Soil or Hydro?

Whether walking into that grow store or you’re shopping online for your grow gear, one of the first questions you have to ask yourself is what medium are you going to grow?

Uh oh. Medium?

Take a deep breath, my friend, your buds over at Growers Network are going to help you make the best choice!

Soil Advantages:

  • Very forgiving
  • Easy
  • pH buffering and nutrient retention

Hydro Advantages:

  • Less water
  • Immediate results (nutrients uptake quickly by the plant)
  • Total control

Soil Drawbacks:

  • Insects
  • Messy
  • Disposal can be a pain

Hydro Drawbacks:

  • Less forgiving
  • Need to change reservoir at least once per week
  • Problems can manifest very quickly

What media have you tried? What worked well for you? What issues did you experience and what guidance might you offer the rest of us considering what medium to choose? What medium do you prefer?


Coco coir is similar to soil for the plant as far as support and when watering 2x a day creates a “hydroponic” system it’s fun to try different things
And see how fast your girls grow in different media


love them both. I made a hydroponic unit for my mom’s students to grow lettuce, lol.


Awesome! When I worked in a retail hydro store, I was always stoked when kids came in to get advice on their science fair projects or teachers come in to build hydro or recirculating aquaculture systems for their classrooms. These are our future growers of everything from our food to our herbs, so let’s teach them well! Thanks teachers and thanks @vonweeden for furthering their hydro education. :fist::evergreen_tree:


I use both, I have an indoor setup with 6 DWC Sites and an outdoor green house with 6 in there as well.

There are real pro’s and con’s to both. I have found the easiest way to explain the two is that Hydro is “less trouble shooting, and more maintenance” where soil is the opposite. With hydro you don’t have to worry about over or under watering, nutrient balance or what’s going on in the root zone. You just have to check and monitor it every day, clean it once a week and put in fresh nutrients.

Soil, well theres a lot of questions you can’t answer by looking directly at the medium. To me soil is much more “experience oriented” with significantly less maintenance.


I’m mainly a hydroponic grower, DWC to be exact, but I’m about to start my first round with coco and autopots and am very excited!

I do like soil too, just not as much.

How bout you @Growernick?


Sorry for the late reply but I have been on a fishing trip for the last few days.

I have done a little of everything, but I always come back to living coco blends. I treat my coco kind of like a soil and build a living ecosystem with which the rhizosome of the plant can interact. I essentially build a super soil using coco.

What makes you come back to DWC, @tdubwilly? What about this system appeals to you as a grower?


I have everything in a “set it and forget it” format and for me DWC was how I could get the biggest yields in the shortest amount of time with one plant.

Unfortunately DWC didn’t meet one demand of mine and that was pH drifting in the reservoir when I was gone 5 days at a time or more, so I was gonna try these autopots this time around.

They will feed from a reservoir also but from all the reviews of read of people that I know they have been able to leave the plants attended 10 days at a time and the plants be ok.

In DWC if I went ten days without checking pH I would be in trouble.

I don’t understand exactly why that would hold any different with an autopot reservoir but I can’t find anything of people complaining their plant almost died in an autopot system from pH drifting.

In DWC, my tap water that I run through an RO system, I can expect it’s ph to be about 4.5 after five days of being unattended and the plant will have already begun to look terrible. Not sure what ten days would bring


Like about what Growernick said about the rhizome, or the “microbiome” of the substrate/media.

@tdubwilly, we’ve been working on that a bit in the lab – adding “probiotics”, beneficial bacteria and mycorrhizae, and or enzymes to your deep water culture .

We spoke about how most of the stuff on the market has its microbes geared toward thriving in a living soil like substrate and most won’t survive in a aquatic environment like water culture.

Something we haven’t spoken as much about is prebiotics, making sure the beneficial microbes have something to supplement what they eat or need to survive.

Have you tried FloraNova Bloom as your base Lucas? The worm castings in the mix might help and I’ve never had any problems using it in my system as my “Lucas” based nutrient mixture.

Or maybe even with MaxiBloom, you might have better stability.

I have been able to go a week without any serious repercussions and I have much larger plants, 4’x4’ canopy.


Soil but specifically living soil and teas…