For your cannabis plant to grow properly, the soil must be fertile enough to support growth.
Cannabis plants need different nutrients in different proportions during different stages of their life.
The macronutrient required by all weed plants, regardless of strain, includes nitrogen, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and sulfur.
Cannabis plants need nutrients to grow. From the seedling stage through the vegetative and flowering stages, cannabis strains are constantly drawing essential nutrients from the soil. Depending on the health of the root and stem, these nutrients are absorbed through microscopic pores in the root, stored and transferred to other parts of the plants where they are needed. As expected, these nutrients help the plant through bud formation, leaf development, stem growth, and flowering. Without the right nutrient supply at the right growth stage, the cannabis plant becomes stunted as the crop yield drops dramatically. In extreme cases, the plant dries up and dies.
In order for your cannabis plant to receive the right nutrient, the soil must be fertile enough to support growth. If you are using a hydroponic system, the nutrients should be provided in a form that the plant can easily absorb. Compared to any other plant, providing nutrients to a cannabis plant requires proper planning. Sometimes that means selecting the right cannabis fertilizer and applying it at the right time. Your favorite cannabis fertilizer should contain enough micronutrients and macronutrients to support cannabis growth. The macronutrient required by all weed plants, regardless of strain, includes nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus, magnesium, calcium and sulfur. Although there are also other nutrients needed in large amounts, these three nutrients are referred to as the main macronutrients in cannabis. Micronutrients are needed in relatively smaller amounts, including boron, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, cobalt, silicon, chlorine, and selenium.
Your cannabis plant is highly dependent on its nitrogen supply and deposition. This macronutrient is a building block of chlorophyll, the green pigment necessary for photosynthesis. If your plant lacks nitrogen, the functions of chlorophyll in photosynthesis are impaired. Subsequently, the plant will struggle to convert sunlight into carbon dioxide, water, oxygen and glucose. Without these essential plant resources, plants starve and die. In addition to its role in the formation of glucose, nitrogen is also needed at every stage of cannabis growth. It also serves as the main building block for plant amino acids. These acids are needed to make plant proteins. Cannabis plants use their protein reserve to develop denser buds, stronger stems and healthy leaves.
The importance of nitrogen for a young cannabis plant cannot be overstated. Plants depend on it to make blocks of DNA and RNA. These are genetic components that determine plant behavior and other traits such as potency, taste and smell. They are also necessary for plant tissues to multiply and develop during the vegetative phase. Although nitrogen seems very important for cannabis, an excessive supply of these nutrients is also detrimental to normal growth. It is therefore recommended to have your plant tested for nitrogen before deciding how much to supply.
Phosphorus is another macronutrient you should not miss. Like nitrogen, phosphorus also plays a huge role in photosynthesis, ensuring that young cannabis plants get enough oxygen and glucose for their metabolism. Cannabis plants also need phosphorus for respiration, cell division, and nutrient storage. If your plant lacks phosphorus, the growth process is impaired and the plant dies prematurely. Weak stems, stunted growth, bluish green leaves and poor flowering are typical signs of phosphorus deficiency. Excess phosphorus also complicates the growth cycle. If supplied in excess, phosphorus makes the surrounding soil toxic, killing important microorganisms needed by the plant.
Cannabis plants use their potassium stores to regulate water and salt levels. This regulation is important to balance the internal acidity and basicity levels of the plant. Like phosphorus and nitrogen, potassium also plays an important role in photosynthesis. Cannabis plants that lack potassium are prone to developing weak vapor that is unable to support large, healthy buds. The leaves turn yellow and the plants lose a lot of photosynthesis. They become crispy, with burnt edges and fall prematurely. If the cannabis plant shows all of these signs, you need to give it a potassium supplement. The readily available deposit of vegetable potassium includes kelp meal, hardwood ash, and alfalfa meal.
When does your cannabis plant need these nutrients?
We have established that cannabis needs nutrients to grow properly. If your growing medium or garden soil lacks these nutrients, you must supply these nutrients to the plants from the outside. However, you can simply add nutrients to the soil based on your intuition. Cannabis plants need different nutrients in different proportions during different stages of their life. To help you stay ahead of the curve, we’ve outlined the different stages of the cannabis growth cycle and the amount of nutrients needed for those stages;
a. Nutrient requirements for cannabis seedlings
At the seedling stage, cannabis gets most of its nutrients from the seed. The tender branching absorbs water through the leaves as the roots develop rapidly. This is why your young cannabis plants should be protected from the scorching heat and assembled in a warm, humid environment. If all goes well and the seeds have enough nutrient deposits, the tender plant grows quickly to develop leaves quickly. You won’t need to feed your cannabis plant until it is 3-4 weeks old. Once it develops about 4 true leaves, it moves into the vegetative stage.
b. Nutrient requirements for vegetative cannabis plants
In the vegetative stage, the seed’s nutrient depot is depleted, the dental system develops, and leaf stomata become more active. To meet nutrient supply, the cannabis plant turns to an external nutrient depot. In many cases, this is usually the growth medium. This is when your plant desperately needs nourishment. We recommend starting with a light 2:1:2 fertilizer (Nitrogen: Potassium: Phosphorus). Initiate this regiment for a week. By doing this, you introduce the cannabis plants to their fertilizers and reduce the risk of nutrient burn. If your plants are already showing signs of nutrient deficiency, you can start with the 4:2:3 fertilizer regimen.
When your plant enters the middle of the vegetative phase (about 6 weeks after germination), the processes of cell division and bud formation begin. Your plant quickly uses up its supply of nutrients as they are expended in the growth processes. It is at this point that you will want to quickly increase the nutrients you are providing. We recommended switching to the 10:5:7 fertilizer diet at this point. In response, your plant should develop strong, healthy foliage, brighter green leaves, and extensive root and string stalks. Buds are also beginning to develop in preparation for flowering.
Towards the end of the vegetative phase, you will want to reduce your nitrogen supply and prepare the plants for their bloom booster fertilizer regime. Many experienced cannabis growers use the 7:7:7 fertilizer as a flowering booster nutrient. To easily remember fertilizer ratios, just consider the chart below;
Cannabis Vegetative Stage Fertilizer Needs
- Early vegetation: 2:1:2 – 4:2:3
- Mid-veg: 10:5:7
- Late vegetables: 7:7:7
Nutrient Requirements for Flowering Cannabis Plants
When flowering, the plant concentrates on the development of large, resinous flowers. At this stage, the plant needs less nitrogen and requires more potassium and phosphorus for cell division. During the first week of flowering, you should watch your plant for any signs of nutrient deficiency. This allows you to understand the necessary change in the fertilizer ratio. We recommend the commonly used 5:7:10 fertilizer regimen. This ratio provides less nitrogen and more potassium. From this stage, the potassium concentration in all fertilizer ratios is increased.
As the plant moves into the mid-flowering stage, the rate of cell formation increases as more flowers form. You’ll want to provide more potassium by introducing the fertilizer booster mid-bloom. This booster is recommended with a nutrient ratio of 6:10:15. As the final days of flowering approach, plants produce fewer flowers as the characteristics of the plant mature. This signals preparation for harvest. Experienced cannabis growers change the nutrient ratio again at this point. The 4:7:10 fertilizer is introduced to support growth up to the pre-harvest stage. To make it easier for you, we’ve simplified the fertilizer ratio during this step in a discussion below;
Flower Stage Fertilizer Requirements For Cannabis
- Early flowering: 5:7:10
- Mid-flowering: 6:10:15 a.m.
- Mid-late flowering: 4:7:10
Fertilizer Application Guide
You need to understand exactly how to apply your fertilizers. Many fertilizer brands provide a feeding discussion and application instructions for each NPK formulation you purchase. These instructions offer advice on the best way to apply these fertilizers.
Your return on investment largely depends on your cannabis yield. This yield, in turn, depends on how you offer your plants. Fertilizer applications help your plant store nutrients. Pay attention to the brands of fertilizer you select. A good fertilizer should be easy to apply, environmentally friendly and safe for the farmer’s health. It is also important that the fertilizer does not negatively affect the taste, aroma, cannabinoid compositions and terpene level of the cannabis plant.
Warning: This content is intended for educational purposes only. It has been compiled with research from external sources. it is not intended to replace medical or legal advice. Please consult your local laws for the legality of cannabis consumption.
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