Growing Cannabis depends on providing enough light, space and nutrients. While there is an endless amount of products available to help you optimize your Cannabis nutrition, it can be difficult to get started. Every grower will recommend something different, and everyone has a favourite brand. Choosing a Cannabis nutrition product also depends on your growth medium, as different nutrients are used for soil and hydroponic grows. We wrote this guide to help you decide which Cannabis nutrition brand you should use.
If you are new to growing Cannabis and have never followed a feed chart before, you should definitely grow in soil. The big advantage of growing Cannabis in soil is that the organic material in your soil will act as a slow buffering agent. This means that your Cannabis plants will never face a big shift in P.H or E.C., which helps prevent all sorts of Cannabis nutrition problems. Using organic Cannabis nutrition makes this even easier as these are generally less dangerous if you get the dose wrong. The other reason is that the various different feeds a grower must use in soil usually come in less different bottles than nutrients designed for hydroponic Cannabis cultivation. Many Cannabis nutrition products for soil simply consist of one bottle for growth and one for flowering. This “fool-proof” setup does not mean you can just throw some undiluted fertilizer on your Cannabis plant, but the actual dangers of overfeeding or underfeeding become very low and the grower is more secure. Of course, a simple one-component setup can be expanded after a grower gains some experience.
Growing Cannabis organically in soil requires less added nutrients than hydroponic grows, saving money in the long run. Soil amendments like bat guano or horse manure are also cheap, making organic Cannabis nutrition very affordable if planned correctly. Large scale outdoor Marijuana growing works especially well with soil amendments, as soil will often be re-used and will need new nutrients.
Atami, Plagron and Bio Bizz also sell different pre-fertilized mixes of soil and coco. This way you can be almost as cost-effective as you would be by mixing your own soil, but without the hassle. These mixes are available in different sizes which can then be fed only water for the first month or so, with excellent results. A 50 litre bag will cost around 12 euros but the investment is well worth it, especially if you are on a tight budget.
Soil amendments are great and it is definitely a good idea to prepare well balanced, (micro)nutrient-rich soil for your Cannabis plant to get higher yields. However this is usually not enough to last through your plant’s entire life cycle. In regular soil you will have to start supplying extra nutrients at some point, or your yield will suffer. It is also possible to grow hydroponically using these soil amendments, but this is difficult and not efficient. This is where branded Cannabis nutrition comes into play. While a bottle of Cannabis nutrition seems expensive compared to soil amendments or even pre-fertilized soil, this will usually be worth your money. A company has spent time isolating and concentrating Cannabis nutrition, so they charge more too. Nutrition for Marijuana plants is available in different formats including two-, three- or multi-component versions.
Growing in a proper hydroponic setup also requires the grower to monitor pH and E.C. values, which makes growing Marijuana hydroponically seem incredibly difficult. This can add to the confusion. If you are new to using feeding charts, using a more complicated nutrient line will likely not be worth the investment as chances are you will mess it up.
While an expert grower can probably squeeze out a higher yield from an expensive 5-component nutrient line, novice growers are usually better off keeping it simple. A simple, two-component Cannabis nutrition product will be more costly than using only soil amendments, but there are much more expensive options on the market.
While we often make it appear as though growing organically makes everything more difficult, this is not necessarily true. In fact, it is perfectly possible to produce great Cannabis nutrition from organic, renewable sources that is applied in the same way as synthetically produced nutrients. If you are willing to pay for it. Organic Cannabis nutrition is usually more expensive than other types of feed, as production is usually a more complicated process than from synthetic materials. Brands like Advanced Nutrients and Canna also sell organic fertilizers, but they are 20-100% more expensive than their synthetic counterparts.
There are also many “non-essential” Cannabis nutrition products that can increase yields and can definitely be worth the extra investment. Products like Canna Rhizotonic or Advanced Nutrients’ Voodoo Juice will both help stimulate root growth, but they are not essential to your grow. The same goes for flowering stimulators, foliar sprays to increase disease resistance and flushing solutions.
Other, more expensive lines of Cannabis nutrition will even have extra features to make your grow more stable. A shining example of this is the Advanced Nutrients’ pH perfect line, which takes the guesswork out of balancing the pH of your nutrient solutions. With products like this you pay more for service than for quality, as similar results can likely be obtained with a little more effort. The choice for this kind of Cannabis nutrition depends more on whether you value your money or your time more, as your yield will not improve significantly.
One of the most popular nutrition brands on the market is Advanced Nutrients from Canada. This company offers a huge variety of all feeds, designed to meet the growing requirements of each individual person. They also sell a variety of organic products.
Hesi is also a great company that offers a variety of soft Cannabis nutrition. Hesi offers different additives which can be used in conjunction with their other nutrients or even as a one part solution. Unfortunately, some of their products are not available in organically produced versions (yet).
General Hydroponics Europe is also a very good brand that sells quality Cannabis nutrition solutions. In Europe, the price of the G.H.E. nutrients is usually much lower than that of Advanced Nutrients products and can achieve similar results. General Hydroponics also has the General Organics line which offers organic versions of many of their products.
Dutch Pro also provides nutrients for many different situations and even includes different versions of their nutrients for different types of tap water. Dutch Pro is also very clear about their feeding charts, which is especially good for growers starting out with hydroponics. They also provide nutrients that are specifically geared towards autoflowering Cannabis varieties. Unfortunately however, they do not offer an organic Cannabis nutrition line.
Another company that provides easy to use, simple Cannabis nutrition is Canna. Canna nutrient lines usually come in as few parts as possible, which makes using them a lot more straightforward. Flowering nutrients for example come as one component for soil, or two components for hydro. Most Canna products are also available in organic versions.
Bio Bizz produces a very complete organic line which incorporates different nutrients at different times. These nutrients do not cost a great deal to buy and can last a soil grower a long time. A great advantage of using the Bio Bizz line is that it is designed to be used with Bio Bizz soil mixes, resulting in a safe, easy to use organic format.
Cannabis nutrition is probably the most flexible part of your grow and depends largely on your choice of medium. Growing on hydro using dozens of different chemicals can possibly increase your yield immensely, but will you be able to get this right every time for 8-12 weeks? We recommend to keep everything as simple as possible.
Most nutrient companies sell a good all in one solution for growing in soil. A good example of this is Hesi Bloom Complex, which is a one-component flowering nutrient. Because your soil will be able to provide a lot of nutrients during the first few weeks of growth, you can often skip the use of growth phase nutrients with excellent results. All of the companies listed above sell similar nutrients and most also offer a hydro- and a coco all in one solution. By using only one bottle of Cannabis nutrition you can grow on a tight budget and still have enough nutrients to last you an entire grow.
If you are new to growing, grow in soil mixed with some perlite and use a one-component nutrient line from any company you like. You can slowly expand from here without being in over your head and losing entire crops on the way. Nutrients are important, but probably less important than light, space and water, so choose a brand that works for you. We have had the best results using the brands mentioned in this article, but there are probably dozens of other companies that produce quality nutrients we have not tried yet. Cannabis is a weed, so don’t make Cannabis nutrition more complicated than it needs to be!