Picking the perfect fertilizer is hard. I personally dread it, and try to minimize using cannabis nutrients by starting with the ideal growing environment and high-quality genetics.

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 Bergman’s pre-made fertilizers made for marijuana grower’s of all skills here at our shop.

Standard Fertilizer Mix
Standard Fertilizer Mix

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 eBook.

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 Cannabis Plants Need

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, and nitrogen. If you are growing indoors, you’ll want to dilute this formula to one-quarter or one-half strength. When marijuana plants are grown indoors, they do not handle full strength dosages well, and it could cause the leaves to droop due to shock.

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

Nutrients help plants thrive
Nutrients help plants thrive – Image powered by Leafly.com

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

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.

Nutrients for cannabis grown in soil

Soil Fertilizers

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 soil, coco coir or hydroponics, make sure to buy products that fit that growing method. Some products are good for growing in more than one medium and some are only for a specific grow medium.

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 grow. Bergman’s Plant Food is a great product that ensures you have a good mixture of all the required nutrients.

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.

Seedling Plant Food

Seedling Fertilizer

These nutrients are perfect for the young plants. They don’t need a lot but just that extra little nudge to grow strong enough to transplant goes a long way. Learn more

Vegetative Nutrients

Growtime Fertilizer

During the vegetative stage you want to give your plants as much nutrients as possible to make it a strong, full plant so that it’s capable of producing fat flowers. Learn more

Bloom Nutrients

Flowertime Fertilizer

During flowering your plants will need a lot of potassium (K) to grow dense, resin heavy buds. These nutes are the perfect blend during the bloom phase. Learn more

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 you will:

Cannabis Feeding Schedules

Once the plant is fully grown you will need to start thinking about flowering and harvest time. Our free little Harvest Guide will help you determine the best moment to cut your plants. Download it here.

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.

Fox Farms Trio top pick for newbie growers
Fox Farms Trio top pick for newbie growers

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.

Perlite and Vermiculite growing
Perlite and Vermiculite growing

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.

Dyna-Gro - Grow and Bloom

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.

Chicken Manure

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.

Wood Ashes

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.

Create your own compost for growing
Create your own compost for growing


Although I recommend professional fertilizers for the best results, composting also provides a natural alternative.

Let’s be honest,

Composting isn’t the first form of fertilizer that most people would think of. It also doesn’t bring about the most pleasant thoughts either.

Here’s the deal, however,

Animal manure and leftover food from your kitchen create some bountiful, thriving marijuana crops.

Animal poop and vegetables/fruits are recycled back into the earth the same as any other organic thing would, and along with that goes all the nutrients contained within it. These nutrients will be absorbed by your plant.

Using compost as fertilizer can be done anywhere. If you are in an area where the soil is lacking, it will enrich the soil.

After your first pile of compost is created and starts decomposing, you can start building another one. You need a pitchfork to turn the compost so as to get everything blended really well. Do this often, preferably daily to reduce the amount of time it takes to transform from a state of decay to dirt.

There’s another reason to regularly turn the soil.

You want to avoid spontaneous combustion.

This happens when heat created by microbes feeding on rotting material (under some form of pressure) dries, then catches fire, burning everything up in the process. This is the last thing you want.

Be aware that certain foods will decay much faster in hot temperatures. Also, give your compost about three full months to transition into rich soil.

Read my full guide on how to make marijuana compost if you want to learn more. Or download my free eBook, the Marijuana Grow Bible, for even more on the subject.

Hydroponics Fertilizers

Growing cannabis with the roots planted in water
Growing cannabis with the roots planted in water

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.

Bergman’s Plant Food works perfectly well with your hydro setup, and with the accompanying feeding schedule you can’t go wrong. That being said, here are some great alternatives:

General Hydroponics Flora Series

General Hydroponics Flora Serie - Grow, Micro and Bloom
General Hydroponics Flora Serie – Grow, Micro and Bloom

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

General Hydroponics FloraDuo - A and B
General Hydroponics FloraDuo – A and B

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.

Botanicare nutrition

Botanicare nutrition - Grow and Bloom
Botanicare nutrition – Grow and Bloom

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

Advanced Nutrients

Advanced Nutrients - Bloom, Grow and Micro
Advanced Nutrients – Bloom, Grow and Micro

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: Grow, Micro, Bloom.

You will find seeds for any type of grow medium in my seedbank.  


Be sure to check out the Special Offers section for some great deals.

Coco fertilizers

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.

Growing with coco fertilizers
Growing with coco fertilizers

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 worldwide , check this link at Amazon for all Canna products

Fox Farms Nutrient Trio for Hydroponics

Fox Farms Nutrient Trio
Fox Farms Nutrient Trio

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 this link.

Plant Food

As ever, my very own plant food line works well with coco setups. Be sure to check out Bergman’s Plant Food and learn more in my store.

Increasing CO2

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.

Vinegar CO2 Hack

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.

Be sure to grab my free Grow Bible eBook if you like DIY projects.

CO2 “bomb”

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.

Root pH

Root pH

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

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.

Nutrient burn - overfed marijuana plant
Nutrient burn – overfed marijuana plant

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 your marijuana is being grown hydroponically, you can measure the PPM (Parts Per Million) of your water, to observe exactly what your plants need. Click here for a great source to learn about PPM.

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.

Happy growing!


Frequent Nutrient Questions

Are there other options for natural fertilizers?  

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.

How do worm castings work?

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.

Is there a difference between liquid and dry fertilizers? 

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.

How do you know a fertilizer is good for marijuana? 

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.

Looking to grab some nutrients? Read some of our happy customer experiences!

The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]


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  1. By matt ,12 Mar 2013
    no co2 with "lights-out",plants dot use it !
  2. By Diab ,23 Nov 2013
    No co2 at night is good advice . Miracle grow works good but not great . Need a recipe for short thick plants hearty and stubby with more buds than leaves for small confined areas to grow in.
  3. By kirk ,15 Feb 2014
    Protein based fertilizers would be best. Nature Safe Fertilizers
  4. By GARY WADDELL ,01 Jul 2014
    best and easyest outdoor/about toping it how big before toping it/picking leaves off it and best to feed it;;;; thank you;;
  5. By Fiji Grower ,16 Jul 2014
    I use a tea of goose poop with a bit of molasses Fish heads and guts bottom of hole when planting. Plants will become huge soon
  6. By ed ,29 Dec 2014
    Believe it or not,google it.A cup of fresh urine in a gallon of water is great nute for any fruiting plant.Nutes are readily available so plants can use them immediately. I used worm casings in early veg,then worm casings with […]Read More
  7. By Cristobal ,04 Sep 2015
    Is it ok to give my plants bonemeal just before flowering stage?
  8. By latewood ,07 Sep 2015
    Generally we would like to see this added top the soil a bit sooner. You could add some before flowering which would jump start the root growth.
  9. By Growing Medical Marijuana Outdoors ,21 Sep 2015
    […] the plant with vegetable fertilizer mix or liquid, or use a hydroponic, vegetative formula to maximize plant growth and yield. Follow […]
  10. By How To Grow Huge Marijuana Buds – 7 Tips ,22 Oct 2015
    […] along with temperature and good genetics will all affect the way your buds grow. Read the article Best fertilizers for marijuana plants for more info on nutrients. For the best result, you can just use the special formula from […]Read More
  11. By How to Grow Huge Marijuana Buds | WeedMeme ,25 Oct 2015
    […] along with temperature and good genetics will all affect the way your buds grow. Read the article Best fertilizers for marijuana plants for more info on nutrients. For the best result, you can just use the special formula from […]Read More
  12. By How to Grow Huge Marijuana Buds | Daily Dank Deals ,26 Oct 2015
    […] along with temperature and good genetics will all affect the way your buds grow. Read the article Best fertilizers for marijuana plants for more info on nutrients. For the best result, you can just use the special formula from […]Read More
  13. By The Complete Guide to Growing Marijuana Naturally ,19 Jan 2016
    […] Cannabis needs nitrogen (N), potassium (K), phosphorus (P) and a number of trace nutrients to grow well. Whether you are growing in soil or using a hydroponic set-up, there are natural sources you can use to provide these essential […]Read More
  14. By Johnny c. Watson ,23 Jan 2016
    If plant crop is woman how female?♧♧♧♧♧♧♧♧♧♧7 @g13 will win hash from our country tensing fokk hers Mr ten So police in amsterdam let my passport then let Growroom party50
    1. By Jennifer ILGM ,25 Jan 2016
      Hi Johnny, could you please be more clear i'm not understanding your question.
  15. By The Marijuana Plants And It's Life Cycle – Medical Marijuana ,26 Jan 2016
    […] germinates in the spring. Given sun, warmth, rich soil, fertilizers, adequate water, and no trimming, the plant will quickly grow into one of its typical forms: bushy […]
  16. By joe w ,03 Apr 2016
    What do you think about Peter's 20/20/20 in the early stages? what should I finish the blooming stage Out wirh if anything at all
    1. By JohnPaul ,05 May 2016
      If you want to make it really simple mix Peter’s 20/20/20 half and half with Peter’s 10/30/20 Blossom Booster at a rate of 1/8 tsp "each" per gal every watering or 1/4 tsp each per gal every 7-10 days...start to […]Read More
  17. By latewood.ILGM ,05 Apr 2016
    I think you will have to monitor and learn how your plants respond to corporate grow mediums. I believe you can successfully grow in this medium; however; I think you could do better. Growers striving to achieve maximum quality and […]Read More
  18. By fish ,14 Apr 2016
    I not clean my gutters out so every year I take the composted pecan tree debris and use it as a planting medium and I catch the rain water from the guttering in a 55gal barrel with a air bubbler […]Read More
    1. By latewood.ILGM ,07 May 2016
      fish, I cannot vouch for your gutter compost. Best to have a test done by your local agriculture extension agent. You cannot get vbetter information than that. As far as rain water. Keeping it aerated is a good idea. it […]Read More
  19. By fish ,14 Apr 2016
    Also the rain water runs through the composted debris making a sort of tea also I grow outside in a pot
  20. By Debby ,05 May 2016
    I have used sugar and yeast to make Co2 for my planted aquariums. Wouldn't it also work as well as the baking soda and vinegar method?
  21. By latewood.ILGM ,07 May 2016
    Debby, Yes you can. It already sounds like you know how to do it. Co2 is Co2 :)
  22. By nick kelly ,15 May 2016
    I think it is very unlikely that any portable CO2 generator could significantly alter an outdoor garden for more than a few minutes- even with dead calm air. Your 'room' is the size of a gymnasium Physics teacher
  23. By Fyshhtrap ,14 Jun 2016
    This article just completely re arranged my outdoor grow, and never knew about human urine as an alternative additive!!
  24. By Tracy Weber ,08 Sep 2016
    I'm a new b by accident. I got some smoke from Colorado. I found a few seeds,i planted them and they took off. I live in the city with close neighbors, so i had to move the plants inside,3 of […]Read More
    1. By Roy ILGM ,09 Sep 2016
      Hi Tracy, you can put your pics up on our forum if you like. :D
  25. By Darnell Hagan ,04 Dec 2016
    very nice info.great reading and a very big help
  26. By Ntsetselelo ,27 Dec 2016
    I've got the best advices ever Please guys I'm here in Swaziland, Africa so I'm starting my business in dagga growing so please help me with any information in case u have and I will b using soil in an […]Read More
  27. By Rick Sampson ,29 Dec 2016
    Thanks Robert! Very good article. Do you prefer dry fertilizers or liquids? I would seem to me that liquids would disperse in water more readily.
    1. By latewood_ILGM ,30 Dec 2016
      Hello Rick, Liquid nutrients are nothing more than powder form ingredients mixed with water. One is not better than the other. It is a matter of choice and convenience. Some people do not want to spend the time to mix […]Read More
      1. By Gimlett ,11 Jun 2017
        This guy is just trying to generate some revenue. Give the man break! haha
  28. By SIRV ,03 Jan 2017
    Can anyone tell me how well worm castings work? I have several earthworm bins of dark,rich ,earthy smelling castings! Scored some AutoFlowering WW seeds and don't want to mess up. Any ideas? PLEASE email me!!!!! Is diabetic piss good for […]Read More
    1. By latewood_ILGM ,04 Jan 2017
      SRV, Hello. You should join our support forum at ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. All the info you nrrf to learn how to grow successfully is contained there, and we have many helpful knowledgeable growers and experts alike who are always willing to share. […]Read More
  29. By Psyko D.Smoker ,13 Mar 2017
    could someone tell me why plant are not starting bloom even its over 3 months from blooming time. it's show just white head and those are going into become nothing but brown and dry. After i read this blog i […]Read More
    1. By Roy ILGM ,14 Mar 2017
      Hi Psyko D, it's best to hop onto our support forum. We have experts there that can help you with any troble during your grow. You can sign up here
  30. By Psyko D.Smoker ,13 Mar 2017
    Ugh, i forget i thing to tell, my growing place is hybrid, i mean that becoz i got indoor but not complete indoor, i grow my plants at balcony. Thus i meant hybrid. Also My home place at downtown area […]Read More
  31. By Michael ,19 Mar 2017
    on making CO2 you don't tell how much water to use in the 1 liter bowl
  32. By Kurt ,18 Apr 2017
    Why would some be suspicious of the smell of viniger An why would you do this co2 bomb of a night? Plants only use co2 of a day so doing that at night would be pointless
  33. By Jack ,20 Apr 2017
    I grow outdoors and use composted horse manure or composted sheep manure. It works amazingly well. Not sure how much of which nutrients are in either of them but you can't argue with success.
  34. By First Timer Legal Grow ,01 May 2017
    Good information appreciate the pictures . I know now not To add nutrients Hope won't mess up the buds in the budding stage
  35. By Rick ,25 Jun 2017
    How about rabbit dropping pellets for fertilizer?
    1. By latewood_ILGM ,11 Jul 2017
      Rcik, No new "hot" droppings of anything is good for your plants. Manure; Whatever the source has to be composted for 6-12 months with other carbon, and mineral sources. Happy composting :)
  36. By Frederick Acker ,17 Jul 2017
    Wow this is the Best web site I've seen . BY FAR THE INFO IS FANTASTIC. THANK YOU.
    1. By Roy ILGM ,19 Jul 2017
      Ha, glad you're enjoying it Frederick :D
  37. By Mainah ,02 Aug 2017
    Neptune harvest. Ok for mj plants??
  38. By latewood.ILGMl ,03 Aug 2017
    Mainah, We have never used Neptune Harvest, and we are not in the habit of critiquing a product in the blog; However, It is a commercially sold nutrient. Fish fertilizer is high in Nitrogen. As far as the whole line, […]Read More
    1. By gary ,01 Sep 2017
      We have a brand new fertilizer called OMG Fertilizer. It is superior to other fertilizers due to the proprietary enzyme that interact with the root system to maximize nutrient uptake. Free samples available.
      1. By Thomas ,11 Sep 2017
        Thanks Gary for the free sample. I'm not a scientist, but your fertilizer is the best. As you said, I could see extreme growth with only one application.
      2. By Mark p ,06 Oct 2017
        Hi I'm interested in trying your fertilizer which a view to buying more if it's ok ,, my email is [email protected] Get in touch plz
  39. By 620smitty ,14 Aug 2017
    This is the first site that actually mentions Advanced Nutrients. I started with GH trio but the fluctuation in the ph was so great that there were too many problems with my grows. I switched to Advanced PH perfect 3 […]Read More
  40. By Luke ,25 Sep 2017
    miracle grow does a better job than most of the other shit you could by and pay much.more .I know by experience it works wonder .The company won't tell you or tell you it's not good for many reason but […]Read More
    1. By Greg ,26 Nov 2017
      Hey Luke. My name is Greg and I am new to this and read by all the "experts" to not use Miracle Grow. I looked at some of the others and too much money. Can you tell me how you […]Read More
  41. By Terra ,27 Oct 2017
    What are the best growers conferences and tradeshows to attend? I am mostly interested in learning more about the fertilizer end.
  42. By Terra ,27 Oct 2017
    What are the best growers conferences and tradeshows to attend? I am mostly interested in learning more about the fertilizer for growing.
  43. By Taz ,27 Oct 2017
    Somebody who has grown plants and is good at it and knows how to grow successful healthy plants can you guys give me the best fertilizer and nutrients and lamps I need? Im new to this i heard different watt […]Read More
    1. By kimj1129 ,01 Nov 2017
      You could check out Greenboxgrown.com. He sells complete indoor starter kits.
  44. By Jill Horton ,28 Oct 2017
    1st TechnaFlora B.C. Boost line 2nd House and Garden 3rd Foxfarm Additives - Big Bud , Bloombastic, Roots Exculerator, Great White, Awesome Blossoms, Hygrozyme
  45. By Joolz ,30 Oct 2017
    We are only doing 3 plants for the winter, how do we calculate Fox Farms trio dosage? Thanks for your help 😊
  46. By Vivian Black ,23 Jan 2018
    Basically, as your article suggests, marijuana plants are best suited for organic fertilizers as urine and chicken manure can be effective ways to fertilize them. That sounds like a very interesting concept to explore more on. I'll try to see […]Read More
  47. By Gnarly Dude ,03 Feb 2018
    Humboldt nutrients great flavor. Ionic bloom Canna House and Garden You can not go wrong with those lines. Way better than General Hydroponics.
  48. By RC ,10 Jun 2018
    Hi Robert, I'm going to start up again. Try it outdoor again. Now I know about the deer, I have another question. What other plants could turn a female marijuana plant into a male one? Some say, only a male […]Read More
    1. By latewood_ILGM ,13 Jun 2018
      RC, Plants do not change the sex of other plants, regardless of strain or sex, or genetic disposition. Males cannot turn a female into a male. Males can pollinate females causing them to produce seeds. That's it. Stress can cause […]Read More
  49. By JP ,19 Jun 2018
    Vermiculite and perlite are completely different things. Perlite for strictly aeration vermiculite for water retention and aeration
  50. By Dt ,21 Sep 2018
    I want to fertilize but I am unsure if after mixing chosen nutrients do I ph the mix to 5.5-6.5, or do you just pour the nutrient mix as is? My mix was over ph12 when tested.
  51. By BIOLYNX ,09 Nov 2018
    I planted my Harle-Tsu, Kryptonite and 24K directly into compost and used Fish Emulsion and water from our duck pond to fertilize during their growth phase. The Harle-Tsu grew between 7 to 8 1/2 feet tall. The Kryptonite were between […]Read More
  52. By David ,31 Jan 2019
    Taste, my weed always tasts the same. Can you please give me some tips on how to get the different tastes
    1. By David ,31 Jan 2019
      Your Bible helped me last year alot. My choice of fertilizer was dr. Earth fish emulsion and bat guano and that's all I used that I had great harvest and yield but the flavors of even my different plants tasted […]Read More
      1. By David ,31 Jan 2019
        The same. Am I doing anything wrong,?
      2. By latewood ,13 Feb 2019
        David, I advise you to take this type of Q and A to our forum, here: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com. We have many sharing members and expert staff that can clarify different aspects of the grow and harvest to you :)
  53. By Jon ,06 Feb 2019
    When to harvest? My eyesight has become questionable and very hard to see the bus progress. Presently my cauliflower of kush has big buds and extreme amount of hairs. Some are turning a light brown. The bids are glistening with […]Read More
    1. By latewood ,13 Feb 2019
      Jon, you generally harvest by checking the clear, cloudy, amber % of the trichomes with a 30x-100x scope. I am also legally blind and this can be hard. 2 things I monitor to know when plant is finishing is: 1. […]Read More
  54. By ET ,07 Feb 2019
    Hey this is so cool I just learned a lot of where I was doing wrong for my out door growing one was over feeding thanks
  55. By Kau’ilani ,07 Feb 2019
    Mahalo for your mana'o (knowledge)!
    1. By latewood ,13 Feb 2019
      Et and Kau’ilani, Thanks guys! If you like all the info here in the blog perhaps you would even more enjoy Our Forum, Here: Support.Ilovegrowingmarijuana.Com. We Have Many Sharing Members And Expert Staff That Can Clarify Different Aspects Of The […]Read More
  56. By Tarry ,16 Mar 2019
    I'm using MAP which an 18-46-0. is that ok
    1. By latewood ILGM ,20 Mar 2019
      Terry, I use MAP in my greenhouse mix. I do not know what you are mixing MAP with so, I cannot give you an informed answer. Join our support forum: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com where we are set up for daily Q & […]Read More
  57. By Cole ,23 Mar 2019
    I'm really enjoying the theme/design of your site. Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems? A couple of my blog visitors have complaimed about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Safari. Do […]Read More
  58. By Eric ,29 Apr 2019
    I read for a few minutes and noticed quite a few Issues witht this information.
  59. By Kevin LaRock ,04 May 2019
    Robert, Can u clone auto flowering plants?
  60. By Jim ,21 Sep 2019
    hey guys, I need more potting soil, I'm just starting out so i want to keep things very Simple for now. I see the fertilizer here, but I just need potting soil to start with, can I get a Recording […]Read More
  61. By Christopher j beavers ,18 Oct 2019
    Hello. My. Name. Is. Christopher. I. Would. Like. To. Learn. More. About. Marijuana. And. It's. Contents. Thankyou.
  62. By David ,22 Feb 2020
    what nutrient or nutrients do I want to use to optimize seed production in plants I have seeded?
  63. By Mike ,14 May 2020
    You say 20% of water out the bottom wouldn’t that be excessive in root or stem area I’ve been keeping it lightly moist but have always thought may need more water so how do I know for sure on how […]Read More
  64. By Karell ,25 Sep 2020
    Hollo am trying to find all the Nutrients in one in a power form

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