When looking into growing cannabis, I’m sure you’ve seen the debate between the two methods of growing the stuff: soil and hydroponics. What’s the difference? And how does the method have an effect on the plant? As with many things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both, so let’s take a look.
The primary difference between the two is that growing with soil is just that, using soil as the medium in which your cannabis plant will sit, and watering it by moistening the soil. Hydroponics are quite different in that there is no soil used. Instead, the plant is placed within some type of medium, be it aerated gravel, sand, moss, or some other material which allows for water to flow through.
There are five methods of hydroponics, aeroponics, deep water culture, drip irrigation, nutrient film and ebb-and-flow. Each technique has different levels of difficulty, and there are proponents for each, but the end result is mostly similar.
Cannabis grown in soil is great for people trying it out for the first time. You don’t have to be as attentive and there is more room for error. It is also said to provide a better flavor than plants grown using one of the hydroponic methods.
On the flip side, using soil takes up space. You need to have pots and dirt and, because of this, it can also be a bit more expensive. Setting up a hydroponic system could have a higher upfront cost, but once you’re started, you’re good to go. Additionally, using soil doesn’t provide the same amount of nutrients to your plant as hydroponics can, and it takes longer for problems to show themselves, and to be resolved.
The biggest benefit of using a hydroponic system is that you are fully in control of the types of nutrients your plant is receiving, as well as the amounts. This can lead to larger yields and quicker results and problem correction. Additionally, you can somewhat automate your grow using certain hydroponic methods.
As for the negatives, hydroponics systems aren’t as easy to maintain as a pot with soil. You’ve got to keep them clean in order to have the best results. On top of equipment maintenance, you also need to spend more time paying attention to your plants. If you aren’t keeping a close eye, something can go wrong with either the nutrients or the water levels, causing issues you don’t want to deal with.