If growing cannabis is an art, then the soil is the canvas, paint and even a little bit of the brush. As your “grow medium” (the material that your plants grow in), the balance of nutrients your soil contains shapes how your plants grow, how fast and abundantly they flower and how many buds they yield.
Cannabis plants spring up like a literal weed. But growing weed optimally — in a way that allows it to express its best traits and produce trichome-rich flowers — demands care, attention to detail and a bit of trial-and-error. At the same time, there's no better way to develop a closer, more connected and more rewarding relationship with cannabis than growing some yourself. To get you started, here's our list of the five best soils for healthy weed.
Fox Farm's Happy Frog Potting Soil
Fox Farm's specialized line of soils for cannabis are some of the most widely acclaimed grow mediums available. If you're beginning your grow journey from the ground up, Happy Frog is an excellent soil to nurture seeds and seedlings.
Designed for indoor and outdoor cultivation, Happy Frog potting soil takes care of young cannabis plants' essential needs, from correct pH levels to balanced nutrients, including a vital combination of microbes and fungi from earthworm castings and forest humus.
Nature's Living Soil Organic Super Soil
From planting seeds to harvesting buds, Nature's Living Soil's Organic Super Soil has you covered through cannabis' entire grow cycle. Reviewers love the ready-to-use simplicity this soil provides: just plant, water and wait. For those growing on their own for the first time, this is one of the best soils you can buy.
If you're digging through the literature on growing weed, you've probably seen the term “super soil” come up quite a bit. Coined by the legendary grower and seed producer Subcool, the term generally describes a neutral organic soil base that's been enhanced with a comprehensive range of “amendments,” i.e., added nutrients and microorganisms. Using a super soil eliminates the need for liquid nutrients as your cannabis plants grow.
Red's Premium Biochar-Based Soil
Red's Premium is another all-in-one, ready-to-use soil blend. But what makes it one of the best soils for weed is its stand-out feature: biochar. Biochar is an amendment that excels at protecting and promoting the growth of bacteria, fungi and other microorganisms that are essential for root development and strengthening your plant's immune system.
Your soil's nutrients and the water you provide need to link up to be available for and absorbed by plants' roots. Biochar, a carbon-rich charcoal amendment, not only facilitates this process but it also provides a large surface area for microorganisms to live and thrive. Red's Premium Biochar-based soil thus creates an ideal “habitat” for all the living beings that help your cannabis plants reach their full potential.
Aurora Innovations Roots Organics Formula 707
If you're planning on planting a large container cannabis garden outdoors, Roots Organics Formula 707 is a versatile and capable option. An organic soil designed with greater water-holding capacity, Formula 707 contains ingredients and beneficial microbes specific to using larger containers.
But just as important as what's in this soil is what's not: less perlite, less pumice, and fewer amendments. This makes Formula 707 a highly customizable soil, allowing you to add your topsoil and liquid nutrients at various growth stages depending on your cannabis plants' needs.
Still, Formula 707 has enough nutrients to last 10-14 days before you need to add anything. And for convenience, you can use the soil bag itself as a pot. Just cut off the top, poke some holes in the bottom, plant your seedlings and you're ready to grow.
Sungro Black Gold All-Organic Potting Mix Plus Fertilizer
The best soils for weed don't always have to be products specialized for cultivating cannabis. Sometimes, a good organic potting soil is all you need, and Sungro's Black Gold all-organic potting soil is an excellent case in point.
At a price point that won't put a hole in your pocket, Black Gold boasts all of the essential traits of a strong soil for growing weed. Its loamy mixture contains an optimal blend of pumice and perlite for hydration and microorganism development, and its balanced nutrient blend won't burn young cannabis plants. Those features have won this soil praise from gardeners of all stripes, cannabis growers included.
Every ingredient in Black Gold is organic, and it's suitable for a wide range of environments, from patio containers to indoor hanging baskets. The bottom line: Black Gold is a reliable and high-performance base soil for cannabis. You can also get hands-on with this soil, since adding amendments as your plants grow is super easy.
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps