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Soil Cannabis vs. Hydroponics: What Is The Difference?

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Soil Cannabis vs. Hydroponics: What Is The Difference?

Soil Cannabis vs. Hydroponics: What Is The Difference?

Soil Cannabis vs. Hydroponics What Is The Difference

Below, we will explore and highlight the key differences between soil and hydroponic growing methods. We will compare various aspects such as the type of growing media used, the growing environment, the availability and use of cannabis nutrients, the quality of the end-product, the level of difficulty involved, and any other relevant information that you need to be aware of.

With this comprehensive comparison, you will gain a deeper understanding of the pros and cons of each method and be able to make an informed decision on which growing technique to use.

Germination, Transplanting, and Harvesting

Germination is the very first stage in a cannabis grow, and is essential to producing healthy plants with good yields of flowers. Germination techniques such as the glass of water or kitchen towel method are used to start seeds.

For soil growers, they can sow directly into their final container or garden plot, or may opt for the additional step of using soil plugs before transplanting them. Hydro growers typically use Rockwool cubes that fit into net pots, which are then placed into their hydroponic system. It’s important during this stage to monitor seed germination rate and ensure adequate warmth, moisture, and air flow.

Plus, if starting with unproven genetics it’s key to do small tests until you know how your particular strain performs throughout its growth cycle.


Once a hydroponic plant has germinated, it is advised that the same net pot and hydroponic system be maintained in order for optimal growth throughout the entire growing cycle. However, for soil growers, transplanting can be more of a common practice. It all depends on individual preferences.

Some may prefer to sow their seeds directly into their final growing container whereas others may benefit from transplanting them into larger containers as they develop to give the plant more rootspace to thrive over time.

Transplanting offers many benefits such as avoiding overcrowded plants or providing extra space or room for root growth which enables direct access to nutrient solutions coming from the soil. It can also reduce competition between roots which allows new plants to develop and produce better yielding fruit and vegetables.

In addition, transplanting allows gardeners to work with seasons and choose varieties accordingly since some crops are not suitable during certain times of year. All these factors make it easier for cultivators to make sure plants get their ideal amount of sunlight, water and nutrients necessary for successful harvest season after season.


Harvesting is the process of collecting plants when they are ready to be consumed or used. Harvesting soil and hydroponic plants is a popular method employed by growers in order to maximize their yield and quality.

The primary difference between harvesting soil and hydroponic plants lies more in the growing conditions than the actual process. Although, wet or dry trimming can be used with either type of growth, whichever best suits the grower’s needs.

In any case, after all the hard work put into producing a successful crop both soil and hydroponics will require proper curing before harvesting can take place. Depending on the strain being grown it could take anywhere from days to weeks for the buds to reach maximum potency before you start trimming them for use.

Once you have harvested your plants it’s important that that curing process is followed correctly if you want high-quality buds. Alternatively, harvest immediately for lower quality but quicker results like concentrates or pre-rolls. After all this hard work it’s always a good feeling knowing that you’re cleaned up another successful harvest whatever it was in soil or water!

Growing Medium

Growing Medium

The growing medium is an essential part of plant growth and cultivation. In soil cultivation, the most commonly used medium to sustain plants is dirt or soil. Soil provides plants with vital key nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potash by a process called diffusion. Additionally, some soil farmers administer synthetic nutrients that plants are able to uptake immediately for quicker growth.

Organic matter found within the soil helps retain water and aids in aeration so the roots can breathe properly. The organic matter also increases microbial life which helps break down other microelements into usable forms for easy absorption for the plants.

In hydroponic cultivation, there are several different types of growing media that can be used including coconut coir, perlite, rockwool, vermiculite and clay pellets just to name a few. All of these substrates have advantages that differ from soil-based mediums – since these materials are void of any real nutrients they require special additives like fertilizers or compost tea in order to supply the necessary macronutrients and micronutrients.


Soil growers are a diverse bunch, using different techniques to feed or fertilize their weed plants. Many employ organic methods such as manure, straw, wood chips, and compost to slowly supply their cannabis plants with the necessary range of nutrients.

The benefit of this approach is that it is most sustainable, but it can take time for the organic matter to break down into plant-usable nutrients. When relying on organic methods, starting with high-quality soil is essential. Alternatively, some soil growers may use Korean natural farming (KNF) techniques to create plant ferments for foliar sprays or root drenches. This can provide a fast-acting solution that delivers an array of minerals in one go.

Finally, there are synthetic routes where liquid or powdered nutrients—designed for either budding or flowering stages—are available immediately and administered on a precise schedule. Thus, regardless of which technique you choose to adopt as a grower; ultimately your goal will be obtaining the best quality soil your plant needs to thrive.


The option of hydroponic growing gives cultivators the potential to yield larger and faster-growing plants. Hydroponic growers must pinpoint exactly how much nourishment their cannabis plants require for optimal growth, as opposed to regular soil growers whose feeding can be more forgiving.

This means that hydroponic growers must either rely upon commercial notes – highly concentrated formulations which have been specifically blended for maximum nutrient content – or fish manure, which is a more natural alternative.

These formulas contain an array of essential elements such as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous, ensuring that your marijuana plants obtain the optimal level of nutrition they demand.


Indoor growing is definitely a great way to gain control over environmental factors such as watering, humidity, and light exposure. By preventing excessive or limited sunlight, rain, and other extreme environmental conditions, growers are able to produce higher-quality products with more consistent yields.

Growing indoors also has the advantage of significantly reducing the risk of pests; common insect screens can keep out flying and crawling insects, while a few simple hygiene practices can prevent the growth of bacteria and diseases that could harm your weed plants.


Outdoors, more attention is required to ensure that plants can survive and thrive in their environment. Growers must consider how temperature, humidity, pests, and disease may affect the growing cycle. For hydroponic setups, a major challenge is overheating of reservoirs during heat waves.

To overcome this issue, shade cloth or partially sunny spot placements are recommended. When it comes to the growing medium itself, soil is usually preferred as it offers free space on the ground with no additional costs. On the other hand, containers are useful for gardens with limited space or those in gravel or concrete areas.

Soil vs Hydroponic Cannabis: Making a Choice

Soil vs Hydroponic Cannabis: Making a Choice

When it comes to deciding whether soil or hydroponic cannabis is the right choice for your growing needs, price is an important factor. Growing with soil can be especially costly if you have a large grow operation and need to replenish the soil at the end of every season with compost.

On the other hand, hydroponically grown cannabis tends to be cheaper in comparison because it requires fewer inputs like nutrients and energy-saving equipment such as air pumps, while still producing good yields.

Space is another consideration when weighing up soil vs hydroponic cannabis. For those with limited space, hydroponics may offer a more practical solution due to its compactness and minimal surface area usage.

With soil, plants tend to require more vertical space for root growth since they have the potential to expand far beyond the soilless containers in which they are confined. That being said, there are also methods such as no-till that allow growers to make use of larger amounts of land without entirely discarding existing vegetation.

The Advantage Of Growing Cannabis Hydroponically

When it comes to growing cannabis, hydroponics is an optimal choice. With a hydroponic system, you don’t have the hassle of soil and instead use an inert solution that helps directly supply nutrients, water, and oxygen to your root zone. There are numerous types of hydroponics setups you can choose from, each with its own list of advantages.

One major advantage of using a hydroponic method instead of soil is improved nutrient uptake since the cannabis roots maintain contact with nutrient-enriched water at all times. Since there’s no need to replace soils, worries over contaminants like insecticides or disease organisms are also reduced.

Growing Cannabis In Soil

Growing Cannabis In Soil

Growing cannabis in soil is a traditional and reliable way to cultivate the plant. There are two main options you can choose from when selecting a medium for your soil grows – true soil or a soilless mix. True soil has been used for centuries and includes naturally occurring organic matter consisting of composted garden materials, decayed leaves, and other living organisms.

While this type of medium offers great nutrients for your plants, it also requires more maintenance since you’ll need to fertilize throughout the growth cycle.

The second option is a soilless mix which is typically made up of peat moss, perlite for aeration, and dolomitic lime to control the pH levels of the peat moss. This soilless mix is often pre-fertilized as well, requiring less regular supplements than with true soil while still providing plenty of nutrients.

Another advantage to using this soilless mix over true soil is that it won’t become compacted or waterlogged after hard rains like standard dirt can. Ultimately, both true soil and soilless mixes have their advantages, making the choice between them strictly dependent on personal preference and available resources.

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