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The best fertilizers and nutrients for growing marijuana in 2022

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The best fertilizers and nutrients for growing marijuana in 2022

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“The healthier the cannabis plant, the better the buds” is a good rule of thumb. And while you may have the perfect lighting rigged up, ventilation, and cannabis seeds with some of the best genetics anywhere – that’s simply not enough. Having the right fertilizer and nutrients for your cannabis garden is essential to making sure you get a bumper crop when it’s time to harvest. 

Fertilizer and nutrients help ensure that your plants receive the nourishment they need to produce the flowers that you planted them for. The right fertilizer and nutrients can make the difference between having healthy plants that produce ample buds, and plants that make it to harvest, but without producing much to ride home about. 

1

Advanced Nutrients ph Perfect Grow-Micro-Bloom

  • Promises to keep the pH level just right
  • 100% money back grower guarantee
  • Works in soil and hydro grows
2

Holland Secret Tri-Pack

  • Sediment and urea free
  • Automatically buffers pH to acceptable levels, according to company
  • Can be used as stand-alone without additives or as a complete feed program
3

Advanced Nutrients Big Bud Liquid Fertilizer

  • Promises “larger, heavier, denser flowers,” with more essential oils and terpenoids
  • Can be used as a stand alone or with other nutrients
  • Easy to follow feeding schedule
4

Dyna-Gro Grow and Bloom

  • Easy to use for both soil and hydroponic
  • Contains all 16 minerals essential for optimal plant growth, according to the company
  • The company has published its own cannabis grow guide
5

Botanicare CNS17 Grow and Bloom

  • More affordable than many competitors
  • Can be purchased in containers from 8 ounces to 250 gallons
  • Company has published its own cannabis grow guide
6

BioBizz Bio Grow, Bio Bloom, and TopMax

  • Totally organic
  • BioBizz has a long list of “green” certifications
  • Company states that the organic mix provides a “sweet, smooth taste in the finished product”
7

Foxfarm Hydro Liquid Trio Pack (Big Bloom, Grow Big, and Tiger Bloom)

  • Specially designed for hydroponic growers
  • Crafted in Humboldt County - the heartland of cannabis cultivation
  • Very responsive customer service

Advanced Nutrients ph Perfect Grow-Micro-Bloom

  • Promises to  keep the pH level just right 
  • 100% money back grower guarantee 
  • Works in soil and hydro grows 

Cost: $39 (for 3 1 liter bottles)  
Organic / not organic: Not organic 
How to use: The company provides a nutrients calculator to help with the feeding schedule. The company states that users should mix the three during the vegetative and flowering phase and add to their watering reservoir. During vegetative, the company advises using 1mL/L of water of each of the three in the first week, then2mL/L of each in week 2, and 4mL/L in weeks 3 and 4. In the flowering phase, the company recommends using 4 ml/l of each of the three.

Ingredients: 
Grow: Potassium nitrate, magnesium sulfate, monopotassium phosphate, ammonium sulfate and potassium sulfate.
Micro: Calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, urea, iron EDDHA, free form EDTA, iron DTPA, iron EDTA, manganese EDTA, boron, zinc EDTA, copper EDTA, sodium molybdate and cobalt chelate
Bloom: Monopotassium phosphate, magnesium sulfate and potassium sulfate.


Holland Secret Tri-Pack

  • Sediment and urea free  
  • Automatically buffers pH to acceptable levels, according to company 
  • Can be used as stand-alone without additives or as a complete feed program 

Cost: $38.49 (for 3 half liter bottles)  
Organic / not organic: Not organic 
How to use: For hydroponic grows, the company advises using the nutrients in every watering, and to flush once per week. For soil grows, the company merely instructs to “feed, feed, water, feed.”

For hydro grows, the company advises the following schedule:

For soil grows, the company advises:

Ingredients: 
Grow: Potassium Phosphate Monobasic, Magnesium Sulphate, Potassium Nitrate, Ammonium Sulphate. 
Micro: Calcium Nitrate, Potassium Nitrate, Ammonium Nitrate, Cobalt Nitrate, Copper Nitrate, Zinc Nitrate, Boric Acid, Sodium Molybdate, Iron ETDA, Iron DPTA. 
Bloom: Potassium Phosphate Monobasic, Magnesium Sulphate


Advanced Nutrients Big Bud Liquid Fertilizer

  • Promises “larger, heavier, denser flowers,” with more essential oils and terpenoids
  • Can be used as a stand alone or with other nutrients 
  • Easy to follow feeding schedule 

Cost: $30.49 (for 1 liter bottle)
Organic / not organic: Not organic 
How to use: The company advises using 2mL/L of water in weeks 2, 3, and 4 of the flowering stage. 
Ingredients: Potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, sulfur, and a long list of amino acids including L-tryptophan, L-Cysteine, L-Glutamate, and L-Glycine, among others. 

Dyna-Gro Grow and Bloom 

  • Easy to use for both soil and hydroponic
  • Contains all 16 minerals essential for optimal plant growth, according to the company  
  • The company has published its own cannabis grow guide 

Cost: $17 for 1 quart of Grow,  $16 for 1 quart of Bloom
Organic / not organic: Not organic 
How to use: For Grow, the company recommends that for hydroponic grows, a mix of 2 to 3 teaspoons per gallon of water for recirculating systems, and 1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon in non-recirculating systems. If growing outdoors, the company recommends 1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon with every watering. 

For Bloom, Dyna-Gro recommends that in hydroponic grows, users mix 2 to 3 teaspoons per gallon of water in recirculating systems and 1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon for non-recirculating systems. In soil, the company recommends using 1 to 2 teaspoons per gallon with every watering.

Ingredients: Both mixes include nitrogen, ammoniacal, nitrate, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium sulfur, boron, chlorine, cobalt, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, sodium, and zinc. In both Grow and Bloom, these are derived from ammonium nitrate, calcium nitrate, potassium nitrate, ammonium phosphate, potassium phosphate, cobalt sulfate, magnesium sulfate, boric acid, molybdic acid, potassium chloride, manganese, iron, copper, and zinc Disodium Ethylenediamine TetraAcetate (EDTA). 


Botanicare CNS17 Grow and Bloom

  • More affordable than many competitors  
  • Can be purchased in containers from 8 ounces to 250 gallons  
  • Company has published its own cannabis grow guide 

Cost: $32 per gallon for Grow, $26.69 per gallon for Bloom (the company’s Ripe formula sells for $46.43 per gallon)
Organic / not organic: Not organic 
How to use: The company advises that for Grow and Bloom, to add 10 ml as a general plant food and to water into soil or potting mix. For Ripe, to add 5 ml per gallon of water as a general plant food and to add water into soil or potting mix.

Ingredients: 
Bloom: Calcium Nitrate, MonoPotassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulphate, Iron EDTA, Manganese Sulfate, Boric Acid, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Ammonium Molybdate, Nickel Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Dichromate, Sodium Selenate, Escozine Blue or Robinul red.

Grow: Calcium Nitrate, MonoPotassium Phosphate, Potassium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulphate, Iron EDTA, Manganese Sulfate, Boric Acid, Zinc Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Ammonium Molybdate, Nickel Sulfate, Cobalt Sulfate, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Dichromate, Sodium Selenate, Escozine Blue or Robinul red.

Ripe: Calcium Nitrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Potassium Nitrate, Monopotassium Phosphate, Manganese Sulfate, Ammonium Molybdate.


BioBizz Bio Grow, Bio Bloom, and TopMax 

  • Totally organic 
  • BioBizz has a long list of “green” certifications 
  • Company states that the organic mix provides a “sweet, smooth taste in the finished product”  

Cost: All 3 can be purchased for a total price of around $30 (500ml containers)
Organic / not organic: Organic 
How to use: The company has a nutrient schedule that can be accessed online. 

For Bio-Grow, the company recommends using 1ml/L of water during weeks 2-10, and for Bio-Bloom, 1m/L of water in week 3, and then 2ml/L in weeks 4 and 5, 3ml/L in weeks 6 and 7, and 4ml/L in weeks 8-10. For Top-Max, BioBizz recommends using 1ml/L of water in weeks 3-7, and 4ml/L in weeks 8-10.

Specific instructions for Bio-Grow, Bio-Bloom, and Top-Max can be accessed online.   

Ingredients: All three products are fully organic. The company puts a big focus on the organic molasses extracted from sugar beets which forms the base of Bio-Grow. Bio-Grow also contains a wide variety of amino acids and trace minerals. The company describes Bio-Bloom as containing “the optimum blend of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, along with enzymes and amino acids.” For Top-Max, the main emphasis is on the humic and fulvic acids in the mix. 


Foxfarm Hydro Liquid Trio Pack (Big Bloom, Grow Big, and Tiger Bloom)

  • Specially designed for hydroponic growers 
  • Crafted in Humboldt County – the heartland of cannabis cultivation 
  • Very responsive customer service

Cost: $40 for one 16 ounce bottle of each 
Organic / not organic: Not fully organic, but uses many organic ingredients. 
How to use: Foxfarm recommends feeding with every other watering. For Big Bloom, 6 tsp per gallon through week 3, then 3 tsp per gallon from weeks 4-12. For Grow Big, 2 tsp per gallon in week 2, 3 tsp per gallon in weeks 3 and 4, 2 tsp per gallon in weeks 5 to 8, and then 1 tsp per gallon in week 9. For Tiger Bloom, 2 tsp per gallon in weeks 5 to 10, then 1 tsp per gallon in weeks 11 and 12. 
Ingredients: Big Bloom is organic, and contains ingredients like earthworm castings, bat guano, and norwegian kelp. Tiger Bloom is a “high phosphorus fertilizer that also contains a good supply of nitrogen” and micronutrients, according to the company. Grow Big includes “a full spectrum of micronutrients,” according to the company. 


Using fertilizer and nutrients when growing in soil 

One of the first steps in growing cannabis is deciding which growing medium to use. These include in soil, soilless (using non-soil mixtures made of materials like coco coir or perlite), hydroponic, or aeroponics. 

While each method has its pros and cons, the simplest and most time-honored one is growing in soil. This could be soil that you composted yourself or could be store bought and contain all of the necessary nutrients for healthy cannabis plants. 

One example of this is store-bought “super soil” that includes nutrients and materials mixed in, and doesn’t require composting your own soil. 

For soil-based growing, using nutrients is not done in a strictly linear fashion. You’ll first want to enrich the soil with nutrients that will help the plant during its vegetative stage, which you can then beef up with added nutrients later on when the plants enter the flowering stage. 

Make sure to follow the instructions on the fertilizer brand when it comes to how much to use at which stage of the plant’s life cycle. 

Towards the end of the flowering stage,in the two weeks before harvest, it is recommended that growers “flush” the soil with water to wash out any nutrients so they don’t remain in the buds after harvest. This step should improve the flavor and aroma of your herb, so it’s definitely worth the time. However, the topic of flushing natural occurring nutrients from soil medium is surrounded by debate. There is uncertainty as to whether the nutrients are flushed from the soil or whether a reduced watering towards the end of harvest forces the plant to utilize all micro and macro nutrients contained within the plant. 

What is the ‘NPK ratio?’

Anyone who has spent any time in a gardening store has probably encountered the acronym NPK. This stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, the three most important nutrients in soil. The “NPK ratio” on fertilizer includes how much of each mineral is present in the mix. For instance, a 10-20-10 NPK ratio would be 10% nitrogen, 20% phosphorus, and 10% potassium. 

Other important nutrients to keep an eye out for in fertilizers include calcium, magnesium, and sulfur, as well as micro nutrients like boron, iron, zinc, and copper.  

Early in the growing process, when the plants are in the vegetative stage, it is recommended to use a high nitrogen mix, and low nitrogen during the flowering stage. During the flowering stage, the plants need less nitrogen and higher ratio of phosphorus and potassium. Many companies produce nutrient mixes that are specially designed for the flowering stage. For instance Dyna-gro, which provides a “grow” mix for the vegetative stage and the “BLOOM” mix for when the plant shifts into the flowering stage. 

What is the pH level?

It may sound like an advanced degree, but the pH level simply refers to the acidity of a liquid solution. For cannabis growers, a high pH level (above 7, the level of pure water) or one that is too low (below 6) may mean that the plant won’t be able to get the nutrients it needs from the soil.  

Make sure to closely monitor the pH level of your soil and the water you use. You can adjust the pH level with store bought products that are specifically formulated to raise or lower the pH, or you can also “flush” the soil to remove built up salt. Aluminum sulfate and sulfur are also commonly used to lower the pH of soil. Additives like lime can be used to increase the pH if needed. 

Using fertilizers and nutrients for hydroponic grows 

“Hydro” weed is grown using the hydroponic cultivation method, which uses a mix of water and nutrients to grow plants – without any soil. 

For hydroponic grows, seek out nutrients that are specifically formulated for hydroponics. These nutrients will have to make up for the lack of soil – and the nutrients that it contains. This usually means more micronutrients and nitrogen, which the plant will not be able to receive from soil. 

With hydroponic nutrients, you’ll still want to look at the NPK ratio, with the same different ratios for the flowering and vegetative stages like in soil-based cultivation. In addition, monitoring the pH level is just as important in hydroponic cultivation, though the optimal levels will be different than in soil grows. Typically, you’ll want to keep the pH level around 5.5-6. Make sure to test the pH level regularly, and use pH up or down products if needed.  

Fertilizers and nutrients for outdoor vs. indoor grows

Whether you grow indoor or outdoor, your plants will need the same basic core nutrients to reach their fullest potential. 

With an outdoors grow though, you’re already working with an established soil system that should be replete with natural nutrients, thus requiring less investment in artificial nutrients. In addition, because indoor grows are raised off the ground, the nutrients tend to leach out quicker, meaning that they will need to be replaced more frequently. 

This is especially true in hydroponic grow systems. With hydroponic systems, they do not receive nutrients from soil, which means the grower is responsible for supplying more nutrients and 

One thing to keep in mind though is to make sure that you don’t use nutrients that are specifically formulated for outdoor grows in an indoor grow, and vice versa. 

But while indoor grows don’t benefit from a natural source of established organic soil, they do provide the grower with the ability to completely control the grow environment. This includes the nutrients in the soil, which also won’t be affected by exposure to the elements.  

Should you choose organic?

Organic soil can supply a world of nutrients to cannabis plants without any artificial additives. Growers can also make their own homemade soil, especially if they have their own compost. Homemade, organic soil can be made quite easily by purchasing organic base soil, aerating it, and adding a variety of organic matter like bone meal, worm castings, bat guano (if you have a supply), compost, eggshells, and the like. With homemade organic soil, the grower will know everything that went into the soil. 

Premade mixes are a less time-consuming solution that can be a great option for all types of growers, especially those who don’t have access to compost or other organic fertilizers. Also known as “super soil,” they contain a variety of organic nutrients already mixed in, which can help growers who are a little less confident that they’ll be able to get enough of the nutrients their plants need in the sil. 

Both are great options for growing healthy cannabis, and the decision mainly hinges on the grower’s budget and how much time they have.

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