The key to successful cannabis cultivation is a good base nutrient. Sticking with one brand of nutrients will minimize unexpected reactions, such as nutrient burn or deficiency.
Whether your growth is hydroponic or soil, several nutrient formulations are available to meet the needs of each growing medium and stage of plant growth. Here are some of the top cannabis nutrients for maximum growth and yield.
Nitrogen is one of the essential cannabis nutrients. Its role is to help with plant growth and cell structure. Without it, your plants would not grow and could potentially die.
Most commercial nutrients will have three numbers printed on the front, referring to the ratio of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Each of these plays a different – but vital – function for cannabis plants.
It is essential to know that your plant’s nutrient needs change depending on the stage of the plant, so you need a nutrient specifically designed for each stage. For example, a vegetative formula will have a high Nitrogen concentration and low levels of P and K.
There are many things to consider when choosing a nutrient, including percentages, ratios, and supplements. You want to choose a nutrient that will give your plant the nutrition it needs but not so much that it causes unwanted reactions or burns.
Phosphorus is essential for energy transfer in the plant and helps increase bud size during flowering. It also encourages healthy root growth, improves disease resistance, and promotes strong stems. A phosphorus deficiency can lead to stunted growth and yellow leaves.
Each nutrient performs a unique function for your cannabis plant. Essential macronutrients are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K). Most nutrient bottles have three numbers on the front corresponding to these ratios.
Cannabis plants are susceptible to potassium (K) deficiency, and giving them this nutrient in the correct ratio during the vegetative stage is essential. It should be around half to two-thirds of the nitrogen levels in your nutrient solution during this time.
Potassium supports plant growth by activating dozens of enzymes essential to protein synthesis, sugar transport, N and C metabolism, and photosynthesis. It also regulates water movement and osmotic regulation in the plant.
In a hydroponic system, a high-potassium nutrient is an excellent choice. This is because the nutrient won’t need to be broken down by a colony of microorganisms before your plant can absorb it. This results in faster plant growth and higher yields. It also helps prevent the build-up of salts in the root zone, which can stunt growth.
Cannabis plants require large amounts of primary and secondary nutrients and smaller micronutrients to grow, flower, and produce seeds. A tailored nutrient formula will allow you to provide your plant with the specific nutrients it needs at each stage of development, whether vegetative or flowering.
Aside from Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium, cannabis plants also need a source of plant-available silica during the blooming phase. This nutrient is needed to help form strong cell walls and to help regulate water, oxygen, and carbon dioxide exchanges.
You can find a wide range of organic and chemical-based fertilizers for your cannabis plants, depending on your preferences. For example, many growers like to use a natural fertilizer such as blood or fish meal for Nitrogen, bone meal or bat guano for Phosphorus, wood ash or kelp meal for Potassium, and dolomite lime for Calcium and Magnesium. However, remember that more doesn’t always equal better. Over-fertilizing can cause a nutrient burn or result in a deficiency of certain nutrients.