Growing your own weed seeds can be a rewarding endeavor. However, a successful grow requires the right resources and a little bit of knowledge. Cultivating quality cannabis also presents its fair share of challenges. Among the many issues home growers regularly encounter are questions related to the proper plant nutrients for marijuana cultivation and how often to feed their plants.
If you want to level up your cannabis growing game, explore this guide to learn about nutrients for weed plants, discover what fertilizer cannabis requires, and determine when and how frequently to feed your plants. You'll also learn about the nutrients needed for flowering weed plants, good practices for mixing and using fertilizers, and where to find the best nutrients for weed plants.
Do you need nutrients for weed plants?
Nutrients for weed plants are necessary for maximizing the volume and quality of cultivated marijuana. Like most plants, though, cannabis can be grown with nothing more than good soil, proper light, moderate temperatures, and clean water. Weed has been cultivated this way for thousands of years, and all the nutrients necessary for healthy cannabis plant development are found naturally in the environment.
Though marijuana can certainly be grown without added nutrients, the result tends to be a lower yield of lesser-quality buds, particularly in indoor growing operations where the natural environment has been replaced. Resulting nutrient deficiencies can lead to a variety of other problems, all of which negatively impact final yield and quality.
To maximize the time, effort, and expense you've put into cannabis cultivation, the proper selection and use of weed plant nutrients are vital. Remember that your marijuana plants are living, breathing organisms. Like every other living thing, you must feed your weed babies for the best results.
What nutrients do you need for growing weed?
The necessary nutrients for weed plants include primary chemicals known as macronutrients and secondary elements referred to as micronutrients. The macronutrients required for growing good marijuana are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These three elements form the foundation for healthy cannabis and are typically featured on the fertilizer packaging as an N-P-K ratio. For instance, a fertilizer label showing "6-4-4" indicates a formulation of 6% nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 4% potassium.
Secondary weed plant nutrients are generally calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, all required for healthy plant development. Other micronutrients that benefit cannabis cultivation include small quantities of boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. As we'll see, the application timing for these specific macronutrients and secondary elements varies depending on the growth stage of the plants.
When to use nutrients for weed plants?
When to use nutrients for weed plants depends on their particular stage of development. You can start feeding cannabis seedlings once they've developed two to three sets of leaves, though care must be taken at this stage to ensure proper dilution rates to avoid nutrient burn due to overfeeding small immature plants.
During the vegetative stage, weed plants are looking for higher levels of nitrogen and potassium, with only a moderate need for phosphorus. This is one of your plant's most critical periods of growth, so proper feeding is essential for developing leaf and stem structure and creating the basic framework necessary for growing high-quality cannabis. A typical nutrient deficiency in weed plants during this growth stage is a shortage of nitrogen, evidenced by yellowing leaves near the bottom of the plant and an overall light green coloration. Conversely, too much nitrogen can produce a darker plant color with browning leaf tips and edges.
During the flowering stage, marijuana's need for nitrogen diminishes to some degree, and plants begin looking for higher levels of phosphorus and potassium. The flowering period has very different feeding requirements compared to the vegetative stage, so let's explore what nutrients weed plants need in flowering.
What nutrients do weed plants need in flowering?
Common questions from beginning growers concerning feeding their girls during bloom relate to the specific nutrients needed for flowering weed plants. During this period, when plants are busy growing their buds, they tend to take in a lot of nutrients. However, N-P-K formulations are different for blooming plants than for plants in the vegetative phase.
With the need for nitrogen during flowering significantly reduced compared to the vegetative stage, a fertilizer designed for the bloom cycle might be labeled with an N-P-K ratio like 5-9-9 or 2-8-4, depending on the specific brand and intended growing medium. Experienced growers often introduce additional supplements or stimulants at this time to encourage the production of terpenes and cannabinoids, and some even start feeding flower formulations a few weeks before switching lights over to 12/12.
It's important to remember to stop feeding during the final week or two before harvest. This "flush" period, when plants receive water only, is necessary to eliminate any built-up nutrients in the soil and avoid unpleasant chemical flavors in the weed. These basics of feeding during the bloom phase apply to the application of nutrients to autoflower weed plants as well.
How often do you give weed plants nutrients?
Another frequently asked cannabis cultivation question is, "how often do you give weed plants nutrients?" While a general rule of thumb might be to water and feed every other day, the actual feeding frequency depends on several factors. Every fertilizer brand has different formulations, dilution rates, and feeding schedules. Even different growing mediums have their own specific needs. It's critical, therefore, to read and follow the packaging instructions for a particular plant fertilizer in order to avoid deficiencies or nutrient burn.
How to use nutrients for weed plants?
Generally speaking, you'll be feeding your plants at the same time that you're watering, though you may not feed every time you water. As noted previously, every fertilizer brand has its own N-P-K formulations, dilution rates, and recommended feeding schedules. These also vary for different growing methods and mediums. Nutrient needs vary significantly for growing with hydroponics, soil, or coir, so following the instructions and rates on your brand of plant food is imperative.
How to mix nutrients for weed plants?
Indoor cannabis growers typically use concentrated liquid fertilizers that are diluted in the water prior to use. Dilution rates differ depending on whether plants are cultivated with hydroponics, potting soil, or soilless media like coco coir. Using a fertilizer specifically designed for your chosen growing medium is vital, as is mixing the nutrients according to the manufacturer's directions. Failure to do so risks deficiencies or excesses that may result in irreparable harm to your cannabis crop.
Where to get nutrients for weed plants?
Nutrients for weed plants are available in various brands and packaging, frequently with some pretty wild, colorful labels that leave no doubt about their intended use. Growers looking for convenience and discretion can typically find a wide selection of cannabis fertilizers and supplements online.
Experienced growers may find their desired mix of macronutrients and secondary elements on the shelves at their nearby big box store without all the lions, tigers, and bears on the label. Home growers who prefer organic nutrients for weed plants can make their own from soil amendments like bone meal, bat guano, and worm castings readily available from their local brick-and-mortar.
What have we learned?
Properly selecting and applying nutrients for weed plants is necessary to maximize the volume and potency of your homegrown harvest. Growers will find different ratios of nutrients designed for each stage of plant development, with varying formulations and feeding schedules depending on the fertilizer brand and grow medium for which it's intended.
When you're ready to start your next grow, use what you've learned about weed plant nutrients and fill your tent with some of the biggest and most-potent buds ever. Get started today with some classic strains from the Weedseedsexpress catalog. Choose a favorite among our best indoor weed seeds, like the popular and potent AK-47 autoflower. Or try one of our best-selling feminized cannabis seeds, including plenty of all-time favorites like White Widow feminized and the colorful Granddaddy Purple feminized variety.
First-time growers will benefit from checking out our beginners' guide to growing weed. They'll also find many valuable topics in our Learning Center, including tips for growing weed, helpful harvesting advice, and advanced training techniques. Armed with the proper nutrients, know-how, and your new favorite weed seeds, you'll soon be on the way to your best home grow ever.