You’ll also want to take this time to check over your weed plants for pests, mold, or nutrient deficiencies.
Soil is the most traditional medium for growing marijuana indoors, as well as the most forgiving, making it a good choice for first-time growers. Any high-quality potting soil will work, as long as it doesn’t contain artificial extended release fertilizer—like Miracle Gro—which is unsuitable for growing good cannabis.
For small spaces or tents, clip-on fans can be attached to structures like walls, corners, or support beams. For larger grow rooms, use medium-sized oscillating fans or big floor models.
Carbon filters usually work best when positioned at the highest point in your grow space, where the most heat accumulates.
Terra cotta pots offer a unique set of benefits to growers in hot climates.
Watering and nutrients.
As much fun as growing marijuana indoors is, having a home that perpetually smells like fresh weed can be a serious inconvenience, if not to you than possibly your neighbors. Although weed odor from a small indoor grow in a closet is much easier to manage than a large grow with several flowering plants, both can produce pesky odors that will permeate an entire home if left unattended.
Inevitably, there will be fluctuations of temperature and humidity in your cannabis garden. These fluctuations can occur both throughout a grow space as well as within pockets inside a given room. They can also occur at different points within a given day or throughout a season as conditions change in the environment outside your grow space.
Before watering, check the pH of your water and add pH Up or Down if needed.
You can make this yourself by combining worm castings, bat guano, and other components with a good soil and letting it sit for a few weeks, or it can be purchased pre-made from a local nursery or grow shop.
Proper air circulation will help maintain temperature and humidity, and also bring down odor. Ideally, air needs to move through a garden every few minutes, and you should create a vent to the outside. Oscillating fans, and intake and exhaust fans can move air through your garden quickly, taking odors out with them.
Every space is different and there will be a learning curve to growing in yours.
These are just some examples of amendments commonly used in different types of soils. Heavily amended soils will have long lists that break down all organic nutrients they contain. Some companies create soils that offer a great structure with base nutrients, but allow you to fill in the gaps as you desire.
Although it’s more resource-intensive than growing outdoors and you will likely have to spend more money on utilities to power equipment, you can control every aspect of your grow environment and what you put in your plant, allowing you to dial in your setup to grow some primo weed.
If you’re growing in a cold, wet basement, you might have to run a dehumidifier or heater to stabilize the environment. Conversely, if your space is too hot, you might need to add extra fans or an AC to cool the plants down.
One trick to avoid hot temps is to have the grow lights on during the evening, when it’s cooler outside, and leave the lights off during the day when it’s hot. This may help bring down the temps, but you’ll only be able to work on the plants at nighttime when the lights are on.
Finding the right soil for cannabis.
For the most part, weed prefers these temps at each growth stage for optimal health:
What type of container you use will depend on the grow medium, the system, and the size of your plants.
When starting with clones or seedlings, you’ll want to check your plants every day because they’re delicate and sensitive to environmental conditions. You may need to adjust temperature and humidity levels in your indoor grow space at first to hit the sweet spot for your plants.
But the benefits are great: LEDs last much longer, use far less electricity, create less heat, and the best designs generate a fuller spectrum of light, which can get bigger yields and better quality.
Even in legal states, you may want to conceal your crop from judgmental neighbors and definitely from potential thieves. Growing indoors allows you to grow discreetly behind a locked door.
Plants in the vegetative stage maintain a low odor as they haven’t begun to produce terpenes, the plant’s aromatic compounds. As weed plants transition into the flowering phase, trichomes will start to develop and produce terpenes, causing them to smell more.
The biggest variability in how long a marijuana plant takes to grow will happen in the vegetative stage—after the seedling phase and before flower.
For growers who have a little extra money to spend and want full control over their indoor garden, environmental controllers will allow you to automate the process. These devices are essential for if you’re away from the garden for a long period of time.
Remember, a common mistake newbie growers make is to overwater plants.
For example, it takes less time to grow 3′ weed plants than 5′ plants; in the span of a year, you can maybe grow four harvests of 3′ plants, or two harvests of 5′ plants.
Although you’ll be controlling the climate inside the grow space, climate outside the grow space will affect your plants. If the environment outside your grow space is very warm or humid, you’ll have issues controlling your grow space. Choose a cool, dry area with ready access to fresh air from outside.
Growing weed indoors is great because you can grow it any time of year and you’ll have complete control over the plant and what you put into it. Live in an apartment or a small house? Don’t worry, you can grow weed practically anywhere, even if you don’t have a backyard or a lot of extra space.
It’s also a good idea to have oscillating fans to provide a constant breeze in your grow room as it will strengthen your plants’ stems, making them stronger and healthier.
Light emitting diode (LED) technology has been around for a while, and they are getting more efficient all the time. The main drawback to LED grow lights is their cost: well-designed fixtures can cost 10 times what a comparable HID setup would.
You can let your plants get as big as you want, and can control when they flower and when you harvest, and you can start another batch right away or whenever you want. You can grow any time of year, even straight through winter or summer, and you’ll get consistent crops each time.
This is a great option if you want to nurture your crop from seedling through to harvesting. This Espoma soil contains excellent nutrition for early-stage growth. You will need to begin with small pots, before transferring your growing plants later. It contains peat moss, perlite, and peat humus – not to mention a hose of nutrients that aid strong root growth.
It is unlikely that your cannabis soil will have the ideal drainage, texture, and water retaining abilities. Fortunately, there are a host of amendments available to alter the drainage, texture, and water-retaining capacity of your soil. Here are four of the most popular:
The apparent simplicity of picking soil often fools newcomers, and they frequently make mistakes that cost them their harvest. The truth is, you have to make a lot of considerations. For example, the soil you use for indoor growing is not the same one you’ll need for an outdoor grow. Then there is the small matter of things like pH, drainage, and a host of other criteria.
The texture, drainage ability, and water holding ability are arguably the most critical aspects of marijuana soil. Your plant will not produce a good yield if it doesn’t have the right mixture of water and oxygen in the roots 24/7. If there is too much water, the roots won’t get enough oxygen. If there isn’t enough water, the roots can dry out quickly and become damaged.
Yes, we are talking about worm poop! Once you get past the initial horror, you’ll find that your marijuana plants adore worm castings. They improve water retention, drainage, and texture. Their natural nutrients are quickly broken down. Worm castings typically include useful microorganisms since they go through the digestive systems of worms. Keep the level of worm castings down to around 30%.
Best for Seedlings – Espoma.
Whether you want to call it dirt or a growth medium, soil is a crucial component for growing marijuana. Choosing the best soil for your weed is arguably the most critical decision you’ll make when growing cannabis at home. Getting it right is likely the difference between a bountiful harvest and utter failure.
This type of soil is among the best organic options for cannabis. Clays consist of fine crystalline particles created via chemical reactions amongst minerals or other natural resources. You can mold or shape clay soil, but it is hard to work with and drains poorly.
On the plus side, sandy soil is easy to prepare for cultivation, offers good drainage, and contains high oxygen levels. It is one of the best options for growing weed indoors.
Loam is, without doubt, the favorite weed soil of growers. It makes the best soil for potted plants and is probably the best soil for plants in general. It contains the right balance of all three soil types (clay, silt, and sand) along with humus. This combination ensures that loam has high calcium levels, but it also has a relatively high pH.
If you try to use this kind of soil, expect to have difficulty in getting the plant’s roots to penetrate the surface. Clay soil has a high pH. While it stabilizes plants, the soil is heavy and requires a lot of effort overall.
This organic blend is designed to enable a higher water-holding capacity. It includes ingredients such as bat guano, kelp meal, and fish & crab meal. It is suitable for marijuana plants that are beyond the seedling stage. We love the ready-to-use pot because it enables you to transfer your plants immediately.
Battery acid and hydrochloric acid have a pH of 0, while liquid drain clearing fluid has a pH of 14. Ideally, your cannabis soil is slightly acidic. Most experts believe that the ideal pH is 6.0. However, you are on solid ground if your soil’s pH is between 5.8 and 6.3. Your crop will survive outside of this range, but the yields are likely much smaller. If you stray too far from the 5.8-6.3 range, the plants will die.
Sandy soil is known for its large granular size and has a low pH. The issue with this type of soil is that it dries quickly and often experiences difficulties in moisture absorption. The nutrients also get washed away, and nitrogen, in particular, is lost rapidly from sandy soil.
When you water the plant, it moves essential nutrients and minerals to the roots. Then, they travel to the rest of the plant. Water cools overheated plants down and is a critical ingredient for photosynthesis. The best advice we can give is to water the soil until it is moist, but not wet to the touch. Overwatering aids the growth of harmful fungi, which can result in root disease, so exercise caution!
If you are a beginner grower, you must purchase your soil from a garden store. Did you know that the vast majority of expert growers also buy their soil? A handy tip when talking with a store employee is to ask about the right kind of soil for tomatoes. It is an excellent option if you feel uncomfortable disclosing your desire to grow weed!
At wayofleaf.com, we took the liberty of recommending a few store-bought soils for your cannabis plants. Please note that these are NOT for seedlings, as they contain too many nutrients. These are soils designed to help your plant thrive once it reaches the vegetative stage. Otherwise, you need to look at potting soil brands when your plant is still a seedling.
High-quality marijuana soil should have:
Overall, you can’t go wrong with an organic super soil and fertilizer mix. The super soil offers the ideal blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon, and a myriad of other nutrients. You can make them yourself, but once again, we recommend investing in store-bought pot soil.
Irrigation in soil is easier than with hydroponic systems, as is fertilization. With so much information gathered from thousands of years of growing, you can quickly become a soil expert as long as you read the right articles!
Ultimately, you can choose between soil or a hydroponic system if you wish to grow weed at home. A hydroponic system is potentially extremely effective, but it is also expensive. Generally speaking, those cultivating their cannabis for the first time should choose soil. The roots of your plants will extend deep into the earth as they look for nutrients and water.
That’s why indoor systems, which have a lack of space, need to create smaller root systems for marijuana. Regardless of the root system you choose, make sure the temperature in the growing area stays around 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
The trouble with organic matter is that it gets depleted rapidly. This means you have to amend it on a season by season basis.
Pros & Cons of Growing Cannabis in Soil.
This is probably the most commonly purchased amendment and is ideal for practically any soil mix. It consists of airy ‘rocks’ known for their white hue. Perlite looks a bit like popcorn and improves drainage while adding oxygen. Use 10-20% to improve water retention. You can go as high as 40%, but you risk leaching nutrients faster. If you use Perlite and Vermiculite, don’t go above 50% for the two combined.
It is normal to go to your local garden store full of enthusiasm. That is until you are knocked back by the enormous number of options. First of all, please note that buying it in bulk could be a mistake. There are no certifications or standards attached to soil quality. Believe it or not, some of these sellers provide you with soil from construction sites. They could even sell soil excavated from basements!
Before we continue with the best soil brands for growing cannabis, let’s look at general guidelines for indoor and outdoor soil.
Of course, ample water and oxygen in the soil is a must.
This is made from coconut husks and manages to improve water retention without causing the soil to become heavy. When you use coco coir, the roots of your plant should develop quicker, and you’re less likely to overwater. You can grow your marijuana in pure coco coir. However, a maximum of 30% is best for a productive soil amendment.
It is, however, the best soil for cannabis, which means it is worth the time and effort that you have to put in. No matter what type of soil you have, creating loam involves adding organic matter to it each year. The decomposing plant material creates the excellent drainage conditions your weed needs.
This is because they don’t benefit from nature in the same way as outdoor growers. Use heat to sterilize the soil and add nutrient-rich potting soil mix. You can make it yourself, but newbies should purchase it from the garden store. Water the soil correctly. Also, keep it in a room with a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and test the pH every so often.
The Fox Farm company has over three decades of experience in the industry. It is a well-renowned maker of cannabis soil in the United States. Its FX14047 soil mix contains a unique blend of mycorrhizal fungi, and much more. It helps increase root development rapidly. When you use FX14047, your plants will develop a strong structure and experience rapid vegetative growth.
Super Soil has a colony of micro-organisms living in the soil which form a symbiotic relationship with your plant roots. They deliver nutrients to your plant, and in return they eat the sugars that get secreted by your roots!
I think most growers agree a good cannabis soil should look dark and rich, with a loose texture that drains well and can hold water without getting muddy (you want wet soil, not dirt-batter!). But beyond that, what do you look for?
Good Cannabis Soil This soil has quite a bit of perlite, which is a good choice if you plan to feed heavily with nutrients and supplements since the extra perlite prevents nutrient buildup in the soil.
The “micro-herd” in the soil delivers nutrients directly to your plants. As long as you’re using decent water, you usually don’t need to worry about pH or other things that can disrupt nutrient absorption in regular soil.
Good Cannabis Soil Rich and light composted soil. Since this soil doesn’t have a lot of perlite, it’s a good choice for a grower who doesn’t want to add a lot of extra nutrients or supplements in the water.
Kind “Super” Soil (Living Soil)
Some popular soil examples that I’ve used with good results include:
Recommended soil nutrients:
Nugbuckets is a famous organic soil grower! Check out his plants!
If you get the soil part right, you have almost everything you need to get to harvest! With the correct texture, drainage and water retention, you’ve got a perfect base. Add good soil cannabis nutrients, especially in the budding phase, and you should get to harvest with great results!
Usually an organic potting mix does not have enough nutrients to last your plants for more than a few weeks, so it’s a good idea to always supplement with cannabis-friendly nutrients, especially in the flowering stage when your plant is making buds and needs lots of extra Phosphorus and Potassium.
When it comes to growing cannabis in soil, unless you’re using a brand that is known for making soil that is specifically cannabis-friendly, there are a few things that you need to consider before starting a grow.
Here’s organic “super” soil up close.
Bad Cannabis Soil Don’t use dirt from outside! It almost never works, especially if it looks like this!
Some growers choose an amended and composted “hot” soil that slowly releases nutrients over time. With this type of soil, you typically just add water or natural supplements like worm tea from seed to harvest. Other growers prefer a lighter potting mix so they have more control, and give nutrients in the water once the plant roots have used up the nutrients in the soil. But which brands can you trust?
Important Cannabis Soil Considerations.
Note: Don’t worry, there’ll be examples of good and bad soil in just a bit!
Espona Organic Potting Mix is found in many stores in the US, and works for growing cannabis!
Note: You’ll likely never see any soil mix with ALL those ingredients, but I wanted to share examples of common cannabis-friendly ingredients and amendments that often appear on the label of good soil 🙂
Bad Cannabis Soil Cannabis soil should not have a whole lot of big visible wood chips in it. That means the soil hasn’t been fully composted, and all the nutrients and goodness in that wood is mostly unavailable to your plants.
However, when growing with Super Soil, it’s a good idea to avoid watering too much at a time, as extra runoff waterwill drain away some of the nutrinets. Try to give just enough water to saturate the soil with very little extra coming out the bottom. Since you won’t be adding more nutrients through the grow, you want to conserve what’s in the soil!
What should you look for in good cannabis soil?
What gets the best results for growing cannabis is a soil with a light texture that is good at retaining water…but not too much!
More About Common Amendments to Alter Texture, Drainage & Water Retention of Soil.
The composting process creates a “living” soil that is full of microorganisms in the rhizosphere (area around the roots). Properly composted soil has nutrient sources that slowly break down over the course of your plant’s lifecycle. It very closely mimics what happens in nature.
Now here are a few examples of good and bad cannabis soil so you can see the texture you’re looking for!
If you are willing to keep transplanting to bigger pots as your plant uses up the nutrients in the soil, you don’t need to supplement with extra nutrients. However, even if you grow in the same pot from seed to harvest, Fox Farm offers a complete nutrient system that is also formulated for plants like cannabis and goes perfectly with their soil to make sure your plant is getting the right levels of nutrients throughout its life.
Bad Cannabis Soil This soil is muddy, clumpy and waterlogged. It retains too much moisture, which makes it really easy to overwater your plants.
This is what kind of soil to get if you don’t have any “good” soil available, but want something that is known to work for growing cannabis.
Try to get soil that looks like this!
Although that list looks vague and complicated at the same time, the requirements you want to meet are actually pretty simple; let me break it down!