Let’s face it, purchasing nutrients can get expensive. There are many different manufacturers selling nutrients at your local hydroponics shops and finding the ones that work best for your situation can include some trial and error. We would like to save you some money by avoiding the buying of nutrients that are too general purpose and focusing on the nutrients that are made for fast growing annual plants like cannabis.
To grow to their heaviest, full potential, your plants need 16 elements. But if you want the best results, you’ve got to have the best versions of each of these. And in the right amounts. Our nutrient info below is broken into 3 parts, chemical based nutrients used with hydroponic systems, organic nutrients for those people who prefer to grow in soil or soilless mixes, and a third hybrid category for mineral based nutrients intended for use with soil, soilless mixes, and organic coco coir mediums.
In nature, from the air, water and soil your plants get:
- Carbon (C)
- Oxygen (O)
- Hydrogen (H)
- Nitrogen (N)
From the soil and fertilizers your plants get:
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Magnesium (M)
- Sulfur (S)
- Boron (B)
- Chlorine (CI)
- Copper (Cu)
- Iron (Fe)
- Manganese (Mn)
- Molybdenum (Mo)
- Zinc (Zn)
If you are growing hydroponically you will probably be using chemical fertilizers. The number of companies manufacturing chemical nutrients can be blinding. However, there are general purpose manufacturers and there are also some companies that make nutrients that are intended for cannabis cultivation. We are going to skip right over the general purpose manufacturers to avoid wasting your time reading about things that you don’t care about.
Both chemical and organic fertilizers separate their nutrients based on the growth stage of the plant. In addition to this, there are many additives that you can purchase that will help you fine tune your feeding by adding in these supplemental nutrients. Some varieties of cannabis will require slightly more of one or more elements in the different phases of growth and these supplemental nutrients will help get you where you need to be. You can also push some cannabis varieties during the flowering cycle by tweaking the nutrient solution with additives.
Our top 2 manufacturers include and old favorite, Advanced Nutrients, and a new comer to the scene that is making a strong impression, Mills. Both of these manufacturers are pretty easy to find at local hydroponics shops. Our third favorite is Canna. Canna produces an excellent Nutrient line but can be more difficult to find locally.
Sensi-Grow/Bloom A & B is a two-part base nutrient formula that is ridiculously easy to use. You just measure the two parts, according to the mixing instructions on the bottle, and voilà. You can get on with your life. And because Sensi-Grow/Bloom A&B includes pH Perfect technology, your pH will constantly be maintained at the perfect level for optimal growth. With Sensi-Grow/Bloom A&B you are getting 5 Premium Products in 1 Bottle.
Here’s what you’ll get when you use Sensi-Grow/Bloom A&B:
- Wet Betty – our prized non-ionic surfactant. A surfactant eases the tension in liquids so that your plants can feed more freely. Think of this as way to remove friction. It’s the difference between an old train on a rusty track and a Japanese bullet train that uses electromagnets to hover, so it can sail through the air at hundreds of miles per hour. Thing is, most surfactants could easily be replaced with dish soap, because they’re not researched and developed for the specific type of plants you grow. Wet Betty, on the other hand, has been painstakingly researched and developed, through 1000s of hours of plant-specific tissue sample tests. And you get it free when you buy Sensi-Grow/Bloom A&B.
- Grandma Enggy’s H-2 (Humates) – both the humates and fulvates we use are sourced from Leonardite, a rare volcanic rock that is one of the most mineral rich substances on the planet. Humates will boost seed germinating and root growth, as well as boost the power of chelation (which we’ll explain in just a moment).
- Grandma Enggy’s F-1 (Fulvates) – fulvates increase the permeability of plant membranes. These will work hand in hand with Wet Betty to make sure your plants can feed effortlessly. Like our Humates, and all of our products, the fulvates we choose have been carefully tested and selected for the types of plants you grow.
- 20 L-Form Amino Acids – while these are not currently a standalone product, we are including them in Sensi-Grow./Bloom A&B to bring you even more value. These special L-Form amino acids are powerhouses of plant growth. Just one of these, L-Tryptophan, has the potential to release bloom boosters that could give you the heaviest harvest of your life. And there are 19 others included. (It’s important to understand, L-Form amino acids are far superior to D-Form amino acids, which are used by most hydroponic nutrient companies today.)
Sensi-Bloom/Grow A&B – Of course, there are the base nutes themselves. Not only do they perfectly balance your pH with pH Perfect technology, but they address every one of your plants’ 16 elemental needs. Going far above and beyond the call of duty, Sensi is much more than your average N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium). And each of the elements in Sensi-Grow/Bloom A&B is chelated to the highest quality standards currently possible.
Mills Nutrients is designed, manufactured and bottled entirely in Holland. Made in the fine Dutch tradition of an easy to use two part base along with additives that provide your plants with everything they need and nothing they don’t. The success of their formula was realized only after thorough research in the field with both large greenhouse and hobbyist growers alike. Years of trials and tribulations have led to a complete small lineup of products of unprecedented quality providing all the nutritional elements needed; Basis A , Basis B, Start-R, C4, and Ultimate PK . These products unique composition allows growers to use the entire line in all grow mediums. Unlike completely synthetic nutrient lines which can build up in or on top of the soil, Mills formula does not accumulate in the medium giving the grower a tremendous advantage when pushing plants to the limit.
The 5 products used in conjunction with one another are:
- BASIS A&B: Basis A&B is a two part Base nutrient compatible with all mediums and growing systems
- START-R: Start-R is a high nitrogen additive used in the vegetative stage
- C4: C4 is a Bloom additive designed for fruiting or flowering plants
- ULTIMATE PK: Ultimate Pk is a Bloom additive designed for fruiting or flowering plants
CANNA AQUA is a user-friendly range of products for recirculating systems, like NFT or ebb and flow on inert mediums such as clay pebbles. With these systems the drainage water doesn’t flow away but is reused. CANNA AQUA nutrients are made in such a way that the plants regulate the pH themselves. Keeping the pH in the nutrient reservoir within the optimum pH range is therefore very easy with CANNA AQUA nutrients. In this way CANNA makes one of the most complex cultivation systems considerably easier for the grower.
The 2 main products in the Canna Aqua line are:
- Aqua Vega: Developed especially to fulfil the plant’s needs optimally during its growth
- Aqua Flores: Fulfils the plant’s changing needs now that blooming has begun. During the blooming phase considerably less Nitrogen is needed, but there is an increased need for Potassium and Phosphorus
If you are growing in soil, ideally you should be using organic nutrients to help preserve the earthy richness and flavors in the plants you are growing. Using chemical based fertilizers when growing in soil is like treating your soil as if it were an inert medium like you would find in hydroponic setups. The goal with growing in soil is to balance the nutrients in the soil with additive nutrients that you will use throughout the growing season.
There are some things that you will need to pay attention to when purchasing organic nutrients that you don’t need to worry about when purchasing chemical nutrients. Organic nutrients can go bad, so you will want to avoid purchasing products that have been sitting on a shelf for a while. An organics only grower friend of ours started having a problem in the garden that appeared to be a nutrient deficiency. The problem was showing up in the grow room as well as in many different house plants. Through trial and error and lots of head scratching he finally switched over to a regular chemical fertilizer and the plants all started to come back online. He then went and purchased some fresh organic nutrients and that resolved all of the problems. So keep shelf life in mind when shelling out big dollars for organic nutrients.
Some of our favorite organic nutrients include Roots Organics, Nectar for the Gods, and Canna.
Roots Organics Buddha Grow and Buddha Bloom promote vigor, substantially increase yields and enhance the quality of production and flavor in soil-grown plants during their growth and bloom stages. Distinctive blends of the finest organic ingredients are harvested from natural sources around the world, providing secure livelihoods for communities engaged in the sustainable extraction and production of these high-quality nutrients. Worldwide sourcing and deliberate design create exceptional liquid blends that are targeted to encourage excellence in your plants.
The 3 main parts of Roots Organics liquid nutrients include the following:
- Buddha Grow: Derived from – Bat Guano, Worm Castings, Soy Protein Hydrolysate, Kelp Extract (Ascophyllum Nodosum), Molasses and Yucca Extract.
- Buddha Bloom: Derived from – Bat Guano, Worm Castings, Soy Protein Hydrolysate, Kelp Extract (Ascophyllum Nodosum), Molasses and Yucca Extract.
- Trinity: Derived from – Molasses, Yucca Extract, Kelp Extract (Ascophyllum nodosum) And Soy Protein Hydrolysate. Contains Non Plant Food Ingredients Humic Acid, Quillaja Saponaria and Aloe Extract.
Roots Organics Trinity is a complex blend of organic plant nutrients designed for maximum effect as a plant and rhizosphere catalyst. With its deliberate blend of distinct plant nutrients, Trinity is a universal supplement for growth and bloom. A distinctive formula of complex carbohydrates and soy protein extracts combine to encourage plant vigor, reduce stress, accelerate growth and increase yield. Trinity can be used with any nutrient program.
Nectar for the Gods
Oregon’s Only Organics – Nectar of the Gods organic nutrients are a favorite. They offer a baseline of nutrients and a bunch of supplemental nutrients to really fine tune your feeding. The base nutrients include the following:
- Medusa’s Magic was originally designed as “Part A” of a three-part nutrient line. To brew Medusa’s Magic, proteins and enzymes are gently extracted from materials, and then suspended in a worm casting tea. Nitrogen in Medusa’s Magic is derived from a protein which will result in a healthier, more natural growth pattern in your plants. The healthier the plant, the more efficient the plant’s natural response to produce its own defense mechanisms against pests and disease.
- Gaia Mania is one of Oregon’s Only Organics’ original products, and was designed to work as a standalone nutrient for home gardeners. This product has been around for many years, under many labels, and has now found its home as Gaia Mania. Gaia Mania is a careful blend of organic materials, enzymatically processed to extract only proteins and humates. This digestion process is the beginning step in the absorption of vitamins, acids and minerals by the plant. Gaia Mania has the ability to feed plants immediately, and is also designed to promote microbial populations in your medium, offering greater protection to plants’ root systems. All of the nitrogen in this product is protein based. This is the healthiest form of nitrogen for plants, promoting strong, healthy growth without a tendency toward elongation as with sodium based nitrates. Plants grow healthiest when they are grown with proteins, organic acids, and calcium based products. Addition of calcium will improve the uptake of Gaia Mania.
- Herculean Harvest increases the availability of calcium and phosphorus to your plants and soil, producing a wide range of benefits to plant health, structure and flavor, contributing to a vigorous soil food web and improving accessibility of nutrients. The active ingredient in bone meal, calcium phosphate, helps to carry all nutrients to the plant, except for nitrogen and potassium. Calcium is essential for supplying plant growth energy in order to sustain life and growth, and promotes solid stems through stronger cell development. Calcium also increases the cation exchange capacity of soils, making nutrients more available to microbial activity and ultimately to the plant. The addition of Herculean Harvest to any nutrient line will increase size, aroma and flavor of the plants’ fruit. It also aides in washing salt from a potting soil or soilless medium, and can be used as part of a soil flush solution.
- Zeus Juice was “Part C” of our original three part line. It is the catalyst in the line and is an essential part of nutrient absorption without a microbial field. Compounds in Zeus Juice are 100% water soluble and are absorbed immediately, acting as a catalyst to produce accelerated growth and nutrient uptake. With increased metabolic rates, Zeus Juice offers optimal nutrient availability, healthy plant growth, healthy prolific rooting and protection from transplant shock. Zeus Juice can also be used as a germination aid, softening the seed coat and providing nutrients for the first stages of life.
Earth Juice Grow and Bloom’s Non-Burning, No Salt Residue formula is intended for “Hand-Feeding” applications only. Not for use with drippers, micro sprayers and hydroponics. An Ideal choice for all planting mixes, coco-coir and native soils. Earth Juice Grow and Bloom formulas may be mixed for a customized feeding solution.
A World -Wide Favorite Since 1991 as a “Best” Choice for a Grow formula plant food. Earth Juice Grow is a natural-organic liquid fertilizer that is formulated to encourage robust vegetative stem and leaf growth for a variety of indoor/outdoor foliage and flowering plants.
World renowned as a “Premier” Bloom Formula plant food. Earth Juice Bloom is a natural-organic liquid fertilizer formulated for indoor/outdoor blooming plants that will encourage a rich development of flowers, fruit and vegetables, as well as aid in the creation of essential oils, resins and fragrances of flowering and fruiting plants. Use at first sign of budding and throughout the flowering/production period. May be used for plants that do not require nitrogen, such as cactus and legumes.
Mineral Based Nutrients for Soil and Soilless Potting Mixes
We added this section because it didn’t really fit into either the chemical or organic nutrient categories. The Canna Terra Nutrients are mineral based nutrients that are intended for soil, soilless potting mixes, and coco coir planting mediums. They can be classified as sort of inbetween the chemical and the full organic nutrients.
Since their launch, Terra Vega and Terra Flores have become the most used nutrients worldwide for cultivating short cycle, fast growing plants in mineral soils and improved soilless mixes. CANNA TERRA composition has been adjusted to suit these type of plants needs. Terra Vega and Terra Flores contain all the nutrients a plant needs in a form that can be absorbed directly. Optimal uptake of nutrients is guaranteed from the start.
The CANNA Terra System utilizes the following 2 base products:
- CANNA Terra Vega – The development of vigorous growth, heavy branching and good root development is characterised by healthy, fast growth. This is the base requirement for achieving top results. Terra Vega contains all the nutritional elements that a plant needs during this phase. Terra Vega works universally and is suitable for use with all types of pre-fertilized mineral soils and peat based potting mixes, such as Terra Professional Plus.
- CANNA Terra Flores – It is always desirable that all the nutritional elements a plant needs should be directly available in the correct proportions during their critical, prolific flowering phase. Terra Flores contains all this nutritional elements. The plant’s need for nitrogen diminishes just as their need for potassium and phosphorous greatly increases during the flowering phase. In order to accommodate these changing circumstances Terra Flores has the correct proportions of all the needed elements, to meet the plant’s’ requirements, and thereby insures flowering success.
Prevent stress with CANNAZYM
In a root-system that is functioning properly, some roots will die off and new ones will form. The dead roots form an ideal food source for pathogens. Once pathogenic fungi have multiplied in the dead root material they form a threat to the healthy roots, which can be easily attacked causing a sharp decline in overall root function. As a result, the entire plant will be stressed and growth will be stunted. CANNAZYM should be used to prevent this.
The enzymes in CANNAZYM will ensure dead root-material is quickly converted into minerals and sugars. This is important because these elements form an important nutritional source for the plants and the soil environment. Also, rotting produces poisonous materials, which will be counteracted with the chance of infection by pathogenic fungi reduced considerably. In addition, a number of easily absorbable vitamins are added to CANNAZYM, which will stimulate the plants into producing new roots. For these reasons CANNAZYM should be continually added to the feeding solution from the second week of cultivation, diluted at the ratio of 1:400.