What Can You Add to Your Plants and Soil To Benefit Crops?
In addition to the basics of growing cannabis: temperature, lighting, humidity, moisture, light, genetics and proper container, additives and nutrients are vital to encouraging maximum plant growth and yield. Because growing plants as crops require a significant amount of nutrients to support its leaves, thick flowers, and fruit, these top ten plant additives, and soil nutrients must be included:
Nitrogen is considered the first of the three primary macronutrients. After carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, nitrogen is the essential element for plants. Nitrogen is responsible for healthy leaf growth and makes up parts of proteins, which is why it is needed more than the other two macronutrients, phosphorus and potassium, during the vegetative stage. It is hard to give too much nitrogen; however, some plants like cannabis do not need as much nitrogen in the second half of the flowering stage.
Phosphorus is the second of the three macronutrients. It is essential for protein synthesis, respiration, and reproduction, which is why phosphorus is needed more than nitrogen and potassium during the flowering stage. In the initial stages of plant growth, phosphorus promotes rapid root growth and overall plant strength. Some plants form mutualistic relationships with fungi to get more phosphorus. The fungi gives the plant water and phosphorus, while the plant gives the fungi sugar.
Potassium is the third macronutrient of plant growth and is the K of NPK, which is the name plant growers use to describe these top three nutrients. Phosphorous encourages the opening and closing of plant pores: stomata which control CO2 intake and reduce water loss. Potassium also helps the plant absorb water, nutrients, and carbohydrates. This nutrient is a reason why cannabis plants create full, thick and dense buds.
Calcium is used by the plant to help regulate the cells and influences the stability of the plant. Calcium helps make stronger cell walls. Part of the regulation is the regulation of water. Calcium is especially needed if the plant doesn’t have enough water. For research done on maize one study showed that a foliar spray of Calcium at 40 mg L−1 significantly increased yields under drought stress (Source).
Magnesium is essential to photosynthesis. Don’t confuse magnesium with manganese. Magnesium is the center of the chlorophyll molecule, used to absorb light. In the fall trees rip out the magnesium from the chlorophyll molecule and store it in the roots. This process destroys all green pigments. We then see other secondary pigments like orange and red. This is why you can see leaves change color in the fall. Without magnesium, plants cannot process sunlight.
Sulfur is an additional micronutrient that helps develop and activate vitamins and enzymes.
In a study done on canola, with different soil and foliar applications of sulfur, Glucosinolate, a defense molecule increases 13.6 to 24.6 μmol/g when sulfur rose from 0 to 30 kilograms per hectare. (Source).
The nutrients above are needed in large amounts, but there are other essential nutrients that are also needed by the plant, just in smaller amounts they are call micronutrients.
Here are some of the micronutrients:
Plants do not need a lot of these nutrients, but they do need them. If just one is absent, then the plant will be stunted and may die from disease or environmental stress. All of the nutrients above are needed for maximum plant growth and yield.
Ok, now that we got the essential plant additives out of the way, what are some other ones?
B1, kelp or enzymes are typically used by experienced growers, and can also help with plant growth and yield. Other additives include amino acids, molasses, humic and fulvic acid.
Commercial fertilizers that include additives and nutrients can help simplify the plant growth process and yield by providing a ready-made formula. Several varieties are on the market, including pre-fertilized soils, quick-release fertilizers, time-release fertilizers, fish emulsion, bone meal, seabird guano, blood meal, carbohydrates and more.
Now you know about macronutrients, micronutrients, and why they are essential. You can now breathe more relaxed with your plant nutrients knowledge.