What Questions Should You Ask a Grow Shop Employee?

Do you believe that it’s against a shop employee’s best interests to talk to you about ways to save money? Think of it this way: they know their loyal customers are hooked on growing and will come back for more.

They can give you all kinds of tips on when or how to shop for supplies based on their upcoming sales, clearance items and more.

The people behind the counter at your local grow shop have been in your shoes before, they were once new to the hobby of growing, too! But remember that they deal with hundreds of clients and have years of conversations and experiences.


This means they have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to lighting, nutrients, and equipment. So, lean on their expertise and willingness to help.

After being in the industry for more than two decades and distributing our products to thousands of retailers on four continents, the Grotek Nutrients team can attest to the knowledge the employees at these shops carry.

As community-focused small businesses, your success is their top priority. If you are new to a grow shop make sure you take the time to explain your situation. The more detail the shop has about your space, height requirements, and other issues, the more efficiently they can help.

Here are Grotek’s top suggestions on what to ask a hydro shop rep:

How many plants should I start out with?

When they burst from seed, plants can seem small and easy to stack close together. This changes as plants grow and branch out. It’s best to give the employees at the grow shop the dimensions of the area you’re thinking about converting to a grow room; they can help you make the right decisions. And remember to check those seed packs for space and time to harvest.

What’s better for an indoor grow? Soil or hydroponics?

Everyone’s answer will be different regarding this, but it doesn’t hurt to get an insider’s opinion. Depending on the plants you are growing, and the budget you have in place, decisions can be made. This point is probably a great place to mention that as in life in general, you should always know what your budget is before going shopping.

How many lights will be required per plant and how much life can I expect to get from my bulbs?

Knowing this information before you buy anything will give you a better handle on what you’ll be able to afford. Regarding lighting requirements, the shop owner will likely express this as how many watts you need per square footage and take it from there. Remember that light is exceptionally important when there is no sun. Don’t buy $1,500 orchids and a then cheap out on a light. Just think about how important the sun is to our planet and our plants.

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Powder or liquid nutrients?

In general, you will find that liquid nutrients can have more complexity, but powders are highly concentrated and will give you the best value for money. A blend of powders and liquids can work well, and you will find that on most the feed charts of most brands.

Isn’t there just a one-bottle option for nutrients?

Grotek and several other brands have one-part base nutrients. These products are designed for growers to get a great result on a budget. They can be enhanced by supplements to improve everything from root development to crop sugar and flavor levels at harvest.

What about water quality?

This is an issue where a shop’s local knowledge will stand out and be extremely helpful. They will know the local water quality and also probably details on local aquifers and other groundwater/well water. If they recommend a water treatment system be sure to take that warning seriously. No point in buying all your gear only to look at sad plants with deformed and spotted leaves.

How long will this bottle of nutrients last me?

Once you have talked about nutrient options and how many plants you will be growing it becomes easier to sort out just how many nutrients you require. Grab a couple of feed charts and have a look. The shop should be able to help you with how many liters of solution per plant per week.

Will I need to feed my plants every single day?


The grow shop employees can help you better understand feed schedules. Many nutrient companies supply feeding charts with their products to help you sort it all out. For an excellent example of what a feeding chart looks like, check out Grotek’s Feeding Charts to get some idea of what to expect when it comes to growing your own. In general, we recommend fertilizing once a week and then giving plants water for the rest of the seven days ahead. This gives a chance to reduce salt buildup in the medium (potting mix)

Armed with this info, you should be leaving the store feeling ready to set things up and get growing. Don’t forget to ask about additional take-home resources. Many shops carry free literature like magazines and product catalogs for you to pour over as your first growth cycle is well on its way.

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