Hydroponics Nutrients for Marijuana

Like many serious cannabis growers, I used to be confused and frustrated by claims and counter-claims about which brand of hydroponics nutrients would grow me the biggest, stickiest buds. Hydroponics nutrients are necessary in any grow op where you’re not using fertile soil. They’re also useful in some soil cannabis growing.

I’d inquired about hydroponics nutrients at hydroponics stores and cannabis grow expos, talked to other pot growers in person and on internet cultivation forums, and read High Times, Skunk, and other marijuana magazines. I talked to employees of hydroponics nutrients manufacturers. All I got were arguments and assertions about hydroponics nutrients brands, but not enough verifiable facts.

I wanted to know which brand of hydroponics nutrients, if any, would definitely help me grow the healthiest cannabis plants and get maximum yield harvests of the most valuable weed. Some people told me it doesn’t matter what nutrients you use, but I’d already seen that some nutrients brands were better than others. I decided to do grow op testing and find out once and for all.

It took me several grow op seasons to complete my testing, but it really wasn’t so hard to conduct hydroponics nutrients tests…it just requires cultivation consistency and time.

What you need for a valid comparison test of hydroponics nutrients are stable motherplants that produce identical clones for several grow cycles.  You also need the same grow room with identical operating conditions.

When clone genetics, plant numbers, grow lights and grow bulbs, indoor grow room climate, root zone media, water quality, protection from pests and diseases, and other factors are all the same—and the only thing different is the hydroponics brand you’re using—you find out how hydroponics nutrients brands compare to each other.

Now take a look at the box score for each nutrients brand I used:

General Hydroponics

General Hydroponics three-part “Flora” base nutrients, Liquid Bloom bloom booster

Hydroponics System: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 73 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures using Hortilux Blue bulbs/Grow Phase. Hortilux Super High Pressure Sodium bulbs/Bloom Phase.

Harvest Total Dry Weight: Four pounds

Comments: pH instability in grow and bloom phase. Sedimentation. Some nutrients burn at recommended dosage.

Botanicare Kind Nutrients

Nutrients: Botanicare “Kind” Base/Grow/Bloom three-part, and Hydroplex 0-10-6 bloom booster

Hydroponics System: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 71 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures. Hortilux Blue/Grow Phase. Hortilux Super HPS/Bloom Phase.

Total Dry Weight: Three pounds, eleven ounces

Comments: Hard-to-mix base nutrients. pH instability in bloom phase. Sedimentation. Lack of marijuana-specific grower support.

Canna

Used Canna “Aqua Vega” two-part for grow phase. Canna “Aqua Flores” for bloom phase. Canna PK 13/14 for bloom booster.

Hydroponics System: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 70 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures. Hortilux Blue/Grow Phase. Hortilux Super HPS/Bloom Phase.

Total Dry Weight: Four pounds, three and one half ounces.

Comments: Leaf tip burn at recommended dosage. Sedimentation. Lack of marijuana-specific grower support.

Humboldt Nutrients

Nutrients:  Humboldt Nutrients three-part hydroponics base. Bloom booster: Ginormous.

Hydroponics System: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 69 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures. Hortilux Blue/Grow Phase. Hortilux Super HPS/Bloom Phase.

Total Dry Weight: Three pounds, nine ounces.

Comments: Sedimentation. Hard to adjust pH. Mixing problems.

Technaflora

Nutrients:  Technaflora three-part “B.C.” Grow, Boost, Bloom base nutrients. Bloom booster: Awesome Blossoms.

Hydroponics system: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 72 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures. Hortilux Blue/Grow Phase. Hortilux Super HPS/Bloom Phase.

Total Dry Weight: Four pounds, two ounces.

Comments: Sedimentation. Hard to adjust pH. Mixing problems. No marijuana-specific grower support.

Advanced Nutrients

Nutrients: Advanced Nutrients Sensi Grow & Sensi Bloom pH Perfect hydroponics base nutrients. Bloom Booster: Big Bud synthetic.

Hydroponics system: Rockwool slab recirculating.

Genetics: Stable Jack Herer clones

Bloom Phase Duration: 67 days

Grow Lights: Three 1000-watt fixtures. Hortilux Blue/grow phase. Hortilux Super HPS/bloom phase

Total dry weight: A few grams under five pounds.

Comments: Accurate pH buffering. Very helpful marijuana-specific grower support.

Further Hydroponics Nutrients Discussion

Notes: Grow phase duration totaled 28 days from when rooted clones were transplanted into a Grodan rockwool drip irrigation system. Plant spacing was six clones per 1000-watt light. Sealed grow room was free of pests and diseases. No C02 added. Grow bulbs replaced every season. The use of Grodan rockwool ensured that root zone was totally neutral—rockwool is among the most sterile and inert root zone media a marijuana grower can use,  which makes it great for testing hydroponics nutrients.

The cost of nutrients for each test season was similar, within plus or minus $55. There was no noticeable deterioration of motherplant or clone vigor or phenotype consistency during testing period.

I wish I’d have had access to and the money for testing of cannabinoid and terpenoid ratios and percentages, but I couldn’t afford that kind of lab testing.

The box scores are presented in the chronological order of my test seasons. To make comparison testing easier, less expensive and more consistent, I chose a simple feed program by using only each brand’s mid-price hydroponics base product and the brand’s foremost solo bloom booster.

Before using a brand’s nutrients, I called the relevant hydroponics manufacturers and asked for their grower support department, identifying myself as a legal marijuana grower. I told them I wanted to use only their best hydroponics base nutrients and one bloom booster supplement, and followed their recommendation.

Some hydroponics nutrients manufacturers don’t even have technical advisors. Of the ones that did, only the Advanced Nutrients representative would discuss cannabis cultivation with me. I quickly realized that the Advanced Nutrients representative was much more helpful and knowledgeable than any other brand’s employees. He was a professional marijuana grower and was so tech-savvy that he even built his own LED grow lights. The guy gave me great advice, and was super-friendly…a real winner.HydroNutrientsAfter I compared results from the test seasons, I took the extra step of doing a side-by-side grow contest between the top two yielders: Advanced Nutrients and Canna. In this test, Advanced Nutrients out-yielded Canna by seven ounces, and the Advanced Nutrients plants were ready for harvest several days earlier than the Canna-grown Jack Herer clones.

I called Advanced Nutrients technical support to ask if, why, and how I should use the extensive menu of Advanced Nutrients products, given that I’d achieved respectable results using only their pH Perfect base nutrients and their synthetic Big Bud bloom booster.

My questions were the same ones asked by many marijuana growers when they see that Advanced Nutrients makes four different bud boosters for marijuana bloom phase, rather than just the one phosphorus-potassium product that other hydroponics nutrients manufacturers offer.

Critics of Advanced Nutrients assert that the company’s multi-product phased bloom booster approach isn’t necessary and that one bloom booster is all you need for bloom phase. I challenged the Advanced Nutrients advisor to give me reasons for buying their three other bud boosters to go along with Big Bud.

After the Advanced Nutrients advisor explained the reasons he recommends the four-booster approach for bloom phase (because marijuana plants have multiple bloom sub-phases that benefit from targeted bloom boosters), I understood the good reasons to use a time-specific regimen of bloom booster products (Bud Ignitor, Big Bud, Bud Candy, Nirvana, Overdrive).

I used the full suite of Advanced Nutrients products in a subsequent Jack Herer season and saw three important results:

  • The plants were ready for harvest after only 61-63 days in bloom phase. That was the fastest this phenotype had ever finished.
  • The yield was highest ever for these clones, nearing three pounds per light, a yield I had longed for and was very excited to weigh up. That much yield isn’t common for Jack Herer.
  • I saw acceleration of resin gland formation and increase in the number and size of resin glands.

And because the Advanced Nutrients pre-flowering/early flowering product (Bud Ignitor) works as promised to create earlier onset of budding and more budding sites, my bloom phase is 4-7 days shorter than it was before, which saves money, work, and time.

Jack Herer isn’t known as a particularly high-yielding marijuana strain, and by the time I got done with my hydroponics nutrients testing program, I was bored with growing and using it.

I started other strains in a search for the best phenotypes for a new generation of motherplants.

Several other growers who are part of GrowingMarijuanaPerfectly.com monitored my hydroponics nutrients test seasons and after seeing the results they too switched over to Advanced Nutrients. They’ve told me Advanced Nutrients outperforms and is more fun to use than the nutrients brands they used previously. They report that Advanced Nutrients tech advisors helped them create and run better grow ops.

The testing I’ve just described lays to rest the confusion we had about hydroponics nutrients brands. The consistently outstanding results I now get in my grow room are the result of providing my plants the best climate control, pest control, air and water, and cultivation care that I can, along with the verified best hydroponics nutrients for marijuana.

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