Growing Media: How to Pick
Your growing media is very important. It impacts plant growth and governs the other purchases you will make.
To pick a growing media, you need to think about:
- Your growing system
- Drainage vs. water retention
- Inert vs. nutritional content
- Results vs. ease of use
1. Pick a Media to suit your Growing System
First, your media needs to suit your system.
In hydro systems, you need a media that drains well so you’re not water-logging plants. One that won’t cause blockages in your system. Stay away from anything that can travel through your system and cause blockages.
However, if you’re hand-watering, you want a media that holds onto water. That way you can feed less often.
- Soil medias: hand-watering, drip irrigation, AutoPots, RhizoSystems
- Coco medias: hand-watering, drip irrigation, AutoPots, RhizoWilmas, RhizoSystems
- Rockwool: NFT, drip irrigation
- Pebbles: Oxypots, Flood & Drain, Ebb & Flood, DWC, NFT
2. Drainage vs water retention: get your media structure right
Some growing medias drain better than others.
The one you want depends on your irrigation strategy. In flood & drain systems, for instance, you irrigate often, so want a nice, porous media that drains well.
- Holds water: Coco, soil, rockwool
- Drains well: Clay pebbles, perlite
Don’t be afraid to mix medias together. Lots of people mix pebbles or perlite in with their coco or soil to increase drainage.
3. Do you want a media with nutritional content?
If your media contains nutrients, you don't have to feed as often. If your media is inert (no nutritional content) then you have more control over what plants consume.
Soil naturally contains nutrients and beneficial microbes. These help keep plants healthy and ward-off pathogens. If you’re growing organically, soil is a great choice! Most organic nutrients work with the beneficial microbes already in your soil – like Ecothrive Charge, Biosys, Mykos & more. BioBizz is a great soil nutrient.
Coco is an awesome media with some very unique properties.
Like hydro medias, it’s inert, giving you greater control of your feed.
Coco also has a calcium draw. This is where it holds on to calcium, making it unavailable to plants. To counter this, coco nutrients are higher in calcium. To be safe, use a good CalMag supplement.
Coco Media Mixes
If you want some nutritional content, try a pre-fertilised coco mix. For instance, Ecothrive Coco and TropicMix 70/30 contain Ecothrive Charge. Both mixes contains bacteria and microbes that keep plants healthy. You’ll notice root grow sooner, are more resistant to diseases. You won’t have to feed as often, either.
You can also get some interesting coco/clay mixes, which improve drainage!
|Pick a Quality Coco|
Make sure you buy a quality coco, like the ones we sell. Inferior coco may contain salts, due to the way the coco is washed and treated. These salts can affect the way plants absorb nutrients – they can cause nutrient lockout and even be toxic to plants.
Hydro medias are always completely inert. They have no nutritional content whatsoever. This way you have total control over what nutrients your plant is getting. Commercial growers, who need consistent and predictable results, love this method.