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Growing Cannabis: Hydroponics vs Soil

Every medium has its pros and cons, factors like environment and price may influence the right choice.
11 May 2020
4 min read
Growing Cannabis: Hydroponics vs Soil

  • 1. Advantages of growing cannabis in soil
  • 1. a. Relatively cheap and easy
  • 1. b. Less experience needed
  • 1. c. Bigger yields (in some cases)
  • 1. d. Low maintenance required
  • 2. Disadvantages of growing cannabis in soil
  • 2. a. Slower grow rate
  • 2. b. Pests and bugs
  • 2. c. Less terpenes (compared to hydro)
  • 3. Advantages of growing cannabis in hydroponic setups
  • 3. a. Less likely to get pests
  • 3. b. Faster grow rate
  • 3. c. Better overall quality
  • 4. Disadvantages of growing cannabis in hydroponic setups
  • 4. a. Expensive setup costs
  • 4. b. High maintenance required
  • 4. c. Hard to optimize feeding
  • 4. d. Difficulty of setting hydro outdoors
  • 5. In conclusion

One of the biggest debates in the growing world is over which medium will result in better quality and yield. There will never be a correct answer as it really depends on what suits you as a grower. Every medium has its pros and cons, factors like environment and price may influence the right choice.

Here is a comparison between hydro and soil growing to help you make the best decision.

1. Advantages of Growing Cannabis in Soil

Relatively Cheap and Easy

Soil is the easiest and cheapest medium, there’s no much need for equipment other than pots and a container to water your plants. People just starting growing may even get soil from the local park or anywhere where there are healthy plants growing to avoid spending in soil.


Growing Cannabis: in soil

Advantages of growing cannabis in soil.

Less Experience Needed

Growing in the soil seems to be what many people try first when it comes to growing in cannabis. This may be the best choice for beginners if you’ve grown or taken care of any other plant in soil because you’ll be familiar with the medium. 

Bigger Yields (In Some Cases)

When growing in soil outdoors you can expect bigger yields than in hydroponics because you’re not restricted by space and your plants can grow as big as they like, if you grow indoors you can apply training techniques and if applied correctly you will have bigger yields.


Growing Cannabis: Advantages of Growing Cannabis in Soil

One of the advantages of growing cannabis outdoors in soil is a bigger harvest than in hydroponic grow.

Low Maintenance Required

After the initial setup, the main cost of soil will be replacing broken pots when needed and changing soil after every harvest. It is not recommended to reuse soil unless you know how to amend it as al the nutrients have been absorbed by the plants.

2. Disadvantages of Growing Cannabis in Soil  

Slower Grow Rate

Because of the resistance of soil, roots will develop slower than they do in soilless mediums like hydroponics. Plants in hydro may develop smaller roots but will grow faster especially in the vegetative stage.

Pests and Bugs

A big disadvantage of soil is getting pests. This medium is organic matter and contains organic material that attracts many types of bugs that can live in soil, growers seem to suffer more often from pests and bugs in soil than in hydroponic setups.

Less terpenes (Compared to Hydro)

As said above, this medium contains organic matter that can influence in the smell and taste of your flowers. Now, this doesn’t mean your harvest will taste bad but because they’re in soil their taste and smell won’t be as good as soilless grown cannabis. 

3. Advantages of Growing Cannabis in Hydroponic Setups  

Less likely to Get Pests

Of all the grow mediums, hydroponics is the least likely to be attacked by bugs. Although it’s still possible, many pests need soil as part of their life cycle, the lack of soil and organic material will significantly lower the chance of pests reaching your plants.

Faster Grow Rate

Plants in hydroponics grow their roots directly in a mix of water and nutrients, there’s no resistance from the medium so they tend to grow much faster in the vegetative stage, this can result in harvesting sooner.


Growing Cannabis: Advantages of Growing Cannabis in Hydroponic Setups 

Autoflowers grown in hydroponic setups will grow much taller and quicker due to a constant feeding of nutrients and water.

Better Overall quality

Hydroponic growers usually get the best tasting and smelling flowers as there is no medium to influence it. The more experienced growers can give their plants optimum growing conditions and this may result in a bigger yield also.

4. Disadvantages of Growing Cannabis in Hydroponic Setups

Expensive Setup Costs

Hydro setups are way more expensive to set up initially than growing in soil it also may require a bit of knowledge. There are DIY setups that reduce costs but there is essential equipment that cannot be left aside.

High Maintenance Required

Some hydro growing methods are relatively high maintenance and may take lots of checking, measuring, and adjusting for the best results. Neglecting to check these parameters may result in root problems. This is very common when growing hydro because the roots are openly exposed to the solution and environment.


Growing in Hydroponics: Roots

The hydroponic method provides the nutrients, water, and oxygen directly to the roots.

Hard to Optimize Feeding

Getting the right amount of nutrients can be very difficult for hydro growers, especially when combining nutrients from different companies. In a hydroponic setup you have complete control over the nutrients your plants get, this means you can fix deficiencies quick and easy but also means feeding requires special attention and should be monitored closely.

Difficulty of Setting Hydro Outdoors

Growing hydro outdoors is possible but can be very difficult in some cases. For example, you need a sterile environment and controlling heat/cold which can be extremely hard in some situations outdoors. There’s also the need to plug the equipment to the power grid and sometimes this isn’t possible outside.

5. In Conclusion

We recommend beginners to start growing the simplest way possible and get a feel of what you like and don’t in every medium. Every medium has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Once you establish your method of growing you’ll naturally begin to improve your setup, and eventually reaching a more complex setup, such as hydroponics.

11 May 2020