Hydroponics vs. Soil Cultivation of Marijuana

Anyone starting out in the marijuana growing industry has to decide their method of cultivation beforehand and get all of their materials together accordingly. If you are confused about the differences between these two popular methods of cultivation, read on and find out the pros and cons of each!

What Is Hydroponic Cultivation?

Hydroponic cultivation is the “newer” way of growing marijuana compared to traditional soil cultivation. Many of the new commercial cultivation operations sprouting up today are of this variety.

It’s seen as a more advanced method of farming, but with the right tools, you can start up a hydroponic weed farm even as a beginner.

Hydroponic cultivation is basically where the plant is not grown in soil, but in nutrient-enriched water and an inert growth medium. An inert growth medium is chemically inactive and does not have any effect on the plant itself. Some hydroponic techniques do not even make the use of a medium.

It can be as basic as hand watering your plants in inert mediums, but professional growers make use of several professional devices like pumps, timers, and reservoirs.

The types of hydroponic cultivation are many, including aeroponics, continuous flow, deep water cultivation or DWC, drip irrigation, ebb and flow and nutrient film technique (NFT). Because of all the different interconnected systems having a solid grow room design that prioritizes space savings while ensuring healthy air circulation and temperature control is essential for creating a grow operation (and business!) that is reliable and scalable.

The medium (if needed) can also be of various materials, all different suiting needs. Popular mediums include clay pebbles, rock wool, perlite, and coco coir.

Pros Of Hydroponic Cultivation

In hydroponic cultivation, the roots of the plant are directly fed nutrients, which offers farmers more control over their plant growth as there is no soil acting as a buffer.

Marijuana grown by this method has been proven to grow much faster compared to soil growing. Your weed plants can grow up to 20% faster via hydroponics.

You can harvest more marijuana using hydroponics. This means you will need lesser space for growth and still get higher yields compared to soil.

Since there is no soil used, there are no pests and pesky weeds to take care of. The harvest is also clean as there is no need for pesticides that would be used in soil.

Hydroponics also use way lesser water quantities than soil, and the water can be recycled and reused.

Cons Of Hydroponic Cultivation

To grow marijuana by hydroponics, a lot of knowledge is required. There is a learning curve involved, and beginners with limited experience may have a hard time. Since the nutrients are given directly to the roots, a farmer must know exactly the amount needed, or it may lead to a subpar harvest.

Money! You will need to invest a larger amount of money when using hydroponics to buy the equipment and materials required. You will need to get water reservoirs, pumps, lighting, temperature control systems, and much more.

Hydroponics also require constant monitoring. You will have to keep an eye on the nutrient levels, room temperature, humidity, lighting, and the proper functioning of all the equipment.

Hydroponics need to be grown indoors to control all the variables needed for good growth, and so you will require an indoor space just for farming.

What Is Soil Cultivation?

Soil Cultivation of marijuana is the traditional method that most farmers use. Beginners usually start with soil cultivation, and many brands use this method of farming as well.  In this method, the plant absorbs nutrients through the soil for growth.

Pros Of Soil Cultivation

This method can be used indoors as well as outdoors. Hydroponics claims to yield more in a smaller space. Growing marijuana in soil outdoors removes the space constraints, and so large farms can harvest equal or more amounts of marijuana.

Its relatively simple, and anyone with basic knowledge and experience in gardening can take this up.

A lesser amount of money and investment is required as materials like pots and soil are way cheaper than a high-end hydroponic system.

Hydroponics usually use synthetic nutrients as organic nutrients are known to clog systems. With soil cultivation, organic growth is possible, which is a plus as everyone looks out for the organic stamp on their products nowadays.

Cons Of Soil Cultivation

Growing marijuana in the soil does not offer the same amount of control over your plants as hydroponics does. You can control the number of nutrients put in, but since it is absorbed through the soil, the effects are not direct.

Soil grown plants take a longer time to grow, so you will not be able to fit a lot of growth cycles into every year. Due to slower growth, any problems in the plant can take a while to show up and be noticed, which will delay its solution as well.

If you have space constraints, you may have a smaller harvest compared to hydroponics as soil plants yield lesser in the same space. However, soil cultivation is PERFECT for areas with plenty of open land space and friendly summer climates, like Alaska for example!

Growing marijuana in soil outdoors does not allow for any control over environmental factors like humidity, water, temperature, and sunlight.

With soil comes weeds, mold, and pests, which you will have to keep an eye out for. Soil growing is also a lot messier and may become an inconvenience for indoor farming.

Summing Up

Picking your style of marijuana cultivation will depend on your level of expertise and what purpose you are growing it for. While people using both techniques claim theirs is superior, both of them come with drawbacks and complications.

Once you are clear about your mission and the time and effort you can put into your farming, the type of cultivation method you’ll enjoy should become apparent to you.