Whether a plant is grown from a clone or seed, it needs a medium to serve as a base for a healthy life. A growing medium is the material in which plants are set during the growth cycle. Whether you use hydroponics, aeroponics, or traditional soil cultivation, your selected growing medium needs to provide the plant’s roots with air, water, and nutrients.
Hydroponic cultivation is the preferred medium for indoor cultivators, feeding plants through a nutrient-rich liquid solution. Perlite, vermiculite, coco coir, and hydroton balls are all commonly used hydroponic media, which allow for optimal uptake of nutrients and reduced water usage compared with soil. Hydroponic methods are also frequently used in greenhouse settings, but not commonly used for outdoor growing.
The major downside of hydroponics is the rigorous attention to detail the practice requires. Hydroponic media are much more sensitive to severe temperatures. Too much heat, in particular, can be very damaging as it invites bacteria and disease. Meanwhile, the water’s pH and nutrient levels must be consistently monitored to ensure the plant is getting what it needs to grow strong.
Aeroponics function similarly to hydroponics, but rather than maintaining the plant’s roots submerged in water, an aeroponic system suspends the plant’s roots in an environment of mist and air where they absorb water, nutrients, and oxygen.
An aeroponic system arguably has the most potential for maximum yield, but it’s also much more temperamental than other systems. Both environmental and growth control factors must receive careful, constant attention to an aeroponic system to be effective.
Soil is the most common medium for growing cannabis. Healthful soil is an exceptionally stable growing medium, allowing for sufficient moisture retention that provides the grower ample time between watering sessions.
Soil is readily available and relatively easy to work with, which makes it an effective growing medium for the widest spectrum of growers — from prospective home growers to bona fide experts. Soil can be used for both indoor and outdoor growing.
Germinating seeds or rooting cannabis clones
The germination phase takes place from the moment a seed’s embryo is exposed to water until the seed has sprouted its plumule or initial taproot. Germination only occurs when plants are grown from a seed, and usually takes between 12 hours and three weeks, depending on the vitality of the seed, age of the seed, and germination techniques selected by the grower.
The simplest way to germinate a cannabis seed is by placing it about 3 millimeters deep in moist soil. Germination soils are also an option, designed with micronutrient blends that facilitate healthy sprouting. Many growers prefer towel germination, in which seeds are placed between two damp paper towels, then immediately transferred into a growing medium once the taproot is exposed.
If growing from a clone, the rooting phase is the time in which the plant develops its taproot. During this time, the young cutting is exposed to 24 hours of light in an environment with high humidity. This can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days.