Marijuana Nutrients or Marijuana Fertilizer as it’s also known are effectively food for your plants. They are used to promote healthy and vigorous growth throughout the different stages of your marijuana plants life cycle.
If you want to grow healthy plants that produce big buds it’s important you understand when and what to feed your plants. If you don’t feed your plants with the right food they won’t blossom into the big yielding and potent plants you long for.
What are the main nutrients and what do they do?
There are 3 main marijuana nutrients a plant uses when growing, these are Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium. They are usually labelled N-P-K and are universally presented in that order when written on the side of your fertilizer. (Picture of nutrients written on fertilizer bottle)
– Nitrogen (N) – Is the main nutrient responsible for leaf and stem growth during vegetative growth as well as overall size and vigor. Nitrogen regulates the plant’s ability to create new proteins, like chlorophyll and amino acids.
– Phosphorous (P) – Marijuana plants use phosphorous during flowering to produce nice big buds. Phosphorous is necessary for transferring the energy made during photosynthesis and is associated with resin and seed production.
– Potassium (K) – Potassium is used in all stages of a plants growth. Potassium encourages strong root growth, water uptake and triggers enzymes that fight disease.
When does your plant need nutrients?
A marijuana plant needs different levels of marijuana nutrients depending on its stage in the life cycle. Whether your plant is in vegetative growth or flowering will dictate which nutrients, and how much of them your plant requires.
During vegetative growth you will want a nutrient solution that is high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus as during early phases of vegetative growth stem and leaf development are key to developing a strong and healthy plant.
During flowering you will want a high phosphorus and low nitrogen nutrient mix. A phosphorous rich mix help your buds swell, maximising the amount you can yield off each plant. It is possible to purchase specialist bloom nutrient mixes, which are manufactured specifically to increase bud size.
The table below shows you the ratios of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium needed for both vegetative and flower growth.
Grow tip: More marijuana nutrients do not necessarily mean bigger plants, so follow guidelines directly. Start with a diluted nutrient mix gradually increasing as the plant matures. If you are using too much or too little, your plant will tell you so keep an eye out for any leaf discoloration.
To prevent the accumulation of salts in your soil and to ensure that your plant is getting all of the food it needs you can begin leaf feeding your plant at the age of about 1.5 months. Dissolve the marijuana fertilizer in warm water and spray the mixture directly onto the foliage, allowing the leaves to absorb the fertilizer directly into their veins. You can continue to put fertilizer into the soil, but be sure not to overdose your plant as this may cause problems.
Grow Tip: As you add more and more nutrients, marijuana fertilizer salts will gradually develop in the soil, increasing the acidity and pH level. Also, as the plant gets older its roots become less effective in transporting food to the leaves, this can cause the plants growth to stunt and leaves to brown.
Medium – Soil and Hydroponics
The medium you use for your grow will directly affect the type of nutrients you use. There are specific marijuana nutrients for soil and hydroponic setups, so be careful you purchase the correct one.
Soil as a medium contains a large number of the nutrients your plant requires during the growth cycle. As your plant grows the nutrients in the soil will be used up and so will need to be replaced using a fertilizer. The fertilizers replace essential nutrients in your soil to maintain vigorous growth and maximize your yields.
If your plant is being grown in a hydroponics setup, you will need to use specific hydroponic nutrients. These will include secondary nutrients and micronutrients that are found in soil but that need to be replicated in a hydroponic setup. They are important in producing a strong and healthy plant.
Grow tip: Be careful when using marijuana fertilizers in hydroponic setups. Many growers recommend using 80% of the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Secondary marijuana nutrients to consider!
The main secondary marijuana nutrients you need to consider are Calcium, Sulfur and Magnesium. Secondary nutrients are more commonly used in conjunction with hydroponic grows where there is a need to replicate the nutrients found in soil.
– Calcium (Ca) – Calcium is used by your marijuana plant for cell production and growth, maintaining healthy roots and ensures the proper flow of sugars and nitrogen.
– Sulfur (S) – Sulfur is used in the creation of many hormones and vitamins your plant uses throughout its lifecycle and aids the absorption of other weed nutrients.
– Magnesium (Mg) – Magnesium is an essential element for a marijuana plants light absorption, along side the creation of sugars and carbohydrates that are used in flower production.
Zinc, Manganese and Iron are the three most common micronutrients in your marijuana grow. Good quality hydroponic nutrient mixes will contain trace elements of the three, but always check the manufacturers bottle to ensure they are contained.
Most micronutrients are already present in a good commercial soil mix so check before you add any additional as too much will result in toxic levels which can kill your plant.
– Zinc (Zn) – Zinc is crucial for stem growth and is vital for sugar and protein production. Zinc deficiency is common in soil with a PH above 7.
– Manganese (Mn) – Manganese assists your marijuana plant with the utilization of Nitrogen and works alongside Iron in the production of chlorophyll which is essential for photosynthesis.
– Iron (Fe) – Iron is used by your marijuana plant to utilise the energy from the plants sugars, which are produced in photosynthesis, as well as the production of chlorophyll.
– Grow tip: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions without deviation as deficiencies are incredibly hard to decipher quickly and excesses of any marijuana fertilizer can kill a plant if not dealt with immediately
Glossary: Key terms
Below is a list of terms and definitions to help get the most out of your marijuana nutrients.
PH – The pH scale is used to measure whether something is acidic or alkaline. The scale works from 1-14 with 1 being very acidic, 7 being neutral and 14 being very alkaline. Most marijuana nutrientswork better within your plant at different pH numbers. However, this may cause them to “Lock out” other nutrients and the toxification of your plant. It is therefore best to keep your medium at a steady Ph; 5.8 for hydro and 6.5 for soil.
(Add pH scale image here)
PPM – PPM is otherwise known as Parts Per Million and is more commonly used by Hydroponic growers. It’s used as to measure the volume of a single nutrient in the water to work out the TDS.
TDS – TDS or Total Dissolved Solids is the total volume of marijuana nutrients in the water. It is important that throughout the different stages of marijuana plants life cycle, you do not exceed the amount of TDS it can handle, as you will either burn the roots or lock out the nutrients and starve the plant.
Marijuana fertilizers and nutrients can be a key part in your growing cycle. Ensuring you use them correctly and treat them with respect can help produce healthy plants and bumper crops.