Marijuana has become increasingly popular, gaining total legality in multiple states and Washington D.C.. The recent legalization makes it an ideal time to try to grow your own. Growing marijuana with these tips will help ensure a quality product and a satisfying process.
The most crucial aspect is having the best soil for growing marijuana. Overall, loam soil tends to create the ideal conditions for healthy plants. It allows for good drainage while maintaining moistness and mixes well with fertilizers.
After this article, you’ll understand precisely how to choose the best soil for growing marijuana, even if you can’t access loam. You’ll also learn about other essential tips for healthy plants.
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Why Loam Is the Best Soil for Growing Marijuana
Loam is the best soil for growing marijuana. Part of that is because it’s typically the best soil for growing any crop.
When you research soil types, you’ll find them in four categories:
The truth is that you create loam by mixing sand, clay, and silt soil. This unique mix allows you to experience the benefits of each style without the drawbacks.
Usually, loam consists of 20% clay, 40% silt, and 40% sand.
What that means for growing marijuana is that you end up with soft soil with ideal drainage from the sand. The clay provides helpful minerals and nutrients. And the silt does the same while holding onto moisture better than sand.
Altogether, you get soil that creates the ideal conditions for marijuana plants.
Considerations for Choosing Soil
While loam is the best soil option for growing marijuana, it can sometimes be expensive. If you’d prefer to try other soil types, here are the important considerations so you can choose most soils and still succeed.
Drainage and Water Retention
Drainage and water retention sound like opposites, but they work together to keep your plant healthy.
Ideally, soil for growing marijuana should have an almost loose, light texture in your hand. When you pour water onto it, it should quickly drain out the bottom without forming pools on the top.
While it quickly drains, it shouldn’t lose all of that moisture. After the water is gone, the soil should remain quite wet without being muddy.
The roots of your marijuana plant will need that moisture to stay healthy, but soil that stays too wet can lead to root rot or suffocation.
A soil’s pH is a measurement of the acidity level. Acidic items, like lemon juice, will have lower numbers, whereas basic or alkaline items, like milk, will have higher numbers.
Generally, the neutral point of the scale is 7.0, and water is a neutral substance.
Cannabis plants enjoy slightly acidic soil, doing their best at a pH of 6 or within the range of 5.8 – 6.3.
If you find that your soil isn’t at an ideal pH, you can adjust the acidity by adding limestone, wood ash, aluminum sulfate, and sulfur. Be careful handling these products.
One significant factor that impacts which soil you choose is whether you plan to keep your plant in an indoor pot or plant it outdoors.
Plants that live in a single pot can quickly use all of the nutrients available in the dirt, whereas outdoor plants will likely have it naturally replenished by bugs and organic decay.
Organic super soil mixes will provide the best nutrients for an indoor cannabis plant.
Generic potting mixes can harm marijuana plants, especially ones containing time-release fertilization chemicals. These soil mixes are for very different plants, and the wrong nutrients in the incorrect phase can quickly kill a cannabis plant.
Outdoor plants are often much more demanding to grow than indoor plants because you can’t control the light, humidity, or temperature conditions. However, not everyone can purchase the necessary products to grow indoors.
Either way, growing outdoors comes with some unique soil challenges. If you plan to grow outdoors in a pot, follow the general instructions for indoor planting.
Growing your cannabis plant in a pot can be the best option because you can move it indoors and outdoors.
You probably won’t be able to grow your plant directly in the natural soil of your area. If you’d like it in the ground, you’ll have to dig a 3 x 3-foot hole with a three-foot depth.
After, fill this hole with an organic soil mix. It’s best not to plant seeds directly outside and to first establish the seedling inside before transferring it outdoors.
Nutrients and Fertilizers
Finally, the best soil for growing marijuana provides all the necessary nutrients. The dirt will give your plant everything it needs to start, and you may need to add fertilizer throughout the process to keep things going strong.
If you’re searching through soil mixes, try to find some of these ingredients full of nutrients marijuana plants love:
- Earthworm castings
- Bat guano
- Fish meal
- Crab meal
- Bone meal
- Blood meal
- Dolomite lime
- Sphagnum peat moss
After your plant grows, it will start to use up the available nutrients in the soil and need more. Fertilizing at every stage can be crucial, and using the best fertilizers help produce tall, abundant plants.
Generally, in the vegetative state, your plant will appreciate organic or chemical fertilizers. Once flowering starts, switch to options that are high in phosphorus.
Other Ways To Keep Your Plant Healthy
While having the best soil for growing marijuana is one of the most important factors, you also must pay attention to other needs to keep your plant healthy.
Here are a few extra tips to ensure your cannabis plant receives enough water and light and a few words about common pests and disease issues.
Knowing a few basics about watering can help you when you go to water your marijuana plant.
Every plant can have different water needs, and while there are general rules available for how often to water a plant, the best way to tell is by personally observing the soil.
Stick your finger gently into the dirt a few inches, and it should remain damp. If you feel dryness, it’s a good sign that your plant could use some water.
Generally, marijuana plants need water once every 4-7 days during the first few phases. As your plant begins to grow, it will need water more regularly. Once the plant is flowering, you may water it once every 2-3 days.
Many people opt for drip irrigation systems for watering marijuana plants, but you can do it by hand. No matter what you choose, try to keep the water in the roots and soil. Wet leaves and foliage can quickly lead to disease.
Marijuana plants need a lot of light, as they thrive in direct sunlight for periods that extend up to 12 hours.
When the plants are vegetative, they can even need 18-24 hours of light.
Light is the core necessity for photosynthesis, so it’s no wonder that it’s so critical for proper growth.
Unfortunately, providing that light can be challenging. This challenge is particularly true for those hoping to grow outdoors, as you must choose a spot with direct sunlight for almost the entire day.
Still, it’s not impossible, especially in a pot that you can move throughout the day.
Indoors, you’ll likely need to invest in some growing lights. Luckily, you should only need one or two lights for all of your plants under the legal limit.
Avoid Pests and Disease
Every plant you grow is at risk of encountering disease or pests, but you can take steps to avoid some common issues.
First, ensure that you maintain a regular watering schedule. Over or under-watering a plant can lead to yellowing leaves or droopy foliage. You can avoid both by testing the soil for dryness before watering.
Heat stress is another frequent problem, especially for indoor setups with grow lights. Grow lights can emit heat, so when you position the lamp, try to put your hand out in front of the plant. If it seems too hot for you, it’s probably too hot for cannabis.
Finally, pests can be a significant issue, especially for outdoor growers. Spider mites and slugs are likely culprits. Regularly check for damage to leaves and look at the underside of leaves for signs of these bugs.
So, What Is the Best Soil for Growing Marijuana?
Ultimately, the best soil for growing marijuana is nutrient-dense, well-draining, and keeps the plant moist. Many people succeed using loam, but you can try other soil mixes that may suit you better if you maintain those key factors.
Here are a few answers to related questions to ensure you know everything you need to grow the best marijuana plants.
Can I use cactus soil for marijuana?
Cactus soil could work for marijuana, as it does drain well. If you choose a pre-packaged soil mix, ensure it doesn’t have any time-release chemicals for nutrients, as this can damage marijuana.
Additionally, if your cactus soil has high amounts of sand, it may not work. The soil could dry out too quickly for your plant.
How long does it take to grow marijuana?
After you’ve spent time on reviews and chosen your favorite strain of cannabis to grow, you might be too excited to wait.
Unfortunately, marijuana plants usually take a few months to grow from seed to harvest. The phases are:
- Germinating for 1-7 days
- Seedling for 2-3 weeks
- Vegetative for 2-8 weeks
- Pre-flowering for 1-2 weeks
- Flowering for 6-8 weeks
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