Exploring the Different Growing Mediums for Cannabis

November 30, 2022 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Exploring the Different Growing Mediums for Cannabis

Growing cannabis at home is increasing in popularity thanks to widespread cannabis legalization. Many people prefer to grow their own medicine rather than depend on a dispensary to carry quality, consistent medicine. Many medical patients become partial to certain strains of cannabis. Even more so, they become partial to certain strains of cannabis that are properly cultivated.

Sadly, consistency in the medical or recreational cannabis space isn’t exactly something you can depend on. You might have a strain that works wonders for you one day and then never see it again. You might have a strain flowered to perfection once, only to find the same strain by a different grower lacking all of the qualities the next time.

When you grow your own cannabis at home, you get far more control over the characteristics of the strain. With quality genetics and the right growing environment and methodology, effective strains can be produced consistently. Whether you’re cultivating indoors, outdoors, or in a greenhouse, one of the most important factors for a good harvest is the growing medium you choose.

Different Growing Mediums

One thing all grow mediums have in common is they require nutrients. Regardless of your technique for cultivating cannabis, your roots will need food. Cannabis, like any other plant, needs to be fed. More particularly, it needs to be fed certain things during certain stages in order for it to mature properly. Different grow mediums require different types of nutrients and methodologies for cultivation. Let’s explore.


Not just any soil works for cannabis cultivation. For example, Miracle-Gro, a common soil that many people like to turn to, is extremely high in salt. Cannabis does not grow well in that kind of soil. There are many different brands of soil that cater specifically to the cannabis industry, but these soils can become very expensive. A good potting soil without fertilizer added to it can be used for cannabis cultivation. Good potting soil will have amendments such as perlite, coco coir, and other materials added to it, each of which helps perform a different task, such as providing more oxygen, allowing drainage, and preventing clumping, to name a few.

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Living Soil

Living soil is taking potting soil to the next level. It adds in things such as compost, peat moss, worm castings, manure, aged tree bark, and other things to create living soil. Living soil differs from standard potting soil—unlike potting soil, living soil does not need nutrients. Instead, growers supply optimum conditions that allow the plant to feed on the nutrients it needs as needed.

Super Soil

Super soil is a blend of base soil, typically composed of potting soil, tree bark, perlite, peat moss, and coco coir. Then, other amendments are added to this mixture, such as fish bone meal, rock dust, and bat guano, among many other things. There are different recipes online for making your own super soil. Super soil isn’t something that is just mixed together and used right away, though. In many instances, super soil requires a cook time. This means it is mixed together and then sits for several days, weeks, and sometimes even months before it is used for cultivation.


Hydroponics is a unique form of gardening that can be applied to cannabis cultivation. Hydroponics is the growing of plants using a water-based solution of nutrients. This particular method for cultivating cannabis can either be done with or without an inert growing medium, but soil is rarely used as a medium in hydroponics. Growers who choose this method often choose lava rocks, small stones, pea gravel, river rocks, or other types of rocks when a medium is used.


Aquaponics is a system for cannabis cultivation and other plants that uses hydroponics without the added nutrients. Instead, aquaponics uses wastewater produced by farmed fish. The wastewater from the farmed fish is fed to cannabis plants, which in turn filter the nutrients from the water, in essence cleaning it before returning it to the storage area where the fish are farmed to be reused.


Aeroponics is a unique method of cultivating various plants that can also be used to grow cannabis. With aeroponics, no soil or aggregate medium is used. Instead, roots are suspended in mid-air, where they meet a fine mist that is fortified with a nutrient solution. Most aeroponic gardening systems employ vertical gardening, which helps save space. Plants grown using this technique also grow faster and average larger yields.

If cannabis cultivation is legal where you live and you are considering giving it a try, go for it! Be prepared for some challenges, but the reward is worth the effort. Most people choose to begin cultivating cannabis using soil as their growing medium. Once you understand the basics and have successfully grown a few plants, you may choose to dive into one of the other many methods of cannabis cultivation—or not!

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