Types of Growing Media: Soil, Soilless Mix, Rockwool, Pots, and More


Grow Generation Editorial 

At GrowGeneration, our growing media and containers category includes items such as soil, soilless mix, coco, rockwool, smart pots, nursery pots, and clone plugs. Each style of growing is unique, and you will find all the supplies that you need from GrowGeneration’s website or at one of our 60+ physical retail locations nationwide!

What is Growing Media?

Growing media is what your plants are growing in. It could be soil, rockwool, coco, soilless mix, or even water. At GrowGeneration, we carry a wide variety of potting soils and other growing mediums for any style of cultivation.

Types of Growing Media

Here are a few common types of growing media:


The tried-and-true soil is still one of our biggest sellers in this category. Soil is considered by many to be the best style for cultivation. Soil is alive and comes with a nutritional backbone that is enough to get your plants started for 2-4 weeks. Some soil does not even require additional fertilization! The two most popular brands of soil are FoxFarm and Roots Organics.

Here are some basics to consider when selecting your potting soil.

  • Are you growing inside or outside? Indoor growers might want a lighter and fluffier potting soil than somebody growing outside. Roots Organics Original Mix is a great option for the indoor grower.
  • How much do you want to feed? With FoxFarm Ocean Forest, for example, you will have enough food to get you through the first month of growing without additional fertilizer. This reduces time spent feeding.
  • How much control are you looking for? If you want a little more control over your fertilizer and want to start feeding aggressively faster, you may want to consider Roots Organics 707 Mix. This potting soil is lightly charged and will require feeding sooner, which gives you more control over your garden.

Advantages of Soil

Soil is typically more forgiving than a hydroponic setup when it comes to PH and underfeeding. When growing in soil, you are feeding the soil and the soil is feeding the plants. Soil is known by many growers to put out the best quality and bring out the best flavors in your plants. We would recommend that beginner growers go with soil so they can learn the basics of indoor cultivation.

Disadvantages of Soil

Soil can be dirtier in an indoor setup if you are not careful.  Soil tends to not grow plants a quickly as a soilless mix or hydroponic setup.

Soilless Mix

Soilless mix is like soil in its touch and feel, but it is inert (not alive) and does not contain fertilizer.  Soilless mix can be broken down into two main categories and is a hydroponic growing medium.

Peat and Perlite is a common base for a soilless mix, Sunshine Mix #4 being the most popular. Sunshine mix is fast draining, suitable for 1-3 feedings per day, and is preferred by many hobbyists and commercial growers alike.


The other popular soilless mix is Coco. Coco has become increasingly popular over the last ten years.  Coco comes in a variety of styles such as coco loose-fill, coco perlite mixes, and compressed coco pots.  Coco has the perfect air to water ratio, is difficult to overwater, and is great for the environment as it is a renewable resource.  Our preferred brand of coco products is CharCoir. CharCoir revolutionized coco by coming out with the “CocoCube,” which is a compressed block in a fabric pot and acts very similar to a 6” rockwool cube. They also have a line of “Biopots,” a compressed coco brick inside of a fabric planter. These Biopots come in a variety of sizes and are very popular for the commercial cultivator.  They are easier to transport than loose-fill coco and they save the grower space, time, and money.  Coco is known for producing great crop quality and fast-growing plants.


Rockwool, also known as mineral wool, is a fibrous material formed by spinning molten minerals or rock minerals. It is commonly used for insulation and sound-proofing, and is still one of the most popular hydroponic growing mediums today.

Rockwool is lightweight, clean, easy to transport, and can be fed up to 10 times per day. This method is popular amongst many commercial growers. Rockwool is known for growing plants very quickly but also is very unforgiving when it comes to PH and underfeeding. Rockwool comes in a wide variety of sizes from the Grodan A-OK starter plugs all the way to the Big Mama 8” block. Rockwool does not require a container as it is a self-contained medium wrapped in plastic. Additionally, rockwool requires precise watering and fertilization.


When growing in soil, coco, or another soilless mix, you will need to pick a style of container. There are two main types: fabric planters (also known as GeoPots or SmartPots) or the traditional Nursery Pots made of plastic.

Fabric planters provide superior aeration to their plastic counterparts. Fabric pots help your medium dry down evenly, air prune your roots, and tend to help plants grow faster. They are very popular for indoors but are the preferred pot of the outdoor grower. They come in a wide variety of sizes from 1 gallon to 1000 gallons and also come in a raised bed style.

Plastic containers have been used in the nursery industry for a very long time. They come in a wide variety of sizes from 0.5 gallons to 30 gallons. They are durable and easy to clean in between rounds.

Find Your Favorite Growing Media at GrowGeneration!

From soil to soilless mix, coco, rockwool, smart pots, nursery pots, and more, GrowGeneration has all the products you need to elevate your grow! Shop online or at one of our 60+ physical retail locationsnationwide to get yours today.

Still not sure what growing media is best for your grow? No worries, the Grow Pros are here to help! Message us on Instagram, stop into one of our stores, or give your local GrowGen store a call to get your growing questions answered by the experts!

Grow Generation Editorial 


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