Best Soil For Outdoor Marijuana Plants

April 9, 2021

When it comes to the best soil mixture, growing marijuana is more complex than simply sticking the seeds into the ground. You have to find the method that works best for you, whether it’s planting your cannabis directly into the earth, or using a bucket or other container for it. Both of these methods work fine, and, as with anything, each has its own set of pros and cons.

In this article, we will cover the methods and techniques for growing your cannabis, as well as the basics of soil information. The greatest benefit of soil is its ability to provide nutrients to your plants so we will cover which nutrients your plants need and how to maintain this balance as well.

Learn more about the growing in soil and other mediums when you download my free grow bible!

Outdoor cannabis growing basic soil requirements

You can create your own special mix of soil in order to make sure your plants are getting lots of nutrients. This helps you in the long run because it means you will not have to add in extra additives later on in your plant’s life. Click here if you want to buy soil directly.

You also won’t need to be as particular about the conditions of your growing site, so you will have more options available and might, therefore, be better able to choose a well-hidden place.

If you prefer the more natural route, however, you also will be greeted with plenty of benefits. For example, if the soil is high quality, you will have access to quite a few more nutrients than with container planting.

The roots of your marijuana plants can grow extremely deep and thick since they will not be limited by a container. This method also has its own set of disadvantages, however, as it means you will need a lot more preparation in advance.

Planting marijuana outdoors
Planting marijuana outdoors

You will have to till the soil and change the pH level of the current soil that is located there. Your hard work would pay off, however, since your extra nutrients won’t wash away as easily from rain or watering, and the roots will take in those nutrients whenever they need to.

Regardless of which method of planting you choose to use, the soil will need to be rich in nutrients and well balanced.

The best soil mixture for outdoor plants

The best soil mixture for outdoor plants
The best soil mixture for outdoor plants

The “you are what you eat” concept applies to people as well as plants. This is what makes soil so important in growing high-quality cannabis plants. The better the soil, the better your harvest.

So what makes a soil higher quality? If you hold it in your hands, it should feel fluffy. It should be able to drain well, as well as already possess plenty of nutrients.

If you are using large pots for planting the marijuana seeds, you have a much easier way of controlling the quality of your soil. You can use things such as compost or store-bought fertilizer to form a base that is fertile and rich – perfect for planting. If you are planting in the ground instead, you will need to prepare and test the soil to make sure that it is conducive for growing your plants.

Best nutrients for outdoor soil

Best nutrients for outdoor soil
Outdoor soil with nutrients

Cannabis plants will need plenty of some nutrients from the beginning of its life until its end, or else its yield will not be optimum. Three foundational nutrients that you will need to focus on are nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorus (P). The fewer these nutrients, the less weed you will get.

When looking at fertilizers in the store, you should be able to see exact percentages of each nutrient (listed in N-P-K order). These three nutrients must always be present, throughout the entire lifespan of your cannabis plants. You must carefully maintain the balance of these nutrients, regardless of which life stage your plants are in.

Maintaining this balance is made easier by using store-bought fertilizer and the container planting method. This is because the fertilizer mix probably already has a  pH value of 6, which is not too acidic nor too alkaline, making it the perfect pH level for marijuana plants.

You can look forward to a bountiful harvest if you’ve grown your plants in the best soil! Know the best time to reap your marijuana crop in my free mini harvesting guide.

Do not be surprised, however, if your marijuana plants start showing signs of a lacking of one or more nutrients – this is simply because plants don’t use them all up at the same rate. Some nutrients are consumed faster than others, which means you will have to replenish the ones that are consumed at a faster rate. You can do this via feeding into the soil, or just with adding it into your normal watering.

So how can you identify a plant that needs a specific nutrient? You can see and feel differences that will tell you which nutrient your plants are lacking.

The best soil for planting in containers

Planting cannabis in container

Although container planting is easier in many ways, it also means there is less room for error and more maintenance required on your part. You are the only thing that is providing nutrients for these plants, so you need to make sure you are constantly aware and observant of your plants’ needs.

Do you think that container planting is the way for you? (click here for the best pots) If that is the case, you will need to be careful of a few key factors. To choose the correct type of container, it’s always good to go for the lightest one possible. The reason for this is simple: you will need to move your pots multiple times, and lighter containers make that movement easier for you.

Try out a plastic bucket that is about five gallons in volume.  You can find these from restaurants that have used them, which is good because it means there were no hazardous materials stored in them at any time.

Bets soil for planting in containers
Bets soil for planting in containers

By contrast, clay pots are definitely not ideal. They are also an unnecessary expense and even absorb some of the water that your cannabis plants could use. If you do happen to use clay pots, make sure you spray the pot with water so that it isn’t absorbing any of that plant’s water, especially during the hot, dry summer season.

You can also find grow bags, which can be a good substitute for clay pots or plastic buckets. They can hold quite a bit of soil and are also fairly durable. The only potential issue with grow bags is that they allow for a lot more bumping around of the plant and its roots whenever you need to move it.

So if you choose to use them, be very careful whenever you need to transport plants inside of them. If the roots are damaged, your plant will need to focus all of its energy on repairing the roots rather than growing, so it would then slow down its growth.

Feeling inspired to grow marijuana outdoors in soil? Start with buying high-quality seeds! Find seeds of your favorite strain in my shop.

Buy Marijuana Seeds

Whichever container you decide to use, make sure it has holes in the bottom so any extra water can drain out, so you don’t drown your plants. Just make sure that these holes are not too big, otherwise, soil could tumble out the bottom. Another idea that could work is to keep a few rocks (not too many) inside of the soil to help with drainage.

FAQs About the Best Soil for Outdoor Marijuana Plants

How does topsoil differ from potting soil?

Topsoil is used for planting directly in the ground, whereas potting soil is for planting in containers. Topsoil is composed of sand or clay that is mixed with organic materials such as compost. On the other hand, potting soil contains peat moss and other organic materials such as composted sawdust.

What is super soil?

Super soil is a term used and by well-known grower and seed producer Subcool to describe a soil recipe they use to simplify the process of attaining a successful harvest regardless of your growing expertise level. It is a highly-amended grow medium that allows growers to eliminate the need for liquid nutrients.

What are the foundational nutrients that cannabis plants need?

The three nutrients you will need to focus on are nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and phosphorus (P). The fewer these nutrients, the less cannabis yield you will get.

Becoming an expert cannabis grower requires practice and learning. Let my blog be your informative guide.

Have you grown your own marijuana outdoors using soil? Please share your experience or leave your questions below.

Happy growing!


The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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  1. By Andrew Tasker ,07 Jun 2014
    I feel you should recommend that people NOT use commercial, chemical fertilizers since the application of such fertilizer effectively wipes out a lot of helpful bacteria and little critters that help aerate and enrich the soil. The best Ph for […]Read More
  2. By steverino ,12 Dec 2014
    My seedlings are now 4 weeks old, in 70 degree F grow room, 300W appollo horticulture LED light, and have 1/2 sandy soil 1/2 potting soil, and they refuse to grow. I will try your recommendation of root stimulator to […]Read More
  3. By raymond ,12 Apr 2015
    use bat guano it makes just about any soil usable and it makes the plant grow 100 times faster
  4. By Best Compost and Fertilizers for Outdoor Marijuana Plants ,20 Jul 2015
    […] the composition of soil is so important to your harvest, it is key to take care when choosing what exactly to put in it.  […]
  5. By Growing Marijuana On Soil – I Love Growing Marijuana ,28 Jul 2015
    […] need to change it at all – this will already work perfectly for your plants. Read the article Best marijuana soil mixture for more […]
  6. By Stop Cats And Dogs Harming Your Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] way to keep all cats away is placing chicken wire across the top of your soil. Cats find it unpleasant to walk on and, therefore, will avoid it. You can then use wire cutters to […]
  7. By Stop Potassium Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] do, however, happen in planting mediums and outdoor soil every once in a while. They can even happen if your soil is especially rich in fertilizers and […]
  8. By Stop Calcium Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] aluminum (Al) and will poison your plants! Gypsum is a good option for people who have tested their outdoor soil and see that it is within the ideal range since gypsum doesn’t mess with the pH level very […]
  9. By Nora Power ,13 Aug 2015
    I have a question. I have a plant,it is about 3 ft high and is strong and healthy,however I don't see any buds or hairs on it. It is very leafy and green. I also have one that is about […]Read More
  10. By Growing Marijuana In Soil ,18 Aug 2015
    […] need to change it at all – this will already work perfectly for your plants. Read the article Best marijuana soil mixture for more […]
  11. By latewood ,19 Aug 2015
    Nora, It is really hard to answer you without hazarding a guess. Perhaps you will consider joining our "Support forum" and posting this in a topic. We would love to help you figure out the issue at hand.
  12. By JIM ,05 Sep 2015
  13. By latewood ,07 Sep 2015
    All you can do to lower PH, which is really not necessary; Would be to water with a lower PH'd solution
    1. By Jeffrey McConnaughey ,12 Feb 2018
      Why don't you mention the proper depth for soil testing and Ca is more important than P unless you're growing seeds. Don't lower your solution pH to acidify mineral soil, use the right amendments, latewood!
  14. By Juan Navarro ,20 May 2016
    What are those sticks in the pots? What are they for and how do you attach them to the plant
  15. By Chuck Johnson ,22 May 2016
    I add Organic Minerals 77+ from Mineralmaxx to gain flavor and density. They send them USPS
  16. By Brock ,23 Jul 2016
    I am confused after reading this... You say... "If it’s 7, it’s exactly neutral – which is roughly ideal for growing marijuana plants."... And then you say..." You marijuana plants will be happiest if the soil’s pH level is between […]Read More
  17. By latewood.ILGM ,25 Jul 2016
    Juan Navarro, Those appear to be typical Bamboo sticks found in any garden center. Typically they are placed in the soil and you just prop your foliage onto them for support. If you wanted to attach them, it can be […]Read More
  18. By latewood.ILGM ,25 Jul 2016
    Brock, PH 7 or "neutral PH" is for soil plants. 5.6-8.0 PH (slightly acidic) is used for the PH in hydroponics growing.. Perhaps you should join our grow support forum. We have many helpful and friendly members and a few […]Read More
  19. By Roxx ,06 Aug 2016
    I live in Oregon, and Im about to grow commercially on a 30,000sq ft. outdoors area, and I know we will have around 1500 plants. I have access to 100,000lbs of horse manure thats been composted over many years. Should […]Read More
    1. By Roy ILGM ,08 Aug 2016
      Hey Roxx, that's a mighty project you have in the works. Though I would love to get into your questions over here, the better place to go about this is on our grow support forum. Our team as well as […]Read More
  20. By vernon bobo ,02 Mar 2017
    When you take aPH level if one is off what do you put in the soil to get it right..........DoYou go buy some spil that has already has it in it//////////////
  21. By latewood_ILGM ,06 Mar 2017
    vernon, Dolomitic Lime is used to buffer PH in soil mixes. Happy growing.
  22. By Aleksey ,03 May 2018
    "Three foundational nutrients that you will need to focus on are nitrogen (N), potassium (P), and phosphorus (K). " It's a typo. Should be: potassium (K), and phosphorus (P).
    1. By latewood_ILGM ,04 May 2018
      Thanks! I will shoot a message to the Admin.
  23. By latewood ILGM ,26 Jul 2019
    Josh, There so many types of soil mixes. Go hare and do a search and members will help you out.
  24. By Wilson ,04 Sep 2019
    I have a week old seedling and it seems that one leaf seams to be a lil smaller than the others is this normal
    1. By Stacy ILGM ,04 Sep 2019
      Hey Wilson, Nothing to worry about, give it some more time. You might want to give this article a read to learn more about this stage:
  25. By Debbie ,13 Nov 2019
    My plants had very Thin and shallow roots. Did i over water maybe? Plants were small but buds were good just not many since plants were so small
  26. By Ken ,16 Feb 2020
    This article was pretty unimpressive considering the title. No useful information on building high-quality outdoor soil, other than the very very basics.
  27. By Bryan ,04 Mar 2020
    I'm going to grow Autoflower seeds this year. My grow media is Fox Farm Ocean Forest 14000. Do I need to fertilize at all since the plants finish in 90 - 100 days?
  28. By Tracey ,28 Mar 2020
    Hi. I’m a novice Grower and need Some advice. There’s mould on my soil and the leaves are curling up at the edges. I can not go to the shop ans buy the things i need. New zealand has a […]Read More
  29. By Nahnah ,31 May 2020
    So I was looking for the soil type for ground plantinv in a plot. There was a lot of information for containers but not in ground. There were 3 l or 4 links for what I was looking for. But […]Read More
  30. By Waz ,02 Sep 2020
    Looking forward to having some decent seed. Thanks people.

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