Plant Nutrients Explained

    While most nutrient manufacturers already go through the legwork of mixing properly balanced nutrient blends for your plants, it is important to understand what’s inside them and how they help your plants. Apart from carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, which are sourced from air and water, cannabis requires properly balanced ratios of macronutrients and micronutrients to perform optimally. 

Primary macronutrients, Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (NPK), comprise the bulk of common pre-blended nutrients available on the market. On each bag or bottle, you will find 3 numbers, such as 10-4-4, with the first number representing the available percentage of nitrogen, the second number phosphorus, and the third potassium. Each stage of best cannabis nutrients growth requires a different ratio of these primary nutrients. In the vegetative state, cannabis needs a fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen in comparison to phosphorous and potassium. Nitrogen is a main component of chlorophyll which helps to convert sunlight into energy and acts as a building block for proteins in a plant. These proteins are what allow the plant to form solid structures and grow vigorously. Nitrogen is also a part of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which allows plant cells to control the use of energy.

During the flowering phase, higher levels of phosphorus and potassium are needed in relation to nitrogen. The primary role of phosphorus is to help make nutrients available for the plant to uptake. Plants use phosphorus to help form the nucleic acids DNA and RNA and to store and transfer energy. Phosphorus is also known to aid in root formation through its role in the division and organization of cells. Additionally, it is essential for the transferring of hereditary traits between phenotypes as well as producing large, healthy buds. Potassium plays a large role in osmoregulation, the passive regulation of water and salt concentrations in the plant by controlling the opening and closing of the stomata, and is necessary for the translocation of sugars and for starch formation. Potassium is also known to aid in resistance to diseases and assist in enzyme activation and photosynthesis.

Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are known as secondary macronutrients. Calcium provides the building block for cell walls and membranes in the form of calcium pectate and must be present for the formation of new cells to occur. Calcium is responsible for plant vigor and stem rigidity in addition to proper root growth. Most calcium is sourced as calcium nitrate, which provides additional nitrogen, so many growers will often switch to calcium chloride during late flowering to help lower excess nitrogen levels. Magnesium acts as the central molecule in chlorophyll, and without it, plants aren’t able to generate the glucose needed for photosynthesis. Once magnesium has helped create the glucose, it then aids in metabolizing it to make it available for the plant to use. Sulfur is a constituent of three amino acids (cystine, methionine, and cysteine) that play an essential role in protein synthesis and terpene production.

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