Nutrients and Deficiencies
Nutrients are the food necessary for a plant to grow. Without proper nutrients, cannabis plants will not produce high quality medicine. Even when growing your cannabis plants in natural soil it is essential to supplement them with nutrients. Three primary trace elements are vital for cannabis plants to survive: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Other trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, copper, iron, manganese, sulfur, and molybdenum are also necessary. One need not have a chemistry degree to grow cannabis, but it is important to remember that a plant not receiving enough of the important elements will likely show signs of deficiencies. Plant deficiencies manifest themselves with a yellowing (or other unusual coloring) of the leaves, a curling and twisting of the leaves, and a lack of growth.
Nutritional products designed for growing cannabis can be found both in hydroponic stores and on the web. These products will list their ingredients and provide directions on how to properly mix and feed your plants. Most nutrients are meant to be mixed in water and then fed to your plants. Be aware however, that some nutrients are specifically designed for plants grown in soil, and others are designed for plants grown hydroponically. You must use the right product for the right medium.
Alternatively, if you are growing outdoors and in soil, you can supplement your soil directly with fish emulsions, worm castings, manure, and compost. Although this method is considered somewhat advanced, you can easily do some research online to find soil recipes designed for growing cannabis this way.
When watering your plants, it is essential to know that they cannot absorb nutrients if your water is not at the proper PH level. You will need to check the PH of your water and adjust it, in order for your plants to properly feed. Water PH can be checked using PH strips or a PH pen, and you can adjust the PH of your water with acids and bases (typically referred to as “PH up” and “PH down”). If growing in soil the proper PH range of your water should be between 6.0-7.0, with an ideal of 6.5. If growing in hydroponics the proper PH range of your water should be between 5.5-6.2 with an ideal of 5.9. Watering your plants outside of these PH ranges can cause them to “lockout” and not feed on the nutrients they need, potentially leading to stress, micro seeding, becoming hermaphroditic, or dieing.