After all, the nutrients you use to grow are responsible for giving your plants the compounds they need to grow. But, can you just run to your local garden center and grab any fertilizer? Not if you want impressive plants.
Which nutrients are best for your grow will depend on how you grow. We’ll cover the best soil, hydro, and organic nutrients. But first, we need to cover some basic plant nutrition.
Why you need the best plant nutrients
There are a number of reasons you should seek out the best plant nutrients. For one, they are responsible for giving your plants what they need to develop to the best of their ability throughout veg and flower.
However, in coco or other inert media commonly used in hydro systems, you are the sole provider of nutrients. In this instance, you really do need the best plant nutrients possible.
The basics of plant nutrition
Plant nutrients can be complicated if you don’t know understand the label. But, its really as simple as three compounds - Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium. These make up the NPK ratio.
These three nutrients are the most important aspect of plant nutrition. They are known as the primary nutrients, as they are needed in the largest quantities. Here is a quick breakdown on each:
- Nitrogen - Most important nutrient for vegging plants. It contributes to photosynthesis, and helps to produce chlorophyll. Nitrogen is responsible for the robust, leafy growth we strive for during veg, and thus the veg-cycle of your nutrient line will be very N dominant.
- Phosphorus - On the flip side, phosphorous is crucial during the bloom stage. It is responsible for helping your plant develop dense, resinous buds and increasing potency levels of the plant.
- Potassium - Potassium, unlike Nitrogen and Phosphorous, is important for ALL stages of growth. You won’t really see the levels spike or drop in your feeding schedule as you transition from one stage of growth to the other. Potassium helps your plant become more resilient, and is vital in root growth and a number of other plant activities.
Secondary nutrients and micronutrients
Secondary nutrients are very important as well. These are typically supplements and additives that you may not need, but can help if you notice deficiencies or if you want to supercharge plant growth.
- Calcium - Similar to how calcium helps humans develop strong bones, it helps plants develop strong cell walls and roots. This is super important, and it is also one of the most common nutrient deficiencies you’ll see.
- Magnesium - Magnesium is essential in helping the plant with nutrient uptake. In other words, Mg makes other nutrients more easily absorbable by the root zone.
- Sulfur - This nutrient is necessary for the production of chlorophyll, as well as playing a key role in both vegetative and root growth.
There are also micronutrients that are necessary in small quantities, but still contribute to plant growth and health significantly. They include:
- Zinc (Zn)
- Manganese (Mn)
- Iron (Fe)
- Boron (B)
- Chlorine (Cl)
- Copper (Cu)
- Molybdenum (Mb)
- Silicon (Si)
You can take care of micronutrient needs easily with a supplement. In fact, many of the nutrient packages we are going to show you as the best plant nutrients on our site include a micronutrient supplement!
This is a broad overview, but you can learn more about plant nutrition in our complete guide.
When you grow in soil, you have more options for nutrients you use. You can grow with synthetic or organic nutrients, powder or liquid. But, depending on the soil you use, you will be presented with the challenge of which nutrients are already present in the soil.
For example, SoHum Living Soil has an NPK of 0.5 - 0.5 - 0.25, and contains an entire formulation of microorganisms and beneficial bacteria. With soils like these, you need to be careful about your nutrient feeding schedule to prevent any toxicities.
Here are some of the best soil nutrients for your plants:
Botanicare is an industry leader in hydroponics and garden supplies, and their Pure Blend Pro Soil Nutrient Package is one of the best you can use.
You can choose between the Standard Recipe, which includes just the Grow (3-2-4) and Bloom (1-4-5) nutrients, or the Expert Recipe. Which one is right will depend on how dedicated you want to be to your grow.
The Complete Botanicare Pure Blend Soil Nutrient Line
- Pro Grow - This base veg formulation is derived from only natural sources of essential major, secondary and trace minerals. It promotes robust, leafy growth while setting up your plant for a fruitful harvest.
- Pro Bloom - Just like Pro Grow, the Pro Bloom formulation is all natural and organic-based. It encourages huge, dense flowers by providing all the phosphorous your plants need during flower.
- Rhizo Blast - a root stimulator, which dramatically increases root development so your plant can absorb everything it needs to grow huge.
- Liquid Karma - used as a catalyst to improve all plant functions, and referred to as an “engine” that makes your plant grow.
- Cal-Mag Plus - a precise balance of important secondary nutrients Calcium and Magnesium, along with iron. This can prevent tons of issues such as bud root and tip burn, and it functions as a catalyst to improve nutrient uptake.
- Silica Blast - regarded as a supernutrient, silica can strengthen the plant in all regards, including stems and branches, roots, and more. It also helps facilitate photosynthesis, a vital aspect of plant growth.
- Sweet - this supplement consists of carbohydrates, organic acids, vitamins, and amino acids to ensure a stress-free transition from veg to flower. It increases the energy of your plant to achieve insane yields, and can improve flavor to (available in a variety of flavors).
- Hydroplex Bloom Enhancer - Hydroplex is used during flower to push your plants to their full potential. It encourages dense, sticky buds utilizing a broad range of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients.
The Botanicare Pure Blend Pro Soil Nutrient Package is all natural and organic-based. It can help you get huge yields. Part of the reason we consider this one of the best soil nutrients is because you can choose between the Standard Recipe or the Expert Recipe. This makes the nutrient package great for growers of all levels.
On our site, you can actually pick and choose supplements and additives from the expert recipe if you just want one or two of them to fill out your feeding schedule too!
Fox Farm is considered the “craft beer” nutrient company of the hydroponics industry. Their Soil Nutrient Package is one of the best plant nutrient lines you can give your plants.
The Complete Fox Farm Soil Nutrient Line
- Grow Big - The Grow Big nutrient is great for younger plants. It leads to lush, compact, veg growth. Components include but are not limited to earthworm casting, kelp, and other essential nutrients and trace minerals. These all work together to contribute to branch development to support big flowers later on.
- Big Bloom - This micro-brewed bloom formulation uses earthworm castings, bat guano, and other potent organic ingredients to offer your plants everything they need for massive flowers. It uses kelp to improve nutrient uptake and yields, along with rock phosphate to help transfer energy throughout the plant for even budding.
- Tiger Bloom - Capable of being used in both soil AND hydro systems, Tiger Bloom is an incredibly potent high-phosphorus fertilizer. It also contains a substantial level of Nitrogen, to continue growth and vigor. It should be used at the first sight of flowering. This will encourage denser, thicker buds.
- Bush Flowers Kiss - This micronutrient supplement ensures a rounded out “diet” for your plants, and prevents any deficiencies from arising. It also promotes all stages of growth, and leads to a healthier plant in general.
- Bush Doctor Boomerang - Boomerang is a microbial based additive for use throughout veg. It heals root tissue and provides organic nutrition to lower plant stress and encourage new budding sites.
- Bush Doctor Kangaroots - This liquid root drench will drastically improve the root system, using natural and organic macronutrients, microbes, and micronutrients. Kangaroots not only improves your roots, but the soil around them.
- Bush Doctor Microbe Brew - This additive contains beneficial bacteria and fungi to improve conditions in your soil, and help microbes develop large populations at a rapid pace. This leads to better soil, and in turn, a better plant!
- Bush Doctor Wholly Mackerel - This marine based additive contains organic macronutrients, 20 different amino acids, 13 vitamins, and 8 minerals. It's a powerhouse plant supplement, and one of the best all around sources of nutrition you can feed your garden.
- Bush Doctor Kelp Me Kelp You - As the name suggests, this seaweed supplement is a biostimulant that can be applied as a foliar spray or at the roots. It improves water retention, and accelerates the uptake of plant nutrients into the roots.
- Bush Doctor Bembe - The Bush Doctor Bembe additive is a great source of natural sugars for your plants, and can increase sweetness while also acting as a food source. It consists of earthworm castings, bat guano, and other high-test organic ingredients.
- Open Sesame - This high phosphorus soluble fertilizer is designed to bring your plants into flower at your command. As soon as you are ready to flip your plants to flower, “Open Sesame” with this supplement and watch the buds bloom!
- Beastie Bloomz - this additive is a key piece in the final weeks of flower, pushing your plants to the limit to finish blooming. It contains high strength organic nutrients, and contributes to unmatched density and yield.
- Cha Ching - This additive was formulated to maximize your pant’s production. It creates sticky, robust flowers with an extremely concentrated flavor and perfect texture.
- Bush Doctor SledgeHammer - One of the most important steps of growing is flushing your plants periodically, or at the very least, before harvest. SledgeHammer is a unique rinse formula to remove any nutrient buildup and encourage water movement through your grow media.
The Fox Farm Soil Nutrient Package is chalk full of awesome supplements and additives. For most growers, the base nutrients and just a few of the additives will suffice. However, for serious growers that want the best of the best, this package is it.
General Hydroponics is an all-around incredible hydroponics and garden supplies manufacturer. Their Flora Series nutrient line is one of the best you can give your plants, including everything you need and nothing you don’t. For those who don’t want a complicated feeding schedule, GH makes it easy. The Flora Series line will enhance flavor, aroma, potency, terpene production in your plants. Throughout the world, this line is known as the industry standard. It is pH balanced for easy use. Here’s what you get:
The General Hydroponics Flora Series Performance Pack
- FloraMicro - This micronutrient supplement is the foundation of the three-part “Building-Block” nutrient system from General Hydroponics. It’s derived from pharmaceutical grade minerals, providing Nitrogen, Potassium, Calcium, and plenty of micronutrients, of course.
- FloraGro - As the Veg-base nutrient, FloraGro is responsible for stimulating thick, structural growth. It contains Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium, and plenty of secondary nutrients.
- FloraBloom - FloraBloom will promote big, dense flowers filled with flavor, aroma, and essential oils. It contains high levels of Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium, and Sulfur.
- FloraBlend - This vegan based plant booster is formulated with a diverse mixture of highly bioactive microorganisms. It also contains seaweed, other plant merial, rock powder, and micronized Leonardite. FloraBlend promotes healthier soil, and thus healthier roots.
- Liquid KoolBloom - You can start using KoolBloom at the start of the flower cycle. This bulking agent contains stress-reducing vitamins and nutrient transporting acids to support heavy flowering, with elevated terpene production.
- FloraKleen - This is a flushing supplement to remove any fertilizer residue from your soil and plants. You can use it monthly to purge any “stuck” compounds, and before harvest to get the purest, cleanest flower with excellent taste.
- Floralicious Plus - The purpose of Floralicious Plus is to improve metabolic growth, promote flower development, increase bud density, and enhance terpene levels. It also improves conditions in the root zone, and leads to all around better growth!
If you are looking for the best soil nutrients and just want something simple with a proven track record, the GH Flora Series Nutrient Package is a great choice.
The best hydroponic plant nutrients will differ from the best soil nutrients because you need to use specific nutrients when growing hydroponically. Certain nutrients can easily clog hydro systems and wreak havoc on your grow, leading to tons of maintenance and sickly growth.
So, you need to make sure you are buying a nutrient package designed to work with hydroponic systems! There are plenty that can work with soil and hydro, but we’ll focus on those formulated for this growing method specifically.
When it comes to the best hydroponic nutrients, you can’t go wrong with the Cultured Solutions brand. After all, this is the sister company of Current Culture - the industry leader in hydroponic systems!
The Cultured Solutions Premium Hydroponic Nutrient Package was designed to work with all hydro systems. It will not clog any pipes, pumps, or tubing, and delivers everything your plants need and MORE!
The entire nutrient line is formulated with premium mineral salts. This provides a well balanced, soluble solution for insane growth and yields. 8 simple components make up the line:
The Complete Cultured Solutions Premium Hydroponic nutrient line
- Veg A & B - The Cultured Solutions Premium Hydroponic nutrient package has a two-part veg formula - A and B. They contain all the important macro and micronutrients your plants need, and they present them in a pH balanced form for easy feeding. You will use them in different ratios throughout the growing cycle.
- Bloom A & B - Just like the Veg base, the Bloom base nutrient is two-part. It’s a full spectrum, mineral-based nutrient that delivers everything you need for huge, beautiful flowers. You will need to follow the feeding chart precisely to ensure you give the right ratios of each part at the right time.
- UC Roots - This is one of the most popular hydroponic nutrient additives growers use. UC Roots works to keep your system free of contaminants and deposits, and improves nutrient uptake and oxygen availability. Simply put, this additive is a must have. It provides the perfect conditions for explosive growth!
- Coco Cal - A few important secondary nutrients are Calcium and Magnesium. Coco Cal provides these in a concentrated form for your plants to promote fast growth and prevent deficiencies. It should be used through veg AND flower to fill out the nutrition profile of your feeding schedule.
- Bud Booster Early - The first step in flowering is developing your bud sites. Bud Booster Early helps promote these so you can develop as many flowers as possible. Its formulated with Nitrogen and Magnesium so plants can reach their full genetic potential.
- Bud Booster Mid - As you move deeper into flower, Bud Booster Mid helps encourages the production of complex sugars and starches. It uses Phosphorus and Potassium along with Sulfur and Magnesium.
- Bud Booster Late - To finish flowering, use Bud Booster Late. This incredibly pure, powdered nutrient is formulated to ripen your flowers to their full potential.
The feeding schedule of Cultured Solutions Premium Hydroponic nutrient line is going to differ based on the system you use. If you want the best hydroponic nutrients there is, you can’t go wrong with Cultured Solutions.
We had Botanicare’s Pro Soil package listed as one of the best soil packages available, so it's no surprise their Pure Blend Pro Hydro makes the best hydroponic nutrients as well.
This nutrient package is comprised of natural and organic-based components.
The Complete Botanicare Pure Blend Pro Hydro Nutrient Line
- Pure Blend Pro Grow - This is the veg base formula, and contains ONLY natural sources of the essential macronutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients. It promotes robust, lush vegetative growth while setting the stage for a successful harvest.
- Pure Blend Pro Bloom Hydroponic - The base bloom nutrient is also derived from only the best sources just like the Grow formula, and promotes vigorous flowering. In your hydroponic grow, you’ll see huge, dense buds when using this nutrient line.
- Rhizo Blast - This same nutrient is used in the Botanicare Pure Blend Pro Soil line. It does the same thing in hydro systems, and helps plants build an abundant, bushy root system with dense foliage up top. It provides the foundation for a successful grow, using a proprietary blend of seaweed, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and single cell algae.
- Liquid Karma - Another nutrient from the Pure Blend Pro Soil line, Liquid Karma represents a significant breakthrough in plant nutrition. It contains a full formulation of metabolically active and organic compounds you won’t see in most plant nutrients. Liquid Karma is a catalyst for many essential plant functions.
- Cal Mag Plus - An essential additive to any nutrient line, this Cal-Mag supplement also contains iron and other trace minerals to maximize yield and plant health.
- Silica Blast - Silica is a super important and underrated supplement. This additive aims to strengthen the plant early on so it can support big, heavy flowers later on in its life.
- Sweet - This supplement works to increase energy within the plant using carbohydrates, organic acids, and additional trace minerals and vitamins. It also improves flavor profile, and comes in a variety of flavors.
- Hydroplex Bloom Enhancer - Hydroplex is a premium plant nutrient supplement that helps you round out your buds to their full potential. During this demanding stage, plants need more than just Phosphorus and Potassium. Because of this, Botanicare also included minerals, amino acids, and vitamins.
Whether you grow in soil or hydroponically, you can see that Botanicare has a nutrient package for you. These guys have an incredible reputation as being the best nutrient manufacturer in the industry.
House and Garden may not be a household name among the hydroponic community like Botanicare or Cultured Solutions. But, the reviews we’ve seen with this nutrient package have been outstanding.
Some of our experts here at Hydrobuilder have grown with it themselves. They were more than pleased with the results they saw. This hydroponic nutrient package is pretty complex with lots of parts, but you likely don’t need them all. House and Garden works
The Complete House and Garden Hydroponic Nutrient Line
- Aqua Flakes A & B - The base formulation for this nutrient line are Aqua Flakes A and Aqua Flakes B. These provide your plants with the best, fully soluble nutrients for hydroponic systems specifically.
- Root Excelurator Silver - House and Garden considers this root enhancer their best kept secret. It can be used in the early stages in your hydroponic system to encourage rapid rootings, and to promote root health through the plant’s entire life.
- Multi Zen - This supplement encourages vigorous growth for rapidly growing plants.
- Algen Extract - Algen Extract is a premium Norweigian Kelp blend. It is extracted using cold press technology. It does wonders for root development in your hydro system, but does more than just that!
- Amino Treatment - The Amino Treatment helps strengthen your plant and build a strong foundation later on when it comes time to flower.
- Nitrogen Boost - This supplement is awesome for vegging plants, providing a heavy dose of Nitrogen to your plants. This will encourage plenty of branching and leafy growth, setting you up for a successful harvest.
- Bud XL - To finish out your growth cycle, use Bud XL. It will round out your plants flowers and contribute to a heavy yield.
- Top Shooter - This supplement is available in liquid or powder, and adds an ample dose of potassium and phosphorus to enhance your flowers.
- Top Booster - This is another potassium and phosphorus supplement that can help your plants reach their full potential.
- pH Stabilizer - You likely know how important a balanced pH is, especially in a hydroponic grow. So, House and Garden makes it easy by providing a pH stabilizer supplement in their nutrient line!
- Magic Green - This additive should be used as a foliar spray. It can increase vitality and ensure a successful flowering phase.
- Rhizo Force - As a slow-release, granular additive, Rhizo Force enriches your hydroponic medium with essential ingredients. Furthermore, it will invigorate a recycled or worn out medium and provide awesome conditions for growing.
Growing with organic nutrients is many growers favorite method. From a product standpoint, organic flower is cleaner, better tasting with better aroma.
These nutrients differ from synthetics in that they are derived from “natural” sources, such as animal or plant waste. Organic nutrients break down slower, and thus its important for you to monitor for deficiencies closely, as they’ll take longer to correct.
On top of that, you can’t really grow organically in hydroponic systems. These nutrients tend to be thicker and clumpier, and are notorious for clogging hydroponic systems. There are some instances of organic nutrients for hydro systems, but for the most case, you’ll need to grow in soil or a soilless medium.
Earth Juice is an industry leader in organic nutrients, and their Original Big 5 Nutrient Package is one of the best organic packages you can use.
Unlike some of the nutrient packages on this “best of” list, this one is pretty simple! It only consists of 5 parts. When it comes to delivering organic yields, though, its considered one of the best.
The Complete Earth Juice Original Big 5 Nutrient Line
- Grow - This has been an industry favorite since 1991. It is known as one of the best veg base nutrients you can buy. Grow is an organic liquid fertilizer for encouraging robust, vegetative stem and leaf growth. Its non-burning, and doesn’t lead to any salt residue.
- Bloom - Just like Grow, Earth Juice Bloom is one of the many premier flowering nutrients on the market. You should start using the Bloom formula at the first sign of budding sites on your plant. It will help with rich flower development, filled with terpenes and essential oils.
- Meta-K - This is a natural, liquid potassium supplement. You can use it to correct potassium deficiencies, but it also helps with drought resistance, nutrient uptake, and increases yields. You can use it for full cycle growing, but its especially important during the flower stage.
- MicroBlast - Micronutrients are an important part of any nutrient package, and MicroBlast will help fill out your feeding schedule to prevent deficiencies.
- Big Bloomin’ Guano - This guano supplement is an incredible bloom booster. It increases size, aroma, and terpene production of flowers, and is an awesome organic supplement to finish out your grow with.
Emerald Harvest is another great nutrient brand, and their Pro 3 Part Nutrient Package is one of the best organic nutrient lines money can buy. It has three main parts - Micro, Grow, and Bloom, with supplements and additives to round out the feeding schedule and provide incredible yields.
The Complete Emerald Harvest Pro 3 Part Nutrient Line
- Grow, Micro & Bloom - The base formulation of this nutrient line consists of three parts, as we mentioned already. These deliver precise levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium throughout the life cycle of the plant. The base formula also contains magnesium, cobalt, molybdenum, copper, manganese, zinc, and iron. These alone are enough to grow some awesome plants, but just wait till you read the rest of the nutrient line!
- Emerald Goddess - This supplement increases your harvest potential by putting the best nutrition possible in your soil. It compliments the base formulation and guarantees professional results.
- King Kola - As far as powerful bloom boosters go, King Kola has to be near the top. It provides everything your plants need to burst huge buds, and fast! Its very high in phosphorus and potassium. It also contains hemp-derived nitrogen to further drive yields.
- Honey Chome - For those terpene lovers, Honey Chome will increase fragrance and flavor! It bolsters the natural smell and stickiness of the flower, and nourishes beneficial microbes to improve root conditions. It does this all naturally, which is quite impressive.
- Root Wizard - This supplement increases bioactivity in the root zone, and helps break down organic matter into bioavailable nutrients. This allows your plant to absorb and assimilate more of what they need to meet their potential. From a root health standpoint, this is one of the best additives you can use.
- Cal-Mag - Since so many plants end up deficient in calcium and magnesium, you may want to include the Cal-Mag supplement to prevent two big issues simultaneously. These two secondary nutrients are responsible for all kinds of essential plant activities, so you need them in your arsenal.
- Sturdy Stalk - This is a potassium silicate supplement that helps strengthen and build up branches and stems. It also increases the strength of your roots, allowing them to provide your plant with everything it needs. This results in a productive, vigorous garden ready to exceed expectations.
Its in the name, so it makes sense that General Organics produces one of the top organic nutrient packages available! Their BioThrive Nutrient Package is an awesome line for beginners because its really easy to use.
It consists of two main base nutrients, and just like all these nutrient packages, contains a myriad of awesome additives to supercharge your grow.
The Complete General Organics BioThrive Nutrient Line
- Grow - This nutrient contains pure and natural vegan plant and mineral extracts. This encourages increased microbial life in the grow media, while simultaneously promoting robust, vegetative growth.
- Bloom - This formula maximizes flower production. The unique formulation will give you bigger, better tasting buds!
- CaMg+ - The BioThrive CaMg+ additive is a crucial source of calcium and magnesium, critical to all stages of growth. This particular additive is derived from oyster shell, dolomite lime, and other natural plant extracts.
- BioRoot - This organic root stimulant will help your young plants get off to a strong start with a dense root mass. It contains tons of vitamins, enzymes, and organic humic acids to keep your root system growing.
- BioWeed - Seaweed is an outstanding source of nutrition for plants, and can increase plant and soil vitality. Furthermore, it can reduce stress, and encourages prolific root and foliage growth which leads to bigger harvests.
- BioBud - As the name suggests, BioBud is a potent bloom booster capable of generating explosive flower development. Use it during the flowering phase to enhance bud production.
- BioMarine - This is an all-natural, organic fish fertilizer that encourages rapid growth throughout all stages of plant life. Plus, they have the added benefit of high protein content and the polysaccharide content.
- Diamond Black - Diamond Black contains high levels of plant humates. This supplement improves nutrient uptake, stimulates microbial activity, and promotes soil retention. Furthermore, it increases nutrient retention, and reduced water needs.
Not sure which plant nutrient package is best for you?
There are so many nutrient packages at Hydrobuilder.com, and every grow is different. We know that choosing a nutrient package can get complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
You can reach out to our experts at 888-815-9763. We would love to chat with you and figure out the best plant nutrients to meet the demands of your grow and help you save some money. Happy growing!