Just about every time I network with other marijuana growers, we share complaints about nutrients companies and their products.
Many of us blame ourselves, our grow op equipment, grow room environment, pests, diseases, or marijuana genetics for crop failures. And sometimes we mistakenly blame nutrients for those failures.
But too often, inferior nutrients sabotage your opportunity to get maximum harvest weight, potency, taste and quality from your marijuana growing.
This isn’t a new problem for cannabis cultivators. Fact is, the hydroponics nutrients industry isn’t well-regulated by consumer protection government agencies. Growers have to dig deep into the product claims and integrity of nutrients manufacturers to protect themselves from nutrients ripoffs.
Yes, there are so-called “label police” in many states who enforce weak regulations about what nutrients manufacturers say on product labels. Some state’s fertilizer regulators seek to ban so-called “pesticide” or “plant growth regulator” ingredients.
Most states require a “guaranteed analysis” and “heavy metals statement” from nutrients manufacturers so growers can know a product’s basic ingredients. A few quasi-governmental and private certification consortiums regulate so-called organic or natural fertilizer products.
It’s also true that most state marijuana legalization laws require testing of cannabis before it’s sold in licensed retail stores. If cannabis contains contaminants or banned substances, it can’t legally be sold. This acts as a limiter valve on what growers feed or spray on their crops if they want their crops to pass inspection.
But no official agency verifies whether nutrients manufacturers are using legitimate plant science to design and make fertilizers that maximize cannabis growth, metabolism, harvest weight, and potency. No consumer protection agency verifies nutrients manufacturer’s claims about product effects and quality.
In fact, it’s the opposite. That’s why almost anybody can buy crude raw nutrients salts from China, mix up a bunch of amateurish formulations in their garage, slap some marginally-compliant labels on them, and start their own nutrients company.
Starting decades ago when indoor marijuana growing became a boom industry, Growing Marijuana Perfectly team members have repeatedly queried nutrients companies whose products dominate grow shop shelves.
We’ve repeatedly asked these companies simple questions: Why are your products so damned inconsistent in ingredients, manufacturing standards, pH buffering, quality, and performance? Why so expensive? Can you prove you do any actual scientific research on cannabis plants? Why should I buy your nutrients instead of another brand, or instead of growing marijuana in fertile soil so I don’t need added nutrients?
Early on, these companies included General Hydroponics, Canna, Dutch Master, Technaflora, Grotek, Botanicare, House & Garden, BioBizz, and Atami. Now, there are many more, including Green Planet, Emerald Harvest, Dyna-Gro, Nectar for the Gods, Heavy 16, and on and on and on.
“We Can’t Talk About Marijuana Growing”
When marijuana growing was totally illegal everywhere in North America, nutrients companies hid behind federal cannabis prohibition as their excuse not to answer product quality questions from marijuana growers.
In most cases, as soon as you mentioned marijuana on the phone, the company rep would hang up. Sometimes you were told to call back and ask only about “tomato growing.”
But when you called back, you quickly realized they didn’t adequately understand tomato or marijuana growing, and were unwilling to be candid about their product research, design, ingredients, quality control and manufacturing.
Larry Brooks, the now-retired founder of General Hydroponics, told one of our team members 15 years ago: “Our products were never intended for marijuana.” He said even if they were, he couldn’t admit it because it would be dangerous for his company.
He based his fear on the infamous 1989 nationwide Operation Green Merchant federal raid on hydroponics stores and other grow op-related businesses that advertised in High Times magazine. If a nutrients manufacturer even just mentions marijuana growing, Brooks falsely claimed, “the government can charge the company with being a marijuana cultivation co-conspirator.”
Funny thing is, extensive review of legal cases and public records reveals no nutrients manufacturer has ever been prosecuted solely for making nutrients sold unknowingly by grow stores to marijuana growers.
When a new hydroponics nutrients company called Advanced Nutrients hit the market in the early 2000s, its founder Michael “Big Mike” Straumietis shocked the nutrients industry by publicly proclaiming he tested his nutrients in home-based marijuana gardens run by Canadian medical marijuana patients.
Straumietis correctly explained that cannabis does best when fed nutrients made to cater to its unique metabolic needs, and the end goals of growers. He said any nutrients company that fails to do cannabis plants research and document it publicly is ripping off growers.
“I grew up in the Corn Belt,” Straumietis explained at the time. “So I know how agriculture is supposed to work. Scientists research every facet of corn, soybean, wheat and other plants, then design fertilizers and other crop inputs that enable the fastest growth rate and biggest, best harvests. But nobody had ever done that for cannabis, and growers were missing out.”
Seeing Straumietis’ cannabis-specific marketing quickly capture the attention and dollars of marijuana growers, rival nutrients companies along with a large wholesale hydroponics supplier and hydroponics trade association sent scary letters to grow shops, warning if they sold Advanced Nutrients, the DEA might raid them.
But no hydroponics store raids have ever taken place because a grow shop sold a specific brand of hydroponic nutrients.
When hydroponics storeowners told Straumietis they felt threatened by the scare-tactic letters, he doubled down by brutally calling out General Hydroponics and all the other nutrients companies for not doing cannabis-specific nutrients research.
Straumietis also slammed them for not being public advocates for their main customers– so-called “black market” marijuana growers–who in many states (even legalized marijuana states) are even today besieged victims of law enforcement and long prison sentences.
His opponents responded by narking out Advanced Nutrients to law enforcement, resulting in a massive, unjustified raid on the company’s Canadian headquarters!
At present, Straumietis hasn’t created a licensed American grow op to test cannabis nutrients, but says he has cannabis testing facilities in Europe and intends to have one in North America. We have asked Straumietis for third-party studies proving his marketing claims, but haven’t received those studies yet.
Why Don’t Manufacturers Test Their Nutrients on Marijuana???
Regardless of the vicious battles in the nutrients industry, growers’ quest for professional cannabis-specific nutrients continued. As soon as Dennis Peron’s pioneering Proposition 215 California medical marijuana growing legalization law was passed by voters in 1996, we pressured nutrients companies to do legal scientific agricultural research to make professional nutrients for cannabis plants.
They said no, citing fear of federal marijuana prohibition. But behind the scenes, nutrients manufacturers explained they were already making tons of money selling watered-down generic nutrients with inferior materials and formulations—so why should they “waste” money on new research or making better products?
Fast forward to 2010 and up to today: recreational and medical marijuana growing is totally, federally legal in Canada, hemp growing is federally legal in the USA, and many American states have legalized recreational and medical growing.
Marijuana growing is so legal that even university researchers in Utah are publicly talking about their marijuana growing research.
In this marijuana legalization boom, we called back all those recalcitrant nutrients companies and demanded, “Surely now you’ll do original plant science research on marijuana.” But they still don’t do cannabis plant science research.
Ironically, many nutrients companies were worried when General Hydroponics and Botanicare were purchased in 2015 by Scott’s Miracle-Gro (the sole licensee for Monsanto’s poisonous Roundup, and a convicted corporate criminal).
GH and Botanicare ultimately became part of the Hawthorne Gardening and Sunlight Supply consortium. Hawthorne is a front company created to hide the connection to Scott’s Miracle-Gro, which ethical marijuana growers and businesses boycott due to its corporate connections to environmental destroyer Monsanto, cancer-causing Roundup, and Bayer (Bayer owns Monsanto, and has a sordid corporate history).
Rival nutrients companies feared Scott’s and its monstrous corporate allies Monsanto and Bayer would spend tens of millions of dollars on cannabis-specific nutrients research and development.
They were terrified that Scott’s would hire scientists to develop genetically-modified GMO cannabis, cannabis strain patents, and would uncover the inner workings of cannabis metabolism to design super-nutrients that work way better than all other brands.
Their fears seemed justified. After all, Scott’s CEO Jim Hagedorn has described the hydroponics industry as a war zone that he wants to dominate, referencing his former career as an F-16 military fighter pilot. And Hawthorne/Scott’s-owned Sunlight Supply controls a lot of what hydroponics stores sell.
Hagedorn’s greedy, egoic, domineering motivations and goals are why non-Hawthorne nutrients companies believed their amateurish old-school products could be made obsolete or locked out of the market if Scott’s did scientific cannabis nutrients research to create a totally new line of nutrients that made cannabis plants much healthier and productive.
Turns out they needn’t have worried. When members of our journalistic team ask Scott’s, General Hydroponics and Botanicare if Scott’s Miracle-Gro is spending massive corporate money on new, innovative, original cannabis nutrients research, their answer is no.
Are Your Hydroponics Nutrients Made for Tomatoes?
The troubling fact is that the nutrients brand you’re likely using has not been created by the professional agricultural product design, testing, quality control and refinement process used to develop fertilizers for all other major ag crops.
Instead, your expensive nutrients are just generic copies of old-school hydroponics formulations created for tomatoes, bell peppers and other non-cannabis plants by hydroponics pioneers like William Gericke and Dennis Hoagland in the 1930s and 40s.
Of course, a few hydroponics companies have gone slightly beyond last century’s hydro formulas by adding phosphorus-potassium bloom boosters, carbos, root zone products, plant-growth regulator bud hardeners, and a flushing product to their line-up.
But they’ve never shown us validated scientific cannabis plant science hydroponic nutrients research documentation–because they don’t do any research.
Another worrisome thing is these company’s reps don’t know much if anything about growing cannabis, and what little they do know is often bogus. Their nutrients companies haven’t done original, documented plant science testing to ensure their nutrients formulations push cannabis plants to give you your heaviest, most resinous harvests.
Their quality control protocols are inferior or nil; even their labeling and packaging can be defective or misleading.
The same is true of so-called natural and organic fertilizer brands, which my grower friends describe as “great nutrients…for fungus gnats, salmonella, sewage smell, and clogged fertigation systems.”
Finally…One Nutrients Company Does it Right!
Now in case you’re wondering why it’s so important to have authentic science-based cannabis-specific nutrients research, remember cannabis is a miracle plant producing proprietary compounds no other plant produces.
Marijuana plants have unique growth patterns, life cycles and metabolic pathways that can be beneficially manipulated via customized nutrients inputs, light inputs and environmental conditions.
Conversely, inferior nutrients and other faulty inputs harm cannabis plants, limiting harvest weight and cannabinoid/terpenoid percentages, setting you up for heartbreaking, money-wasting, profit-busting crop failures.
So when professional growers told us about a courageous, pioneering American nutrients company doing innovative cannabis plant science research in its own licensed Colorado grow op, we were surprised, skeptical, but also…somewhat hopeful.
The company is Rx Green Technologies. Founded in New Hampshire, but based mostly in marijuana-loving Colorado, Rx Green is the only nutrients company to publicly prove it operates a professional, licensed, USA-based, cannabis-specific, scientific nutrients research and design grow op.
Their facility comprises 20,000 square feet of cultivation and laboratory space, with 200 grow lights. They grow plants in their own pristine coco coir (more about their coco substrate later), and also in all other popular substrates and grow systems to ensure their products work well in diverse marijuana growing situations.
Rx Green is a serious agricultural products company with an R & D team led by statured scientists including Dr. Stephanie Wedryk, a horticultural specialist who has been researching plant growth since she was in high school and earned a PhD in horticulture and crop science from Ohio State University.
After earning her doctorate, Wedryk became a nutrients developer for one of the largest American farmer-owned agricultural cooperatives, before she moved up to work for Rx Green Technologies.
Rx Green also has Dr. Sheena Gayomba, who earned a crop sciences Master’s and doctoral degree from the very prestigious Cornell University. We’re unaware of any other nutrients company that has respected PhD plant scientists on-site working in a legal, cannabis-specific American research facility.
Along with Drs. Wedryk and Gayomba, Rx has other scientists and professional cannabis cultivators on staff. Having its own licensed cannabis grow op and credentialed plant scientists gives Rx Green a huge advantage over other nutrients companies.
Before they created their product line, Rx Green scientists talked extensively to professional, licensed cannabis growers and smaller-scale growers about problems with other nutrients brands and general growing issues.
After they find out what growers are most concerned about, they create multiple versions of proprietary base nutrients and supplements formulations and extensively test each formula on a variety of cannabis strains in different types of cannabis growing systems and substrates.
Their test-crop outcomes are graded via strict in-house performance metrics including general plant health, harvest weight, cannabinoid potency, terpenoids percentages and profiles, and adjusted their formulas and ingredients until they were sure their products push marijuana plants to their maximum genetic potential, are easy to use, and 100% reliable.
And they’re constantly conducting new research and upgrading their formulations when necessary, ensuring their products are always ultra-modern and effective.
For example, many of us have struggled to avoid or fix bloom phase calcium and/or magnesium deficiencies. We’ve used standard “cal-mag” supplements that are nitrogen heavy or otherwise poorly-configured—they often cause more problems than they solve.
In contrast, Rx Green surveyed professional and home growers about calcium and magnesium problems, then did a long, exhaustive research program to produce nutrients containing natural chelators that improve calcium uptake throughout the growing cycle. Two of their formulas (E-Plus and Bulk) provide bioavailable calcium in the right form and ratios.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Rx Green’s strategy of rethinking the way nutrients are designed and made.
For example, some other nutrients brands hype “amino acids” as essential protein building blocks for plants. Problem is, they use the cheap, ineffective, and often toxic form of aminos called D-amino acids that aren’t easily utilized by cannabis plants.
Fortunately, Rx Green products contain the more-effective L-amino acids plants use to build peptides and proteins crucial to marijuana plants’ metabolic and regulatory functions.
Similarly, Rx Green’s two-part Grow and Bloom base nutrients contain proprietary compounds that accelerate uptake and utilization of the crucial major nutrients nitrogen and phosphorous.
And they’ve also included proprietary biostimulants and other ingredients that enhance your plants’ ability to protect themselves against drought, heat, intense light, pests and diseases.
Another Rx Green innovation came when their plant scientists learned that spraying a natural “harpin protein” on cannabis plants significantly improves plant growth and immune systems, leading to faster growth and plants more resistant to pests and disease.
Harpin proteins contained in Rx Green’s “Axiom” product are mixed into reverse osmosis water and sprayed on cannabis plants just before dawn outdoors or just before grow lights come on indoors. This is an exciting new strategy for helping plants protect themselves.
Rx Green’s innovations help your root zone. Many growers install what they hope are beneficial root zone microbes to boost roots and plant performance. I’ve used every root microbes product available, and none of them offer the product quality assurance and formulation efficacy that the Rx Green “Root” product gives you.
One impressive thing I noticed as soon as I got the product is that their containers are industrial-strength. They don’t leak like other nutrients brands’ containers do, and they’re very sturdy and air-tight.
Rx Green’s “Root” product is the only root-booster containing Myconate® (Formononetin). This compound stimulates beneficial bacterial colonization on marijuana roots, and promotes growth of mycorrhizal fungi.
Mycorrhizal fungi form a symbiotic relationship with cannabis roots, providing nutrients and enhanced water uptake, and creating a feedback loop in which the plant’s roots emit sugars and other carbs to feed beneficial microbes.
Rx Green Root is extremely concentrated, making it a way better value than competing root boosters, and it has an exceptionally long shelf life.
For those of you using coco coir (or who would use it except that most coco coir substrate is contaminated or creates toxicity and/or nutrients elements lockout and other problems) the good news is Rx Green makes a diverse line of coco coir products.
Why We’re Telling You About Rx Green Technologies
As you’re aware, Growing Marijuana Perfectly doesn’t recommend cannabis strains, seed companies, grow lights, nutrients, meters, climate control equipment, or growing strategies without rigorously testing them first.
Because we’re growers ourselves, we understand the incredible joy of a flawless season and a huge harvest of fat, glistening buds…and the heartbreak of a season plagued by nutrients problems, defective seeds or strains, or grow gear failures. That’s why we’re so cautious about recommending marijuana growing supplies and seeds.
Rx Green didn’t provide us with the third-party cannabis-specific nutrients performance science we asked for, but we’ve tested their products for an entire year, and we’ve decided to recommend them because…
- Not only do they have actual PhD plant scientists on staff, most of their field reps are also plant scientists or have significant cannabis growing experience.
- Rx Green is one of few nutrients companies that markets direct to growers. They have a fleet of field reps who help you choose the right products, and they well understand all types of grow ops, hydroponics systems, substrates, recirculating versus drain-to-waste, etc.
- Rx Green provides an extensive dossier of product information and usage instructions that goes way beyond what other nutrients manufacturers provide. With other nutrients brands, you’re lucky to get a reliable feed chart, or to be able to call a grower support rep who gives you accurate cannabis-specific cultivation advice.
- Many nutrients companies arbitrarily split up what they put in their bottles so you have to buy a huge number of different products from them. Rx Green offers a much-simpler feed program with fewer products, lower costs, and better return on investment.
- Rx Green provides detailed information on how to do trials of its products so you see how impressive they are. I’ve never seen a company provide so much product design, ingredients, configuration, testing, and use information to its grower customers.
- With most brands, when you measure initial EC or parts per million and then measure runoff for those same factors after following manufacturer’s dosage instructions, you get very inconsistent readings that indicate inferior nutrients and/or root zone problems. But when we follow RX Green’s feed charts, their products produce exactly the initial nutrients density, runoff density, and pH that Rx Green stipulates.
- RxGreen’s base nutrients consistency is remarkable. Their feed chart tells you exactly the parts per million you’ll get after mixing their base into reverse osmosis water. For example, they specify 700 ppm for grow phase base. And when you measure the nutrients solution after mixing, 700 ppm is what you get.
- RxGreen explicitly tells you how long their products last in storage unopened and opened, and their product shelf life is far longer than most other brands.
- Rx Green feed programs don’t require you to do as much work monitoring and adjusting pH, saving you time, hassle, and money.
- RX Green’s formulas look, store, and smell cleaner and more stable than any other hydroponics brand we’ve used.
- Rx Green makes professional, tested, uniquely effective cloning products. They also make a natural fungicide with ingredients proven effective against powdery mildew, botrytis cinerea (gray mold) and other pathogenic attackers.
- Licensed, commercial cannabis grow op owners and managers running massive legal grow ops publicly state that Rx Green products and grower support are superior to what other nutrients brands offer.
- Rx Green scientists and grow advisors challenge long-held, mistaken assumptions many growers have, and many traditional growing strategies. For example, their approach to nutrients solution and root zone pH, and bloom phase plant flushing, seem shockingly unusual at first, until you see the science behind their advice.
If you’re using a nutrients brand and getting what you’re absolutely sure are incredible, unbeatable results, good for you. Many growers aren’t, and you never know how much bigger and more potent your buds could be until you try the latest nutrients technology.
Our recommendation is test the Rx Green Technologies feed program and other products and see what they do for you.
Regardless of how you feed your marijuana plants, you have to applaud Rx Green Technologies for being the first American nutrients company developing innovative nutrients and other grow supplies by running its own legal, licensed, large-scale cannabis growing facility!