There are many different cannabis nutrients out there and it may be overwhelming knowing where to start. Here’s a breakdown on some of our favorites.
However, the benefits of compost tea are debated in the agricultural world. Many gardeners report quality results when using it, while others see no more benefit than applying straight compost. The uncertainty lies in whether or not growing and developing populations of microorganisms in the tea can actually benefit plants and prevent disease.
The tea can be applied to roots or as a spray on leaves of your cannabis plants. Dilute the tea with water at a ratio around 1:20 when applying it to roots. A basic tea can’t harm or burn your plants, so you can apply a potent dose freely. As a foliar spray, compost tea is generally diluted with water at a 1:2 ratio.
Organic cannabis fertilizers
Some growers also find that growing organically increases the flavor profile of finished cannabis as well as increases yields.
Potassium also triggers the production of ATP, which works to store energy produced in photosynthesis by creating glucose. This glucose is then used as energy for the plant as it grows. Without sufficient potassium, you will see weak plants starved for energy that appear burnt because they are unable to successfully regulate the exchange of CO2, H2O, and oxygen.
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Using organics is also great if you want to be more in-tune with your natural environment. Organic fertilizers are readily available from renewable sources and are an earth friendly option.
Nitrogen is also necessary to create nucleic acid, an essential ingredient in DNA or RNA, and without it, cells won’t be able to grow and multiply.
Cannabis plants which don't get the right levels they need, especially in the flowering/budding phase, tend to grow small and airy buds. In extremely poor conditions, some cannabis plants may just sprout a few white hairs (pistils), and never actually form any real buds at all.
Because of that, I encourage growers to learn about the type of nutrients and special fertilizers needed by a cannabis plant, and at least start with good soil before you get started growing if you're determined not to use any nutrients.
Yes, you can plant weed seeds in dirt and possibly grow a plant without any fertilizers or special nutrients. But chances are that you don't happen to live in a place with very rich, fertilized soil that carries just the right blend of nutrients needed by a marijuana plant to thrive.
While cannabis plants will grow in a lot of conditions, as a farmer, you are looking to optimize the size, weight, density, potency and overall quality of your buds. In order to do that, you will need to fertilize your cannabis plants in such a way that they can produce at their best.
And if you are determined to grow organically with no added nutrients, I encourage you to learn about how you can actually compost your own organic super soil in such a way that you actually don't ever need to add any extra nutrients at all.
What does this have to do with the essential nutrients needed for growing cannabis? Nutrients may well be present in sufficient amounts to support robust growth and plant function, but they can be locked out or otherwise made unavailable to the plant. The ideal pH range to try to maintain for cannabis is generally accepted to be in the 6.0 to 6.5 range, with some variation depending on media selected. To determine pH, make sure to perform a soil analysis.
They do, however, need to be in a significantly higher quantity than the micronutrients, so they are separated here. The essential secondary nutrients are magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), and sulfur (S). These nutrients are often unavailable to cannabis if proper pH levels are not maintained (more on that later).
A nutrient is considered essential when it meets certain criteria. It must be directly involved in plant nutrition, be a vital component to the plant’s life cycle such that without it the plant would die or not be able to perform one or more of its necessary functions, and it must be unique enough that no other nutrient can replace it or perform the same function. Let’s examine which nutrients found in nature are essential for the cultivation of top-shelf cannabis. These vital nutrients can also be found in organic fertilizers.
Source: Maximum Yield, September 23, 2019
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These secondary essential nutrients perform a wide range of critical functions to proper cannabis development. They are often necessary components or complementary parts to other nutrients and functions. They are all needed for plant and root growth, but they do have specific roles. Calcium assists in transporting other nutrients and aids in their absorption. Magnesium is a critical component of chlorophyll. Sulfur aids in the transport of chlorophyll, but also assists with plant metabolism and transpiration.
The lesser amount required to aid in the proper growth and development of healthy cannabis should not be mistaken as being less important than the micronutrients. The same can be said for the diminutive amounts of micronutrients needed.
What follows is not an exhaustive list, but a sampling of some of the roles of micronutrients and how they aid in the development of cannabis plants:
Cannabis needs different amounts of essential macros depending on the stage of development. Nitrogen is needed in higher quantities during the vegetative and bud-forming stages than during the flowering stage.
Soils or other media with a pH of less than 7.0 are acidic; soils or other media with a pH greater than 7.0 are alkaline. The pH scale is exponential, with each number representing a factor of 10 times greater or less than the number next to it. For example, a pH of 6.0 is 10 times more acidic than a pH of 7.0, and 100 times more acidic than a pH of 8.0.
The group of nutrients needed in large quantities by plants is collectively known as macronutrients. Some of these are provided by the environment, while others are provided by or need to be added to the soil.