When it comes to growing cannabis, having the right type of substrate is an essential factor when it comes to correctly growing plants. This is valid for both indoor and outdoor plants.
This section is essentially a guide so that you can learn everything you need to know about substrates and their different types, including which is best for each type of growing setup and expectations.
At La Huerta Grow Shop we prefer to grow in soil; cannabis tends to produce much more intense and original aromas and flavours when grown in soil.
This section has a wide range of high quality substrates that can be differentiated mainly by the amount of nutrients they contain.
Why is Substrate Important for Cannabis Plants?
When growing any type of plant, the substrate in which they grow is an incredibly important factor. Not just because it’s going to be the main source of nutrients for your plants, but also because it’s necessary for them to grow their roots and successfully complete their life cycle.
Contaminated substrate will end up causing your plants to absorb toxins which can then pass to your body if you smoke the resulting flowers.
If your substrate contains a virus or fungi, your plants may end up getting too sick to even reach the harvest, or they could produce incredibly poor and low quality flowers – that’s how important substrate is in cannabis plants.
There are many different types of substrate that have different characteristics, which is why you should have a general idea of the different types of substrates that cannabis growers can grow.
Cannabis Substrate Types
Cannabis plants need a substrate that has certain characteristics; if your substrate isn’t good enough for your plants, they won’t produce the best possible results, regardless of how good the strain or cannabis seed itself is.
You’ll need to make sure that your substrate contains the following:
- High water retention capacity.
- Airy substrate to allow roots to breathe.
- Spongey and low compaction.
Types of Substrates for Growing Cannabis
There are plenty of types of substrates for growing cannabis that meet the above contions. However, there are differences between certain types which can modify your growing method or the nutrients that you’ll need to use.
The main difference is that some of them are inert, so you’ll need to add absolutely all nutrients that your plants need when watering. However, substrates that contain nutrients or are active allow you to water your plants without using additional nutrients.
Let’s have a look at different substrates:
Growing Cannabis in Soil
Soil is a type of substrate that contains nutrients. This type of substrate can also come in various formats:
- Light substrate: this type of substrate contains the necessary nutrients for a week or two, then you’ll need to start adding nutrients with water. We recommend Sabika Light Mix or BioBizz Light Mix.
- Medium substrate: this type of substrate contains enough nutrients for up to 4 growing weeks – a great example of this is Grow Mix by Plagron.
- Heavy substrates: these types of substrates are designed for growers that want a simple growing process. These substrates are incredibly rich in nutrients, allowing you to simply feed your plants water during their entire process. Some favourites are Kilomix by Atami or All Mix by BioBizz.
If you’re going to be growing out in the ground we recommend using light substrates such as Janeco Light Mix or Sabika Light Mix, both of which are light in nutrients. When mixed with Plagron Mega Worm this substrate provides amazing results, especially using organic nutrients such as Alga Bloom, Iguana Juice Bloom, which can help you to harvest extremely high quality flowers.
Regardless of the type of soil chosen and the amount of nutrients it contains, we recommend using rooting additives during the first few growth weeks, as well as mycorrhizae and Trichoderma to improve root growth and protection.
Growing Cannabis Coco Coir
Coco is an inert substrate (does not contain nutrients), so you’ll need to start using nutrients right from the start of the process. This substrate has certain advantages and disadvantages, and it may not be the best method for those that are just starting off.
Pros of Growing Cannabis in Coco
- This airy substrate can help to accelerate your plants’ metabolic processes, which allows them to grow much faster, while also producing larger yields.
- This inert substrate allows for absolute nutrient control when feeding your plants.
- You can grow decent-sized plants in smaller flowerpots compared to soil grows, making it a great choice for indoor SoG techniques.
Cons of Growing in Coco
- Due to the fact that you need to give your plants nutrients via watering, just one mistake can be quite dangerous for your plants as there’s less room for error. It’s not the best substrate for beginners.
- This substrate is not recommended for outdoor growers.
- If you choose this type of substrate you’ll definitely need to use mineral fertilizers. Most nutrient ranges for coco substrates are mineral, so you can forget about organic indoor growing with coco if that’s the way you decide to go.
Various Coco Formats
- Coco substrate: 50L sacks by Atami and Plagron; easy to use.
- Coco bricks: these bricks are made of dehydrated coco which you’ll have to hydrate before using. They’re easy to transport and use.
- Also available in slabs.
Growing Hydroponic Cannabis
Hydroponic growing, explained simply, is growing that doesn’t involve a soil or solid substrate.
With this in mind, cannabis plants’ roots are held in other types of substrates such as rockwool or expanded clay. Our store stocks various different formats and sizes of these types of substrates that can easily adapt to your needs.
If you have any questions regarding which substrate is the right substrate for you, you can check out more information in our blog, specifically our post on how to choose the best substrate for cannabis. You can also check in with our team of experts, who offer free, professional advice.