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How and When to Feed Cannabis Plants

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How and When to Feed Cannabis Plants

How and When to Feed Cannabis Plants

How and When to Feed Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants need nutrients just as much as all living organisms. They start by sucking in the essential elements from the soil and it’s up to us, as their caretakers, to ensure that they get all of the essential nutrients that are vital for healthy growth and development of our favorite herb. Without proper nutrition for cannabis plants, the buds can turn out small and thin or produce no bud at all.

Nutrients, along with plenty of water, light, and CO₂ delivered during photosynthesis, enable your plants to mature rapidly into robust and healthy adult plants. The right balance must be found when delivering these basic components to allow a higher rate of metabolism leading to enhanced production of flowers.

Certain macro-elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will help increase your cannabis yield while micro-nutrients (for instance calcium, magnesium, and zinc) have a big influence on how each plant expresses its genetic makeup.

Too much or too little can both contribute to the decline in harvest quality so taking some time out before planting and considering appropriate nutrient ratios for your specific strain is important if you want great results!

Nutrient Requirements For Autoflowering Plants

Nutrient Requirements For Autoflowering Plants

Autoflowering plants are becoming an increasingly popular choice in the cannabis cultivation world, thanks to their short growth cycles and easy-to-tend plants. Autoflowering cannabis plants contain a unique set of genetics, courtesy of Cannabis ruderalis, which allows them to thrive on fewer nutrients than their photoperiodic counterparts.

An autoflowering plant will usually require half or even one-third the number of nutrients when compared to photoperiodic plants, making it easier and more cost-effective to grow.

What Nutrients Do Cannabis Plants Need?

What Nutrients Do Cannabis Plants Need?

Cannabis and many other plant species require a variety of nutrients to thrive. Some of these nutrients are critical and the plant will not survive without them. Others, while not essential, still play a role in promoting healthy growth, fruit production, reproduction, and overall well-being. Just like a human cannot sustain optimal health by consuming only bread, providing a diverse range of nutrients to your plants will ensure their optimal growth and health.



Macronutrients are absolutely essential to the cultivation of a healthy cannabis crop. Without them, your plants have no hope of surviving. These macro nutrients are comprised of three elements—nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K).

The correct balance of these nutrients is known as the N-P-K ratio, which provides your plants with all the necessary nourishment to thrive. This ratio is often displayed on the packaging of commercial cannabis fertilizers, so when deciding how to feed your cannabis plants you should focus on this factor.

An appropriate balance of these macronutrients will be essential for achieving success in cannabis cultivation. Too much or too little nitrogen can have different detrimental effects on your plants; high levels can cause some species to become overly bushy and reduce flowering, while low levels can stunt growth and reduce photosynthesis.

The same applies to phosphorus and potassium, so a good understanding of the N-P-K system is required to achieve satisfactory results in terms of yield and quality!

Secondary Macronutrients

Secondary Macronutrients

Plants need much more than just the primary macronutrients of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) for optimal growth and health. In addition to these three essential elements, cannabis plants also require secondary macronutrients composed of calcium, magnesium, and sulfur in order for the leaves to properly absorb nutrients from the organic soil.

These secondary macronutrients are not only important for the plant’s growth but each of them fulfills specific roles within the life cycle, while calcium plays a role in healthy root development, magnesium helps form chlorophyll which is vital to photosynthesis.

When it comes to adding these secondary macronutrients to your grow room’s soil or nutrient solution, you could buy a pre-made feed that contains all of them at proper levels and ratios. Make sure to check what’s included before you purchase.


Micronutrients play a vital role in enabling plants to grow healthy and strong. These essential nutrients, while needed in much smaller amounts than macronutrients, help with a variety of plant processes. Boron helps with the production of proteins and other cell structures, encourages root growth and cell division, and ensures that the plant gets enough energy to thrive.

Chlorine is an important part of photosynthesis, the process that converts light energy into chemical energy, which plants need for their metabolic processes. Chlorine also aids in producing sugar molecules needed for energy storage and helps with the absorption of nitrates from the soil.

Without these micronutrients, plants could not function properly. Nutrient deficiencies can account for stunted growth or yellow leaves among many other problems. That’s why it’s so important to provide adequate levels of all macronutrients as well as micronutrient vitamins such as boron and chlorine in any soil or hydroponic systems used to grow cannabis plants. By doing so, we ensure that our plants are getting all of the nutrients they need to reach their full potential.

Other Beneficial Elements

Other Beneficial Elements

One other beneficial elements that can help cannabis plants is calcium. Calcium helps to provide structure and strength to the cell walls in the plant, as well as balance out pH levels in the soil. Additionally, calcium also plays a role in helping with nutrient uptake, promoting water efficiency, and aiding in root development.

It’s important not to add too much calcium as it can cause “lock-outs” or imbalances in other elements such as phosphorus, but the right amount can be used to get good results.

Another beneficial element is magnesium which plays a variety of roles within the plant that are essential for proper growth; it helps with photosynthesis, assists with enzyme production, and helps cells absorb nutrients more efficiently.

When To Use Which Nutrients

When To Use Which Nutrients

The amount and ratio of nutrients used during the different stages of cannabis growth can have a large impact on final bud quality. Depending on the phase, cannabis plants require various amounts of Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K).

For example, during germination, very few nutrients are necessary as moisture is all that is required to get seedlings started. During the early vegetative stage, young plants will need a mix of N2P2K7, and as they develop further these nutrient deficiencies ratios will slowly increase.

Later in the flowering stage more P and K must be provided than N and this ratio intensifies until close to harvest when most outdoor growers will flush their medium with pure water to cleanse their plants of any extra nutrients.

Knowing when and what type of nutrients should be provided is essential for ensuring optimal nutrient uptake. Carefully reading up on nutrient schedules at each stage of development is recommended to ensure one’s plants receive the proper nourishment they require.

How To Manage Micronutrients

Managing the exact amounts of micronutrients needed to keep your plants healthy and produce their best flower is a complex task. However, many hemp growers find it surprisingly easy to make sure they get enough without ever having to measure or think about individual nutrients.

For most soils and hydroponic set-ups, following the Growth Recipe from the manufacturer is enough. This will ensure that all the necessary micronutrients are accounted for in its growing medium.

Environmental Influences On Feeding Schedules

The environment plays a surprisingly large role in determining the ideal fertilization schedule for your plants. For less experienced growers, this may not be an area to worry too much about since they should be focusing on basics, but those looking to hone their techniques should definitely keep it in mind.

When growing under hot conditions nitrogen should be cut down by around 10-20%, while cold conditions require as much as 10-20% more nitrogen. Additionally, intense light conditions also require more nitrogen to ensure the healthy growth and development of plants.

It is worth noting that regardless of environmental influences ensuring a balanced diet is crucial for optimal growth, so organic materials such as compost can provide the right levels of minerals and vitamins needed for healthy green plants with lush healthy foliage and abundant flowers.

How To Use Nutrients Effectively

How To Use Nutrients Effectively on Cannabis Plants

Using nutrients effectively is an important part of making sure your plants and crops get the best care possible. One way to do this is by sticking to one brand or one feeding plan when it comes to fertilizer products, as brands create different products that work together and take macro- and micro-nutrient balances into account.

This means that trying out various blends from different brands runs the risk of altering nutrient deficiency levels in your soil and thus compromising your crops’ growth.

Reading Nutrient Feeding Charts

Reading nutrient-feeding charts is an important part of successful plant growth. These charts, which generally come with a commercial feed product, outline the ratios of excess nutrients needed for each stage of growth given a certain amount of water.

They typically assume that plants have a 12 or 13-week life cycle. However, this may be different when it comes to specific strains such as lengthy sativa or fast autoflowering varieties. For this reason, one should never employ a feeding chart to the letter but rather use it as a guide and adjust specific amounts according to one’s own needs.

The Importance Of Preventing Overfeeding

Overfeeding is an all-too-common mistake amongst novice gardeners. It can be easy to assume that more food means better growth for plants, but in fact, this could quite easily have the opposite effect. Overfeeding can drastically reduce the rate of a plant’s growth, as well as weaken it against disease and pests.

With excessive nutrients in the soil, the plants are unable to properly absorb them, leading to malnourishment and stunted growth. In order for the plant to return to optimum health, it may be necessary to totally flush the soil of unwanted nutrient build-up and start your fertilization process from scratch.

How To Prepare Cannabis Nutrient Solutions

The first step in preparing a nutrient solution for cannabis plants is to source the water that will be used. Filtered or reverse osmosis (RO) water is preferable as these types of water remove any unwanted particles that may inhibit the growth of healthy plants. Tap water should be avoided if possible, as it often contains chlorine or other contaminants that can have an adverse effect on the cannabis growth phase.

What About pH, ppm, EC, And Water Temperature?

What About pH, ppm, EC, And Water Temperature?

One of the most important elements for successful marijuana cultivation is a keen understanding and management of water. This includes understanding and managing the pH, ppm, EC, and temperature of your weed plants’ water supply. pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” – it tells you how acidic or alkaline a substance is.

Pure water has a pH of 7.0 which is neutral, though for cannabis grown in soil a range between 6.0 and 6.5 is optimal. PPM (parts per million) measures the amount of nutrient deficiencies content within a given solution; higher levels can become toxic to marijuana plants if not managed appropriately.

EC (electrical conductivity) provides an indication as to how much mineral salts are present in your plant’s water supply – recommended levels vary depending on the crop being grown and the growing medium involved.

Finally, water temperature plays an important role in nutrient absorption by your weed plants – too hot or cold can be detrimental over time so it must be regulated carefully. All four components must be taken into consideration to ensure a healthy, thriving marijuana growth phase!

Recognizing Nutrient Problems

Nutrient deficiency is a major problem for any plant and can be difficult to diagnose. Too much or too little of a certain additional nutrient can cause serious issues for crops. Let’s start with nitrogen deficiency, which typically results in entire leaves turning yellow, starting from the oldest leaves and progressing to the newer ones.

With a phosphorous deficiency, you may see older leaves turning brown or purple and then dying from their tips. Potassium deficiency will lead to the edges of the old leaves becoming bright yellow before eventually becoming scorched or having brown speckles appear on them.

Nutrients are extremely important for weed plants well-being but those nutrients need to be balanced correctly for the optimal growth cycle. Otherwise, deficiencies in any of the key primary nutrients – nitrogen, phosphorous, or potassium – can cause significant damage to crops.

It’s critical that novice growers are aware of these symptoms in order to identify any problems as quickly as possible so they can take remedial action without delay. Once they figure out where the deficiency lies, novice growers should take steps to address it directly at its source since poor nutrition affects crop quality and yields in negative ways that arise along the whole production chain.

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