Plants all require the same types of nutrients, but each plant will have a preference for a certain ratio depending on its current needs.
The type of fertilizer you choose to use for your plants can make a world of a difference in whether or not your cannabis plant will prosper or just be barely making it. Producing a healthy, flourishing plant requires top notch nourishment with the right ingredients.
You will want to know exactly what your plant will need for the duration of its life cycle. What your plant needs in its beginning stages will be different from what is required later.
How you get your fertilizer is up to you. You have the choice of going to a local garden center or if you are feeling adventurous you can make your own. Either way knowledge is Key! With this article we will help you gain that knowledge. Not only will you get an overview of the best fertilizers, you will get an in-dept explanation of various products: like the Marijuana Booster. A great product composed of the exact right mix of nutrients to help your plant thrive and double your yield.
When to start using fertilizers with cannabis?
To start using nitrogen during the growth phase you’ll need to wait for your little plant to grow the roots out enough so that it becomes slightly stronger.
Marijuana seeds are dicotyledonous. The seedlings will acquire energy through a process that breaks down food material stored in the endosperm of the seed. Here, the seedlings have plenty of energy and don’t need any addition of nutrients from fertilizers right away. The role of creating energy is assumed by its cotyledons or baby leaves.
Once your seedlings have used up all their energy, they will require nutrients from an outside source. This is where the grower comes in and gives the plant its first feeding of nutrients.
Once your plants have grown 3-4 sets of true leaves, you can give them their first feeding of nutrients. It usually takes about 3-4 weeks from planting your germinated seed for your seedling to have used up all the energy left in the seed. Your plant roots are now taking nutrients from the soil and from any added fertilizer. The cotyledons or “seed leaves” might start to turn yellow around this time.
Homemade vs. professional remedies
Of course, you can always make your own nutrients with your own preferred mixture, but usually it is much simpler to buy nutrients pre-made for all your marijuana plant needs. Keep in mind that marijuana plants have a wide assortment of needs.
Professional systems can prevent you from making any unforeseen mistakes with chemical reactions that may happen if you accidentally mix the nutrients the wrong way. You also won’t have to worry about deciding what to feed your plant and the necessary ratios. They already have all of that taken care of, which is especially helpful for beginners.
Most likely you will save more time, money and effort by investing in a good professional nutrient system.
There are so many options awesome marijuana products by well-experienced growers worldwide. The first thing you need to contemplate when deciding on the proper system to buy for growing marijuana is, what do you want your growing medium to be?
WARNING: Stay clear of any fertilizers that advertise being “slow release” or “extended”. While these systems may be good for regular plants, they are most likely going to cause an array of issues when growing marijuana.
Once you decide how you want to grow your plant, whether in soil, coco coir or hydroponics, make sure to buy products that are good for the specific process. Some products are good for growing in more than one medium and some are only for a specific medium.
Fertilizers aside, without a proper watering technique, your plants will never thrive in soil. Newbie marijuana growers often make the mistake of watering their plants far too often.
Here’s How to Water Plants in Soil:
- At least the first top inch of the soil should feel dry.
- You really only need to add nutrients your water about every other watering.
- There needs to be about 20% additional water drain at the bottom of your pot when you water them.
- Repeat the first step.
Be sure you are always added the proper amount of nutrients, and that you have chosen the right fertilizer for you. The following fertilizers are viable options for plants that are growing in soil:
The Marijuana Booster is a great product to use if you want to make sure you have a good mixture of all nutrients. Healthy marijuana plants require three elements for firm roots and vibrant flowers with high yields. Phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen are all necessary. Nitrogen is important for enhancing the generation of leaves and phosphorus aid in bud growth. Potting soils are already mixed with these three elements which will aid the plant for up to three weeks. But as the plants grow they will need additional nutrients.
When your plant starts the leafing process, you will need to give it a 20 percent balance of phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen. If you are growing indoors, you’ll want to dilute this formula to one-quarter or one-half strength. When marijuana plants are grown indoors, they do not handle full strength dosages well, and it could cause the leaves to drop due to shock.
You can feed your plant each time you water, although it isn’t completely necessary. Twice per week will usually suffice. However, outdoor plants naturally get fresh air and their roots have free range to spread out and grow. This product comes with a watering and feeding schedule.
Fox Farms Trio
Fox Farms is a top pick for newbie marijuana growers. With this, you can grow any marijuana strain and never need more additives. They have both the hydroponic and soil versions so be sure to get the correct one. This can also be used to coco coir growing as well.
There are three bottles you will need to use and may be able to get them as a package, the “Grow Big,” “Tiger Bloom,” and “Big Bloom.”
Just follow the directions on the bottles. Fox Farms really all you need to get your marijuana to bloom just right.
Let’s say you live in an area where the soil is highly acidic, even too much for happy marijuana growing, you can use plain wood ashes to nullify the acids. Just mix a shovelful of wood ashes per 5-gallon bucket of water to the soil. And if that is not an option you can also try getting lime from a garden center in your area to do the same thing.
Perlite and Vermiculite Marijuana Fertilizers
For soil growing you can make things nice and easy by buying a smart pot to grow you marijuana in and add a mix of Fox Farms Happy Frog soil with about 30% perlite for starters. Humbolt soil is also a good option
It you choose hydroponic growing, either perlite or vermiculite is added in a combination of about 50 percent fertilizer and a mixture of water and peat moss.
Perlite and Vermiculite are commercial fertilizers produced when mica is heated proportionately to 1,400 and 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. When heated the minerals will enlarge, becoming porous. This creates white pellets retain air, have the ability to take in almost four times their own weight in water and will make sure solid potting soils never become tough lumps when dry.
The minerals in this formula naturally create magnesium, calcium and potassium that will eventually become infused into the soil feeding it with nutrients. After some time the pellets of both fertilizers become immersed in a mixture of the minerals discharged into the soil.
Chicken manure makes a nice marijuana fertilizers too. Organic slow release chicken manure compost increases yields and promotes healthy plants.
Vinegar-baking soda CO2 generator
Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, so naturally marijuana flourishes in surroundings that are high in carbon dioxide (CO2). White vinegar is an excellent source for creating carbon dioxide. You can do this by taking a 1-liter bowl with baking soda in it and slowly dripping white vinegar into a 1-liter bowl. One drop of white vinegar every two minutes will suffice.
When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda a chemical response occurs that makes the two substances inactive, creating ample carbon dioxide. This takes place until either the baking soda is nullified or the vinegar is completely gone.
Indoor grower can use vinegar generators the same way I.V. drips are used in the hospital. The easiest way to do it is take a bottle that is filled with vinegar, duct-tape and hang it over some sort of open bowl or container that is filled half way with baking soda. You will poke a hole in the vinegar bottle cap with a small finishing nail which will allow it to drip its contents from the hole and mix into the baking soda in the bowl underneath it.
Compost isn’t necessarily the first form of fertilizer that most people would think of and let’s face it this doesn’t bring about the most pleasant thoughts either. Truth is that animal manure and left over food from your kitchen, creates some bountiful, thriving marijuana crops.
Animal poop and vegetables/fruits are recycled back into the earth the same as any other organic thing would, and along with it goes all the nutrients contained within it. These nutrients will be absorbed by your plant.
Using compost as fertilizer can be done in any location. If you are in an area where the soil is lacking what is needed to produce good crop, then this will enrich the soil.
After your first pile of compost is created and in the process of decomposing, you can start building another one. You will have to get a pitchfork and turn the compost so as to get everything blended really well. Do this very often, preferably daily to reduce the amount of time it takes to transform from a state of decay to dirt.
Another really important reason to do this daily is to avoid spontaneous combustion. This is the last thing you want. Spontaneous combustion happens when heat created by microbes feeding on rotting material that is under some form of pressure dries, then catches fire, burning the substances that it generated from.
Be aware that certain foods will decay much faster in hot temperatures. Also, give your compost about three full months to transition into rich soil.
The best environment for a vinegar/baking soda drip generator is in a small confined space where there is no air that will blow away any of the CO2. You also definitely do not want the smell of vinegar that could bring unwanted attention to your marijuana growing operation.
A vinegar-soda drip generator doesn’t work well in the outdoors, where open breezes quickly carry off any CO2 that is generated. This in addition to a steady and unmistakable odor of vinegar that could, if the breeze was favorable, lead thieves or authorities directly to your plot.
For this process to be effective you want to create a carbon dioxide filled environment that totally stops any of the CO2 from going out of the space. You can even completely cover your planet with a huge plastic bag long enough to touch the ground and still not bend over the top of the plant.
After that, put some sort of open plastic jar or container with 1-quarter baking soda standing up right under the huge plastic bag you are using to cover the plant. Next, from underneath the hem of the bag, pour a tablespoon of vinegar into the open jar. Pour just enough that it starts to foam as it creates CO2. Then go ahead and place the bag back on the ground.
Give it about 15 minutes before you giving it additional vinegar to the rest of the baking soda. Be sure to make sure everything is blending very well by mixing the contents with a stick.
Your CO2 bag needs to remain on the plant for at least four hours so that everything is completely submerged in the tissues. You can repeat these steps as you feel it needs to be done.
There is no such thing as giving your marijuana plant too much CO2. When doing these bombs most people prefer to do it at night time due to the smell it creates.
Urine as a Marijuana Fertilizer?
So, we already know that nitrogen is necessary for marijuana growth and development. Well, human urine contains large amounts of nitrogen.
Your urine is a healthy fertilizer for marijuana!
Now you don’t want to just go and urinate directly on the plants or even on the ground around it, as this could kill them. Instead mix a commercial plant food with one full bladders worth of urine per each gallon of water. You will have to use this solution immediately to avoid any toxic ammonia from formulating.
Some people prefer to grow their marijuana with the roots planted in water. This is called growing your plant hydroponically. Using this method, there are no loose particles and it will never stop up your pumps, tube and any other hydroponic equipment you may own.
General Hydroponics Flora Series Nutrient Trio
This system is a great start for both beginners and advanced growers. You can also use this in coco coir and soil as well. The awesome part is: they sell a “performance pack” which has a pH balance test kit along with all that you need to start growing. This all-in-one system is highly suggested.
General Hydroponics FloraDuo
If you want to narrow it down to two bottles instead of three, then there is General Hydroponics FloraDuo. This line is great for learning the different stages your plant will go through and what it needs to flourish. You will see how the first bottle you start with is a high nitrogen formula, then once you are at a certain point in the growing process you will start using the second bottle. It has a higher concentration of Phosphorus and Potassium. This is how you will likely learn about the importance of the proper nutrient proportions.
Following the feeding schedule is very simple, just make to keep the pH of your water between 5.5-6.5 and this product is known to breed good results fairly quickly.
Another great system for your hydroponic marijuana growing needs is Botanicare. The supplements you will need for the entire growing experience is Base, Bloom, and Grow. For the more experienced marijuana grower, these formulas allow you the freedom to play around and make adjustments to the calcium and nitrogen levels.
The system was created for that purpose. Following the instructions exactly may not provide the most desirable results, so if you want to try this system you need to have the right knowledge and be ready to experiment.
The Advanced Nutrients line is more on the expensive side but there are several growers who love it. The truth is you really don’t need the expensive products to get the results you want. You will most likely get just as good – if not better – results with the less pricey products mentioned above. While Advanced Nutrients are certainly not necessary for satisfactory marijuana growth, it is worth a try if you don’t mind paying a premium for it.
Growing in coco coir, or coconut coir, can have the similar advantages to growing in a hydroponics system. Coir is the fiber that comes from the coconut husk, and it’s used in a variety of products (i.e. doormats) as well as for gardeners. Any foods you use to grow in hydroponics is also good enough for coco coir growing. It is suggested to get a smart pot for coco coir growing.
Make sure to keep the pH between 5.5 – 6.5, giving it regular water every other time you water and also take into account that extra calcium and magnesium will need to be added. It is quite common for coco coir to experience calcium and magnesium deficiencies so having this supplement is a must.
It doesn’t matter which one you get. Most are fairly inexpensive and will work perfectly. General Hydroponics has a supplement by the name of “CaliMagic”, or you can try the one by Botanicare called “Cal-Mag.”
Canna Coco A + B and Cal-Mag
Both of these are very popular with people who prefer coco coir growing. Canna is on of the first marijuana specialized nutrient suppliers from Amsterdam. Products are world wide available.
Effectively managing the pH of your root is vital to protecting your plant from nutrient problems. Before you water your marijuana plants check the pH of the water. For your marijuana to properly absorb the nutrients it receives, the pH has to be right.
There are some pH test kits available at a decent price that will do this for you. Some of the nutrient systems on the market even provide these kits. After you have done this a few time, it will only take you about 5 minutes, and it can be done when you water your plants. Trust me: you will want to do this to ensure your plant is in its best health at all times.
Don’t worry about always getting the pH right. It is far more vital that it is monitored to see that is remains between the proper ranges.
Below are the proper pH ranges for soil and hydroponics growth.
Soil pH: 5.8 – 6.5
Hydroponics pH: 5.5 – 6.5
When to Stop Fertilizing
Honestly, there isn’t one definitive answer to this question. It really depends on the grower as everyone has a preferred way of doing things. You may choose to either fertilize until the harvest time, or you can refrain from fertilizing days or even weeks prior to the end.
Generally, you would no longer provide nutrients to soil grown plants earlier than plants grown in hydroponics. A 1-14 days or more flush is common for hydroponic growers.
It is best to nourish your plants with nutrients for flowering and blooming for the first few weeks or longer of this process. You can choose to start flushing your plants about two weeks prior to harvest time. Be sure to use good judgment of when you think your plants are ready to be flushed.
Unless there are deficiencies such as the yellowing of leaves around the base of the plant, then you really do not need to give your plant a ton of nutrients. The way the plant tastes is affected by how much nutrients are added to it, so overdoing it could cause the taste to be off.
Whatever the suggested amount of nutrients are, it is best to cut that amount in half when you first begin. You will want to increase the dosage as soon as you detect the first sign of malnourishment problems.
Remember that a small amount really does go quite far!
Increase nutrient levels
Seeing yellow leaves near the base of the plant is fine so long as it is closer towards the end of the flowering stage. Yellow leaves only need to be addressed in the early stages of the marijuana plants life cycle. Just be certain to make sure there are enough leaves to make it to harvest time.
Overfeeding your plant can cause nutrient burns which will never go away. Once the damage is done there is nothing you can do about it. Literally all the leaves will be burned forever. Nutrient burn is a sure sign you have done too much. If in fact the buds are already developing, overfeeding may lead to burns on the sugar leaves on the plant buds. Although the actual buds may be fine, this results in the harvested buds looking very rough.
Again, starting your dosage at half strength is best unless deficiencies are present. All strands are created different and you just may have a strand that can easily be affected by nutrient burn. Usually, the only people who have to increase their nutrients are the ones with fast growing plants and are using bright lights.
If your marijuana is being grown hydroponically, you can investigate the PPM (Parts Per Million) of your water, to observe exactly what your plants need.
If you choose to water your plant by hand, then monitor the PPM of the run-off water at the bottom as well as the water you are powering into it. By observing the run-off water after you poured your nutrients in, it is easier to notice if there is a difference in the PPM.
Let’s say you notice the PPM increases then it is an indicator that you may be providing more than enough nutrients. However, if the PPM decreases, then it necessary give your plant more food since your plant is absorbing the nutrients to the point that it is not leaving additional food.
[Updated, originally published 7.11. 2016]
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