While legislation emerges and society’s view of cannabis transforms further via positive scientific, medical, social, and tax information–generated, collected, and analyzed on a scale unseen before in modern society– more and more people are likely considering cultivation of their own cannabis. In states such as Colorado, which legalized recreational sales and regulates cannabis similar to alcohol, there exists limitations on how many plants an individual can cultivate for personal/ recreational purposes –most important being age– and where you can grow them. While hydroponic systems cut down on water waste, they can get expensive for lighting and maintain temperature, leaving many curious about getting the best soil for growing weed– the lowest overhead (still effective) method.
Before you are able to consume that sweet cannabinoid nectar, you’ve got to grow the plants, right? Well I have compiled some information on the nutrients you need in your soil to make your plants grow, flower, and bud so well the crystalline trichomes shimmer on frosted leaves, akin to snowflakes glistening in the morning sun, while your eyes are still adjusting; glaring at you as much as you long for her. By the end of this article, I hope to have answered the question ‘What is the best soil for growing weed?’
The Life Cycle of Marijuana
In my opinion, the best soil for growing weed really depends on the stage in the life cycle of the plant you are in. Let’s take a quick look at what I mean.
Germination/ seedling stage: In the germination phase, your plant should be getting NPK (for nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). The best potting soil for cannabis plants at this stage of the plant’s life cycle should have something like a 5:1:1 or 8:4:4 ratio and a pH level of around 6 (not neutral, but not too acidic or base) and should remain at room temperature (~72 degrees Fahrenheit), allowing for variances at night intervals.
Vegetative Stage: The best soil for growing weed will depend on a few things at this stage in the life cycle.
- What size container is the plant in?
- How much space between plants?
- Does the plant need to be transferred?
In this stage, the best potting soil for cannabis needs to be moist and not firmly packed; airy but solid and never sopping wet. It is important to note that marijuana lives most of its life in the vegetative stage. As this is the stage the plant really gets its sturdy frame and infamous leaves. To prevent rapid changes in plant structure and new growth, the best potting soil for cannabis growth should remain well watered. Ensure drainage, as excess water and lack of oxygen to the roots of your plants encourages microorganisms to cause rotting of the root system, possibly destroying your crop (GASP)!
It is also at this stage that you can begin identifying deficiencies (if any) and make the adjustments to make the best soil for growing weed you can. Soil at this stage requires a neutral pH of around 7. You can visit our friends over at Way to Grow and pick up some excellent fertilizers and nutrient feeds for your plants –but be cautious of overfeeding. Nutrient burn occurs when the soil has too many nutrients– so much so that it actually harms the plant.
Flowering Stage: The buds begin to develop and all your love begins to be realized in a diesel-y lemon-y dreamscape of aromas. The best potting soil for cannabis at the flowering stage should remain neutral in pH and maintain the above ratios of NPK, and increase exposure to Co2 until the last two weeks of the flowering stage (can be as simple as lighting a candle).
In the last two weeks of the flowering stage, the best soil for growing weed in is purged of its nutrient fertilizers, helping develop aromatics of your plant and make it extra safe to smoke. Using the ratios above, you can build your own soil and have it sent to you. Until you are familiar with how marijuana plants grow, expect to spend a little on plant fertilizers till you strike your perfect recipe.
Types of Soil
While the best potting soil for cannabis may differ on a plant to plant basis, if you plan on using soil in your growing operation there are typically three categories of soil, each with their own set of things to consider.
- Sandy Soil – Easy to prepare, though dry and poor at retaining nutrients. Low in nitrogen.
- Clay Soil – Precociously retaining water, clay soil is not so great at allowing oxygen to plants and can slow the transportation of water to your plant’s growing system because it is just dense.
- Loamy Soil – It’s basically the ideal soil for plant growth: airy, but packed AND loose enough for root growth; nutrient rich (though not always) and friendly to new growers and experts.
When designing the best potting soil for cannabis plants that you parent, it is important to consider the environment. Where are you geographically communicates a lot about the best soil for growing weed in your area? What’s the climate? What season?
What space will the plants physically occupy also communicates certain nutrient risk factors, not to mention issues that arise if a male plant pollinates the flowering female plant (I.E – more energy goes into seed production than cannabinoid concentration.) Below I have listed additional environmental factors that may affect nutrient distribution and growth during the vegetative and flowering stages like:
rain – prolonged drops in temperature below 45 F – heavy winds – extended/ irregular periods of darkness – overcast for days – freeze – hail
Your plant needs different things at each stage of its life for overall success. As the parent of a growing plant, you should make sure that you maintain a near neutral pH in the soil throughout the grow and that the soil is rich in NPK –or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Use of fertilizers in both the vegetative and early flowering stages is important to maintaining the upward and outward growth the plant experiences in these months. The best potting soil for cannabis is located in an environment rich in Co2 and oxygen and is around 70% humidity consistently (though the plant can grow under many conditions). In the last two weeks of flowering, you should purge the nutrient fertilizers. Depending upon which soil type you are working with, all nutrients and water consumption aspects are adjusted on a plant by plant basis.