Of course we don’t ignore it completely…we obviously provide hydroponics nutrients, light, water and climate. Yet, because there are no flowers to tend to, which means you don’t have the exciting aroma and sights of bloom phase, we naturally pay less attention.
I’ve found out the hard way that I ought to pay attention, because grow phase can make or break your bloom phase.Consider the following tips to make your grow phase as high-value as possible:
Use the Best Grow Phase Nutrients You Can Find
Growing from clone or seed, as soon as your plants have set healthy roots you start ramping up your nutrients level. It’s different for every strain you grow. You can’t say that 800 ppm will be ok for Kali Mist at three weeks just because it’s ok for Bubba Kush at three weeks. You have to watch for burning (brown leaf tips) and yet push your plants as hard as you can without pushing them too far.
You also have to use quality nutrients. As a grower networked with many other growers with decades of experience using all the major brands of hydroponics nutrients, the hottest ticket on the market right now is Sensi Grow pH Perfect ™. You get the benefits of everything a grow phase fertilizer has to have in it, along with boosters such as humic acid. and L-amino acids, and all of this in a formula that automatically stabilizes pH no matter what kind of water you use.
They call this a 5-in-one product because it contains all essential elements that competing grow phase base nutrients have, but it also contains growth stimulators that you’d normally have to buy separately and add in.
Foliar Feed for Marijuana Grow Phase Power
I suggest you use quarter-strength B-52 vitamin B booster every feed cycle, and half strength Wet Betty organic surfactant every three feed cycles. This is a root feed.
To armor your marijuana plants so you increase their resistance against powdery mildew, gray mold, mites, thrips, and other nasties, use a foliar spray consisting of reverse osmosis water, Rhino Skin, Tarantula, Organic B, Wet Betty, and Piranha at 180 ppm and 5.7 pH. This combination is an inside and out delivery of protectants and metabolic strengtheners. You get safer plants that mature faster so they’re ready for bloom phase earlier.
Apply this just 40 minutes before your light cycle starts (the extra light you need to do the spraying won’t hurt your grow phase plants), and make sure you do the topside and underside of the leaves. Spray twice a week starting when your plants are established, through the second week of bloom phase.
Power Your Roots for Bigger Buds
Start with House & Garden Roots Excelurator. It’s the most expensive root booster in the hydroponics market, but for marijuana roots it’s like steroids. Follow up with beneficial microbes guaranteed to add density, health, and intake capacity to your roots.
Make sure to keep your root zone and nutrients water around 69°F, oxygenate your nutrients water, avoid overwatering, and make sure that your plants have enough root zone space so they can spread out. Bigger roots = bigger yields.
Provide the Right Light That Marijuana Plants Love
In the last five years we’ve finally seen lighting developed specifically for marijuana. It makes a difference in bloom phase more than grow phase, but in grow phase you still want to have the highest intensity of photosynthetically active (PAR) light you can get. You won’t get this with old school Metal Halide and High Pressure Sodium. You want to invest in new school bulbs and Chameleon plasma lighting.
Make sure the light is penetrating up and down your plants vertically, into and through the canopy. You may have to add reflective materials or off-set VHO (very high output) T-5’s to get light into shaded areas. I’d rather you pour too much PAR onto your plants than too little. And most people give too little light.
Trim Your Marijuana Plants Early to Get Heavier Yields
I’ll have to do a whole other article on trimming and training young plants, but it’s easy to do a basic early trim that’ll boost your yields. Unless you’re growing a tight sea of green or your plants are in a pre-formatted DWC, aeroponics or other unit where there’s not much diameter room for them, you benefit by trimming early on.
Trimming encourages horizontal growth and dense branching. This is especially crucial if you’re growing varieties that tend to go tall or to go towards a Christmas tree shape. Your best-yields will come from hydroponics marijuana plants with large root size and ample diameter space so that instead of one main stem and a bunch of little stems you have several main stems.
What is the simplest way to do a trim? Wait until your seedlings have put on five sets of true (serrated) leaves. If you’re growing from clone, wait eight days after your cuttings have a fully-developed, self-sufficient root mass.
Using a pair of clean, sterilized, sharp scissors, cut the topmost set of leaves on the main stem. This affects the plant hormonally and physically, stimulating horizontal branching instead of vertical stretching. The end result is a bushier, better-formed plant with bigger overall yields of sticky buds.
Your marijuana plants will grow faster and denser, and be more ready for a high-yielding bloom phase if you follow these easy to implement grow phase tips.