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Growing cannabis outdoors offers many benefits. Firstly, it can be very affordable. You do not need to provide a structure like a greenhouse or high tunnel. In addition, artificial light is not necessary if you place it in the right spot in your yard, because your plants can benefit from the sun’s abundant and free energy. In addition, you do not necessarily have to provide costly soil for your plants outside. But for the best results, you want good marijuana soil that will help your plants grow healthy and happy. DripWorks is here to offer you a few simple tips for finding and creating the best soil for growing marijuana outdoors. Soil Types Four basic soil types exist: sand, clay, silt, and loam. Each has its pros and cons for gardening. Sand is easily permeable for root growth, for instance, but it does not hold on to water or fertilizer well. Clay is just the opposite. When it’s hot and dry, clay can become hard as a rock, making it difficult for roots to penetrate. Clay drains poorly and is hard to cultivate. On the plus side, it is rich in minerals and natural nutrients. Silt soils have lots of minerals and retain moisture well. Like clay, however, this type of soil can become compacted and hard in certain conditions. It can also form a crust, making it difficult for moisture and nutrients to reach plants’ roots. Loam for Growing Marijuana & Other Crops Of these types, loam is by far the best soil mix for growing marijuana plants and many other types of crops. Loam is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt, bringing forth the best qualities of these disparate types of soil while minimizing their worst attributes. The optimal ratio for loam is 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand. Most folks think a pH of 6.0 is best for cannabis, with a range of 5.8 to 6.3 being acceptable. With a pH close to neutral, loam is typically in that zone or close to it. Test kits are available to measure your soil’s acidity, or you can take a sample to your friendly local extension agent. If your dirt does not have the proper acidity, soil amendments are available to lower or raise the pH level in your soil. Your local nursery, garden store or extension agent can make some suggestions. Loam is ideal for containers as well as for outdoor growing. Unfortunately, it is usually the most expensive soil to buy. But if you are interested in growing the best plants possible, it can pay big dividends in the long run. You can also build up your own loam soil by adding organic matter to it. If you have a compost bin, you can use the compost to improve your soil. This will be a time-consuming and ongoing process but with grit and persistence will pay off in the long run. Water, Light and Nutrients You will want to provide the proper amount of light and water to your plants, of course. A drip irrigation system can cut your water bills while improving the health of your plants. Kits are available that give you everything you need to get started. If you prefer, you can start from scratch and obtain separate components to put them all together. Just like humans, plants need the right nutrients. The most important ones for your cannabis plants are nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphate (P). These make up the ratios you will typically see on fertilizer labels. The right balance is essential for healthy growth. Many pre-mixed marijuana fertilizers are available, making your job easier. But if you prefer, you can also formulate your own. Soil is the root of all plant life. Plenty of high-quality cannabis soil preparations are now available for growers with all different cultivation styles What is the best soil for cannabis growing and is it easier/cheaper to make it yourself or buy it? Read on to find out more about the best soil

The Best Soil for Growing Marijuana Outdoors

Growing cannabis outdoors offers many benefits. Firstly, it can be very affordable. You do not need to provide a structure like a greenhouse or high tunnel. In addition, artificial light is not necessary if you place it in the right spot in your yard, because your plants can benefit from the sun’s abundant and free energy.

In addition, you do not necessarily have to provide costly soil for your plants outside. But for the best results, you want good marijuana soil that will help your plants grow healthy and happy. DripWorks is here to offer you a few simple tips for finding and creating the best soil for growing marijuana outdoors.

Soil Types

Four basic soil types exist: sand, clay, silt, and loam. Each has its pros and cons for gardening.

Sand is easily permeable for root growth, for instance, but it does not hold on to water or fertilizer well.

Clay is just the opposite. When it’s hot and dry, clay can become hard as a rock, making it difficult for roots to penetrate. Clay drains poorly and is hard to cultivate. On the plus side, it is rich in minerals and natural nutrients.

Silt soils have lots of minerals and retain moisture well. Like clay, however, this type of soil can become compacted and hard in certain conditions. It can also form a crust, making it difficult for moisture and nutrients to reach plants’ roots.

Loam for Growing Marijuana & Other Crops

Of these types, loam is by far the best soil mix for growing marijuana plants and many other types of crops. Loam is a mixture of clay, sand, and silt, bringing forth the best qualities of these disparate types of soil while minimizing their worst attributes.

The optimal ratio for loam is 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand. Most folks think a pH of 6.0 is best for cannabis, with a range of 5.8 to 6.3 being acceptable. With a pH close to neutral, loam is typically in that zone or close to it.

Test kits are available to measure your soil’s acidity, or you can take a sample to your friendly local extension agent. If your dirt does not have the proper acidity, soil amendments are available to lower or raise the pH level in your soil. Your local nursery, garden store or extension agent can make some suggestions.

Loam is ideal for containers as well as for outdoor growing. Unfortunately, it is usually the most expensive soil to buy. But if you are interested in growing the best plants possible, it can pay big dividends in the long run.
You can also build up your own loam soil by adding organic matter to it. If you have a compost bin, you can use the compost to improve your soil. This will be a time-consuming and ongoing process but with grit and persistence will pay off in the long run.

Water, Light and Nutrients

You will want to provide the proper amount of light and water to your plants, of course. A drip irrigation system can cut your water bills while improving the health of your plants. Kits are available that give you everything you need to get started. If you prefer, you can start from scratch and obtain separate components to put them all together.

Just like humans, plants need the right nutrients. The most important ones for your cannabis plants are nitrogen (N), potassium (K) and phosphate (P). These make up the ratios you will typically see on fertilizer labels.

The right balance is essential for healthy growth. Many pre-mixed marijuana fertilizers are available, making your job easier. But if you prefer, you can also formulate your own.

Digging into the dankest dirt: the best soil for growing cannabis

Soil is the root of all plant life…because it literally feeds the roots! Sure, you could use hydroponics to grow cannabis, but despite the extra work, hydroponic systems don’t appear to improve cannabis plant growth or potency over soil which is the tried and true growing medium for marijuana. Despite soil’s relative lack of precision compared to hydroponics, it remains the preferred medium for numerous seasoned cannabis cultivators – and is obviously the way nature intended, as cannabis was growing wild long before humans started domesticating it. 1 2

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While many home-growers admire soil, few cultivators can agree on the best soil for growing cannabis. Finding the perfect balance of nutrients, aeration, and water retention can take some time for new and even professional growers to figure out. Not to mention the numerous variables that can influence which soil is ideal, including watering and feeding patterns, types of grow-container used, and even the origin of the variety (or strain) being grown. Thankfully, plenty of high-quality cannabis soil preparations are now available for growers with all different cultivation styles.

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants that are moderate to heavy feeders
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size

Happy Frog Potting Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size

Fox Farm “Bush Doctor” Coco Loco

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size

Nature’s Living Soil Autoflower Concentrate

  • Specialized for autoflowering seeds
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: $24, $43, or $68

Purple Cow IndiCanja Organic Living Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: $35.00

Roots Organics Formula 707

  • Suitable for large-container plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: ~ $40 – $75

Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Price: ~ $75

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants that are moderate to heavy feeders
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 12 quart, 2 cubic foot, 27 cubic foot tote, or 55 cubic foot tote
  • Not organic
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size
  • contains additions like fish emulsions and crab meal for high nutrient density
  • one of Fox Farm’s most nutrient-dense potting soils
  • full of rich soil amendments like bat guano, crab meal, and fish emulsions

Of Fox Farm’s many best-selling mixes, Ocean Forest usually ranks as the company’s best potting soil for cannabis. This soil formula is more nutrient-dense than Happy Frog, which makes Ocean Forest less reliant on supplemental nutrients. While this could pose problems for young plants, it will help vegetative plants grow to their full potential.

Ocean Forest gets its name from its high concentration of amendments like fish emulsion and crab meal. Ocean Forest’s formula makes nitrogen deficiencies nearly impossible with plenty of earthworm castings and bat guano.

You may need extra nutrients during flowering, but it’s essential to have a light hand when using supplements. Ocean Forest is “hotter” than other potting mixes, so it’s best to cut your recommended feeding schedule by at least half.

If cultivators find Ocean Forest is too hot to handle, they may want to dial it back with milder formulas. For instance, many people enjoy combining Ocean Forest with Happy Frog. Once people learn to use Ocean Forest, they often rave about its performance.

Happy Frog Potting Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 12 quart, 2 cubic foot, 27 cubic foot tote, or 55 cubic foot tote
  • Not organic
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size
  • well-balanced
  • mild potting soil ideal for beginners

One of Fox Farm’s “less hot” potting soils, ideal for delicate seedlings.

Excellent soil for beginners who don’t mind adding supplemental nutrients.

Makes it easy to avoid overfeeding and “nutrient burn.”

The Happy Frog Potting Soil is considered one of Fox Farm’s “weaker” soil formulas, but that’s not a criticism! Unlike Ocean Forest, Happy Frog focuses on the beginning stages of growth when plants can’t handle excessive nutrients.

Many cultivators use Happy Frog to give their seedlings a safe space to mature. While Happy Frog has additions like earthworm castings and bat guano, you’ll need to add nutrients as cannabis gets into the vegetative stage.

The allure of Happy Frog is in its simplicity. New growers often have the best time with this soil because they can easily follow their supplemental nutrients’ guide.

Anyone who fears they’ll “overfeed” their cannabis plants should start with a bag of Happy Frog. As you gain more experience with cultivation, consider mixing Happy Frog with more fertilizer-rich formulas during flowering.

Fox Farm “Bush Doctor” Coco Loco

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 12 quart, 2 cubic foot, 27 cubic foot tote, or 55 cubic foot tote
  • Not organic
  • Price: $16.99 – $700+, depending on size
  • rich traces of coco coir provide high-quality pest resistance and water retention
  • high coco coir formula with plenty of nutrient-rich amendments
  • superior water retention and pest resistance

As its name hints, Fox Farm’s Coco Loco formula largely consists of the inert medium coco coir. Unlike plain potting soil, coco coir only has noteworthy traces of potassium. In fact, coco coir is often viewed as a “stepping stone” medium for those transitioning from soil to hydroponics.

While not every grower is a fan of coco coir, it has many excellent features like water retention and pest resistance. Plus, since Fox Farm’s Coco Loco adds ingredients like kelp, bat guano, and earthworm castings, there’s less need to fear nutrient deficiencies.

With Coco Loco, you get the benefits of growing in coco coir without having to significantly adjust your feeding schedule. You may, however, need to tweak your watering schedule, especially if you don’t add perlite which aids in aeration, allowing more oxygen to get to the roots. Coco coir retains moisture more than other mediums, so please resist the urge to overwater!

Nature’s Living Soil Autoflower Concentrate

  • Specialized for autoflowering seeds
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 1 lb., 5 lbs., 10 lbs.
  • Organic
  • Price: $24, $43, or $68
  • rich collection of amendments and microorganisms well-suited for autoflowering plants
  • includes high quality additions ranging from bat guano to bone meal
  • easy to add to regular potting mix for extra root support

Want to create a “super soil” in the shortest amount of time? Try adding Nature’s Living Soil’s Autoflower Concentrate to a generic potting mix.

This well-reviewed soil amendment is so potent you only need to add one pound per five-gallon container. Nature’s Living Soil promises its signature product is “pre-cooked” and contains dozens of beneficial bacteria for autoflowers.

Cultivators are impressed with the wide array of extra compounds like organic earthworm castings, fishbone meal, and kelp. The company also puts beneficial fungi in its formula, which may even give it a slightly “moldy” (but harmless!) appearance.

While Nature’s Living Soil’s Auto Concentrate may seem too hot (or nutrient rich), it’s recommended for all stages of an auto’s life cycle. So, if you want to give your autos a boost, it may be worth your while to mix in this unique concentrate.

Purple Cow IndiCanja Organic Living Soil

  • Suitable for potted plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 15 pounds
  • Organic
  • Price: $35.00
  • organic, compost-based “super soil” mix
  • premade “super soil” with dozens of beneficial microorganisms
  • ultra-green organic formula made with compost

Purple Cow may not be as famous as Fox Farm, but it’s gaining attention with fans of “super soil.” This organic soil mix relies on compost to give it higher traces of bioavailable nutrients and bacteria.

According to Purple Cow’s founders, you won’t need any supplemental nutrients when planting your cannabis in this “living soil.” That’s right; just water your soil, and watch your plants grow! While IndiCanja Living Soil may be too intense for seedlings, it should be all you need for mature plants.

Experienced cannabis growers who are curious about “super soils” may want to experiment with Purple Cow’s Living Soil. While IndiCanja may not replace a DIY super soil, it’s far more convenient to try at home.

Roots Organics Formula 707

  • Suitable for large-container plants
  • Indoor or outdoor
  • Sizes: 3, 10, and 20-gallon bags
  • Organic
  • Price: ~ $40 – $75
  • less nutrient-dense formula tailored for advanced growers
  • low-nutrient potting soil that’s ideal for growers who enjoy mixing DIY formulas
  • formula 707’s packaging doubles as a pot

Forget about the ingredients for a second; Roots Organics’ Formula 707 has one of the most fascinating packages. These large container bags could double as your cannabis plant’s pot. Simply cut off the bag’s top and put your plants in. Talk about convenience!

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But Formula 707 is way more than its unique container. While this soil mix has fewer nutrients than other formulas, that’s on purpose. Roots Organic intended this formula to accommodate advanced planters who like to make DIY mixes.

You should have some experience adding fertilizers and amendments like perlite before opting for Formula 707. While this may not be optimal for beginners, it’s a worthy choice for cannabis cultivators who crave control.

Mother Earth Coco Plus Perlite Mix

Suitable for potted plants
Indoor or outdoor
Sizes: 27 lbs.
Not organic
Price: ~ $75

  • pre-mixed formula of coco coir and perlite helps balance out drainage and water retention
  • high coco coir formula that gives home-growers optimal control
  • pre-mixed with 30 percent perlite for improved drainage

Like Fox Farm’s Coco Loco, Mother Earth’s Coco Plus Perlite Mix is an excellent choice for coco coir cultivation. This formula has the extra benefit of ~ 30 percent perlite, a useful component of soil which massively improves drainage, water retention and aeration.

While this formula is pretty “bare bones” (literally), that may suit growers who prefer adding macro and micronutrients. Indeed, anyone who struggles with “nutrient burn” may enjoy the superior control Mother Earth’s Coco formula provides.

Also, using coco formulas allows you to “test the waters” before opting for a hydroponics setup. Since coco coir is essentially an inert medium, it gives cultivators a taste of what hydroponics growing is all about.

What soil type is best for growing cannabis?

A quick tour of online weed forums will reveal many heated debates over the “best” soil for cannabis. While every master breeder has their preferred potting mix, there’s no such thing as the “best soil for growing weed.”

There are, however, some traits that all of the best soil mixes for cannabis share. Home-growers should consider key features such as:

What’s the ideal cannabis soil texture?

In terms of soil texture, cannabis prefers the “golden mean.” What we mean is that marijuana likes soil that has a fair balance of aeration and cohesion. Indeed, most cannabis forums describe the optimal soil texture as “loamy.”

Technically, “loam” combines three soil varieties: clay, sand, and silt. While you could use sand or silt on their own, they tend to be too extreme for optimal cannabis growth.

Sand is great for drainage, but poor at water retention. Silt is just the opposite. So, by merging these soils with water-retaining clay, loam offers an ideal balance for maturing marijuana plants.

It is common for cannabis growers to combine mediums such as coco coir or peat with additions such as perlite, lime, and organic matter (e.g. compost) to recreate the beneficial properties of loamy soil. 3 4

What about nutrient levels?

Cannabis plants require significant nutrients (minerals) to support their rapid growth during their one-season life cycle, and this is why they thrive in highly fertile soils. Generally the main minerals affecting cannabis plant growth are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K), but other many macro and micronutrients are also important to plant health. 5 6

Thankfully, cannabis can handle a wide range of nutrient levels without serious negative effects on plant growth and a major benefit of using soil is that it has greater buffer capacity over hydroponics.This means it’s less likely you’ll over- or under-feed your weed versus hydroponics. 7

Cannabis plants require different nutrient compositions at each stage of plant growth, i.e., propagation, vegetative and flowering. In other words, baby plants don’t need the same nutrition as teenagers do, and that too is different from what mature plants need to thrive.

Cultivators should evaluate how many fertilizers are in their soil mix and should also avoid time-released nutrients, as these can seriously disrupt a growing operation.

Generally, the more nutrients there are, the better drainage you need for your plants. While you want your plants to absorb nutrients, you also want to make sure they’re not getting overburdened with a build up of nutrients. Some growers “flush” out excess nutrient minerals during the final two weeks of flowering. 8

It’s common for new cultivators to overfeed their plants, especially when using soil. To avoid this common temptation, novice gardeners should start with soil mixes with minimal fertilizers.

What’s the perfect pH for cannabis soil?

Evaluating a soil’s pH is just as significant as checking out its texture. Cannabis roots cannot absorb nutrients if the pH ratios are out of whack.

While the optimal soil pH for cannabis has not yet been studied in the scientific literature, the common ranges of pH used in the cannabis industry are 5.8 – 6.2 for hydroponics, and 6.8 – 7.2 for soil. 9 10 Jin D, Jin S, Chen J (2019) Cannabis Indoor Growing Conditions, Management Practices, and Post-Harvest Treatment: A Review. American Journal of Plant Sciences 10: 925-946 11

While many soil companies will advertise their soil as “pH-corrected,” cultivators should always double-check these claims. Use a high-quality pH monitor to verify your soil will support healthy nutrient absorption.

How much soil do you need for cannabis plants?

While examining what’s in your soil is crucial, you also must consider how much soil you need. Nobody likes to have a big bag of unused soil sitting around in their space.

On average, home-growers use a three-gallon pot for each cannabis plant. In this case, most cannabis cultivators recommend about 1.5 cubic feet of soil for three cannabis plants in these containers.

Keep this average ratio in mind when evaluating how much soil to stock up on.

What’s the best soil for autoflowers?

Thanks to their ruderalis genetics, autoflowering seeds are tougher than most photoperiod strains. In fact, many cultivators claim it’s not good to pamper auto seeds with well-fertilized soil. That’s because autoflowering varieties are usually short in stature and have a shorter life cycle.

If you opt to use nutrient-dense soil formulas, it could easily cause “nutrient burn.”

Autoflowering fans should stick with simple potting soil for the best results. Some cultivators also express great success using a mix of peat moss, coco coir, and a bit of perlite for their autos.

Remember autoflowers don’t grow as large as regular cannabis strains. Be sure to factor in your auto’s average height before purchasing a bag of soil.

So, what’s the best soil for marijuana? You choose!

As you start “digging” through all the soil brands online, you’ll find so many options to choose from. From nutrient-dense “super soils” to inert coco coir formulas, there’s no “set soil” for cannabis cultivation. Indeed, finding the ideal soil for your cannabis grow operation will depend on your preferred growing style and the type of plant you’re growing.

Anyone new to cannabis cultivation should probably opt for a simple potting mix. While these may not give the “best results,” they tend to be the most forgiving. As you figure out your preferred growing style, you may want to experiment with flaming “hot” super soils or virtually inert coco coir mixes.

Just remember to constantly track the basics like pH, aeration, and water retention when experimenting with cannabis soils. No matter how advanced your soil claims to be, it will not work if these metrics aren’t in order.

How to choose the best soil for cannabis

Growing your own cannabis in soil is regarded by many as one of the easiest ways to produce high quality crops of delicious tasting buds. But what is the best soil for cannabis indoor growers? What about the best type of soil for outdoor cannabis? The best soil for cannabis combines excellent nutrition and good water retaining properties along with good drainage and an optimum pH.

What are the main traits of the best soil for cannabis?

The best soil for growing cannabis has several important functions to perform in order to allow healthy growth of the cannabis plant and the roots. There is a huge range of options from cheap supermarket soil to expensively blended specialist soils. Not all of these are ideal for growing cannabis. Here are some of the most important features for anyone seeking the best soil for cannabis growing:

Texture
Cannabis doesn’t grow well in heavily compacted, dense soils. The best soil mix for cannabis tends to be light and airy. This allows good levels of root oxygenation, especially when combined with air-pots or porous fabric root sacks. Healthy cannabis roots will thrive in a light, aerated soil.

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Cannabis roots. The importance of root health for cannabis growth

Drainage
A perfect soil mix for cannabis allows good drainage. Waterlogged soil results in poor root health and subsequent slow growth. If you water your plants and notice surface water forming in pools it is an indication that your soil may have poor drainage.

Water retention
The best soil for cannabis has good drainage qualities but at the same time it is able to retain some moisture for the roots to absorb.

pH value
The best ph for cannabis in soil around 6. Some growers ask ‘how to test soil ph for cannabis?’ You can buy specialist kits which measure soil pH, though many soil growers have never worried about testing pH. To some extent soil is self-buffering, meaning that soil growers need not worry about e.g. pH-adjusting their nutrients in the way that many hydroponic growers have to. Using a larger plant container with more grow medium enlarges the buffer zone and is the preferred approach by many soil-using cannabis growers.

Nutrients

Most soils contain a reasonable level of nutrients. These eventually become depleted, requiring the grower to use perhaps a bloom nutrient as the plant flowers. Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K) and Phosphorus (P) are the main nutrients, but there are plenty of other important trace nutrients which are also required.

Some growers like to avoid having to feed a bloom nutrient. Instead they try to make the best organic soil for cannabis which can feed the plant for the bulk of it’s life.
This can be done with slow release organic nutrients from companies such as BioTabs. Simply mix the slow release organic nutrients into your soil mix. One tip is to use a large initial soil container (e.g. 50 litres or more). With such a large reserve of nutrients in a large container of soil you may be able to avoid the worry of bloom nutrients for much (or even all) of your grow.

Related:
A visual guide to cannabis nutrient deficiencies

Organic soil vs soil mix

A good organic soil is often produced with generous levels of compost, peat and slow release nutrients which are broken down in the soil by beneficial bacteria. Some of these specialist soil can cost upwards of €/£/$ 50 per 50l bag and are said to contain sufficient nutrition for (almost) the entire grow.

The best soil mix for cannabis is often produced by blending several starting ingredients. The ingredients may include additives that are proven to be useful, such as bat guano, worm castings, dolomite limestone (contains Calcium & Magnesium), coco fibre, mycorrhizal bacteria as well as a high grade nutrient-rich soil/compost.
Many growers have found good results with peat based soils which don’t contain wood products. The absence of wood minimises potential problems later on with fungus gnats which thrive in a warm indoor grow room.

Lightmix is a blended soil type which is often used in the cannabis growing community. It contains a mixture of ingredients together with added perlite to make the medium more aerated. It also contains a small amount of nutrients, sufficient for the first weeks. Lightmix soil preparations are a good starting point for inexperienced growers.

The best soil for cannabis seeds and seedlings

Note that the best potting soil for cannabis seedlings and seeds is often a very light mix with low nutrient levels. Young cannabis plants and roots are easily burnt by soil which contains too many nutrients. The best soil for seedlings allows rapid root growth in the light, aerated soil. For young seedlings, nutrition is not as important as it is for mature plants in full bloom. In fact, a light mix with few nutrients is great for seeds and seedlings. Special soil types optimised for seedlings are available, such as Terra Seed Mix from Canna.

Photoperiod vs autoflowering cannabis soil

A good quality cannabis soil will give equally impressive results whether you are growing autoflower seeds or photoperiod feminised seeds. Don’t worry about making or purchasing different soil types. The cannabis roots have to absorb the same minerals and nutrients. There is simply no need to source different soils for your autoflower seeds and your feminised seeds. The best cannabis soils work well for both.

Best indoor vs outdoor soil for cannabis

Indoor cannabis growers are spoilt for choice when it comes to soil options. Many of the top brands do a great job. Some indoor growers are reluctant to change from their preferred soil choice once they feel settled with a particular soil recipe which works well for them. As well as trying to grow in the best soil for cannabis, indoor growers also try to fine-tune and improve their grow room conditions.

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How to grow cannabis indoors
Optimising your grow room conditions

Many outdoor cannabis growers simply use the existing outdoor soil. Sometimes this can be supplemented with well-rotted manure and other additives. Experienced outdoor growers will test the soil with specialist test kits and amend the soil accordingly. If the outdoor soil is simply too low in nutrients/quality (e.g. too sandy) then it can be supplemented by high quality soil form the grow shop. Remember cannabis has been growing outdoors without human intervention for hundreds of thousands of years. Cannabis can grow well in many outdoor soil types.

Outdoor growers can grow their plants in the ground or in containers. When growing in containers avoid dark coloured/black containers which can get very hot in direct sunlight and ‘cook’ the root ball. This can slow growth rates or even kill the plant.

When growing cannabis outdoors in hot, dry regions some growers add water absorbing crystals to the soil. These are water retaining polymers (as used in babies nappies) which can greatly increase the water retention properties of your soil.

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Growing outdoor cannabis
Top 5 outdoor cannabis seeds

Store-bought vs homemade cannabis soil

Many less experienced growers find it convenient to buy ready-made soil from their grow store. The more professional ‘living soil’ blends can be very expensive. That’s why some growers like to save some money and create their own soil blend themselves.

Note that there is not a single, definitive ‘best soil recipe for cannabis’. Cannabis grows well under a wide range of conditions and substrates. But if you want to know how to make your own soil for cannabis you may find the following recipe a good starting point. But remember you can vary the ratio of ingredients and even add your own supplements until you reach a blend that works well for you.

Basic cannabis soil recipe

Your choice of ingredients is quite wide. You can lighten the soil mix with coco coir, perlite, vermiculite or even sphagnum moss according to your preferences. Here is a suggested mix.

Main ingredients:
• 1 part coco fibre
• 1 part perlite
• 2 parts compost
• 1 cup of worm castings

Note. Other popular additives include small amounts of blood meal, dolomite lime, fish meal, bat guano, peat, bone meal etc. Mycorrhizal and other beneficial bacteria are also great at breaking down the soil and gradually releasing more nutrients. They are highly recommended to create a healthy ‘living’ soil.

Steps to follow:
• Sieve the compost to remove/break down any large lumps
• Place the sieved compost in a large mixing bucket and add the other ingredients
• Using your hands, ensure that all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.

Remember you can modify your recipe as you gain experience. But not everyone has the time to manually prepare and fine-tune their soil mixtures. For some people it’s easier to buy a proven brand of soil mix from the grow shop. For some growers the best cannabis soils are simply the easiest grow medium in which to produce the finest tasting organic cannabis.

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