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Soil Vs. Coco Vs. Hydro…Which Is Best?

Soil Vs. Coco Vs. Hydro…Which Is Best?

Trying to pick a growing method? Sorry folks, there’s no quick answer here. It all comes down to what suits you and your growing space.

Here are the pros of each growing method.


aka. coir

Great For

  • Beginners and intermediate growers


  • Light & airy for good root growth

  • No nutritional content (more control)

  • Easy to use

  • Can be hand-watered or used with drip systems


Coco is your half-way house.

 The light, airy nature of coco promotes root growth.

Overall, you get bigger and faster growing plants than you do in soil. But there’s a bit more room to make mistakes.

Like in soil, roots are insulated to offset temperature changes.

Unlike soil, coco has very little nutritional content. You have complete control over what goes into your plants – get it right and growth is amazing! You will need to monitor your nutrient pH though.

If you want better results than you get in soil but aren’t ready to move onto hydro yet, this is the media for you.


Coco tends to absorb calcium and nitrogen while releasing potassium. Use a good CalMag to counter this.

Coco holds onto nutrients, making some less available to plants. To make sure plants get enough to feed on, start feeding with nutrients from day 1 and only use just water every 1-2 weeks.



Great For

  • Beginners

  • Organic growers



  • Easiest method

  • Buffers pH

  • Contains beneficial microbes

  • Retains nutrients well

  • Can be hand-watered or used with drip systems

Soil in a RhizoPotSoil in a RhizoPot

Soil’s a very forgiving media – it already contains nutrients and beneficial microbes to help maintain plant health and ward off diseases.

Since roots are insulated by the soil, air temperature variation has less of an impact on the root zone.

You don’t even have to adjust the pH of your nutrient solution. Why? Soil microbes and organic matter have the ability to modify the pH range to allow for nutrient uptake. However, if you regularly apply a nutrient solution with a pH below 5 or above 8, you will see benefit from adjusting the pH to between 5.5 and 6.5. Just don’t overdo it.

If you’re growing organically, this is the method for you. Most organic nutrients work with the beneficial microbes already in your soil – like Ecothrive Charge & Biosys.


If growing with soil, consider using Ecothrive Coco with Charge. It's coco mixed with Charge at the ideal 2%.


little or no media (exposed roots)  

Great For:

  • Optimum control

  • Serious growers


  • Fastest rooting & growth

  • Bigger plants

  • Bigger yields

Soil in a RhizoPotSoil in a RhizoPot

To get the biggest, fastest growing plants, go hydro. Exposed roots grow straight into your nutrient solution.

There’s very little media to get in the way of root growth. And plants have instant access to nutrients.

It’s a little harder to grow in hydro – with very little media to protect roots, you really need to watch your temperature and oxygen levels.There are lots of tools to help you stay inside the safe zone. A Hailea Nutrient Chiller in summer will be your best friend. In winter, you'll want a Hydor Nutrient Heater.

Don’t even try this method if you’re an organic grower – organic nutrients contain biologically active ingredients that ferment and foam in hydro systems. Stick with a good mineral nutrient in hydro.


To keep your hydro system disease free, use Silver Bullet Roots.It prevents 99.99% of all root diseases (bacteria, fungus, mould & biofilm). It won't harm your plants - it's non-toxic, non-corrosive and odourless.

It doesn't hurt to clean your system with Silver Bullet Mist between crops either - the last thing you want is cross contamination!

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About the author

Alex is one of our Directors! It's his job to sniff out the best products and keep operations in order. His toe stays firmly dipped in marketing, too!

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