What are the nutritional requirements of plants?
Often times, growers purchase a pre-balanced fertilizer or nutrient package to feed their plants, but don't spend much time considering what is in it. Macro-nutrients, Secondary nutrients, and micro-nutrients make up a complete nutrient profile for plants.
Nutrients needed in large quantities are known as macro-nutrients, and there are 3 of these in most fertilizers. Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium constitute the NPK ratio of your nutrient product. These three nutrients are the most important for plant growth.
Other macro-nutrients vital for plant health, regarded as secondary nutrients for plants, are:
There are 17 micro-nutrients that play a key role in plant health. Many of these can be obtained by growing in soil, but sometimes you will notice signs of a micro-nutrient deficiency. In this case, you will be best suited with a micro-nutrient supplement. Vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes are similar, in that they contribute to a number of plant activities and can sometimes be neglected. If you suspect your plant may be lacking these, supplementing with them wont hurt.
Nutrients for specific stages of plant life
Mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria are an essential supplement for new plants. This helpful fungus gives plants a head start on life, by extending the root system and increasing the absorption rate of nutrients. Studies show that supplementing with mycorrhizae greatly increases the success rate of transplanting to a new environment.
Many blended root stimulants and enhancers incorporate mycorrhizae into the formula along with other vitamins. To ensure a plentiful harvest, you need to put an emphasis on creating a strong root system early. Feed clones or recently germinated seedlings a root stimulant with mycorrhizae to ensure success early on!
Vegetative Growth Supplements
Growers who want to supercharge robust, leafy growth will also use a growth enhancer. Growth enhancers are special blends prominent in nitrogen, and work to stimulate growth while keeping the plant healthy. While the plant is vegging, a growth enhancer will ensure ample nitrogen is available to fuel growth of shoots and leaves. During this stage, the plant has minimal need for phosphorous and potassium.
It goes without saying that more growth during the vegetative stage leads to a higher yielding flowering stage, and that’s why it is important to put an emphasis on enhancing growth. Regarded as a “supervitamin” for plants, silica helps prepare your plant by building bigger and stronger stems to support the weight of flowers. Silica also increases resistance to stress and pathogens and improves metabolic function.
As your plant begins vegging, it is important to keep a close eye out for deficiencies. Some of the more common deficiencies seen in plants are calcium and magnesium. One of the most popular supplements on the market is a cal-mag supplement, known as a one-two punch for correcting this issue. This supplement also increases the strength of cell walls, improves nutrient uptake, increases growth rates, and leads to higher yields. Those growing in certain media, such as coco-coir, are especially susceptible to these deficiencies and should utilize cal-mag supplements from the start.
Once the plant is switched to flower, you should switch to a bloom booster. Also known as bloom enhancers, these nutrient blends contain high levels of phosphorous and potassium. Bloom boosters promote heavy budding, and in large quantities. Nitrogen is decreased here, because we no longer want the plant to grow, but to instead focus on producing high quality, heavy flowers.
Growers also use sweeteners and sugars during flowering. These supplements provide energy to the plant through carbohydrates, and contribute to a higher yield and a better tasting final product.
Before harvesting, you need to flush your plant of excess nutrients and minerals. Flushing is the act of withholding nutrients from a plant, and just feeding plain water or a flushing agent.
Using a flushing agent makes this process more effective, as the special chelates do a better job of grabbing onto compounds within the plant. Flushing greatly increases the quality of your final product in terms of taste, as you will only be consuming the plant. Without flushing, you will be consuming the excess nutrients along with the plant itself.
Growing organically allows you to cultivate tasty, high-quality plants without the worry of chemicals. Organic gardens also leave a smaller footprint on the environment. If you are looking for ways to feed your plant a natural fertilizer, look no further! Common organic options include:
When using organic nutrients, be sure to monitor for deficiencies closely, as they will take longer to correct since organic nutrients release slower.
While you don’t want to introduce too many products into the feeding schedule, all of these products work well in conjunction with one another. When used properly, supplements and additives can work together to create a higher yielding and higher quality plant. At Hydrobuilder.com, we offer a wide range of products from a number of trustworthy brands. As always, reach out to our experienced growing staff at 888-815-9763 with any questions, and be sure to explore the rest of our learning center!