You went to your local dispensary, picked up some seeds, and voila! After a long planting and growing process, your very own marijuana plants are planted to perfection, or so you thought. You envisioned you would have your first batch of weed yields to last you for a long time, however, while you bask in your gorgeous yields you start to wonder that the yield is not as substantial as you initially thought it would be.
The culprit behind this is the subject of this article: marijuana fertilizer. Find out why you need it, how to use it, what kind to look for, and more answers to all of your weed fertilizer questions.
What is Marijuana Fertilizer?
The basic way to define a fertilizer is as an organic or manufactured substance added to soil which is used to optimize your plants’ growth process and yield. These can be sources of nutrients for all types of plants, in this case, the cannabis plant.
Marijuana fertilizer, on the other hand, caters specifically to the needs of marijuana plants. This targets the kinds of nutrients that these plants need to produce a better, higher-quality yield. That means more weed for you!
Read Also [How To Grow Marijuana]
Do You Need To Use Marijuana Fertilizer?
Just like humans need vitamins, your plants will need the nutrients found in the high-quality marijuana fertilizers to fend off any deficiencies they may have. The choice is yours whether you value having plants with larger leaves and larger flowers that lead to improved yields due to fertilizer, or if you would rather skip the whole fertilizer aspect of growing weed.
What Nutrients Do My Pot Plants Need?
Your cannabis growing patch needs all of the essential nutrients and micronutrients for it to grow. The 3 major nutrients are NPK— nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These are already part of any fertilizer, helping to ensure your plants get the baseline nutrients needed without you lifting an extra finger or wasting a brain cell. It does all the math for you.
Additionally, more minerals for your plant’s grocery list would be oxygen and carbon dioxide which can be taken from the air, and hydrogen that your plants get through the water. Lastly, cannabis plants thrive with small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, and copper.
Different stages of a plant’s life cycle require different amounts of these nutrients. For example, more phosphorus and potassium are needed when the plants are starting to develop buds. Both P’s are needed for the weed to bloom and initiate the flowering stage. Magnesium, on the other hand, is integral for all stages of the plant’s growth.
In particular, magnesium within chlorophyll is used to create glucose required for photosynthesis. Since photosynthesis is the primary way for weed and other plants to make oxygen and energy, magnesium is very essential for plants to flourish. In fact, a lack of magnesium causes the yellowing of leaves and results in a disappointing and low-quality yield.
What Type Of Fertilizer Should You Use?
There are two major kinds of marijuana fertilizers: organic and chemical.
Organic fertilizers are made of animal waste, minerals, compost, or seaweed extract. These natural fertilizers have had a long history and can result in very healthy and resilient plants. Animal waste in the form of manure or guano (bat or sea bird feces) can also be used as a nutrient-dense fertilizer. Other options would be “good bacteria” and fungi, fish meal, forest humus, and blood meal.
Compost is available through earthworm castings or vermicompost. These substances derived from worms are packed with microorganisms that are very helpful to plants during their growing stages. Although this option is not as effective because it takes your plant time to benefit from their natural makeup, it is more eco-friendly. The long-term effects of these organic substances do become evident in the quality of the plant over time.
Chemical fertilizers are created specifically for cannabis. They come with the advantage of being able to fulfill the needs of your marijuana plant to the very last detail. Several cultivators sell seeds as well as marijuana fertilizer if you want the ready-made nutrient concoctions. Instructions are available with whatever packet you choose. Make sure to follow these to a T to prevent overuse of fertilizer.
How Do You Choose Weed Fertilizer?
The kind of marijuana fertilizer that is best for your plant depends a lot on its stage in the life cycle. The NPK ratio can vary at different stages depending on which parts of the plant require more focus. These nutrients can be added to the soil and you can buy a variety of chemical fertilizers as you see fit which already have the ratios specified. Organic fertilizers can also be used in some stages.
Here is some insight on what kind of fertilizer best suits your plant in each of its stages:
During the first stage of the weed, it will benefit from a more organic fertilizer; it will not react too well to a strong one. If you prefer homemade options, you can try coffee bean grounds or compost. You can use potting soil or peat plugs to guide it to the next stage.
In its vegetative stage, the marijuana plant will need more nutrients for plant growth and production. You could switch to chemical fertilizers at this point if you wish to bump up the number of nutrients. Try out a premix of NPK ratioed at 20-20-20. You can also try other organic fertilizers. This way, your plants will receive an equal amount of the core nutrients, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
While a significant amount of nitrogen is needed in the last stage, cannabis would benefit from more phosphorus during the flowering stage. This content helps plump up the flowers. Better yields will result from an NPK ratio of 10-30-10.
How To Use and Mix Cannabis Nutrients
Nutrient solution bottles and fertilizer bags will indicate how much of the three main nutrients are in the product, in the form of N-P-K: Nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. For example, a product that says “10-4-4” will contain 10% available nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 4% potassium by weight.
A general rule of thumb is that a vegetative fertilizer should have high nitrogen, low phosphorus, and moderate potassium. For example, 9-4-5 is a solid ratio to abide by during the vegetative stage. As a plant transitions into the flowering stage, taper off the nitrogen and focus on phosphorus and potassium—seek a ratio around 3-8-7, for the best results.
Products are also generally divided into “grow” solutions that are higher in nitrogen which is needed for vegetative growth, and “bloom” solutions which are higher in phosphorus which is required for flower development. You can stick to these general terms if you don’t want to get bogged down with numbers.
In the final week or so before harvest, be sure to give your plants only water to clear any nutrient buildup in the buds—this process is called flushing.
What Are Liquid Nutrients?
Liquid nutrients are a combination growers mix in when watering plants if they have indoor cannabis gardens. These are often used in hydroponics but can be used in greenhouses as well. They are easily able to reach the roots of the marijuana since they are designed as a fast-acting method for delivering nutrients to the plant. This would mean they can be too potent at times and for some types of strains. Be careful with liquid nutrients because this also means you are at risk of adding in too much fertilizer for your plant.
You can use a different water tank where you can mix these liquid nutrients with water. After which, you can use the ratio of the amount according to the bottle’s instructions.
You will need a schedule for watering your plants. Make sure you note down the following:
- How many cans of water do you normally use?
- What nutrients and ratios do you use?
- When and how frequently do you water your plants?
You do not need to create this liquid solution each time you water your plants. This could again result in yellow leaves from an overdose of fertilizer.
Part of using liquid nutrients means keeping track of the pH level in your water. This is because marijuana plants grow better with a pH between 6 and 7 if it is in soil. If it is in your hydroponics garden, the proper range would be between 5.5 to 6.5.
Going over or under this range can result in a nutrient lockout. Your plants would not be able to take in the nutrients properly which means that no absorption would take place. You should test your water regularly to make sure your nutrient combination is in the preferred range.
How Frequently Should I Use Weed Fertilizer?
Once your plants are in the vegetative stage at around 3-4 weeks old, you can use homemade fertilizer every other day that you water them. You can do this up to a week before they are due to start flowering. By then you can switch up the formula to the desired mix at the stage. For this stage, you can use the same schedule.
Make sure to observe your plants carefully to monitor how they take to your new mix. If you spot any signs of yellowing leaves stop using your nutrient mix immediately. Another tip is to halt all usage of fertilizers once the trichomes are almost done growing out.
Just like cannabis lovers and growers trying to keep up with the proper diet every day, your plants need a tailor-made mix of macronutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium as well as micronutrients to grow properly. Marijuana fertilizers are essential to a gorgeous harvest and high-quality flower.
If you are looking for a source for seeds or just need a fix after reading about your soon-to-be plants check out 420DC’s Explore page for high-quality cannabis near your area.