Soil versus Hydroponics

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is the method of growing plants using water and a neutral growing medium instead of soil. The growing medium only acts as a support system for the plants and their root systems. The growing medium is totally neutral meaning it does not contribute to the needs of the plant. Hydroponics results in not having to deal with weeds or soil thriving pests or diseases such as root rot or moulds. Plants are being able to receive the optimum nutrient and moisture levels in hydroponics systems. Healthier, faster growing plants that are more resistant to daily stresses. The root systems generally stay smaller in hydroponics in comparison to plants grown in soil. The growth concentration is focused on plant mass resulting in 25% faster growth. Hydroponics systems can prove beneficial: they produce larger yields and have a shorter time to plant maturity typically seen in the longer blooming varieties such as sativas.


All of the plants shown here have been growing for the same amount of time in the exact same conditions. The plants in the top portion of the image are grown using a hydroponic bubbler system. The plants on the bottom are grown in a soil mix. Notice the dramatic size differences.

Here are the same six plants a few weeks later. The hydroponic plants are still thriving, easily surpassing the growth rate of the potted plants.


The Facts


• The biggest advantage of using hydroponics is having complete control over the growing environment. The flooding and draining of your hydro setup ensures that fungus/disease does not damage the root systems, maximizing the nutrient and oxygen uptake.
• Hydroponics can produce a higher yield than standard soil culture. The plants energy is focused on growth/production rather than growing a huge root system as seen in potted plants. This is due to the increased nutrient intake and the increased oxygen absorption by the root systems.

• The nutrient solution is dissolved directly into water so the plant may receive perfect amount of nutritional needs at all times.

• Hydroponics takes the desired amount of food directly to the root rather than making plant wait for the water/feed to reach the roots.
• The pH of the water is easily maintained at the perfect level so the plants are never stressed by over or under acidic water.
• Hydroponics increases plant growth by 20%-30% compared to potted plants.
• Decreases insect infestations and diseases.
• Hydroponics growing mediums are inert and sterile making a very hygienic environment for the plant and gardener.
• A flavor difference between two of the same strains may be noticed due to the micronutrient differences. Many people believe that this is due to unflushed chemicals in the plant tissues.


• In soil, bacteria must first break down the elements within soil; the basic elements of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as trace elements needed to support the plants life. One benefit is the symbiotic relationship between root systems and mycorrhiza. Symbiosis is used to describe the intimate association between two distantly, related species that are mutually benefiting from their association.

• The functions of roots are: to act as support for the stem; to absorb and conduct water and nutrients from the soil; and to store food. Soil is not able to produce as much nutrient per area as the root system is able to take up. This is based on the fact that some of the nutrients will not be accessible to the root system at the needed time.
• Soil allows for predictability in regards to watering/feeding schedules. The simplicity is hard to compare to the laborious duties associated with hydroponics.

• Soil is very messy. The set up and disassembling of the garden is hell and requires you wear a mask to filter out the particles that become airborne.
• Fertilizers build up in the soil allowing for the possibility of overfeeding or not being fully flushed out of chemicals at the time of harvest.

• Soil facilitates moulds, disease and insects. The pests continuously search out fresh new plants to lay their eggs. The soil creates unimpeded paths from one plant to the next.

Here is a shot of the potted plant a few weeks into flowering.

Here are the hydroponically grown plants a few weeks into flowering. Clearly these are bushier with larger buds.

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