Hydroponic Growing Media

Tara | August 11, 2022
Soil in hands

Selecting the right growing medium is an important decision, as it can affect the plant’s growth, yield, and even its flavor and aroma.

A growing medium is where your plants develop their root system. Many growers use pots with soil, but coco coir, perlite, clay balls and rockwool are also popular. At Glandore Hydro, we understand that different growers have different methods and we aim to accommodate each and every one by stocking a large range of high quality grow media. Some our our most popular grow mediums include cococlaywool and soil. We recommend high quality grow media such as Colossal Premium Coco and Grodan Rockwool Cubes.

Factors to consider when selecting a growing medium

  • Nutrient retention: The growing medium should be able to retain nutrients and water to provide a stable environment for the plant.
  • Drainage: The growing medium should provide adequate drainage to avoid waterlogged conditions, which can lead to root rot and other problems.
  • pH level: The growing medium’s pH level should be in the optimal range for cannabis growth, which is between 6.0 and 7.0.
  • Aeration: The growing medium should provide adequate aeration for the roots, allowing them to access oxygen.
  • Texture: The texture of the growing medium should be loose and airy to provide ample space for root growth and allow for good drainage.
  • Availability: The growing medium should be readily available and affordable in your area.

Common growing mediums

1. Coco Coir

Coco substrate has become the Australian grower’s choice since the early 2000s. This speaks volumes about this medium….simply, it is the best! Coco provides excellent insulation. This means that coco isn’t prone to overheating. Coco substrate contains natural rooting compounds, in the form of potassium and phosphorous. Coco coir also has excellent air filled “porosity” – the term used for the levels of oxygen availability in the media. We recommend the use of premium quality buffered coco products such as CANNA Coco.

2. Soil

Soil is becoming an increasingly popular grow medium, particularly for organic growers. It can be used for indoor or outdoor growing, and can be more forgiving than other hydroponic substrates. Growing in soil is also more environmentally friendly, because it uses less water and the soil can often be reused. Living soil is also growing in popularity as it can improve the quality and quantity of produce.

3. Perlite

Perlite is an extremely versatile, naturally occurring, inorganic mineral in the form of siliceous rock. When the perlite ore is heated at approximately 850⁰-900⁰C it expands up to 20 times its original volume. This expanded volcanic glass helps to immediately improve soil structure by facilitating drainage and aeration. It can also reduce soil compaction. Perlite is completely sterile and pH neutral and exhibits a unique capillary action in which nutrient rich water can be drawn up from a reservoir at the rate that is required by a plant. As a result, hydroponic plants grown in perlite are less likely to suffer from over watering or under watering.

4. Clay

Clay pebbles, also known as hydroton, LECA (light expanded clay aggregate) and expanded clay pellets are lightweight, clean, reusable and easy to use. Clay pebbles are baked clay granules which form an ideal substrate for hydroponic growing. Manufactured from special types of clay with a low content of soluble salts, they are suitable for growing in recirculating systems. Clay balls contain a high pora volume with a high air content, which ensures strong roots with a firm hold. They are inorganic and have a neutral pH. Suitable for both run-to-waste and recirculating systems, they are often used to improve soil drainage

5. Rockwool

Grow wool, otherwise known as rockwool or stone wool is a growing medium used commonly in hydroponics. The wool is derived from basalt, a natural volcanic rock. Rockwool is spun from molten rock into fine fibers and then compressed into shapes like cubes, blocks, or slabs. Grow wool has the optimum air/water ratio for healthy root growth, promoting vigorous root growth thanks to the extremely even distribution of water and EC. Rockwool is able to absorb large amounts of the nutrient solution while having a structure that gives plenty of oxygen for faster plant growth. Cuttings that are started in rockwool can be easily transplanted into other growing mediums like soil or coco. Loose wool can be mixed with clay pellets to make water and nutrient distribution more uniform. It can also be used at the base of a pot as a filter to prevent growing media entering the circulation system. Available in cubes, slabs, or loose flock, it is often used for propagating and breeding. 

Ultimately, the choice of growing medium will depend on your growing style, budget, and personal preferences. By considering the factors mentioned above, you can select a growing medium that will provide a stable environment for your plants and promote healthy growth and high yields.

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