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Hydroponics Vs. Soil Weed

Hydroponics Vs. Soil Weed: What Are The Differences?

November 28, 2022

Would you be able to spot the differences between hydroponics vs. soil weed?

There are many different methods for growing good-quality cannabis. All techniques have pros and cons, and the one you choose depends on your situation. Determining what works best for you and your cultivating environment is the solution.

Whether an expert or a novice in the marijuana community, stick around to learn about the different growing mediums for cultivating cannabis.

Let's get started.

Soil vs. hydroponic weed: Key differences

When digging deeper into the variety of marijuana growing techniques currently being used, the frontrunners are typically hydroponic and soil cannabis.

There's no “best” way to grow weed; both substrates have benefits and disadvantages. It all depends on convenience and personal preference.

Advantages of growing weed in soil

Soil is the most commonly used growing medium in the cannabis community and worldwide agriculture.

cannabis grown in soil
Cannabis baby grown in soil

Kicking off your journey this way is more cost-effective and easier to set up. Novice growers don't have to be knowledgeable in this substrate to start, either.

Weed plants grown in soil are much less volatile than hydroponic ones. Issues that arise are generally painless to correct. Have you ever heard the saying, "When in doubt, flush it out?" This process makes troubleshooting easier to manage.

Another positive of using soil as your growing medium is that you can easily move pots around or position them better.

Advantages of growing hydroponically

A hydroponic system for weed is said to use up to 80% less water than soil. This technique is super advantageous, especially in regions where H2O is sparse. Your groundwater also has lower chances of contamination when growing weed in hydroponics vs. soil.

cannabis plant grown in soil

The roots don't use vital energy in search of nutrients needed for growth, so plants have a higher development rate. Faster growth equals shorter life cycles, multiple harvests, and escalated yields.

Healthier plants and better results are due to your ability to control the hydroponic growing medium. Pests and disease are almost non-existent, as they don't have a home, like soil, to live in.

Hydro systems are easier to automate and control, allowing for growth out of season. They also take up minimal space and don’t get dirty.

Disadvantages of growing weed in soil

A disadvantage of using soil vs. hydroponics for weed is it takes more effort and dedication at the beginning of the growth cycle.

Soil provides a home for pests and pathogens, which can damage and destroy your harvest. Having to control and eliminate these critters can be time-consuming and costly. 

Marijuana crops growing in soil take longer to reach maturity as they have a slower growth cycle than plants grown hydroponically.

There might not be a vast difference in quality between hydroponic weed vs. soil weed, but the yields from the latter are typically slightly lower.

Disadvantages of growing hydroponically

While there’s an extensive list of advantages to growing with a hydroponic system for weed, there are also a few downsides.

The initial setup can be pretty pricey, but the overall running costs are cheaper in the long run. Plants grown using hydro are usually more temperamental. One move in the wrong direction can ruin your entire harvest. It’s vital to keep an eye on the pH and nutrient levels.

The elaborate setup and equipment make this medium almost impossible to move around. Once you pick a spot, you’ll have to stick with it.

Although pests and pathogens aren’t as prevalent in hydroponics as in soil weed, root rot is. This infection in the cannabis roots can spread and ultimately kill your marijuana plant. There’s also a chance of root damage if you experience a lack of water due to pump failure.

This substrate can be somewhat complicated and requires some knowledge in the field of both cannabis and hydroponics. 

Hydro vs. soil weed: Impact of external factors

When choosing hydro vs. soil for weed, you should consider external factors. How much you want to spend, your available space and time, and your growing experience are all things to consider

Whether cultivating weed seeds for beginners or experts, premium genetics will assist in producing high-caliber plants.

hydroponics vs soil


Cannabis plants cultivated in soil have a sizable root system and must be spaced apart appropriately. Growing them too close together can decrease bud size and harvest results and increase the risk of bud rot.

Hydroponically grown marijuana doesn't need to spread its roots in search of nutrients, so placing crops close together is possible. Opting for hydro weed vs. soil can also allow for vertical and horizontal growth, with the former allowing even more space-saving.


If you're looking for faster growth, especially in the vegetative state, hydroponics is the way to go. With this substrate, the roots have access to readily available cannabis nutrients, making development occur quicker.

Quicker harvests allow for more yields in a year and, if growing to sell, mean more money. Research has stated that growing marijuana hydroponically can increase the maturity time by 3050%.

Plants cultivated in organic soil rely on it to free up the minerals needed for growth and take slightly longer to mature.


What’s the difference between hydroponic weed and soil when it comes to pricing?

Setting up a hydroponic system can be pretty costly. However, there are cheaper alternatives, depending on your budget.

Methods such as the Kratky, which doesn’t involve an electric pump, can be more cost-effective. Systems like the ebb and flow harm your bank balance, as they require additional equipment and electricity.

The size of the grow area plays a significant role. With larger spaces, hydroponics is more affordable.

Soil for outdoor weed plants in extensive areas can be pricey, but it’s the budget-friendly option when minimal room is available. Growing in soil outdoors is the cheapest way to start cultivating marijuana.

Both methods of cultivation require some form of nutrients. The pricing depends on the needs of your plants, the brands you use, and the amount needed.

Lighting, humidity, and temperature are the main factors to control indoors. Keeping them consistent requires specific equipment, which also comes at a cost.


Deciding whether to use soil or hydroponics for your weed crops depends on your previous growing experience.

Cultivating marijuana in soil is more straightforward and forgiving. This method allows for some errors and makes it easier to apply corrections when mistakes are spotted.

Hydroponic setups require some experience in the field. You may also need a third party to assist with the installation. However, hydro is self-explanatory and relatively easy to run once everything is up and running.

Soil or hydroponics for weed: Which option to choose?

The choice between hydroponics vs. soil weed is ultimately yours, as no one else can decide what works best for you.

Consider your budget, available space, knowledge, and harvest expectations before making a decision. Ensuring your plants are grown from premium genetics results in top-notch buds. 

Whether you opt for hydro or soil, using outdoor or indoor seeds of the highest quality matters.

hydro vs soil for cannabis

Frequently asked questions about hydroponics vs. soil weed

We’ve dug deep into the hydro vs. soil buds debate, and there may be a few questions you need answers to. Check out a few of the most common queries below.

Do weed plants grow faster in soil or when using hydroponics?

Marijuana plants develop significantly faster when grown hydroponically. This phenomenon is due to nutrients being readily available to the roots. Soil acts as a buffer, taking longer for the vital minerals to absorb.

Does hydroponics yield more than soil?

In an identical setting with equivalent environmental factors, plants grown hydroponically tend to yield a bulkier harvest. However, optimal conditions can increase your output in a controlled soil setting.

Hydro vs. soil cannabis: Does it affect potency and taste?

It depends on the individual. Some believe that soil-grown weed has a superior taste. Others state that plants cultivated in hydro produce buds with more potency and flavor. It all hinges on genetics and what you prefer your nugs to taste like.

To sow your seeds hydroponically or not?

Quality weed relies on the medium it's grown in, and other conditions affect the plant too. Rein in factors such as light, airflow, humidity, and temperature, and use weed seeds with top-quality genetics.

Both hydro and soil can produce excellent buds that any cannabis user would be happy to smoke. The choice is yours, and how you want to manage and run your growing space is also up to you. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to hydroponic weed vs. soil weed.

Browse through our best-selling weed seeds to find the highest-quality strains to grow in your space.

About the Author: Kyle Kushman

Kyle Kushman is a legend in the cannabis community. He is the modern-day polymath of pot: cultivator, breeder, activist, writer, and educator. After winning no less than 13 Cannabis Cups, there’s nothing this guy doesn’t know about indoor growing - he’s been there, done it, and is still doing it to this day!

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