Picking the perfect fertilizer is hard. I personally dread
However, there comes a time when every grower needs nutrients, especially when you are just starting out. I will help you pick your ideal fertilizer by sharing some of the best out there (in addition to my personal line: Bergman’s Plant Food).
Fertilizer can help produce a healthy, flourishing plant but there are other methods as well. I’ll explain how to boost with CO2 as well as how to fertilize your plants safely. Knowledge is key, so keep reading to learn how to choose your perfect fertilizer.
If you are thinking about fertilizers, you will need to first decide on one thing: Homemade nutrients or off-the-shelf, professional products?
Of course, you can always make your own nutrients with your preferred mixture, but usually it is much simpler to buy pre-made nutrients. Keep in mind that marijuana plants have a wide assortment of needs.
You can buy my pre-made fertilizers made for marijuana growers of all skills here in our shop.
Professional blends can prevent you from making any unforeseen mistakes with chemical reactions that may happen if you accidentally mix the nutrients the wrong way. You also won’t have to worry about deciding what to feed your plant and the necessary ratios. They already have all of that taken care of, which is especially helpful for beginners.
There are so many awesome marijuana products created by well-experienced growers worldwide. Why make things hard?
If you still want to DIY, try starting out by making your own soil instead. Learn to make your own soil mixture with the tips from my free marijuana grow bible.
WARNING: Stay clear of any fertilizers that are advertised as being “slow release” or “extended.” While these systems may be good for regular plants, they are most likely going to cause an array of issues when growing marijuana.
No Nutrients Without Water
Want to know the best way to waste money on fertilizers?…
…Not water your plants correctly.
Fertilizers aside, without a proper watering technique, soil plants will never thrive. Although plants need water to transport the nutrients from roots to leaves, newbie marijuana growers often make the mistake of watering their plants far too often. This may lead to all sorts of over-watering problems. So, before we discuss fertilizers, let’s talk about watering.
Here’s how to water plants in soil:
- Keep at least the first top inch of the soil feeling dry.
- Mix nutrients in your water.
- Flush with pure water only once every two weeks.
- Let about 20% additional water drain through the bottom when you water.
Be sure you are always adding the proper amount of nutrients, and that you have chosen the right fertilizer for your growing stage.
Be sure to read my full guide on proper watering marijuana plants if you want to know more.
What do Cannabis Plants Need?
Healthy marijuana plants require three elements for firm roots and vibrant flowers with high yields: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K). You will often see these values displayed on packaging as NPK.
Nitrogen is important for leaf growth while phosphorus aids in bud growth. Potting soils are already mixed with these three elements which will aid the plant for up to three weeks. But as the plants grow, they will need additional nutrients.
Once your plant starts developing leaves, you will need to give it a 20% balance of phosphorus, potassium,
You can feed your plant each time you water, although it isn’t completely necessary. Twice per week will usually suffice. However, outdoor plants naturally get fresh air, and their roots have free range to spread out and grow, so they often do not need as much.
Nutrients help plants thrive
Marijuana plants require nutrients to thrive. In many cases, plants can absorb these nutrients from the Earth. In other scenarios, growers need to supplement these nutrients through the use of fertilizers. Therefore, knowing how to utilize nutrients correctly can be integral to the growth of your cannabis plants.
Many things can act as fertilizers to some degree, but it is often easiest to purchase packaged fertilizers at a local garden center. Most fertilizers are sold as hydroponic solutions. Some are designed for soil, while others are designed for hydroponic growing. Every option will have nitrogen to aid leaf growth, potassium to facilitate the development of the flower and phosphorus for root growth. These are represented by their elemental symbols of N, P, and K respectively. In fact, on most commercial fertilizers, you’re going to see an NPK ratio listed on the bag (e.g., 20-20-20). This tells you exactly how much of each element is in that particular fertilizer.
NPK aren’t the only nutrients found in fertilizers, however. There are also micronutrients such as calcium, sulfur, magnesium, and many more. Although these help with specific processes inside the plant, they are not quite as vital as the three core nutrients.
Timing is important
Different fertilizers work better at different times in the plant’s life cycle. At the very beginning of the sprouting stage, you probably won’t need any strong fertilizers and can probably just get away with using peat plugs or potting soil. In fact, you shouldn’t need to add nutrients until you reach the vegetative stage.
During the vegetative stage, plants need an added boost of nutrient content to ensure that they are growing and producing at the right rates. For plants that are in a vegetative state, it’s essential to use a fertilizer that has an even NPK distribution of 20-20-20. This will provide them with an equal amount of each of the three core nutrients.
During flowering, you are going to want to change the fertilizer just a bit. Cannabis thrives when it has a lot of nitrogen, and it uses extra nitrogen during the vegetative stage. This need for nitrogen reduces during the flowering stage, and extra potassium and phosphorus become necessary. At this point, the plant would do better with an NPK ratio of 10-30-10. The phosphorous helps with the production of buds and flowers to ensure an optimal yield.
The cannabis plant gradually stops needing all nutrients as flowering ends, and it matures.
The important thing to remember is that nutrients act like multivitamins for marijuana. In fact, you could say that the plants “eat” the nutrients to thrive. Without proper nourishment from fertilizer or the soil, a plant will not produce the desired outcome. You will see the effects of a lack of proper nutrient intake. Plant leaves will start to show burnt tips, and the amount of growth will appear to cease. If you want the best crop, it is important to ensure your plants are getting the proper nutrients starting with the macronutrients.
The Macro Nutrients
The most vital elements for every plant on Earth are the so-called Macronutrients. Topping the list are Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium. They are an inseparable part of all kinds of fertilizers; however, the amount of each nutrient varies according to the type of fertilizer. Different types of plants require different ratios of these nutrients. Keep in mind; the cannabis plant has needs that are similar to a tomato.
Each element has different atomic characteristics – leading to a particular effect on a marijuana plant. Understanding each of these elements can help growers safely address deficiencies in their plants.
To begin with, Nitrogen, has the symbol ‘’N’’ in the periodic table, an atomic number of 7 and an atomic mass of approximately 14. It helps with photosynthesis and is responsible for chlorophyll production.
Photosynthesis is impossible without the existence of chlorophyll, and this is why Nitrogen’s role is so important in the life of marijuana plants. Stimulating the growth of leaves and stems while also increasing the plant’s size and vigor are also effects of Nitrogen. Nevertheless, when there is a deficiency of N, the growth rates are reduced, and the leaves become yellow faster. The older leaves are the first to suffer, as are the lower leaves of the cannabis plant. Cold soil temperatures can also cause a nitrogen deficiency.
The second element is Phosphorus or P on the periodic table with an atomic number of 15. It has an approximate atomic mass of 31. The primary benefit of this element includes promoting seed germination, as well as seedling and root growth. Phosphorus is an essential element for the development of the terpene resins and floral clusters. It also participates in the formation of sugars and starches.
The overall vigor of the marijuana plant depends on Phosphorus. Therefore, a Phosphorus deficiency is signified by a reduction of the rate of growth and the quick drying of smaller leaves. They become purplish, and their edges are seared. What’s more, the excessive levels of Phosphorus can also cause Potassium-deficiency.
The last crucial macro element is Potassium or K on the Periodic table of elements. Its atomic number is 19, and it has an atomic mass of approximately 39. Potassium is vital for healthy plant metabolism during the flowering period, and it helps in the formation of the clusters of marijuana flowers.
Potassium keeps the plant vigorous, healthy and growing. Its deficiency can cause reduction if growth rates and problems with the leaves. It can cause them to have tips and edges which are brown in color with curled margins.
The Micro Nutrients
The basic Macro Nutrients are not enough for a marijuana plant to grow normally. Micronutrients also have critical functions, such as maintaining vigor and health. These Trace-elements include Calcium, Magnesium, Sulphur, Manganese, Boron, Zinc and Copper. They are included in most fertilizers but in smaller quantities.
Calcium is one of the major microelements. It bears the symbol ‘’Ca’’ on the Periodic table of elements. Its atomic number is 20, and it has a mass of 40 approximately. Calcium is vital because it is a part of the cell walls. It provides strengthening of the stems and branches and helps in the formation of the root and its tip’s growth. A deficiency of Calcium causes distortion of the leaves. The leaves’ margins are hooked, and the roots do not finalize their development; their tips are weak.
Magnesium is also an important element. It has the symbol ‘’Mg’’ on the Periodic table, the number 12 and an approximate mass of 24. Magnesium stimulates the formation of chlorophyll and most of the reactions with enzymes. The structures of the leaves and the veins in them are healthy due to this element. When Mg is deficient, the effect is different in each plant species. Cannabis plants, for example, suffer from yellowing of the leaves, the disappearance of leaves, and withering, which starts from the older or lower leaves. Excessive levels of Magnesium can cause Calcium deficiency.
Sulfur or ‘’S’’ on the periodic table has the number 16 and an atomic mass of approximately 32. It consists in the proteins of marijuana plants and is important for their production. It also participates in the formation of chlorophyll and the growth of the plant. The deficiency is presented by slower rates of growth along with smaller deformed leaves that are round and roll upwards. Soon they become stiff and die off.
Manganese (or ‘’Mn’’, atomic number- 25 and an atomic mass of approximately 55) is responsible for the production of enzymes and chlorophyll production vital for the photosynthesis. Its deficiency has various results which depend on the species. On a cannabis plant, chloroplasts become yellow, and the stems are still quite green. On the surface of some leaves, there may be white or grey spots. It also causes Iron deficiency with similar symptoms.
Boron (B, Z=5, A=10) helps with the movement of sugars and reproduction as well as water consumption by cells. It participates in the formations of stems and stalks and prevents Ca from becoming insoluble. Boron also aids in the production, coloring, and formation of leaves and their structures. Its deficiency causes death to the tips and malformations of the marijuana buds. Boron deficiencies also cause Mg and K deficiencies.
Other Micro Nutrients
Your plants are least likely to experience deficiencies of Zinc and Copper, but they are still essential to the health of your marijuana plants. Zinc gives the plant strength, by fortifying the stems, branches, stalk, and leaves. A zinc deficiency will look similar to a manganese or iron deficiency.
Copper deficiencies, on the other hand, appear in younger leaves. Healthy leaves can quickly start to curl or wilt and eventually they will die. Without this nutrient, a plant has trouble forming new growth. When it has too much, it is unable to process iron properly.
How to use nutrients
Using both macro and micronutrients requires attention to details. You’ll need to follow a feeding schedule and only give plants the bare minimum of what they need. Many times that means feeding your plants a lot less than the recommended dosages. A good place to start is ¼ of the recommended amount, and then slowly move up to ½ based on how the plant responds.
If you give a marijuana plant too many nutrients, it could experience nutrient burn. And, if you start with the full amount, you are very likely to burn your plants. Whereas nutrient burn won’t kill your plants, it will damage them. You will not get the best yield if you burn your plants.
When choosing nutrients, how you grow is what matters.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, focus instead on choosing the best system when growing marijuana or what you’d like your grow medium to be.
Once you have decided in what medium you want to grow your plant, whether in
Need help finding your supplies? Of course, this is my favorite online nutrient store. Bergman’s Plant Food works well for both soil and hydroponic grows.
Bergman’s Plant Food
I’ve had my own line of fertilizer produced to perfectly match each phase of the
Bergman’s plant food contains the perfect mixture of the NPK elements.
One of the best things about Bergman’s plant food is that it is easy to use.
You can add a Plant Booster during the flowering phase to give the plants that extra edge if you like.
These fertilizers come in complete sets with a discount as well as a watering and feeding schedules. Take a peek if y
Once the plant is fully grown you will need to start thinking about flowering and harvest time. My free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to cut your plants.
Our friends at aPotforPot offer a clever solution for a one-stop grow. Be sure to check them out!
Fox Farms Trio
Fox Farms is a top pick for newbie marijuana growers. With it, you can grow any marijuana strain and never need more additives. They have both the hydroponic and soil versions so be sure to get the correct one. This can also be used with coco coir growing as well.
There are three bottles, (you may be able to get them as a package), and you’ll need all three. They are called “Grow Big,” “Tiger Bloom,” and “Big Bloom.” Available at this online store.
This set is really easy to use.
Just follow the directions on the bottles. Fox Farms is really all you need to get your marijuana to bloom just right.
Perlite and Vermiculite Marijuana Fertilizers
For soil growing you can make things nice and easy by buying a smart pot to grow your marijuana in and add a mix of Fox Farms Happy Frog soil with about 30% perlite for starters. Humbolt soil is also a good option.
If you choose hydroponic growing, add perlite or vermiculite in a combination of about 50 percent fertilizer to a mixture of water and peat moss.
Want professional-level soil?
Always use perlite or vermiculite. They are produced when mica is heated proportionately to 1,400- and 1,800-degrees Fahrenheit. When heated the minerals enlarge and become porous. This creates white pellets that retain air.
Why do these pellets matter?
They can also take in almost four times their own weight in water. They are why many commercial solid potting soils do not become tough and lumpy when dry.
The minerals in them naturally create magnesium, calcium, and potassium and will eventually infuse into the soil.
This is great because the mixture continuously feeds the soil with nutrients.
After some time, the pellets of both fertilizers become immersed in a mixture of the minerals discharged into the soil. Perlite, vermiculite and other media are available at Growershouse.
Yes or No to Miracle-Gro?
If you’ve grown anything, you’ve likely heard of Miracle-Gro.
It’s one of the more popular formulas on the market, as well as a household name when it comes to plant fertilizers. Just about anyone you ask has heard of it and most likely used it for gardening “regular plants.”, but it is not the best for marijuana growing.
Why should you avoid Miracle-Gro?
One reason it is not recommended is that the solution gives too much nitrogen during the flowering stage. As mentioned above, a proper balance of all nutrients is essential to growing a healthy marijuana plant.
Miracle-Gro simply doesn’t have the right balance.
If you use Miracle-Gro, you will be using the same formula for the entire life span. Now in the beginning stages, it may work fine. However, the requirements for a marijuana plant shifts significantly between the seedling stage and when it starts making buds. It should make sense that you would switch your formula, too.
So, while its reputation would make you think it is a great, easy option, our suggestion is to stay clear of using Miracle-Gro.
This product is complete without additives and gives complete care to your plants. Use these three bottles to change the ratio between the three bottles to control nutrition for each specific stage of plant growth, as a professional grower would do.
So, maybe cost is a concern for you, or you are new to marijuana growing and need a simple solution. In either case, you should check out Grow and Bloom fertilizers by Dyna-Gro.
Whether you are growing your marijuana plant in soil, coco coir or hydro, this is an effective solution. Dyna-Gro is available at this link.
Here’s how to use it:
Use Grow while the plant is in a vegetative stage. During the flowering stage, use Bloom. After that, just follow the instructions on the bottles! You can use these throughout the entire growing cycle from seedling to harvest time.
Just fertilizer won’t get you far.
Be sure to check out my seed store if you’re looking to buy seeds.
Different Types of Natural Fertilizers
Of course you can always go the 100% natural way and create your own organic fertilizers. Here are a couple of examples of DIY organic fertilizer:
Urine as a Marijuana Fertilizer?
So, we already know that nitrogen is necessary for marijuana growth and development. Well, human urine contains large amounts of nitrogen.
Yes, your urine is a healthy fertilizer for marijuana!
Now you don’t want to just go and urinate directly on the plants or even on the ground around it, as this could kill them. Instead, mix a commercial plant food with one full bladder worth of urine per each gallon of water. You will have to use this solution immediately to avoid any toxic ammonia from forming.
Humans aren’t the only good fertilizer makers.
Chicken manure also is an excellent marijuana fertilizer. Organic slow release chicken manure compost increases yields and promotes healthy plants. Learn about the benefits of ChickenFuel compost.
Let’s say you live in an area where the soil is too acidic for marijuana growing. You can use plain wood ashes to help restore the proper pH. Just mix a shovelful of wood ashes per 5-gallon bucket of water to the soil. If that is not an option, you can also try lime (available at most garden stores) for the same results.
Composting is inexpensive and relatively simple, as it uses things you would normally just throw away anyway. It creates the environment similar to a nice, fertile soil so your cannabis plants can grow healthily. You can include anything from plant clippings to fruits and vegetables to animal manure. It should not include animal fat or meat, however, as it simply will attract maggots and parasites. You also shouldn’t include manure from your cat or dog, and consider not using pine needles because they lower the pH and don’t break down as quickly as other compostable items.
You should break down all of your compost ingredients into small pieces in order to accelerate the breakdown of your compost mixture. There are plenty of different ways to go about it, and there are plenty of reasons for doing it in a new way.
There are several important factors you always need to remember. For instance, it is a good idea to layer your compost pile, and you should always make sure that air is able to flow through it. The last thing you want is a compost pile that has very little or no air circulation. Just like with any soil or fertilizer, you should also be testing the pH level of your compost pile to make sure it remains balanced. If it is too acidic or alkaline, you can simply put in some lime or bonemeal to adjust the balance in both ways.
Unless you live on a farm, you probably will need a long amount of time to collect enough diverse organic matter to form a useful compost pile. Allow a few months to gain enough items to form a usable mixture. The result is worth it, however, as your mixture will be much more fertile than most of the available store-bought items you can find.
The most often encountered reason for growing cannabis organically is that there is almost a zero chance that you will burn the marijuana plants. Too much chemical fertilizer can be a bad thing, since it is highly concentrated and may leave salts behind in the soil. The roots rapidly absorb the chemical fertilizers and, like someone who eats too quickly will experience a negative reaction. This could include the death of your marijuana plants.
Usually what happens is that too much of one nutrient prevents the uptake of others, leaving your plant deficient and dying: When fed organic substances, marijuana plants will only take in the nutrients they need, leaving the rest in the soil. The remaining nutrients are broken down slowly, which ensures a steady supply.
The major drawback to organic cannabis growing is the knowledge needed and the preparation that may be necessary to deliver the nutrients to the marijuana plants. Composting takes time and should be started months in advance. It requires a space in which to accomplish this, preferably far away from people since it can carry quite an odor. Also, depending on your security needs, it may be impossible to get the composted soil to the grow site, since where you compost and where you grow cannabis may be very far apart. In cases like these it is best to add individual organic matter to the existing site and bring that soil up to par.
The idea behind composting is that organic matter decays with the help of bacteria created in the decomposition process into a brown, loose blend called humus. This is the same process that natural soil uses, though in nature it takes much longer. You accelerate this process through composting because the mixture of things added increases the presence and activity of bacteria and microorganisms. In good, fertile soil there are untold millions of microorganisms in every gram, as well as earthworms, which are attracted to good soil and improve it by living within it.
Make your own compost
Even if you are using chemicals to grow your marijuana plants, you probably will still need to include some organic compost additives at some point. Below you will find a list of the various types of organic additives, and what they can do to help you with the specific elements your soil and fertilizers are missing. You need these to make your own compost.
There are plenty of other available additives as well, but this is a basic list that will help you make it through most seasons. Read carefully, for some of the items on the list include valuable information, such as the exact ratios of Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorous that they contain, plus which season they are the most useful in.
Not excited about soil?
Some people prefer to grow their marijuana in water. This is what is called “growing your plant hydroponically”. With this method, you will need fertilizers that are designed for hydroponic growing. There is no room for loose particles that could clog your pumps, tube and any other hydroponic equipment you may own.
General Hydroponics Flora Series
This highly suggested nutrient system is a great start for both beginners and advanced growers. You can also use this in coco coir and soil as well. The awesome part – they sell a “performance pack” which includes a pH balance test kit along with all that you need to start growing. Find it at this link.
General Hydroponics FloraDuo
If you want to narrow it down to two bottles instead of three, there is General Hydroponics FloraDuo. This line is great for learning the different stages your plant will go through and what it needs to flourish.
You’ll start with the first bottle, a high nitrogen formula, then once you are at a certain point in the growing process, you will start using the second bottle. The second bottle has a higher concentration of Phosphorus and Potassium.
You don’t have to bother memorizing proper nutrient proportions, simply follow the instructions.
Following the feeding schedule is very simple. Keep the pH of your water between 5.5-6.5, and this product is known to breed good results fairly quickly. General Hydro Nutrients are available at this link .
Future Harvest Nutrients
Future Harvest, a cannabis-focused nutrient company for over 20 years, brings out a fertilizer line called Holland Secret. It is a complete 3-Part fertilizer with all of the essential elements and trace minerals that a plant needs. It can be used with any grow medium (soil, coco or hydro) in any situation (cuttings, vegetative, flowering). It is perfect for expert or novice growers as there is no need for individual fertilizers, because the three bottles, have a formula for all situations. Growers will experience no deficiencies when using Holland Secret alone.
Another great system for your hydroponic marijuana growing needs is Botanicare.
Bloom and Grow can be used for the entire growing experience. However, for the more experienced marijuana grower, these formulas let you play around and make adjustments to the calcium and nitrogen levels.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with custom blends.
The system was created to be tweaked. Following the instructions exactly may not provide the most desirable results, so if you want to try this system, you need to have the right knowledge and be ready to experiment. Botanicare is available at this link here
The Advanced Nutrients line is more on the expensive side, but several growers love it.
The truth is you really don’t need the expensive products to get the results you want. You will most likely get just as good – if not better – results with the less pricey products mentioned above. While this line certainly is not necessary for satisfactory marijuana growth, it is worth a try if you don’t mind paying a premium for it.
I’ll say it again:
Advanced Nutrients is pricey. However, you can save a little money if you only use what you need.
Here’s a link to a calculator that measures how much Advanced Nutrients you need.
Find Advanced Nutrients on Amazon: Advanced Nutrients Grow pH Perfect Fertilizer, 1-LiterGrow, Advanced Nutrients Micro pH Perfect Fertilizer, 1-LiterMicro, Advanced Nutrients Bloom pH Perfect Fertilizer, 1-LiterBloom.
Growing in coco coir, or coconut coir can have similar advantages to growing in a hydroponics system. Coir is the fiber that comes from the coconut husk, and it’s used in a variety of products (i.e., doormats) as well as by gardeners.
Didn’t know you can grow marijuana in coco coir?
Well, any food that can be grown hydroponically is also good for coco coir growing. You’ll want to use a smart pot.
Want to learn more? Here’s my full guide on growing in coco coir.
Coco Coir is an easy-to-use growing medium, but it requires a specific type of nutrient.
Successful coco coil growers remember to:
- keep the pH between 5.5 – 6.5
- alternate watering with regular water
- add extra calcium and magnesium
Even the healthiest plant might suffer from calcium deficiencies and magnesium deficiencies if grown in coco coir. Save yourself some trouble by making sure you use something with a little extra Calcium and Magnesium.
It doesn’t matter which calcium and magnesium supplement you get. Most are fairly inexpensive and will work perfectly. General Hydroponics has a supplement by the name of “CaliMagic,” or you can try the one by Botanicare called “Cal-Mag.”
Canna Coco A + B and Cal-Mag
Both of those options are very popular with people who prefer coco coir growing.
But Canna is one of the first marijuana specialized nutrient suppliers from Amsterdam. Products are available
Fox Farms Nutrient Trio for Hydroponics
You don’t have to get a Coco Coir fertilizer, however. Fox Farm’s system is excellent for preventing calcium and magnesium deficiencies, but it never hurts to have some Cal-Mag around just in case.
As mentioned earlier in this article, the “Grow Big,” “Tiger Bloom” and “Big Bloom” is all you really need. Just don’t overdo it in terms of dosage because the trio is already quite strong. Be sure to follow the feeding schedule provided by Fox Farms, and you will be good to go.
If you want to purchase one of their supplements, the FF trio comes highly recommended. Fox Farm Trio for hydroponics is available at FoxFarm%20FX14050 Big Bloom, Grow Big & Tiger Bloom Liquid Fertilizer Nutrient Trio Hydro-Formula, 3/32-Ounce Bottlesthis link.
Fertilizers are not the only way to improve the health of your plant. You can also focus on the air.
Vinegar-baking soda CO2 generator
Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, so naturally, marijuana flourishes in surroundings that are high in carbon dioxide (CO2).
Did you know?
White vinegar is an excellent source for creating carbon dioxide.
Here’s how you create your very own CO2 generator for your plants:
1. Place baking soda in a 1-liter bowl
2. Slowly add white vinegar to the bowl. You don’t need to add much. One drop of white vinegar every two minutes will suffice.
3. When the vinegar mixes with the baking soda, a chemical response occurs that makes the two substances inactive, creating ample carbon dioxide. This takes place until either the baking soda is expended, or the vinegar is completely gone.
An indoor grower can use vinegar generators the same way IV drips are used in the hospital. The easiest way to do this is with a bottle filled with vinegar.
4. Duct-tape the bottle and hang it over some sort of open bowl or container that is filled halfway with baking soda.
5. Poke a hole in the vinegar bottle cap with a small finishing nail to let it drip its contents from the hole and mix into the baking soda in the bowl underneath it.
However, the drip method may not be ideal for your grow.
The best environment for a vinegar/baking soda drip generator is in a small confined space where no air will blow away any of the CO2. You also definitely do not want the smell of vinegar to bring unwanted attention to your marijuana growing operation.
A vinegar-soda drip generator also doesn’t work well in the outdoors, where open breezes quickly carry off any CO2 that is generated. This in addition to a steady and unmistakable odor of vinegar that could, if the breeze was favorable, lead thieves or authorities directly to you.
There is a better way. Make a mini CO2 bomb.
For the CO2 process to be effective, you want to create a carbon dioxide filled environment that totally stops any of the CO2 from going out of the space. There are many ways to do this. To keep it simple, you can completely cover your plant with a huge plastic bag draped over the top. It needs to be long enough to touch the ground while also not touching the tops of the plant either.
Here is a CO2 generator using a different method:
Video by Sensi Weed
Once you’ve created your cover, put some sort of open plastic bottle or container with 1-quarter baking soda standing up right underneath it. It should be under the dome you’ve created. Now, from underneath the cover, pour a tablespoon of vinegar into the open bottle. Pour just enough that it starts to foam as it creates CO2. Then go ahead and leave it under the dome, closing the cover behind you.
Give it about 15 minutes before adding more vinegar to the rest of the baking soda. Blend everything well.
Your CO2 bag needs to remain on the plant for at least four hours so that everything is completely submerged in the tissues. You can repeat these steps as often as you feel it needs to be done.
There is no such thing as giving your marijuana plant too much CO2. When using these bombs, some growers prefer to do it at night time due to the smell it creates.
The best scenario is not needing to use fertilizer at all. You can do this by paying attention to your roots.
How do you do that?
You check the pH.
Effectively managing the pH of your root is vital to protecting your plant from nutrient problems. Before you water your marijuana plants check the pH of the water. For your marijuana to properly absorb the nutrients it receives, the pH has to be right.
Measuring the pH is easy.
There are pH test kits available at a decent price that do the work for you. Some of the nutrient systems on the market even provide these kits.
Best of all, the process gets easier.
After you have done it a few times, it will only take you about 5 minutes, and it can be done when you water your plants. Trust me: you want to make a habit of checking the pH if you want to ensure your plant is in its best health at all times.
Don’t worry about always getting the pH right. It is far more important to monitor it and see that is remains in the proper ranges.
Below are the proper pH ranges for soil and hydroponic growing.
- Soil pH: 5.8 – 6.5
- Hydroponics pH: 5.5 – 6.5
Read the following guides if you want to perfect pH management:
When to stop fertilizing
Honestly, there isn’t a definitive answer to when you should stop fertilizing. It really depends on the grower as everyone has a preferred way of doing things. You may choose to fertilize until harvest, or you can refrain from fertilizing days or even weeks prior to the end.
Generally, you should stop giving nutrients to soil-grown plants earlier than plants grown in hydroponics. A 1-14 days or more flush is common for hydroponic growers.
It’s a good idea to continue using flowering and blooming formulas for the first few weeks of the flowering stage. You can choose to start flushing your plants about two weeks before harvest. You’ll have to use your own good judgment of when you think your plants are ready to be flushed.
Here’s the deal, however:
You may not have to use nutrients in the first place.
Unless there are deficiencies such as the yellowing of leaves around the base of the plant, then you really do not need to give your plant a ton of nutrients. The way the plant tastes is affected by how much nutrients are added to it, so overdoing it could cause the taste to be off.
Don’t mistake the normal process as a problem.
At the end of the flowering period, bottom leaves will turn yellow.
This is normal – not a lack of nutrients!
Whatever the suggested amount of nutrients are, it is best to cut that amount in half when you first begin. You will want to increase the dosage as soon as you detect the first sign of malnourishment.
Remember that a small amount really does go quite far!
Seeing yellow leaves near the base of the plant is fine so long as it is closer towards the end of the flowering stage. Yellow leaves only need to be addressed in the early stages of the marijuana plants life cycle. Just be certain to make sure there are enough leaves to make it to harvest time.
Overfeeding your plant can cause nutrient burns which will never go away. Once the damage is done there is nothing you can do about it. Literally, all the leaves will be burned forever.
Nutrient burn is a sure sign you have done too much. If in fact, the buds are already developing, overfeeding may lead to burns on the sugar leaves on the plant buds. Although the actual buds may be fine, this results in the harvested buds looking very rough.
Slow down on the nutrients as soon as the leaf tips turn brown.
Again, starting your dosage at half strength is best unless deficiencies are present. All strands are created different, and you just may have a strand that can easily be affected by nutrient burn. Usually, the only people who have to increase their nutrients are the ones with fast-growing plants that use very bright lights.
If you choose to water your plant by hand, then monitor the PPM of the run-off water at the bottom as well as the water you are pouring into it. By observing the run-off water after you pour your nutrients in, it is easier to notice if there is a difference in the PPM.
Let’s say you notice the PPM increases – then it is an indicator that you may be providing more than enough nutrients. However, if the PPM decreases, then you should give your plant more food since your plant is absorbing the nutrients to the point that it is not leaving any left over.
When you need to use fertilizer for your marijuana plants, it is important that you choose the right one. That’s why learning how to pick nutrients is the first step to growing the best marijuana you can possibly grow. If your growing in soil, you’re going to have different needs than if you are growing hydroponically. You also may be able to improve your plant’s growth by simply adding more CO2.
While it is important to remember that fertilizer should not always be your first solution, especially if you don’t know how to, you shouldn’t be afraid to add nutrients with confidence.
Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow guide.
Frequent Nutrient Questions
Yes! Nature provides many options for both nutrients and pesticides when growing marijuana. I’ve only mentioned some of my favorites. Learn more natural alternatives in this article.
Worm castings are like chicken manure and urine except they come from earthworms. In addition to adding nutrients, the earthworms help aerate the soil. Learn more in this article.
There is not! Powdered fertilizers are the same except they do not have the added water. If you don’t mind doing some mixing, there is nothing wrong with staying dry.
Fertilizers have an NPK ratio which represents the macronutrients needed for growth. Marijuana fertilizer should have an NPK ratio suited for cannabis. Learn more in this article.
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