Growing marijuana is not a simple undertaking. This is not the same with growing a cactus, grapes, or basil, because when you have decided to grow a marijuana for recreational or medication, you need to ensure that you will put great amounts of attention, dedication, and care for your cannabis plants since this is the only way for them to grow with quality.
Additionally, aside from dedicating your time to your plants, you also need to give them the right amounts of nutes or nutrients to achieve its optimal growth. But the question here is, what are the nutes that the marijuana plants need for them to survive and how to apply these components without committing any mistakes?
To all novice growers and for those who are planning to grow a marijuana, here’s a definitive guide that you can take into consideration for you to grow a healthy and promising cannabis plants.
Macronutrients and Micronutrients
Your cannabis plants need both macronutrients and micronutrients to be able to grow with much potential and also to avoid getting some diseases which can be brought by fungi, pests, and other harmful microorganisms.
But these nutrients should be given using the right ratio according to its growth stage because if you provide them too much or too low nutrients, expect that you will encounter a nutrient issue. And if you don’t know how to diagnose a nutrient problem, your cannabis will die.
So to avoid such thing, you need to provide your cannabis plants good amounts of mineral nutrients such as N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), Calcium, Magnesium, Sulfur and non-mineral elements such as Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen.
But how to properly use these nutrients according to their growing stage? Let’s start with the main nutrients which are the N-P-K.
N-P-K or also known as Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium respectively are the main nutrients that your cannabis plants need to get during their vegetative and flowering stage. These macronutrients can be usually seen in nutrient and fertilizer products including their ratios.
For an instance, if you purchased a nutrient solution or fertilizer and you see a 10-4-4 ratio on the label’s description, it only means that the solution or fertilizer has 10% of Nitrogen (N), 4% Phosphorus (P), and 4% Potassium (K).
So if this is the case, your purchased nutrient product contains more Nitrogen and lesser Phosphorus and Potassium. And if you see a ratio of 5-15-14, it only means that the nutrient product has a low amount of Nitrogen with higher amounts of Phosphorus and Potassium.
Question: What is the perfect ratio to use during the vegetative stage? How about during the flowering stage?
During this stage, your cannabis plants need higher Nitrogen, medium Phosphorus, and higher Potassium. An example ratio for this stage is 3-2-4 and 9-3-6.
Before you provide your cannabis plants that flowering N-P-K ration, you need to ensure that you will still provide your cannabis plants the same vegetative N-P-K ratio during the first 2 to 3 weeks of the flowering stage to give way to the transition process which will help in the quick flowering stretch of your plant. And after 2 to 3 weeks, you can now use the flowering N-P-K ratio.
During the flowering stage, your cannabis plants should now receive higher Phosphorus and Potassium with lower Nitrogen since your cannabis is about to work in creating buds. And during this stage, they don’t need too much Nitrogen since they will not focus on producing new stems and leaves after week 5 and 6.
An example ratio to follow during this stage is 2-3-5, 2-7-7, and 5-15-14.
As per the micronutrients such as the Zinc, Iron, Silicon, Copper, Boron, Chlorine, and more, they should be given in lower concentrations since we don’t want to overload the nutrients in our cannabis plants.
And even if they will be used in lower amounts, they are still vital to the overall growth of your cannabis plants. So never underestimate or ignore them because you will still encounter some nutrient related issues if these micronutrients will not be used.
Hydroponic and Coco Coir Growers
The nutrients being used in hydro and coco coir is different from the nutrients that are being applied in soil medium. That means if you are growing your cannabis using hydroponics or coco coir, you need to ensure that your nutrient solution is purposely made for hydro systems only such as the hydro nutrients that are in liquid or powder form.
So when mixing hydro nutrients, make sure that you will maintain a 5.5 to 6.5 pH range to your growing medium to avoid nutrient issues. Then after checking the pH, mix the 25% of the nutrients according to the recommended level in your chosen product (e.g. recommended for growing is 40, then you need to use the 25% of the recommended as a good start) into a right amount of water then feed it to your plants.
And if you think that they need more nutrients, then add the other 25% of your solution until you fulfill their requirements.
Note: You need to be extra careful when growing in hydro that’s why it is best suggested to start in small amounts because it is much easier to add more nutrients rather than to lessen the excessive nutrients.
Growing in soil is much easier to deal with compared to hydro since you can use manure, compost, worm castings, and humus as their macronutrients and micronutrients.
They can also use organic nutrients and fertilizers to complete the nutrients in their medium such as by using fish and blood meal as their Nitrogen source, bat guano for their Phosphorus needs, kelp meal or wood ash for their Potassium requirements, dolomite lime for Magnesium and Calcium, and Epsom salts that is found to be rich in Sulfur and Magnesium.
To make it short, you can get more benefits if you are growing in the soil so better make the best out of it. But then again make sure that you will check the pH of your medium before adding nutrients on it to ensure that there will be no build-up of nutrients or other related issues that could occur into your growing journey.
In so far, using the proper amounts of nutrients according to their life stage is the best way for you to achieve its optimal growth. So always be careful and patient for you to harvest good crops someday!