What is the Perfect Substrate in a Cannabis Growing?
In the previous article “Cannabis Substrate: Soil, Coco or Hydroponic” we quickly saw the different types of substrate that can be used in Cannabis growing. We have seen the general differences between soil, coco or blends and hydroponics and aeroponics techniques. We’ve seen too the Germination Stage of Cannabis Plant. Today we’ll see all details about the various characteristics and qualities of the perfect substrate to use in Cannabis growing!
Topsoil in Cannabis growing
It is the universal ideal Cannabis substrate, suitable for everyone, easy to find and the most natural.
Is ideal for novice growers as well as for more experienced growers.
To improve the results (beyond the usual and measured addition of the right fertilizers in the irrigation water), we at Annibale recommend the addition of earthworm humus, bat guano and draining mineral materials such as perlite.
To be able to consider your own mix valid, it will have to bring together a set of requirements. For example, a compact or heavy substrate will not allow the roots to expand comfortably. If you decide to cultivate in the ground, we recommend a soft and airy earth, like those of volcanic origin. The best for Cannabis growing!
Coconut fiber as the best substrate in a Cannabis growing
It is the material that most resembles the earth, is the Cannabis substrate Annibale’s Team most prefer. Is a perfect substrate for the novices who are growing Cannabis for the first time. It is produced by shredding the outer part of the coconut. Smaller is the fragment, lower will be the water retention. This means that the soil dries up more quickly and you have to water more frequently, also increasing the feeding.
For an 11-liter pot, with coconut fiber you just need to use 5 liters, with the consequent economic savings.
The porosity of the coco allows the roots to develop more quickly, penetrating the substrate better. Being a plant material containing natural hormones, it is able to promote a more sustained growth of the roots of cannabis plants.
Furthermore, it offers the advantage of increasing resistance to fungal attacks and root diseases. These problem are frequent in other cultivation substrates, often used in aeroponics as in hydroponics.
The coir of large size has instead the ability to retain a lot of moisture. This give the possibility to the roots of your plants to never remain totally dehydrated between one irrigation and another.
Coir is commercially available in form of dried and compressed cubes or fiber in large and fine grains. Especially in the best pre-packaged substrates, it is pure or mixed with perlite or soil.
Remembrer that the rehydration is a key step if you are growing coco coir in bulk!
Humus of earthworm’s benefits for Cannabis plant
Works to improve the soil since, in addition to stabilizing the pH thanks to its precious calcium content, it improves the structure of the substrates. It increase general water retention, radical oxygenation and more effective absorption of liquid nutrients by plants.
For Cannabis growing we recommend mixing Humus with bat guano and Mycorrize. In fact, the combination of these products allows the ideal supply of enzymes, humic and fulvic acids, and microbial flora.
Adequately arrange a superficial layer of guano and humus so that the nutrients are released at the time of watering, together with a layer of expanded clay balls, which we will soon analyze better. All of this comes in handy when you can’t water your cannabis growing regularly!
Guano of bat’s benefits for Cannabis plant
It is a product of biological origin obtained from the droppings of bats that live in caves. The nutrient content can vary depending on the feeding of the bats and the age of the guano. In other words, the guano produced by insectivorous bats has a higher nitrogen content while the guano of frugivorous bats has a higher phosphorus content.
Fresh guano typically has more nitrogen than older. It is also a natural source of slow-release phosphorus, which means that plants will absorb it throughout their life cycle. Perfect to add to Cannabis substrate!
Rockwool and oasis cubes in Cannabis growing
Suitable for germination of seeds and the rooting of clones, but there are those who use it for the entire cultivation cycle. In this case, the plant receives the nutrients via irrigation, which means that the grower has total control over the feeding.
It is an inert substrate that can easily retains liquids throughout the fertilization process. Is composed of a rather flexible material that allows the roots to grow freely, as well as offering good support to the plants. Rock wool tends by nature to have a rather high pH, therefore it must be lowered before being used (it must be immersed for 24/48 hours in a basin containing water with a pH equal to 5.5).
You can easily sterilized with high temperatures of oven (couple of hours at 90° C it will be fine).
Remains a particularly appreciated substrate for the results it offers and, today, is one of the most requested products in the hydroponics sector.
Are composed of a substrate very similar to that of rock wool, especially in terms of adaptability and functionality; however, the material they are made of is very different. As with the Rock Mound, the Oasis cubes must be completely submerged in water before being used, in order to avoid dehydration and to maintain the right humidity.
Oasis cubes are the most suitable products for hydroponic cultivation.
Expanded clay balls in Cannabis cultivation
The small spheres allow to keep the conductivity and pH of the nutrient solution always under control, they also offer excellent oxygenation for the roots, so frequent irrigations will ensure that the plant feeds slowly but continuously (growth will be faster, explosive the flowering!).
Is a reusable substrate, so you can use it again after first growing. Highly recommended!
Often referred to as “culture stones” in cannabis cultivation, expanded clay balls are perfect for hydroponics. It is a good compromise, ecologically sustainable, which consists of clay balls baked in the oven. Their pH is neutral and they have the ability to perfectly support cannabis plants.
Furthermore, expanded clay pellets are reusable, which can offer a huge economic advantage, (especially when you want to avoid buying new substrates for each crop).
For new cultivation, put expanded clay balls in a solution of 4 liters of water with 10ml of hydrogen peroxide for sterilize. Keep for a few minutes and dry after!
Perlite as the perfect substrate in Cannabis growing
Is a particular silica rock of volcanic origin with high water retention full of silica that expands when heated to high temperatures and takes the commonly known form. Due to its porosity, it is a light material capable of retaining a large volume of water and with excellent aeration properties.
You can use it alone, or with coconut fiber and soil. In fact, combination of perlite and coconut fiber improve texture and drainage of your substrate.
Vermiculite as the perfect substrate in Cannabis growing
It is among the hydrated laminar minerals, that is the aluminum-iron-magnesium silicates. It makes it possible that nutrients are always available to plants when they need them. Thanks to its structure, its addition to the substrate guarantees optimal water retention, thus increasing the ability to retain nutrients.
You will get amazing results even if used alone!
Peat’s benefits for Cannabis plants growing
Is the fossilization of plant residues in humid soils. According to age and carbon content, it is classified and divided into several parts.
- The blond peat is the most recent decomposition: it is very fibrous, and can hold up to eight hundred times its volume of water
- Brown peat is the intermediate product, it retains less water and nutrients than blonde
- Black peat is the one in the most advanced stage of decomposition, it constitutes an intermediate stage of coal.
Our special substrate blends for Earth, Coconut, Guerrilla and Hydro
Many professional growers prefer to manually compose their own substrate mixes as, on the other hand, the prices of the most common substrates on the market are quite expensive and you have less control over the various characteristics that a good grower would demand from their land.
The perfect substrate mix for Cannabis growing according to Annibale:
Now that we know that good substrate can make our plants thrive in Cannabis growing, it’s time to reveal how to make one at home! There are so many possible combinations, but what we at Annibale want to recommend is exactly this:
- 35% Fine grain coconut fiber
- 10% Coconut fiber large size
- 15% Fine soil
- 10% Sand
- 6% organic compost
- 15% Perlite
- 5% Vermiculite
- 4% Humus of earthworm
- + Mycorrize (1 or 2 tablespoons every 10 liters of mixture)
This is all for this chapter about the perfect substrate for Cannabis growing. Keep following us, see you in next articles about flowering stage of Cannabis plant!
Davide, CEO Founder & Geneticist