Cannabis Nutrients: Why, How, And When To Feed Your Plants
- Author Darren Chan
- Published August 17, 2020
- Word count 727
Cannabis plants are sensitive to nutrients, and there's a fine line between adequately feeding your plants and burning them with chemicals. Discover out everything you need to know about adequately feeding cannabis plants in our guide!
All the nutrients needed for cannabis plant development are naturally present in the environment. However, to help your plants develop even faster and produce a better end product, you'll prefer to feed them with fertilizer-- concentrated nutrients.
Below, you'll find all the information you need to learn about when, how, and how much to feed your cannabis plants.
UNDERSTANDING CANNABIS MACRO AND MICRONUTRIENTS
Cannabis plants require three nutrients in large quantities. These macronutrients are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), and they form the cornerstone of cannabis plant health. Because of this, these three nutrients usually feature front and center on fertilizer products in the type of an NPK ratio. The higher the number for each value, the higher the concentration of that particular nutrient.
However, cannabis needs even more than just three nutrients to survive and thrive. It also counts on secondary nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and sulfur to play vital roles in plant growth:
Calcium is essential for cell wall development can assist reduce soil salinity and improves water penetration when used as a soil amendment.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolism, and also helps with the stabilization of plant cell walls.
Sulfur is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll and the production of proteins, amino acids, enzymes and vitamins, and protects plants against disease.
More than this, plants also use several other nutrients in minimal quantities (micronutrients) that are nevertheless extremely important. These include boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. While these aren't the primary nutrients plants use for food, they still play significant roles in various aspects of plant health.
NOT ALL CANNABIS FERTILISERS ARE MADE EQUAL
There are many various brands of cannabis nutrients on the local market, and they can differ considerably.
Typically, cannabis fertilizers will vary in the four following areas:
Nutrient ratio: Different brands use different nutrient ratios they consider optimal.
Ingredients: Different fertilizer brands can achieve the same nutrient ratios using completely different components, ranging from the highly chemical (or "artificial") to the highly natural.
Soil or hydro: Soil nutrients are very different from hydro or soilless nutrient solutions. Make certain you only use fertilizers designed for your growing medium.
Supplements: Many fertilizer brands also make "supplements." These products typically contain low NPK ratios and instead feature other nutrients designed to boost certain aspects of growth. Some supplements, for a good example, are necessarily molasses.
In general, we recommend you focus more on meeting your plants' demands for macro and secondary nutrients before pumping them full of supplements. Going overboard with nutrients can result in chemical interactions or nutrient burn, which can significantly impact the size and quality of your yield.
Once you've nailed feeding your plants with these core nutrients, feel free to move on to a more complex feeding schedule to produce even more significant, more potent harvests.
NUTRIENT REQUIREMENTS FOR SEEDLINGS, VEGGING, AND FLOWERING WEED PLANTS
Cannabis' nutrient requirements change based on which stage of life it's inside.
NUTRIENTS FOR CANNABIS SEEDLINGS
Cannabis seedlings get all their nutrients from their seed and absorb water via their leaves as their root system develops (that's why it's essential to keep them in a warm, humid environment).
You won't need to start feeding your seedlings until they're about 3-- 4 weeks old, at which point they'll have developed 3-- 4 real leaves, thus entering the vegetative growth phase.
NUTRIENTS FOR VEGETATIVE CANNABIS PLANTS
Some growers opt to start their plants off on a light 2:1:2 fertilizer (there's that NPK ratio) for one week just when their seedlings start to enter their vegetative growth phase. This step can be a great way to introduce your plants to their fertilizer and avoid nutrient burn. However, some growers see great results immediately starting their plants on a 4:2:3 fertilizer to kickstart growth.
By the mid-vegetative phase (roughly six weeks after germinating), you'll want to aggressively increase your plants' nutrients to assist them in developing strong, healthy foliage. Most growers opt for a 10:5:7 fertilizer by this stage.
These heightened levels of nitrogen will help your vegging plants produce luscious, green foliage and develop quite a lot of bud sites in time for flowering.
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