A Beginners Guide On Growing Cannabis Indoors In Soil

by Morgan

September 28, 2018

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Growing cannabis in soil is the easiest and most forgiving so it is perfect for beginner gardeners.

indoor cannabis grown in soilCannabis can thrive in many mediums giving it its nickname “weed”. It is a hardy plant that really craves only a few ingredients to get started. Yes, you can throw some seeds into a pot of soil and they will grow given you are watering them and giving them the proper light, but will they be healthy is the real question?

Here, we are going to give insights and tips on growing cannabis indoors in soil so that your plants will live out their intended purpose and become strong, fruitful plants that you can be proud of.

If you are new to growing and you plan on starting an indoor garden, your best bet is to use soil to grow your cannabis in. There are many growth mediums like soil to grow your cannabis in however soil is the most forgiving when it comes to beginner gardener mistakes.

Why You Should Use Soil If You Are A Novice Gardener

When using soil indoors for growing it is easier to correct for human error and unfortunate circumstances. For example if you are growing cannabis using hydroponics or DWC systems, on the event that you suffer a power outage your plants can die in a matter of hours. Hydroponics use oxygen stones and pumps that circulate water. If you have no electricity your plants will essentially suffocate and never come back to life.

Plant issues are easier to diagnose and treat in soil. In other mediums a potential problem such as nutrient burn pops up fast and spreads quickly. If you are using a hydroponic solution then you must act very quick. Changing out the water is cumbersome and messy. With soil, a proper flush is much easier to get things back on track.

Costs of growing cannabis in soil is also cheaper than most mediums as well. No need for recirculating water systems or special gear. Just Earth, water and nutrients for soil. It is also cheaper to buy soil as to compared to coco.

The Downside to Growing Cannabis Indoors in Soil

The main issue is the mess. If you are organized and cautious (not like me) you should have zero issues. Soil tends to get into places you would least expect and has that “soil” smell. Watering also gets tricky when it comes to soil, but later in this article we have tips for watering cannabis in soil to help you along. Water is wet ad it goes where it wants to. This combined with lose soil, things can get dirty fast, especially if your grow room is carpeted like one of mine.

Growing In Soil – How to:

Opting for soil if you are new to growing cannabis is a wise choice. Outdoor plants have the advantage of their roots being able to spread out as far as possible when growing. Keep in mind that plants in tight quarters need ample room in their pots. We recommend cloth 7 gallon pots to start. This way transplanting becomes less of an issue. When indoors, roots don’t need to spread out because you have control over its feeding schedule.

Really it is pretty darn easy to grow in soil, especially indoors. Of course you will want to get the most out of your cannabis plants. Below is a step by step on cultivating great cannabis using soil indoors.

Step 1 – A Proper Grow Space

The best place to start growing, in my opinion is using a pre-made grow tent. These are typically well manufactured for the purpose of growing cannabis. They are fairly easy to put together for one person and even easier for two. There are some really good tent manufacturers out there. We recommend Mars grow tents for their tough skins and sturdy supports. They also are lined with Diamond Mylar surfaces to reflect light better.

Life is much easier when using a grow tent which creates an optimal growing area. They can keep things tidy, allow for good ventilation and allow for easy hanging of grow lights and charcoal filters to keep the smell to a minimum

Step 2 – What is the Best Soil For Indoor Cannabis

There are so many soils to choose from in the cannabis world. Soils that are engineered specifically for cannabis are abundant in this world. Often sold at specialty growing stores, they are a perfect choice for beginner gardeners. You can also create your own mixes as things progress and you are more comfortable with growing.

Making your own specialty soil for cannabis growing

If you are a true artisan grower you may think about creating your own potting mix for your soil cannabis grow experiments.

One such popular homemade soil is known as “Organic Super Soil”. A unique blend of soil geared towards the need of your plants. Super soil is balanced with the right amounts of nutrients your cannabis plants crave. Nitrogen, carbon, phosphorous – Yes, it is packed with great ingredients to give you lush, bountiful yields in every crop. From start to finish (Veg to Bloom).

Organic Super Soil Recipe

Super Soil Takes a bit of time to compost, but so does everything when it comes to growing so get used to it. Below is the recipe for organic super soil. Keep in mind this part is done outdoors typically, so be wary of bugs and pests that can creep in. Another pitfall of using soil.

  1. Section off a 3 by 3 foot square space on the ground.
  2. Layer the area with dried leaves or straw compost type materials
  3. Layer 4 inches of nitrogen rich coffee grounds or livestock poop (Pro tip: Stop by a local Starbucks and ask them for free used coffee grinds)
  4. Add a 1/2 inch layer of lovely bone meal.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until you have a 3 to 4 foot pile
  6. Time to breakdown and decompose. The time for this will vary based on location. During this time mix the pile once a week. No more than that
  7. Your organic super soil will be ready when it crumbles easily to the touch and has a softly sweet smell.

Best Potting Soil For Cannabis

If you don’t have the patience for waiting around for a pile of dirt to decompose you can always stop off at your local garden center.

Pre-made garden soil is not ideal but a good time saver and gives your plants most of the nutrients they would expect to grow vibrantly.

Look for choices such as soil that is labeled organic potting mix, etc. NOTE: Your soil should avoid ingredients such as any slow release nutrients that allow for your plants to get the wrong amounts of nutrients at the wrong time. Be nice to your plants. You don’t want to feed a baby steak. Same goes for your plants.

If you are lucky enough to live in a State where MJ cultivation is legal and thriving, you will want to check out the closest grow store. These are typically tailored to cannabis growers and has everything you need from proper cannabis soil to crazy 1000 watt led grow lights. A growers wet dream.

These places are usually staffed with growers themselves who are knowledgeable and can answer rookie type questions from new growers to cannabis without shame or stigma.

Best Pre-Made Soils For Cannabis

Black Gold Soil For Cannabis

They have been the “black” Gold Standard for years. This soil was the soil of choice for many many years before MJ legalization. It is a really good mix of soil and additives that are good for growing. I have used it many times and always get good tasting buds with a nice high. Some of the extra additives in Black Gold’s arsenal include vermiculite, compost mix, peat moss and earthworms that you can readily add to the pre-existing soil they offer.

Fox Farm Soil For Cannabis

Fox Farms, an up and coming challenger to Black Gold also has a decent soil mix for the purpose of growing cannabis exclusively. Ocean Forest Mix by Fox Farms is my go-to. Containing a vibrant mix of nutrients like crab meal, peat moss and worm casings already premixed in to give your plants a nice purple glow.

A few other great soil companies that sell soil geared directly at cannabis crop are BioBizz, Canna and Pagron. Try Amazon if you don’t live close to a grow store.

Step 3 – Best Grow Room Setup

This is the environment in which your plants will grow and hopefully thrive. Your grow space should be a controlled environment in which you can control things like temperature, humidity and preferably a place close to a good water source.

Best Temps For Growing Weed

You will want your grow space to be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temps for growing cannabis. To hot and you can easily stress and damage your plant beyond repair. To cold and you will stunt and retard your plants growth, maybe even fatally. If you have a small area to grow in, I would recommend LED grow lights as they produce little heat. Something like the Viparsectra 300 watt led grow light can easily do the trick. Fans can help as well with heat dissipation along with a great carbon filter system that can suck heat right our. I have even placed a bowl of ice cubes in front of my fans on really hot days to cool things down.

There is some fluctuation in the tolerable heat based on the strain you choose to plant. Some strains tend to do okay in higher heat and others will fail. Being able to control heat and cool is important through every stage of the grow cycle.

Best Humidity For Growing Weed

This will depend on the stage at which your plants life-cycle is in. Younger plants like seedlings and newly planted clones tend to love the higher humidity. As the plant matures the humidity can be dialed back a bit.

Seedling Stage Humidity should be around 65% to 70%. This lets the clone or baby sap in water through its leaves because the root system is still immature.

Vegetation Stage Humidity should be around 40% to 70% on average. Roots are now maturing and the leaves can now purge excess heat levels instead of absorb H2O.

Early Flowering Stage Humidity should fall between 40% to 50% as an optimal best practice. Mold growth and the plants hate higher humidity in this stage.

Late Flowering Stage should be a bit lower at 30 to 40% for an increased flavor and taste profile.

Grow Tent Airflow

You will want to add a couple of oscillating fans to your tent for a couple of reasons.

  • Wards off the settling of powdery mildew
  • Strengthens stems for sturdy support of your colas
  • Bugs hate wind. Keep them away!

growing weed indoors in soilYou will also want to think about a way to remove and cycle the air inside your tent. For this I use a carbon filter and inline fan. It takes the smell and excess heat and sucks it out the tent as purified air. After installing one your house will no longer smell like a skunks behind and lower your temps by a few degrees. A carbon filter is a must for keeping your grow room discreet and fresh air is important for continued growth.

Step 4 – Clones or Seeds?

When it comes to starting your grow you have 2 lovely options. Depending on your expert growing level might be the deciding factor.

Seeds, of course you will have to go through the germination and rooting stages for your pant to take hold and become the pride of the garden world. With clones, you already have the start of a healthy plant.

Growing Cannabis From Seeds

If you go the seed route, you can control everything from the start. The only draw back here is the chances for getting a male in the bunch are more so than with a genetic clone of a female plant or the chances the seed fails to germinate.

Seeds come in 2 types. traditional nature made seeds and autoflowering seeds and traditional nature made seeds. Autoflowering seeds typically are hardier and growth seasons are much shorter. These types of seeds, also known as AutoFem seeds take around 70 to 80 days until your prized harvest.

With traditional “old school” seeds, they will be in the Veg stage for around 4 to 5 weeks with 24 to 18 hours of light. After that they can flower in 12 hours of light on and 12 hours of light off in the flowering or budding stage of growth. The flowering stage should last around 9 weeks thereafter.

Growing Cannabis From Clones

I typically start with clones as the process is sped up this way and I know I will end up with a female plant 99% of the time. If you go this route be sure to know where your clones come from and always choose the healthiest of the bunch.

Clones are also very easy to transplant into a soil medium for growing because of their natural ability to spread their roots in dirt. Simply dig a whole the size of the root ball and place into the soil and cover exposed areas with your cannabis growing soil. My success rate with clones attaching and growing out their roots is much higher than the success rate of seeds.

I always start out with 7 gallon cloth pots in order to not have to worry about transplanting as this can be stressful to plants of any variety. Watering a clone immediately after planting with water at a PH balance between 6 – 6.5. This is the optimal PH balance for cannabis. It allows the roots to absorb the nutrients it needs. Bad PH is the number one cause of poor plant health and very easy to fix with a PH meter and PH up or Down. A little goes a long way!

Step 6 – Best Grow Lights For Cannabis

Full spectrum lights are perfect for beginners and makes growing far less complicated Over the past 5 years prices have dropped and the technology has improved. They are super easy to use, install and grow with.

The savings in electricity alone are worth it. On top of that, they produce very little heat as compared to an HPS grow light and there is no need for switching out lights during different grow cycles.

Check out some great LED grow light reviews from manufacturers we love like the Mars PRO 2 Epistar 80 or the Vipraspectra 450 Watt Led grow light review.

In Conclusion

Soil is the easiest way to grow cannabis. The most forgiving of all methods combined. As you get the hang of growing cannabis in soil I do recommend going out and trying some other methods. Each method and soil mediums have their advantages fro super growth to control factors.

We wish you the bet in your growing operations and as usual, if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!



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About the author 


I discovered the benefits of Cannabis at a young age in 2002, with years of trial and error, my knowledge grew just like my plants. As my love for cannabis unfolded I began to teach and learn, trying to gain as much information and practical growing experience.

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  1. I plan to seek out a compost facility near me, but the tips in looking for good compost were super useful. I would also love to know what questions you ask when you source compost yourself.

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