We already know that growing marijuana indoors comes with great advantages. Your lighting, water system, and air flow will create the best environment for your plants. They will prosper in a way that is hard for you to achieve in the uncertainties of an outdoor production.
To take your growing operation to the next level, we will discuss the main ideas and best practices for hydroponic nutrients today.
Your plants need the best light, water, and nutrients to grow and flower. The better you take care of them, the more they will reward you with great yield. There are some principals to follow when using nutrients. You may end with beautiful and healthy plans and the best yield ever, or in the worst case, with dead plants or reduced harvest. Nutrients are about balance. The rule "more is more" does not apply for them.
Make sure to understand how to set up hydroponics system through reading our article on water management. You will be adding all your nutrient to the water so setting up this system is the first step.
Your only chance to grow without nutrients is really in soil (best case: outdoor).
Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal for your plants to need nutrients and so using them correctly will not only give you better yield but really is the basis for your plants to survive.
What are Hydroponics Nutrients?
First of all, even though you are growing marijuana, the basic rules of gardening still apply. Which means, in the end, a marijuana plant is just like other plants. All plants need the same resources to grow and prosper. The difference is your engagement and investment in your production. Since this might be your business, you are a lot more invested (financially and emotionally) than most hobby gardeners. So make sure to get this right and enjoy the profits.
Nutrient solutions will be labeled with a N-P-K ratio. A label might read as 10-5-5. Which means 10% nitrogen, 5% phosphorus and 5% potassium. Nitrogen fosters growth. Phosphorus encourages growth of roots and flowers. Potassium promotes growth of roots and photosynthesis.
The basic rule is: you want to keep potassium high and phosphorus medium to high throughout vegetative as well as the flowering phase. On the contrary, you will want to keep nitrogen high in vegetative phase and low for flowering phase.
You are going to use a hydroponic fertilizer for general purposes in the first stage (vegetative). When flowering starts, you will want to switch to a blooming nutrient mix with low nitrogen. Start using it when the buds start forming. While potassium increases, the weight of buds and phosphorus increases the number of flowers. Too much nitrogen will decrease the bud development as well as add a strange taste.
Secondary nutrients are sulfur, calcium, magnesium, trace minerals or micro nutrients. When growing hydroponics make sure to add those since they are normally provided by the soil.
Pro Tip 1
Make sure to check the pH of your hydroponics system. This will largely determine whether or not your plants are actually able to absorb the nutrients from the water.
Best pH for hydroponics systems is between 5.5 to 6.5. Don’t start adjusting too much when in the range of 5 to 7.
What about Organic Weed Farming?
As stated before: nutrients are needed for any plant to live. If you decide to start your cannabis cultivation, you will want to give your plants all they need. However, it might be worth putting some thought on deciding wether you want to use chemical hydroponics nutrients or organic.
Organic nutrients are a great choice when growing in soil especially when using composted soil with added nutrients. It can create a great taste and smell for your buds.
Pro Tip 2
Your hydroponic grow system is a bit more delicate and bringing in organic components might lead to difficulties or infections. It is best to stay with the chemical version.
A chemical hydroponic fertilizer will increase the potency of your buds and it will make your plants grow a lot faster. These nutrients are the most easy ones to absorb for your plants.
No matter what brand you decide on for your nutrient solution, always make sure that you are getting the right one. In other words, do not use the same tonic for soil and hydroponic - get a designated one depending on the system your are using.
A solution with a low ratio of nutrients is a supplement and not a base nutrient. You do not really need supplements. Don’t burn your plants with an overdose.
Pro Tip 3
When you are buying in a garden center, you can pick the right product by simply discussing about how to grow tomatoes in a hydroponic system.
How to Use a Hydroponic Fertilizer
When starting out with a new nutrient system, always start with half the recommended dose. Only increase the dose if your plants seem pale. This is a sign that the nutrient levels are too low. In general, the nutrient manufacturer will recommend a dose that is too high for your cannabis production. More is not better with nutrients. Your plants might get an overdose and actually get sick from you providing too many nutrients.
If you are using too much nutrients your plants may get burned, buds might not grow as big, and your plants might have a chemical-taste or even die.
Pro Tip 4
Get a PPM meter. PPM means parts per million and describes the concentration of minerals and nutrients in your water. Keep your PPM level between 900 and 2800
Go Professional with Hydroponics
Going hydroponic and setting up the right system for water and nutrients is what differentiates the novice from the master. A hydroponic grow system could be the key to your best yield ever.
Pro Tip 5
You want to keep your water temperature between 60 and 68 degrees when working with nutrients.
Start with a simple and complete marijuana product. Go half of the recommended dose and take it from there. Your hydroponic grow system will reward you when being gentle.