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As the breadth of cultivation techniques evolve, so too has the sheer number of grow mediums increased. Where traditional mediums like soil and coco have continued to be used for medical and recreational cultivation, there are now more options than ever – aeroponics, aquaponics and deep-water culture – that breeders and growers can use to push up cannabis plants.


The oldest and most obvious choice for growing cannabis is soil. This can come in the most natural form, soil in the ground where outdoor cannabis is planted, or it can be purchased at a home and garden center. There are a number of variations of soil, and supplements that can assuredly be added to the mix. But for the most part, soil is reserved only for amateur growers, and is no longer a preferred medium among sophisticated cultivators, or commercial companies.


In recent years, the trend of growers switching from soil to coco or coco-based mixes to grow cannabis has become the norm. There are a number of advantages to using coco, including the fact that it is not terribly expensive, especially considering some of the other more technical mediums available these days. Made from shredded and prepared coconut husks, coco is the choice substrate for most hydroponic growers. An inert substrate, it contains no nutrients and must be fortified with fertilizers, which makes it a great choice, particularly for indoor grows.1

Deep-Water Culture

A unique style of hydroponic growing, deep-water culture is increasing in popularity among both residential and commercial growers. The reason for this spike is that this medium is rife with technological advancement, and a myriad companies are working to perfect the technique. Known in short as DWC, this method involves immersing the roots of the cannabis plant in an aerated nutrient solution. Advantageous for a host of reasons, DWC sees the plants suspended in pots, nets or buckets, with the plant’s roots stretching into a pool of nutrient-rich water. Because the plants have easier access to nutrients and oxygen, growers have reported substantial yield gain using this somewhat unorthodox medium.2


First developed nearly 100 years ago, aeroponics is becoming more and more popular for growing cannabis. With this method, plants are suspended in a closed or semi-closed environment, with its roots dangling free from a barrier, typically made of foam. Set to a timer, the roots are then sprayed with a consistent, atomized and nutrient-rich solution. Aeroponics chambers are generally sealed off, eliminating the risk of pests or disease, and the plants are privy to one of the most efficient means of growing up. There are, however, some drawbacks to this method, as the technology, in the context of growing cannabis, is still very much in its nascent stage.3 


Easily the most altogether exciting and rare means of cultivating cannabis, aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. It quite literally makes use of fish to grow cannabis! In particular, aquaponics uses the nutrients produced by fish, which is contained in their gills and feces, and converts those byproducts into nutrients that the plants can uptake. The water is cleaned by the plant’s roots and redistributed to the fish to complete the aquaponic cycle. For a number of logistic reasons, aquaponics remains reserved to only a very small number of growers, and commercial companies.4

  1. https://www.maximumyield.com/what-advice-do-you-have-when-switching-from-dirt-to-coco-coir/7/1820
  2. https://www.royalqueenseeds.com/blog-get-huge-yields-using-deep-water-culture-dwc-n847
  3. https://www.cannabistech.com/articles/aeroponics-101/
  4. https://www.growweedeasy.com/aquaponics-cannabis

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