Plant Nutrient Supplements & Additives

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.

Plant Nutrient Supplements & Additives


What are the requirements for plant nutrients?

When the growing season is near, it is time to get your plant nutrient supplements ready.  Newer growers will often purchase a pre-balanced fertilizer or nutrient package to feed their plants. But, you should spend some time considering what is in it. Macro-nutrients, Secondary nutrients, and micro-nutrients make up a complete nutrient profile for plants.

Plant food that is needed in large amounts is known as macro-nutrients, and there are 3 of these in most fertilizers. Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium constitute the NPK ratio of your nutrient product. These three nutrients are the most important for plant growth.

Other macro-nutrients that are important for plant nutrition, usually called secondary plant nutrient supplements, are:

  • Oxygen
  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

17 micro-nutrients 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, it would be a good idea to grow with a micro-nutrient supplement

Vitamins, amino acids, and enzymes are very similar.  They are similar because they all contribute to several plant activities and can sometimes be neglected. If you think your plant may be missing any of these, adding these in with them won't hurt.

Plant Nutrients for specific stages of plant life

Rooting supplements

Mycorrhizae and beneficial bacteria are very important for new plants. This helpful fungus gives plants a head start on life.  It does this by extending the root system and increasing the rate at which it takes in 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 good harvest, you need to emphasize creating a strong root system early. Feed clones or recently sprouted seedlings a root stimulant with mycorrhizae to make sure you have success early on!

Vegetative Growth Supplements

Growers who want to have a lot of leafy growth will also use a growth enhancer. Growth enhancers are special blends with a lot of nitrogen and work to increase growth while keeping the plant healthy. While the plant is young, a growth enhancer will ensure ample nitrogen is available to fuel the growth of shoots and leaves. During this stage, the plant does not have a need for phosphorous and potassium.

More growth during the vegetative stage leads to a higher-yielding flowering stage. This is why it is important to put emphasis on enhancing growth as much as possible. Silicic Acid, or Silica, is a very important plant nutrient supplement and is a “super vitamin” for plants. Silica helps prepare your plant by building bigger and stronger stems to support the weight of flowers. This important nutrient 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 and improves nutrient uptake.  This leads to increased growth rates and to higher yields. Those growing in certain media, such as coco-coir, are especially vulnerable to these deficiencies.  If you use this, you should consider using cal-mag supplements from the start.

Boron Supplements

Boron is a very important plant nutrient, playing a crucial role in various processes.  If a boron deficiency is present, you may use boron-containing fertilizers in a controlled manner.

Boron is needed in small amounts in the form of boric acid fertilizer.  This is because large amounts are often used for algaecides, herbicides, and other pesticides.

Here are specific ways in which boron contributes to plant development:

  • Root Growth: Boron is involved in root development, and a sufficient supply can promote a healthy root system. This is very important for plants as a well-established root system enhances nutrient and water uptake.
  • Flowering and Fruit Formation: Boron is essential for the proper development of flowers and fruits in plants. It helps with pollen tube growth and supports the growth of seeds. Good boron levels can contribute to better yields and quality flowers.

While boron is essential, it's crucial to maintain a balanced nutrient profile.  This is because large amounts of boron can be toxic to plants.

Flowering Plant Nutrient Supplements

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.  Instead, we want the plant to focus on producing high-quality, heavy flowers.

Growers also use sweeteners and sugars during flowering. These supplements provide energy to the plant through carbohydrates.  This step is crucial to get a higher yield and a better-tasting final product.

Harvest Supplements

Before harvesting, you need to flush your plant of excess nutrients and minerals. Flushing is the act of no longer giving nutrients to a plant.  Instead, you just feed plain water or a flushing agent.

Using a flushing agent makes this process more effective. The special nutrients do a better job of grabbing onto parts within the plant. Flushing is very important for the quality of your final product. This is 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.

Organic Plant Nutrient Supplements

Growing with organic plant nutrient supplements allows you to grow tasty, high-quality plants without the worry of chemicals. Organic gardens also have less of an impact 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 a little closer than normal. These deficiencies will take longer to take care of since organic nutrients are released at a slower rate.


Final Thoughts on Plant Nutrient Supplements

This is not a complete guide to everything that has to do with plant nutrient supplements.  There are many other factors like soil pH, and the quality of air and water being used.

Remember, you don’t want to introduce too many products into the feeding schedule.  It is also important to know that all of these products work well 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 several brands that you can trust. As always, reach out to our smart and friendly growing staff at 888-815-9763 with any questions.  Be sure to explore the rest of our learning center!

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