Marijuana is an annual plant that when grown outdoors sprouts in the spring, grows lots of vegetation in the summer, flowers in the fall, drops its seeds and then dies. While you could conceivably grow marijuana indoors using the same nutrient cycle timing regiment from start to finish, this would not give you optimal results as weed has different needs during the various stages of growth.
Note: The manufacturer’s feeding schedule should supersede the following guidelines as they have much more experience with their own products. These tips are quite generalized and should be adapted to your specific strain, goals and grow room set–up<. PPMs are not listed as that varies quite a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer.
How to feed
If feeding by hand and using dry nutrients, mix them the day before in very hot water to dissolve and let cool overnight. If using tap water, leave the top off to evaporate some of the chlorine. If using premixed liquid nutrients then skip this step. Use pure water every other watering and water plus the nutrients every second (or sometimes every third watering).
If using a reservoir, top off with water as needed and check your PPMs and pH daily and adjust as necessary. Change the entire reservoir weekly.
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During this period, you need to give your plants a high dose of nitrogen and modest amounts of potassium and phosphorous (NPK fertilizer ratio).
Germination – week 1
During this phase the food stored within the hull of the seed is sufficient to fully fuel your cannabis plant. No additional nutrients are needed – and adding any will not boost growth and may actually harm your plants.
Seedlings – weeks 2 to 5
Use ¼ of the manufacturer’s recommended dosage for adult plants and increase ¼ per week until full strength is reached. Watch carefully and learn to read your plants. Some will require less and others may require more nutrients.
Early flowering – weeks 6 to 9
At this time you will switch your photo-period to 12/12 to induce blooming. Continue with the veg feeding regimen as your weed plants still require lots of nitrogen to put on some mass and size. When your buds are roughly grape-sized it is time to switch to Phase II. Note that different growers switch at various times.
During this period, you need to give your plants a blend with a minimal dose of nitrogen, moderate amounts of potassium and very high phosphorous. We lower the nitrogen to slow your marijuana from producing leaves and give them lots of phosphorous necessary for full, lush flowers or colas.
Mid to late flowering – weeks 10 to 13
During this time your buds will start to pack on mass as vertical growth slows dramatically. Marijuana can be very fussy so be very aware of any clues she gives as to nutrient deficiencies or toxic build-up. A sure-sign of ‘nute-burn’ or over overfeeding is evidenced by brown leaf tips anytime during the nutrient cycle.
Late flowering – weeks 14 to harvest
Now your leaves will start to yellow, generally the bottoms ones first. This is normal and not a sign of a deficiency. Rather than processing new minerals through the roots, the plant saves energy for budding by feeding on itself. You should reduce feeding at this time from ½ to ¾ of normal. Once the pistils turn rust-colored and the trichomes start changing from clear to milky it is time to stop feeding altogether and only give your girls pure water. This will flush your plants of any excess nutrients and give you a cleaner smoke.
Following these feeding tips will help you understand the basics of nutrient cycle timing.