5 Expert Nutrient Tips for a Healthy Cannabis Grow
There are three very important things that are needed for a healthy cannabis grow op. Light is an obvious one; plants wouldn’t be able to perform essential functions like photosynthesis without it. Then there’s water, which is another vital element for photosynthesis and overall development.
In addition to light and water, it’s also crucial that you give you cannabis plants a healthy dose of nutrients. This third part isn’t easy, and many growers feel that figuring out the perfect balance of nutrients is much trickier than handling the crops light and water needs.
To help you along the way, check out these expert nutrient tips for your next cannabis grow op.
Tip #1: Focus on Macronutrients First
When it comes to deciding on a fertilizer for marijuana plants, it’s normal to feel confused and overwhelmed. There are a lot of important ingredients that go into nutrient and fertilizer products, and some of these ingredients are more important than others.
The first thing you need to know to understand which nutrients are more essential than others is the difference between macro and micro nutrients. While there are many micro nutrients that cannabis plants need in small doses, there are 3 nutrients that plants need more of. These include Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K).
The letters N, P, and K are usually featured front-and-center on nutrient bottles, and it’s not necessarily because they’re more important than other nutrients, just that they’re just needed in higher quantities. So the first step to ensuring a healthy cannabis growing is making sure your plants are getting their macronutrients.
Tip 2: Just Don’t Forget About the Micro-Nutes
Now that you know the importance of those 3 macro nutrients, lets move on to the micronutrients. Even though they’re required in much smaller doses, micronutrients are still a vital aspect in the healthy development of cannabis plants. Some of the most important micro-nutes include:
To better understand the importance of micronutrients, just think about what happens to the human body when it doesn’t get enough calcium, one of the micro elements needed by plants. For humans, a lack of calcium (also called hypocalcemia) can lead to some major problems, including osteoporosis, muscle cramps, and tooth decay.
Calcium plays a very similar role in plants as it does for humans. Just as Ca helps humans to stay strong, it does the same thing for cannabis. It helps to build the structural cell walls and membranes, and without it (as well as the other micronutrients listed above) your crop won’t be able to reach its full potential.
So when deciding on a dry fertilizer or liquid nutrient solution for your crop, make sure that it’s not just about the N-P-K, but that it also includes all the little stuff, too.
Tip 3: Strike the Right Balance
There’s a very fine line between too many and not enough nutrients, and landing on that line can be tricky. When the crop doesn’t get enough nutrients, it will probably experience some deficiencies, and some of these plant deficiencies could be life-threatening.
But what many growers don’t realize is that nutrient overdose can be just as harmful. When you overfeed the plants, the root systems become oversaturated and end up “locking out” nutrients from reaching the rest of the plant.
Another thing that can happen when you overdo it with feedings is nutrient burn. This is caused by a buildup of nutrients and salts in the grow medium (soil, water, coco noir, etc.) and results in dark green leaves that almost appear to be burnt.
Both nutrient lockout and nutrient burn can cause some serious problems, so the moral of the story is to avoid overdoing it when it comes to nutes.
Tip 4: Check pH Often
Most growers know that pH is another important aspect to cultivating healthy plants, but what many of them don’t realize is that pH and nutrients go hand-in-hand. When the pH levels of the grow medium is off, the roots struggle to drink up the nutrients they need for healthy growth.
Cannabis plants like their environment to be slightly acidic, so they do best when the soil pH falls somewhere between 6 and 7. To make that happen, the first step is choosing the right soil, but after that, it’s up to you to make sure the water you’re feeding to the crop is properly pH-ed.
You can check the pH of the water with a pH pen/meter, and this is also a good time to check the temperature, which should be around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. If the pH of the water is below 6 or above 7, all is not lost. You can easily make alterations using pH adjusters. Use pH-Up to raise the levels and pH-Down to drop them.
Tip 5: Make Feeding Changes Along the Way
Expert growers know that plants require different levels of nutrients at different phases of development. In other words, you wouldn’t give the same fertilizer dose to seedlings as you would to a fully-flowering crop.
But it’s not just the quantity of the dose as a whole that changes. As plants mature, the amount of each nutrient also changes, particularly when it comes to Nitrogen. In the beginning, seedlings and vegetative plants need high quantities of N, but as they grow, their need for Nitrogen levels off.
If you’re mixing your own fertilizers and determining the proper doses for each nutrient, making feeding changes can be tricky. The good news is that there are a lot of nutrient products out there that are geared towards specific stages of the op, so you’ll just switch from a “vegetative” fertilizer to a “flowering” (also called “bloom”) fertilizer when the time comes.
Hopefully these expert nutrient tips gave you some insight into how to feed your upcoming cannabis crop. By following this advice, you’re well on your way to big buds and high yields.