Ask Cheri

Pros and Cons of Soil vs Hydroponics for Growing Cannabis 

By Cheri Sicard
May 31, 2023

Dear Cheri,

Do you have thoughts about what is better, growing cannabis in soil vs hydroponics? Thanks for any insight.

Better is a relative word.  But we can go over the pros and cons of both methods so that you can determine what is right for you.

Before we begin, I just want to talk about the two.  I think everyone knows what it mean to grow a plant in soil.  But in case you are not familiar with hydroponics, this is a growing process that uses no soil, only water to grow the plants.

For the purposes of this comparison we are assuming you are going to be growing indoors in a small grow room or grow tent.  And if growing hydroponically, we are assuming you will be using a simple deep water culture method of growing.

Be sure to watch the video above too for more details about all the points below concerning the pros and cons of growing in soil vs hydroponics.

Pros of Growing in Soil

  • Relatively simple and most people are familiar with the process of plants growing in soil.
  • Less equipment needed than hydroponics, and therefore less expense to se up.
  • Less overall monitoring is needed where a hydroponic grow will need to be checked daily.
  • You can choose to grow 100% organically.

Cons of Growing in Soil

  • Usually produces slightly smaller yields than hydroponics.
  • You need to dispose of the soil after growing and before setting up your next crop.

Pros of Growing Hydroponically

  • You have unparalleled control over your grow.
  • Growth happens faster.
  • Uses less water than growing in soil.
  • Usually produces higher yields.
  • Produces a huge root ball which has many medicinal uses in and of itself.

Cons of Growing Hydroponically

  • The downside of having such control is that small changes can make big differences, therefore growing hydroponically can be more finicky and require more diligent monitoring.
  • More equipment and therefore expense is involved in setting up a hydroponic grow.
  • Requires more hands on work and tinkering.
  • Requires a steeper learning curve.
  • Can not be grown 100% organically.  This is not really an issue as nutrients as flushed out prior to harvest, but if an organic label is important to you, stick to growing cannabis in soil.

More Ask Cheri Videos

About the author

Cheri Sicard is the author of Mary Jane: The Complete Marijuana Handbook for Women, and The Easy Cannabis Cookbook.  Her online courses at have educated 1000s of students about marijuana, cannabis cooking for home cooks, and making infused topicals.

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