Last updated: April 8, 2021
Choosing the right soil for a cannabis grow is a tricky process. There’s a lot of variables to take into account, and though reviews might be good for one batch a few months later it might not be true. We’re going to be looking for products that consistently seem to bring out good results, without there being any issues that have cropped up too much.
We also want to be sure the product isn’t going to have nasty surprises like molds or bugs, or if they sometimes do, we want to make sure it’s a known factor that can be dealt with. Let’s take a look through some of the better products we’ve come across.
|Best Overall||FoxFarm Happy Frog Potting Soil||
|Best Value||Black Gold Organic Potting Soil||
|Premium Choice||Coast of Maine Platinum Grower's Mix||
|Roots Organics ROS Coco Soilless Mix||
|Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix||
FoxFarm consistently puts out a great product, with Happy Frog being one of the best. It’s a planting soil rich with beneficial microbe and fungi, the perfect environment for growing cannabis plants. It works with all stages of plant growth, even seedlings seem to take to this fairly well as it’s not a super-rich soil and is PH balanced, but a great base to start with for any container grow.
For the biggest possible yields during flowering, there are some improvements to be made by mixing this with other fertilizers, but it is a consistent soil that will do the job even on its own. Great for beginners and as a base for even experts, Happy Frog makes its way into a lot of our grows for this reason.
Beyond that, the price is solid and one bag is plenty for a small grow to get started. Easily the top recommendation for these reasons.
Black Gold is an inexpensive loamy soil, ideal for beginner potted grows. This soil mixes in perlite and pumice on top of peat moss and organic composts which provides nice spacing and helps avoid overwatering issues as well as being a good nutrient base. Furthermore, the price point is hard to beat and the ease of use for new growers is a very nice bonus. This makes it one of the best soils for growing cannabis for the money.
Bugs are a bit of a pain with this one. The compost they are using seems to provide a very nice environment for them, which is normal, but we were pretty much swarmed by gnats on opening the first bag of this. However, we just gave it a quick peroxide and water rinse and it cleared things out fairly quickly.
This isn’t an uncommon occurrence with organic soils; it’s just something to be prepared for when going this route.
Coast of Maine’s extremely hardy soil is alive with microbes and fungus, it’s great for mature plants but may be a bit overwhelming for seedlings or other sensitives. Ideally, use this on a maturing plant that is hitting its vegetative stage with a stride. The amount of nutrients locked into this bag is impressive, thus the price tag, but it can indeed shock less healthy plants.
Bugs can be an issue here as well, same for most organic mixes, and we had a similar experience with this as the Black Gold stuff. Except more, since the bag is bigger. Rinsed a bit, and potentially mixed with lesser strength soils depending on the needs of your plant, and this is a great soil well worth the hefty price tag.
Great hydroponic mix that even takes seedlings into account, but misses the top of the list because it is not useful by itself for soil-based grows. This is a mix of coco and perlite, with a bit of added fertilizer for young plants before their roots reach into the nutrient bath of a hydroponics set up.
For that purpose, Roots Organics is excellent. Price-wise it’s about the middle of the road, but it should be plenty for a medium grow to get up and running.
This isn’t going to work as a general use product for potted plants though, it’s too airy and won’t hold the nutrients needed to keep a plant alive under those conditions without adding in a fair amount of denser soil. As a mixture to add some aeration to other soils or as a hydroponics base, it does indeed work well.
Mother Earth offers another type of coco and perlite mix here is intended for potted plant use, as opposed to the Roots Organic options mentioned before. The idea is to mix this with another hardier soil for nutrients and use this to create some spaces within the soil to avoid overwatering issues.
It works great for these purposes; the plant’s roots get plenty of air and the inert medium helps cut down the risk of shock when using particular strong soils and nutrients. It’s probably a bit overpriced though, for what’s being offered.
An excellent filler, though it is, a non-Mother Earth branded coco perlite mix can get the job done equally well.
Your plants spend their entire life within a growing medium of some kind. It provides food, water, and protection to the most sensitive area of the plant’s body, so choosing a proper soil is important for their health. Let’s take a look at some important aspects to consider when choosing this all-important aspect of a cannabis grow.
Cannabis roots breathe air when they’re not covered in water. Any time they are completely soaked it is similar to drowning them. This can be avoided by letting the soil dry out a bit in between waterings, as overwatering is the biggest cause of these issues as well as other problems such as mold and root rot.
Adding something to a dense, hardy soil such as some perlite or coco helps immensely with this. It is not needed exactly, but if you’re concerned about the risk of overwatering then adding more aeration to a mix is a great plan.
Organic soils come with a host of beneficial microbes and funguses that are excellent for the overall nutritional health of your plant, they also attract a massive number of insects without precautions.
Organic insecticides can help with this, and giving the soils a rinse before using is also very much recommended. There is always going to be more effort involved with using organic soil, but it does pay dividends into the overall health of your plants.
pH balanced soils are widely available and are recommended for growers who aren’t fully used to have to check this every once in a while. pH is the measurement of acidity in a medium, water and soil for cannabis, and it needs to be kept between 6.5 and 7.5 for healthy plants.
This varies over time due to natural biological processes but should stay within that range with a properly balanced soil. If the soil ever gets out of this range you can use either lime to bring it down or vinegar to bring it up for a quick fix.
Make sure to purchase a pH-balanced soil if you are not prepared to deal with this sort of issue if it crops up.
Soils are a very important part of growing any plant, and the better-suited one is for your specific needs the better the result is going to be for your plants.
As a safe bet, Happy Frog by Fox Farm is the recommended soil. It contains a nice balance of nutrients, is PH balanced, isn’t too expensive, and has very little risk in shocking your plants.
For anyone looking to dip into organics, then Black Gold Organic Potting Soil is a solid pick for smaller grows on a budget.
Adding in a good coco and perlite mix such as Roots Organics ROS Coco Soilless Mix is also not a bad plan if you are concerned about overwatering.
Hopefully, some of this will help you along your path through the convoluted world of cannabis growing soils.
Featured Image Credit By: Coast of Maine – Platinum Grower’s Mix, Super Soil, amazon
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