Different types of fertilizer to consider when growing marijuana

Published Feb 20, 2019 02:56 p.m. ET

When you are searching for the best fertilizer for growing weed, there are more than a handful of options available to consider. Marijuana fertilizer comes in specialty formulas, and pure mixtures that are distributed in different ways and all come with both drawbacks and benefits depending on your setup, budget, and the availability of products you might have access to. Here we will cover how often to fertilize weed plants and how to use five different kinds that are most widely used today.

1. Pellets
Pellets are a convenient marijuana fertilizer and are preferred by beginner growers who are not quite confident enough for liquid fertilizers or are unable to access their plants frequently enough to use them properly. Pellets are condensed and hardened nutrients that are slowly fed to the plant throughout around 6 weeks. Two of the most popular brands of pellets used on cannabis are Perlite and Vermiculite.

How to fertilize weed with pellets: If you are growing outdoors, then these pellets can be used much more freely. Outside you can place up to three of these around each plant. Indoors the soil area is much smaller, so precision becomes necessary. One pellet per plant every six weeks is recommended for indoor grow rooms where plants each have their container.

2. Liquid nutrients
Liquid nutrients are the best fertilizer for growing weed. Though the process can require a few extra steps such as testing soil PH levels, it is the only kind of marijuana fertilizer that allows you to adjust certain vitamins according to your plant’s specifics needs. Liquid plant food for cannabis can be used on both soil and hydroponic grow ops. Liquid nutrients for cannabis can be purchased either premixed or in individual containers that each have separate nutrients like calcium or phosphorus.

How to fertilize weed with liquid nutrients: This one is difficult to judge as the amount you require will depend on your setup and what kind of schedule you want to follow. For more specific directions check out our Liquid Nutrient Schedule list. If you are growing in soil than liquid can and should be mixed into every jug of water, you use to feed them.

3. Composting
Composting is used by combining it between 30%-50% of compost to soil ratio. It will act as a slow release formula that will feed your plants throughout their life without any need for adding additional fertilizer later. Marijuana-friendly compost isn't much different than regular composting with the only difference being a focus on balance between greens and browns that are added to your compost pile. Greens are leaves, grass clipping, and anything plant-based, and browns are paper, woodchips, straw, or cardboard, bat guano, cow dung, and more.

How to fertilize weed with composting: Make sure your compost pile is made up of 50% or less of green material. Once your compost is ready to be used, mix it with regular soil. A mixture containing one part compost and two parts soil, or one part compost and one part soil is ideal. Do not exceed 50% or you will risk burning your plants. Once the two have been mixed, you can use it in any pot to grow from. As you pour water over it, the nutrients will slowly be released into the dirt which can then be absorbed through the plant’s root system.

4. Liquid fertilizer
Liquid fertilizer is a similar concept to liquid nutrients with the most significant difference being that it is always a premixed cocktail. While it may be effective, there is no way to adjust the amount of any one nutrient your plants are receiving. Miracle Grow produces one of the most popular mixes labeled for tomatoes. When choosing a liquid fertilizer, be sure that it is meant to be used on food, as some made for flowers could ruin a bud’s taste and won’t provide it with what marijuana requires to thrive.

How to fertilize weed with liquid fertilizer: Using liquid fertilizer to grow marijuana is one of the easiest as it only requires one measurement and can be added to your regular watering schedule. The liquid must be mixed into the water to dilute it before it is used. Liquid fertilizer can be applied every three days or more and should never be poured directly onto the plant growth, or it may result in a burn.

5. Wood ashes
Wood ash is an amazing fertilizer because it contains a significant amount of potassium that can aid the plant’s root system in establishing contributing to the overall wellbeing of the plant. The biggest thing to watch out for when using wood ashes is any form of direct contact with the plant. While some skilled growers have had some success with sprinkling it on dirt to be distributed through water, and contact between the ash and the plant will result in a burn that can ultimately kill a plant.

How to fertilize weed with wood ashes: Mix 1 cup of wood ashes for every cupid foot of soil you are preparing. A plant can then be planted directly into the mixture safely. As it is watered the essential nutrients within the ash will be slowly released feeding the plant for up to 6 months after being planted.

How and why to perform a flushing

When you add fertilizer to a marijuana plant’s soil, it is absorbed into the plant, and much of it is also spread throughout the flowers which are the portion that you want to harvest to consume. Some all natural fertilizers do not require a flushing period, but those that use highly concentrated forms of nutrients should always be put through two weeks where no additional fertilizer is added, and the watering schedule is amped up. If not, you could be smoking the chemical fertilizers when you use the product which can make you sick and will dramatically affect the taste and overall experience.

How to perform a flushing:

To flush your cannabis plants you will want to begin at least two weeks before you are ready to harvest. Right now, you probably water your plants the recommended once a day. During the flushing period, you will need to water them as much as you usually would, only three separate times. What this does is it gives the plant the chance to utilize the remaining nutrients held within it forcing it to draw any that is remaining in the buds to be consumed. If you want to be extra careful then you can begin the process up to one full month before harvesting.

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