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Types of growing media for cannabis

October 26, 2022

Different types of growing media can be used to grow medical cannabis.

Don’t feel like reading? Watch the second part of this video (starting at 1:43min) from our recent webinar to hear Victor explain all about the different types of growing media for medical cannabis.
During his presentation, he will also touch upon integrated pest management and varying plant requirements throughout different stages of cultivation.

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In general, we can define three types of growing media for the production of medicinal cannabis.

Rockwool for medicinal cannabis

The first type we’ll discuss in this article is Rockwool. This synthetic growing media offers high water retention but has a low buffering capacity for water. That means however the growing medium retails water, the plants can not get it easily. As a result, the plants need to use energy to get the water they need. The plant is consequently unable to use this energy for its development.

Rockwool is an even material, meaning the pore size is the same throughout the medium. Growers also need to keep in mind that it offers a low buffering capacity for nutrients and pH as well and create their irrigation and fertilization methods accordingly.

The main challenge with using Rockwool as a growing medium on a larger scale however comes from the difficulties surrounding its disposal. Finally, it’s also important to realise that the production of this material is very energy intensive.

Coir-based growing media for medical cannabis

Secondly, we’ll have a look at coir-based media. This type is widely used because it’s easy to re-wet. They also offer limited shrinkage and have a relatively high air content.

What can be challenging though is the fact that coir-based mixtures need to be flushed and buffered thoroughly before use in cultivation. If that doesn’t happen correctly, it will release salts during cultivation. This influences the EC level. Water usage for these processes is typically high unless producers have taken extensive measures to reduce it. This is complicated because it influences the entire production chain.

Peat-based, active growing media for medicinal cannabis

BVB Substrates offers a portfolio of cannabis growing media within this range. We do so because we strongly believe that this type of growing media will get you the absolute best results if you adjust your growing methods to it.

This type of growing media offers high water retention with a fitting amount of easily available water. In addition, buffering capacities for water, pH and nutrients allow you to save on water and fertilizer and enable you to have more control over the crop. The beneficial microbes in peat (read more) protect the health of your crop, while the structure is ideal for root development thanks to a good pore size distribution.