What's the Best NPK Ratio for Cannabis Nutrients?
Trying to figure out the best nutrients for your setup can be very crazy . There are many nutrient companies, and each one creates multiple types of nutrients with different purposes.
The most important thing is to make sure you give your plants the right amounts of nutrients at the right time. There are two main life stages for cannabis plants, and each stage has different nutrient requirements.
For the best results, your cannabis needs the following nutrient ratios..
Optimal NPK values for growing Cannabis
Lifestage N P K
Vegatative High Medium High
Flowering Low Medium High
N-P-K, which stands for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium
Why "K" for Potassium? The atomic symbol of Potassium is "K" from Neo-Latin kalium.
In other words, you want to use a “Vegetative” (high Nitrogen) or "general purpose" nutrient formula for the first stage of life known as the vegetative stage. If using high-quality soil, you can skip vegetative nutrients for the first 3-4 weeks while your plant uses up the nutrients in the soil, otherwise you should start with vegetative nutrients around the time your plant opens its first leaves.
Use a “Bloom” (low Nitrogen) nutrient formula with plenty of P & K for the flowering stage. Start using bloom nutrients when buds start forming to make sure your plant gets plenty of Phosphorus & Potassium, which are crucial to bud development.
Phosphorus tends to increase the number of flowers, while Potassium helps increase the bulk/weight of flowers. Be careful, though because going overboard with either one can burn your plants!
The main thing is to avoid giving too much Nitrogen in the flowering stage, as it can discourage bud development in the flowering stage and add an unpleasant taste to buds, which is why a general purpose plant nutrient isn't a good choice in the flowering stage.
Note: Don’t use any type of time-released nutrients (like fertilizer spikes, or "slow release" Miracle-Gro soil) because they deliver too much N in the flowering stage and may reduce bud growth.
The Best Cannabis Nutrients Aren't Enough!
Check you PH of your water to prevent deficiencies!
It may surprise you that the most common reason growers get nutrient deficiencies is because the pH is too high or too low. This happens even if the right amounts of nutrients are present, because your weed simply cannot absorb the nutrients if the pH isn't in the correct range.
Optimum cannabis pH for..
Soil: 6.0 - 7.0
Coco Coir: 5.5 - 6.5
Hydroponics: 5.5 - 6.5
Checking the pH will make a huge difference to your grow by keeping plants vibrant and healthy. It only takes a few minutes each time you water your plants! Get a Digital PH pen.
Organic vs Chemical Nutrients
Not for Hydro - Organic nutrients are not a good choice for hydroponic systems because any organic matter can cause unwanted stuff to grow in your reservoir. Let me just say this, as of yet, I've never seen organic hydroponics go well for someone, though I wouldn't mind being proven wrong.
- Better Smell & Taste to Buds - Many growers believe organic-based nutrient systems will create the most fragrant and "smoothest" buds. Some of the best benefits to smell and taste seem to come from using composted soil that's been amended with nutrients from natural sources. This creates a living soil with colonies of beneficial microorganisms, and is often associated with a bolder taste and smell in buds. However, watering your plants with liquid nutrients that just happen to be organic will likely not get the same level of results.
- More Natural - Especially when growing in a living soil, you're creating a home for your roots that is as close to nature as possible (only better because you're making sure your plant gets everything it needs!)
Don't want to use nutrients at all? Learn how to compost your own super soil (or buy super soil pre-made online)! Super soil compost contains all the nutrients your plant will need from seed to harvest so you just need to add water, and as an added bonus, with composted super soil you don't need to worry about maintaining your pH! Instead, the composting process develops a colony of microorganisms in your soil that will automatically take care of the pH for your plants (like in nature), while slowly providing nutrients on demand.
- Increased Potency - While organic nutrients may increase the smell and taste of buds, chemical nutrients may increase the potency.
- Faster Growth - Chemical nutrients provide nutrients to plants in the most easy-to-absorb forms possible. This results in somewhat faster growth than if the nutrients have to be broken down in the soil by a colony of microorganisms before they become available to your plant.
- Only Choice for Hydro - These are the best cannabis nutrients for hydroponic systems because they are less likely to cause stuff to grow in the water reservoir. However, chemical nutrients can also be a great choice for soil or coco because of the increased potency and faster growth!
Super soil compost has been amended so no additional nutrients are needed. Just add water!
What are the differences between nutrient brands?
- Nutrient Ratios - different brands have come up with different ratios between nutrients that they believe is optimal for each stage of growth
- Ingredients - there are many different combinations of chemical and organic compounds that can add up to same nutrient ratios, and each compound reacts differently with each other. This means you can see two nutrient bottles with the exact same NPK ratios on the bottle, but each will actually provide somewhat different levels of nutrients to your plants.
- Soil or Hydro - it's really important to match your growing medium with your nutrients. "Soil" nutrients are different from "Hydroponic" nutrients so make sure you're getting the right kind! Coco coir is generally considered a type of hydroponics when it comes to nutrients, and there are also nutrients specifically designed for coco coir.
- Don't confuse supplements for nutrients. If the NPK ratios are really low (like 0.2-0.2-0.1) it means that this product is some type of supplement, not a base nutrient. As long as you provide the right NPK and micronutrients by using base nutrients, you are already giving your plant everything it needs to grow. Supplements can be nice, but sometimes going overboard with supplements can cause unwanted reactions between nutrients or possibly burn your plant. Just to be safe, for your first grow only use supplements from the same company as your base nutrients (to minimize reactions), and try to pick just the one or two supplements that appeal to you the most (to minimize the chance of burn by going overboard). Nutrient companies will happily sell you supplements you don't actually need so it's up to you to narrow it down to just a few!
I use FoxFarm in Soil grows and General Hydroponics Flora Trio for hydro and coco.
Coco Coir version
General Hydroponics Flora Series Nutrient Trio + CaliMagic
happy Feeding c2
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Which Nutrients Should You Be Using?
What's the Best NPK Ratio for Cannabis Nutrients? Trying to figure out the best nutrients for your setup can be very crazy . There are many...
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