Fertilizer Basics: How and When to Feed Your Indoor Cannabis Plant
Fertilizer is an element (like a nutrient) which you can introduce to water, soil or to a cannabis plant which will promote a healthy growth further than what it can be if you let it grow on its own. Just like a human being, a cannabis plant needs a healthy diet for optimum growth. It’s why you should be aware of the nutrients for indoor cannabis.
There are several types of fertilizers. However, the right one for your cannabis plant is one that can effectively provide the health-enhancing nutrients which the plant needs in most stages of its life.
Nutrients for Indoor Cannabis – What Does a Cannabis Plant Need?
A healthy cannabis plant requires 3 key elements to have those vibrant flowers and firm roots with increased yields. These 3 nutrients are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Nitrogen is crucial for leaf growth, and phosphorus helps in the development of buds. The potting soils mixed with these 3 major elements that will help the plant for up to 3 weeks. however, as your cannabis plant grows, it will need other nutrients.
When your plant begins developing leaves, it will need a 20 percent balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If you cultivated the cannabis plant indoors, you will need to dilute the formula to one-half or one-quarter strength. If the plant is growing outdoors, it cannot handle a full-strength dose as well, which may cause its leaves to sag because of shock.
You may feed a cannabis plant whenever you water it, though this is not the golden rule. Doing it twice every week is already enough, but a cannabis plant that grows outdoors naturally gets fresh air. Also, its roots can freely thrive and spread out.
How Should You Feed a Cannabis Plant?
Like the animals, every life stage of a cannabis plant will require bit different nutrients. In growing cannabis using rich soil, there is no extra nutrient that you need to add throughout the seedling phase of its life. Just make sure the pot is big enough to give the ample soil moisture and room for the roots to grow and stretch.
If you’re growing a cannabis plant without the natural nutrients, you can use seedling nutrition and root boosters. Root boosters consist of bacteria, enzymes, and other crucial compounds which promote normal root growth. The seedling nutrients are a blend of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, typically in the right ratio for sprouts.
Feeding a young cannabis plant with nutrients across the vegetative phase with one-quarter of the typical vegetative phase nutrient dosage will provide the same nutritional effect. Unless it’s a fertilizer made for weed, the solution can be too strong and needs a reduction in dosage.
During the vegetative stage, a cannabis plant needs high levels of potassium and nitrogen coupled with an average amount of phosphorus. The general rule here is the volume of phosphorus must be half of the nitrogen while the potassium levels may range from one-third up to half of the nitrogen. Within the flowering phase, the nitrogen level should be lower, but it should be higher for phosphorus while the potassium stays on the same level until the vegetative phase.
Switching to correct nutrient mix when your cannabis plant begins to flower means feeding it with a different balance between nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. The percentages of phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium appear on the product markers with 3 numbers together with the line “NPK 5-18-5” with every number that indicates the ratio of these 3 key nutrients.
The manufacturer of every fertilizer made for cannabis calculates the right proportion of those nutrients. Thus, you just need to add water and continue using the correct dose.
Aside from nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, marijuana also needs secondary nutrients and micronutrients in smaller quantities. Some of these nutrients tend to be more important for the health of your plant compared to others.
Many of these nutrients exist in the good soil mix but others are in the fertilizers made for cannabis. You can buy specialist additives, but it is advisable only to more experienced cannabis growers since overfeeding is harmful.
Over and Under Feeding Your Cannabis Plant
In cultivating cannabis, you must be careful when feeding it. A plant that grows through feeding it with a bit extra nutrient will grow healthy and yield better compared to an overfed cannabis plant.
You can’t feed your cannabis plant every day. Instead, add some nutrients only every other watering. If you are not sure about the dose, simply cut it to half. These are simple rules that are easy to follow in feeding a marijuana plant.
Nutrient deficiencies and overfeeding can be diagnosed by checking the look and color of your plant. Most of the signs of overfeeding have the same aspects of nutrient deficiency. The most evident symptoms of nutrient imbalance include yellowing and drooping leaves, brown spots, irregular leaf shape, and burnt edges.
Yellowing of the leaves only signifies an issue within the vegetative all the way to the early flowering phase. However, it’s normal when it occurs at the end of the flowering phase. Yellowing of the leaves is a big sign of an underlying issue associated with cannabis. The Pennsylvania State University’s PennState Extension said several things make the plants unwell and diseases and pests are just 2 causes of bad plant growth.
Other Things to Consider
pH is very important for precise and correct nutrient uptake. Every fertilizer modifies the growing medium and water pH at some point, typically lowering it. The incorrect pH level will lock out the nutrients from the plant, thereby causing underfeeding, even when you’re adding the ideal nutrient mix to the water. Hence, you should monitor the pH level as often as possible and adjust it with the solutions applicable to your grow like pH down or up and natural alternatives in the organic growing.
Nutrients are normally stored in a cannabis plant after uptake. It can lead to a bad chemical flavor in the finished product.
A lot of cannabis growers stop giving nutrients for indoor cannabis days or weeks before the harvest time. Also, they flush the soil to encourage their plants to use up any excess nutrient, which results in a smoother, richer smoke.