Growing marijuana from seed: hydroponics vs soil. Which is best?

The favorable climate, long summers, and plenty of growshops make Barcelona an ideal place for those who have always wanted to become a proud owner of top-notch cannabis plants. In fact, when walking down the city streets, you can smell a strong marijuana aroma. That’s because almost every building has a couple of plants hidden inside!

Would you like to become one of these enthusiasts and always have some fine home-grown weed? Great! In this article, you will figure out what’s the best way to get started on your smoking hot adventure. So, should you grow weed indoors or outdoors, hydroponically or in soil? Soon you will find out.

Marijuana plant growing from the ground


Growing marijuana hydroponically or in soil: key differences

There are 2 most common ways of growing marijuana: hydroponic vs soil cannabis cultivation. Obviously, these methods are very different, and to understand which one works best for you, it is essential to go over their pros and cons.

Growing in soil

Soil is the most traditional and the most forgiving medium, which makes it a perfect choice for beginners. This method will not require prior knowledge, experience, and a lot of resources.

Minerals and organic matter contained in the soil will do all the hard work for you. You just need to water the plant regularly and make sure it gets enough light. On the other hand, if you want to improve crop quality, you might need to enrich your medium with manure or earthworm castings. This will help your greens get stronger and healthier.

Soil Pros

  • With soil, you can either grow weed indoors or outdoors. If the climate is favorable and you have some space outside, outdoor cultivation is ideal. If not, don’t get disappointed. A regular clay pot, some lighting, and ventilation, and you are ready for growing your plant indoors.
  • It is easy to start. You don’t need any knowledge of growing plants. Just stick to some basic rules and get your first results.
  • Soil is the cheapest medium. Of course, you might need to add on liquid nutrients or get some additional equipment. Yet still, this is more affordable than hydroponics.
  • If using super-soil, you won’t need any additional marijuana soil nutrients. This pre-fertilized solution is everything a happy cannabis plant needs.

Soil Cons

  • If the plant grows outdoors, it is dependent on the weather. Cannabis likes hot, sunny climates. If exposed to low temps, the crop can die.
  • Soil is prone to bugs and pests, meaning you might need to invest in strong chemicals to get rid of the problem.
  • If grown indoors, it’s easy to overwater the plants, which may cause fungal diseases.

Growing marijuana hydroponically

Hydroponics means no soil is required. Instead, cannabis is planted in one of the soilless mediums such as clay pebbles, coco coir, vermiculite, or peat moss. This method implies that cannabis roots get all the nutrients from a liquid solution.

Do you want to step up your game and grow cannabis in a marijuana hydroponic system? Why not? Especially when you have adequate knowledge of the plants!

marijuana hydroponic system

Hydroponics Pros

  • Plants produce larger yields as they get the right amount of micro and macronutrients. It also affects quality. Hydroponic cannabis tends to taste much better than anything else.
  • Because of the additional oxygen and the nutrients absorbed directly by the roots, it is the fastest way to grow cannabis.
  • It’s soilless, which makes the method much cleaner. Bugs and pests will also not bother you.

Hydroponics Cons

  • Hydroponic systems are hard to set up as there are a lot of things to keep in mind: ventilation, lighting, containers, nutrients, water pH levels, and more.
  • It’s more expensive than soil as you have to buy additional equipment.
  • You need suitable marijuana hydroponic nutrients. At times, it takes several yields to figure out the right mix.
  • Hydroponic systems require constant control.

As you can see, both methods have certain advantages. Nonetheless, it takes more time, money, resources, and knowledge to set up a marijuana hydroponic system.

Growing cannabis hydroponically can be a real struggle as you need to control every aspect of the plant’s environment. But if the setup is correct, you will get the best stash possible.

Soil: growing weed indoors or outdoors?

Okay, so it seems as the soil is more accessible and suitable for beginners. As we mentioned, when we choose it as our medium, it is possible to grow marijuana indoors and outdoors. But which is better?

grow marijuana outside

Grow marijuana outdoors

Fortunately, Barcelona is sunny enough for growing marijuana outdoors. So if you don’t have enough space inside, a tiny balcony will be enough to get started.

Outdoor cultivation has its perks:

  • It is the cheapest way to grow weed as Barcelona’s climate provides you with everything you need.
  • It is easy as you don’t have to set up any complex systems.
  • Plants can get up to 2 meters high, as there are no height limitations.

Grow marijuana indoors

Indoor weed has a bunch of benefits. Some of them include:

  • Top-Notch Quality: when you grow marijuana at home, you control the plant’s environment. If the setup is correct, you can expect premium-quality buds.
  • Adaptability: you don’t need a backyard or a lot of space to grow weed from seeds. Even a square meter of your apartment will do.
  • Multiple Yields: you are not dependent on the weather anymore. You can start another cycle right after you harvest.
  • Privacy: grow cannabis at home to conceal your plants from greedy neighbors.

In some cases, indoor cultivation will require additional equipment, which might be pricey. If you want to grow plants inside of your apartment, remember that you will need to have the following: fluorescent light fixtures, induction, or LED grow lights, and an exhaust fan. Cannabis does like light and air.

Hydroponics Vs Soil: Which is best?Hydroponics Vs Soil: Which is best?


What is your ideal setup?

To understand which method is more suitable for you, you need to consider a lot of factors: available space, your time and resources, materials, climate, and equipment. Also, decide on the goal you would like to achieve: rapidity, quality, or quantity.

If you do not have prior knowledge and experience, or a lot of time to dedicate to your plants, choose soil. Are you more experienced? Then you can benefit from hydroponics higher THC percentage and amazing quality. Yes, it’s harder, but don’t let this discourage you. Every time your harvest will get better and better.

In any case, don’t let any difficulties stop you from having fun growing your own weed. Practice and ambition will get you there eventually.

Is growing weed legal in Spain?
Technically, the answer is yes. However, you should follow some rules to avoid any possible legal consequences. If you grow marijuana outside, be mindful not to place the plants in plain sight. Others shouldn’t see them from public places. Another advised requirement is to stick to no more than 2 cannabis plants. If you have more than 2, authorities may think that you are going to use your harvest for commercial purposes, which is illegal.
How long does it take to grow marijuana?
If you grow marijuana from seed, the process might take approximately 3-4 months. However, with any autoflowering strain, you can see the first results in just 9 weeks.
How much does it cost to set up a drip-free irrigation system?
The average price for all the required materials is around 200-300 euros.
How fast do hydroponic plants grow?
On average, plants grow 30-50% faster than in soil.
What is the best soil for indoor growth?
Okay, so you want to grow your plant in a clay pot. If you are a first-time grower, start with pre-fertilized soil. This is the best soil for weed in case you don’t want to use any additional nutrients. Or you could create your own marijuana soil mix rich in phosphorus, nitrogen, and other essential elements. Enrich the soil with some of these components: peat moss, manure, coco fiber, and/or guano to achieve exceptional quality.

Maria Garcia, Cannabis activist and editor of Cannabis Guide Barcelona


Maria GarciaInstagram icon

Cannabis activist and editor of Cannabis Guide Barcelona