You’ve probably read about many tips on how to grow weed fast, including using the best LED grow lights, and fertilizing marijuana properly is one of the other key tips to keep in mind. Read on to learn about the growth cycle of marijuana and the essential nutrients for marijuana to quickly grow a healthy and productive plant.
- See Related: Top 5 Advanced Nutrients Fertilizers Reviews
Stages of Cannabis Growth
In order to understand the essential cannabis nutrients, you have to first learn about the natural cycle of marijuana growth. New growers need to know that weed grows in two main phases – first the vegetative phase followed by the stage involving marijuana flowering. Let take a look at both in more detail.
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a. Vegetative Growth Phase
Lasting from 4 to 6 weeks, the plant’s adolescent phase is commonly called the “vegetative phase”. During this phase, the plant’s shoots and leaves develop but flowering typically does not occur. It begins when the plant is just a seedling and continues up to the time the plant begins flowering or it reaches a height of at least 18 inches from the point where it meets the soil/water.
The vegetative phase is the period when modifications to the plant’s structure eg. pruning of unwanted stems and leaves, can be carried out without worrying about loss of buds. Further, you may also want to lengthen or shorten the vegetative phase to increase/decrease or change the flavour of the marijuana crop that the plant would eventually produce.
Lighting Duration : 16 to 20 hours per day to mimic summertime
b. Flowering Growth Phase
The second of the marijuana growth stages, the length of the flowering phase varies depending on the strain being used and the potency of the weed being sought. It is generally accepted however that the phase begins when the plants reach at least 18 inches in height and have sufficient foliage. As soon as this is reached, many growers shift to the flowering phase of the indoor lighting (red lights). Within 10 days of this shift, you should be able to find “flowering” starting. As the buds mature, they develop a snowy appearance due to the formation of trichomes. These trichomes contain the THC vital to the potency of cannabis.
The development of trichomes occurs only on female plants and this allows ones to destroy the male plants as these are of no use (other than breeding). Once the female plants have been isolated, their nutrient and light conditions are carefully monitored even as the grower keeps a close eye on the trichomes. When the trichomes achieve a slight milky appearance, the plant is harvested.
Fertilizing Marijuana with Essential Cannabis Nutrients
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If you’re wondering how to grow weed fast, feeding them the essential cannabis nutrients is very important. Whether you are growing for personal consumption, medical use or sale for recreational purposes, you want the indoor growing process be as fast and efficient as possible. At the same time, it is important to ensure that the potency of the THC in the weed is not compromised, nor is the quantity reduced to unprofitable levels. Such rapid growth can be achieved by providing some specific nutrients to the plants at specific stages of the growth cycle. These nutrients are:
Nitrogen (N of NPK)
Nitrogen is a vital part of the structure of chlorophyll and of amino acids that form the building blocks of plant cells. They participate in the process of photosynthesis and aid in elongation of shoots and leaves. Due to this, nitrogen is especially important during the vegetative phase and therefore growers recommend a “high-N” formula. With proper nitrogen intake, marijuana plants grow faster both in terms of ageing and size. Hence, this nutrient directly reduces the duration of the growth cycle without compromising on the quality of the weed.
Potassium (K of NPK)
Potassium is one of the nutrients that directly affects the size and quality of the buds. Beyond the buds though, potassium is important for achieving high quality stems that are strong enough to support rapid growth of a large number of leaves and buds. These aside, potassium ions also play vital roles in photosynthesis and water transportation procedures. For these reasons, adequate potassium supply is considered essential during both the vegetative and flowering phases. Interestingly however, hydroponics (water culture) based systems have far lesser incidents of potassium deficiency than soil systems so if you’re growing with soil, adding good amounts of potassium at regular intervals is a must.
Phosphorus (P of NPK)
Phosphorus is needed at all stages but is especially important for flowering. Hence, growers consider this one of the best nutrients for cannabis in the flowering period, allowing you to speed up the flowering process and get a larger number of buds at the same time.
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Recent research has shown that silicon helps improve the rate of production of THC, crop health and of course, the overall speed of plant growth. While most marijuana fertilizers have a decent amount of silicon as silicate, this and the naturally occurring soil silicon is exhausted by the time the plant exits the vegetative state. Hence, many users suggest adding potassium silicate in a dilute solution at the start of the flowering period (or some silicon rich fertilizer) to achieve appreciable increases in the rate of flowering.
Boron is needed in micro-amounts for a range of processes such as cell division, pollen formation, good leaf coloration, plant structure development and seed creation. While boron does not appreciably accelerate any development process, lack of it can retard development, especially of the roots. This in turn can prolong the growth cycle or in extreme cases, can even kill the plant.
Beneficial or symbiotic fungi attach to the roots of the plant. They draw nutrients from the surrounding soil/water faster and in greater quantity compared to what the roots themselves can achieve. In turn, the fungi receive various organic compounds prepared by the plant for their sustenance. Genetic engineering has allowed growers to create fungi that actively inhibit the growth of harmful, parasitic fungi. Thus, symbiotic fungi speed up nutrient intake and retard diseases, thus obtaining faster growth and better harvests.