you consider the effort it takes to grow high-quality cannabis flowers.

Is Growing in Soil Easy?

This is the main question that beginners ask. In fact, growing cannabis in soil is one of the easiest methods because it’s by far the most natural.

The vast majority of soil brands offer “plug-and-play” soil mixes. This means that you don’t need to do anything – except water them.

In these cases, you’ll need to look for soil brands that are already within the optimal pH range. By finding a pH balanced soil mix, you won’t need to worry about complicating matters with a pH pen.

Do You Need Additional Aeration?

Just like animals, your cannabis plants rely on oxygen to thrive. Alongside water and nutrients, air is a necessity when growing cannabis plants in soil.

Perlite is a primary material that cannabis growers use to increase the amount of air inside a soil mix. Not all soil brands contain perlite, so it’s essential to understand if your soil mix is too heavy.

Air pockets within your soil mix not only provide oxygen for the roots, but they also allow the root system to expand rapidly.

Furthermore, consistent air pockets within the potting mix enhance drainage, which will reduce the possibility of fungus and bacterial rot.

How To Grow Cannabis in Soil

Growing cannabis in soil is incredibly straightforward, especially when it’s already pH adjusted. Here are a few tips on getting your soil ready for your marijuana plants.

The first thing you need to do is fill your container 3/4 full with potting soil. Gently place your plant, and carefully add additional soil to cover the roots.

The cardinal rule is never compact the soil. Cannabis roots not only thrive from the nutrients within the soil mix, but also from the air pockets.

These tiny pores keep roots from rotting, so it’s essential that you refrain from pressing down on your soil mix.

If your soil mix is already pH adjusted, then you simply add water. Always allow your plant to satisfy its thirst before adding more water to avoid overwatering symptoms.

CLICK HERE >>> to read our fantastic 2020 Round-up Review & Guide of the Top 8 Best Soil for Cannabis | The Highest Crop

How to Grow Cannabis in Soil

First-time growers often start by growing cannabis in soil. If you’ve grown other plants in soil and/or have maintained a soil garden, this may be the best choice for you because you will already be familiar with a lot of what you need to understand to grow cannabis in soil.

Avoid Miracle-Gro! Do not use “Miracle-Gro” soil or any soil that has “extended-release” nutrients for growing cannabis. These types of soil will continue to release nitrogen to your plant roots for up to 6 months. This can cause deficiencies or burn your cannabis plants in the flowering/budding stage, reducing your overall yields. I have seen growers successively grow cannabis in Miracle-Gro, but many of them struggled with nutrient problems in the flowering stage.

Soil Pros for Growing Cannabis

Many Already Have Soil Experience – Growing cannabis in soil is similar to growing plants like tomatoes or corn – soil growing may be the most intuitive option for you, especially if you already have gardening experience.

Simple – hand-water your plants in containers

Outdoor Growing – most outdoor growers choose to grow with soil. In the wild, cannabis grows in soil, so growing outdoors in soil is most like a cannabis plant’s natural environment. Many people find that when growing cannabis outdoors, soil is the simplest and most intuitive way to grow. Growing with composted “super soil” gives the grower the ability to grow outside without needing to add synthetic bottled nutrients or manage the pH of the soil.

Option 1: Store-Bought Soil + Nutrients – Growers can buy soil online or at a store, and simply add nutrients throughout their grow while watering for thriving, happy cannabis plants.

Option 2: Compost or Purchase “Super Soil” – For those who don’t want to worry about soil pH or adding nutrients throughout the grow, there is the option of amending and composting your own super soil (or buying it already composted) specifically made for cannabis plants. While this option takes more time before you start growing, it can be somewhat simpler especially for those who have composted soil in the past.

Note: Some growers believe growing in organic composted super soil with a rich microbial life can actually improve the taste and smell of cannabis by causing a plant to produce higher levels of terpenes and terpenoids.

Soil Cons for Growing Cannabis

Pests – Soil is an organic material, and there are many types of bugs that can live in soil. Often, soil-growers seem to suffer more often from pests attacking their plants than hydroponic growers.

Slower Growth – Growing in soil is not as fast as growing in a soilless or hydroponic setup – hydroponic plants tend to get better growth rates, especially in the vegetative stage.

Get Soil and a Container for Your Cannabis Plants

  • Common cannabis soil mixes include Fox Farms Happy Frog and Fox Farms Ocean Forest. Any high-quality organic soil mix will do in a pinch.
  • Avoid Miracle-Gro soil or anything with “extended-release” nutrients!
  • To improve drainage, it can be beneficial to add 30% perlite to aerate and loosen soil.
  • Common cannabis containers include classic plastic pots, terracotta pots, smart pots (fabric pots) and air-pots. Learn more about different types of containers

Soil growing probably requires the least effort of any growing method (especially if growing in super soil). Your main effort will be spent watering your plants.

Not sure which soil should you start with? I recommend starting with Fox Farms Happy Frog soil and mixing the soil with about 30-40% perlite for a perfect cannabis soil starting mix. For the easiest soil growing, get a smart pot (a growing container made out of fabric – they work perfectly for growing cannabis).

Don’t want to use nutrients? Learn how to mix up your own super soil so it has all the nutrients your cannabis plants will need! Bonus: With composted super soil made using the recipe in the link above, you don’t need to worry about maintaining your pH! your super soil will automatically manage the pH for you.

Maintenance Cost – After setup, the main maintenance will be replacing your soil every grow (highly recommended – reused soil often does not get great results even with added nutrients). Occasionally you will have to replace used containers that crack or break. You also need to think about the cost of electricity and replacing nutrients every few grows.

Maintenance Effort – Watering your plants, providing nutrients and managing the pH to prevent deficiencies (composted super soil has microorganisms in it to help manage pH and make nutrients available to your plant roots).

How long until harvest? Soil has relatively slower growth rates than hydroponic methods, but a tuned-in soil grow can achieve impressive growth rates if given a great environment and plenty of bright light. Most soil grows require 1-3 months of vegetative time (depending on how big you want your plants) plus 2-3 months of flowering/budding (depending on your strain).

Many growers feel that cannabis grown in organic super soil has the best smell/taste profile, though this is highly disputed among hydroponic growers 🙂

How long can grower be away? It’s important for a grower to always remain close by for their first grow, especially for inexperienced growers. Experienced growers can safely spend more time away from the garden.

Bigger containers hold more water and therefore give growers more time away, since constant watering isn’t needed. In the best-case scenario, it is always best to check on your plants at least once a day. You never know when a pest infestation will take hold, a plant will fall over, or some other unexpected event will happen.

Most Common Soil Mistake: Overwatering

The most common mistake made by beginners growing cannabis in soil is they water their plants too often. Overwatering is almost never a case of giving your plants too much water at once. Instead, overwatering cannabis in soil is almost always caused by giving the plant water too often.

How to water cannabis plants in soil

Wait until the top of your soil feels dry up to your first knuckle (about an inch deep)

Add nutrients to your water (if needed), then adjust the pH. The most common reason growers get nutrient deficiencies is because they don’t adjust the pH of their water. Most soil growers only add nutrients every other watering (or even less often), but even when giving just plain water you still need to adjust the pH of your water to prevent deficiencies.

Start watering your plants and continue to add water until you see at least 20% extra runoff water drain out the bottom of your pot. Go back to step 1.

Cannabis-Friendly Soil Nutrient Suggestions

For new nutrients you haven’t grown with before, always start at half-strength and raise the amount slowly. Do not use nutrients with every watering! Most growers will add nutrients every other watering or even less frequently. Remember, a little bit goes a long way. You can always add more nutrients later, but it’s a lot more difficult to take them back from the soil.

An easy and simple nutrient system for beginning cannabis soil growers is the Fox Farms Nutrient Trio for Soil.

The Fox Farms trio works great for growing any cannabis strain, without needing any additional supplements.

There are three different bottles that you will need to grow cannabis, “Grow Big,” “Big Bloom,” and “Tiger Bloom.” They are often sold together. Simply follow the included nutrient schedule (here’s a PDF, here’s a JPG) from Fox Farms.

Be aware there is a soil version because Fox Farms offers a hydroponic version of the same nutrient line. Though in my experience the hydroponic version also works just as well in soil 🙂

Nutrient Picks for Growing in Soil

    HydroOrganics Earth Juice Nutrients (Grow, Bloom) with the following supplements: Earth Juice Catalyst, Meta-K, MicroBlast & Hygrozyme (use as needed for roots)

This nutrient schedule was used to grow the following buds under a 250W LED.

Don’t Use Miracle-Gro or Other “Slow Release” Soils!

Say “No” to Miracle-Gro soil for growing cannabis!

Many of us have seen Miracle-Gro used around our homes, so we know that it works for ‘regular houseplants’. Cannabis is just a tough weed, so Miracle-Gro nutrients should work great for it, too… right?

No. Not really. Well kinda.

Standard Miracle-Gro nutrients (their all-purpose plant food) will work “just okay” for the vegetative stage of your plant’s growth, but anything with Miracle-Gro in it is a terrible choice for the flowering stage due to its high levels of Nitrogen. Using standard Miracle-Gro nutrients in the flowering stage will cause your buds to grow smaller than they could have, and they may possibly have a chemical taste from nutrient buildup in the plant tissue.

However, the real problem is Miracle-Gro’s “time-released” soil (or any type of extended-release spikes or soils that aren’t organic) which slowly release Miracle-Gro nutrients over the course of several months. These types of soil continue providing Nitrogen slowly throughout your plant’s life. That means your plant won’t be able to use up all the Nitrogen in the vegetative stage as it would with regular soil, again giving you the problem of too much Nitrogen in the flowering stage.

Basically, avoid giving your plants a lot of Nitrogen in the flowering stage! Anything that does that is not a good idea 🙂

General overview of soil growing. Get the pros and cons! ]]>