Growing with the best nutrients for cannabis can make all the difference. Your marijuana plants rely on a variety of nutrients to thrive, and if you fail to provide them with those necessary ingredients for growth, you’re going to end up with a poor yield. If you’re researching the best cannabis nutrients so you can buy the right fertilizer for your pot plants, this guide is for you!
With so many options to choose from, including hydroponic and organic nutrients, new growers can easily be overwhelmed. Below, you’ll find a detailed list of the most important nutrients for weed as well as the pros and cons of different growing methods.
There are a couple of different types of nutrients you’ll need to feed your cannabis plants for a healthy grow. Here’s a breakdown of the elements required.
Macronutrients are the elements that your plant needs in large quantities to grow. These elements make up the bulk of your plants’ diet and are often the main components of fertilizer. The critical nutrients for cannabis plants include:
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Sulfur (S)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Carbon (C)
- Hydrogen (H)
- Oxygen (O)
The majority of these nutrients will be delivered to your plants via your fertilizer blend; although carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen will be derived from the water and air.
In fact, nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are so important that you will find them specifically listed on the front of fertilizer bags and nutrient solutions to detail how much of these three main elements can be found.
For instance, a product that states “10-6-6” will contain 10% nitrogen, 6% phosphorus, and 6% potassium, by weight. The numbers will always be listed in order of N-P-K for consistency.
These nutrients are substances that your plant requires but in trace amounts. Overlooking these nutrients is easy; however, these micronutrients are just as necessary to the development of healthy marijuana plants as macronutrients. Here are the core micronutrients needed to grow weed indoors:
While cannabis requires very small amounts of these elements, growers must make sure their methods, systems, and soil account for them.
Nutrients, Fertilizers and Growing Methods
There are several growing methods that can be utilized. We’re going to discuss each one to clearly illustrate the differences and pros and cons of each.
Hydroponic Nutrients and Fertilizers
Hydroponic gardening is the practice of growing plants without soil. Instead of soil, a different growing substrate such as clay pebbles, Rockwool, coco coir or a blend is used. With no soil to provide nutrients, roots get their plant food via water. Due to increased efficiency and lower costs, hydroponic systems have become the most popular way to grow cannabis indoors.
Because of this, most marijuana fertilizers sold are actually hydroponic nutrients comprised primarily of concentrated mineral salts. These products come in liquid form, or sometimes as powders, and are mixed in with water for delivery.
Products are also divided between “grow” and “bloom” solutions since vegetative growth requires large amounts of nitrogen whereas phosphorus helps with flower development. This is why it is important to pay attention to your cannabis plants and fulfill their nutritional needs during different stages of growth.
Ultimately, hydroponic growing can offer massive yields and quick flowering times. While neglect or overfeeding can lead to damage or death, hydroponic systems are preferred by commercial growers and experienced hobbyists alike. As with most other things, knowledge and experience are the keys to success.
Soil Nutrients and Fertilizers
The more traditional method of growing pot is with soil. Through this method, the plants take root in soil which has been enriched with nutrients. There are many different ways to enrich soil with nutrients, although one of the major benefits is that soil often comes already loaded with natural and organic nutrients.
The key difference between hydroponic growing and soil is the presence of organic matter, such as compost, manure, humus, and other natural sources of fertilizer, that already contains many micro and macro nutrients. Various fungi and microbes living inside the soil process these substances and release their nutrients into the soil so that they can be used by the plant. Still, many growers choose to enrich their soil with their own nutrient-rich blends.
Growing in soil tends to be more forgiving than growing hydroponically. For this reason, it tends to be the most popular method for new growers. While you’ll be able to produce marijuana in soil that’s every bit as good as a hydroponically-grown plant, the yields tend to be smaller and your weed plants will grow slower.
If you’re a beginner learning how to grow marijuana for the first time, we highly recommend you stick to organic fertilizers and nutrients.