Crafting a Feeding Schedule

Growing cannabis can be an exciting and rewarding experience, but it can also be a bit intimidating for novice cultivators. One of the most important aspects of growing healthy and productive cannabis plants is creating a custom feeding schedule that takes into account not only the specific strain you’re growing but also your environment and the unique needs of your plants. With so many options for fertilizers and nutrients, not to mention the numerous external factors that can impact plant growth, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting out. However, with a little bit of knowledge and planning, anyone can develop a custom feeding schedule that will help their cannabis plants thrive. In this article, we’ll discuss how to choose the right fertilizer, understand your strain’s unique needs, develop a feeding schedule, and troubleshoot common problems that might arise along the way.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer


Choosing The Right Fertilizer
When it comes to growing cannabis, one of the most critical decisions you’ll make is choosing the right fertilizer. With so many options available, it can be challenging to know where to start. However, your plant’s success depends on getting the proper nutrients in the right amounts, so it’s essential to choose the right fertilizer for your strain. In this section, we’ll explore some factors to consider when selecting a fertilizer, including the N-P-K ratio, micronutrient content, and the differences between organic and synthetic options.

Consider the N-P-K Ratio

When choosing the right fertilizer for your cannabis plants, one of the most important factors to consider is the N-P-K ratio. N-P-K stands for nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are the three most important macronutrients required for cannabis growth.

Nitrogen is essential for vegetative growth and the development of leaves and stems. It is necessary for the creation of chlorophyll, which is responsible for the plant’s green color and its ability to perform photosynthesis.

Phosphorus is important for the development of roots, flowers, and fruits, as well as for the transfer of energy within the plant. It is crucial for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the primary energy source for cellular processes.

Potassium is needed for overall plant health and strength. It helps regulate water balance, stress tolerance, and disease resistance, and plays a role in the production of starches and sugars.

When selecting a fertilizer, it is important to choose one with a balanced N-P-K ratio that meets the needs of your particular strain. Different strains may require different ratios depending on their genetic makeup and growth stage.

For example, during the vegetative stage, when the plant is focused on developing foliage and stems, it may require higher levels of nitrogen. During the flowering stage, when the plant is focused on producing buds, it may require higher levels of phosphorus and potassium.

By understanding the N-P-K ratio of your fertilizer and how it corresponds to the needs of your cannabis strain at different growth stages, you can provide your plants with the proper nutrition for optimal growth and yield.

Understand the Micronutrient Content

When selecting a fertilizer for your cannabis plants, it’s essential to not only consider the basic macronutrient content but also to pay attention to the presence of micronutrients in the fertilizer. These essential minerals are needed by your plants in small quantities but play a crucial role in their growth and development.

Here are some micronutrients that you should look out for when choosing a fertilizer for your cannabis plants:

  • Boron: Needed for cell wall development and calcium uptake, boron deficiency can cause stunted growth and hollow stems.
  • Copper: Essential for photosynthesis and plant metabolism, copper deficiency can lead to wilting and loss of leaves.
  • Iron: Required for energy and oxygen transportation, iron deficiency can result in yellowing leaves and poor growth.
  • Magnesium: A critical part of chlorophyll production, magnesium deficiency can cause yellow leaves and reduced growth.
  • Manganese: Necessary for photosynthesis and enzyme reactions, manganese deficiency can result in leaf spots and stunted growth.
  • Molybdenum: Required for the activation of certain enzymes, molybdenum deficiency can lead to yellowing or curling of leaves and stunted growth.
  • Zinc: An essential part of enzyme reactions and plant growth, zinc deficiency can cause distorted leaves and slow growth.

While most fertilizers will contain these micronutrients in small amounts, it’s important to make sure that they are present at adequate levels and in the right balance for your cannabis strain. Keep in mind that too much of a micronutrient can be just as harmful as too little, so always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and pay attention to your plant’s response to the fertilizer.

Research Organic vs. Synthetic Options

When it comes to choosing the right fertilizer for your cannabis plants, you must consider whether to opt for organic or synthetic options. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Environmental Impact: Organic fertilizers are usually derived from natural materials such as bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion, making them a more environmentally friendly option. However, synthetic fertilizers are often produced using petroleum, which is not eco-friendly.
  • Nutrient Content: Organic fertilizers provide nutrients that are slowly released into the soil over time, giving your plants a steady supply of nutrients. Synthetic fertilizers, on the other hand, provide an immediate nutrient boost but can quickly be used up, leading to a need for more frequent fertilization.
  • Micronutrients: Organic fertilizers typically contain a broader range of micronutrients that are essential for plant growth, which can improve the overall health and yield of your cannabis plants. Synthetic fertilizers may lack some of these micronutrients due to their focused nutrient content.
  • Flavor: Some growers prefer using organic fertilizers as they can enhance the flavor and aroma of their cannabis buds. This is because organic fertilizers provide a wider range of natural nutrients that can influence the final taste and smell of your cannabis strain.

Ultimately, the decision to use organic or synthetic fertilizers for your cannabis plants is a personal one that depends on the needs and goals of your grow operation. It’s crucial to research and consider all options before making any purchases.

Understanding Your Strain

Understanding Your Strain
As you embark on the journey of creating a custom feeding schedule for your cannabis plants, it’s important to understand that not all strains are created equal in terms of their nutrient needs. Each strain has its own unique genetics and characteristics that make it more suited to certain types of fertilizers and feeding schedules. In this section of the article, we will explore the factors you need to consider when it comes to understanding your strain, including its specific nutrient requirements, optimal timing for feeding, and how to identify and address any nutrient deficiencies that may arise.

Genetics and Nutrient Needs

Genetics and nutrient needs are closely related when it comes to growing marijuana. Different strains of cannabis plants have various genetic makeups that determine their nutrient requirements. It is essential to understand the genetics of your weed strain before determining its nutrient needs.

To make it easier for growers, we have created a table below that breaks down the nutrient needs of some common cannabis strains, based on their genetics.

Strain Genetics Nutrient Needs
Indica Short, bushy plants Higher potassium and phosphorus levels during flowering stage
Sativa Tall, thin plants Higher nitrogen levels throughout growth cycle
Hybrid Combination of Indica and Sativa genetics Varies depending on the specific strain
Ruderalis Small, fast-growing plants Low nutrient needs throughout growth cycle

As shown in the table, indica strains require higher potassium and phosphorus levels during the flowering stage, while sativa strains need more nitrogen throughout their growth cycle. It is important to adjust the nutrient balance accordingly to ensure that your plants receive the right amount of nutrients to promote healthy growth.

Keep in mind that nutrient requirements can also vary within strains, depending on factors such as soil composition and growing conditions. It is crucial to monitor your plants regularly and adjust nutrient levels as needed.

Timing of Nutrient Application

Proper timing of nutrient application is crucial for ensuring the health and quality of your cannabis crop. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Seedling Stage: During the first few weeks of the plant’s life, it doesn’t require much fertilizer beyond what’s already in the soil. Stick to a nutrient-rich soil blend and avoid fertilizing until the plant has established its first set of true leaves.
  • Vegging Stage: Once the plant has grown a few sets of leaves, it’s time to start fertilizing. Typically, a balanced formula such as 10-10-10 is used during this stage to encourage healthy plant growth.
  • Flowering Stage: As the plant begins to produce flowers, it will require more phosphorus and potassium, which are essential for producing large, healthy buds. Look for a fertilizer with a higher middle number, such as 5-10-10 or 10-20-10, to meet these needs.
  • Transition Period: When switching from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage, it’s important to give the plant a week or two to adjust to the new nutrient mix. Gradually decrease the nitrogen content and increase the phosphorus and potassium content until you reach the appropriate formula for the flowering stage.

Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when applying fertilizer and to check the pH level of your soil regularly to avoid nutrient lockout. With careful attention to timing, your cannabis plants will thrive and produce high-quality buds.

Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies

One of the most important aspects of creating a custom feeding schedule for your cannabis strain is identifying nutrient deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies can significantly impact the health and yield of your cannabis, so it’s essential to recognize the signs and address them promptly. Here are some key tips for identifying nutrient deficiencies:

1. Know the Symptoms: Each nutrient deficiency has distinct symptoms that you can observe in your plants. For example, a nitrogen deficiency will cause yellowing of older leaves, while a phosphorus deficiency will result in stunted growth and dark green leaves. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of common nutrient deficiencies.

2. Check the pH: In some cases, a nutrient deficiency can be caused by an imbalanced pH level. If the pH level is too high or low, your plant may have difficulty absorbing certain nutrients. Use a pH meter to check the pH regularly and adjust as needed.

3. Examine New Growth: Nutrient deficiencies often show up in new growth first. Make sure you’re examining new leaves for any signs of discoloration or other abnormalities.

4. Check for Pests: Pest infestations can also cause nutrient deficiencies in your cannabis plants. Some pests, like spider mites, can cause discoloration and damage to the leaves, which can be mistaken for a nutrient deficiency.

5. Consider Environmental Factors: Environmental factors, such as temperature and humidity, can also impact nutrient uptake in your plants. Keep an eye on these factors and make adjustments as needed.

By regularly checking for nutrient deficiencies and addressing them promptly, you can ensure that your cannabis plants stay healthy and produce a high yield. Don’t overlook this important step in creating your custom feeding schedule.

Developing Your Feeding Schedule

Developing Your Feeding Schedule
When it comes to developing a feeding schedule for your cannabis plants, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. With so many factors to consider, it can be difficult to determine the best approach. However, by taking a methodical and patient approach, you can create a custom feeding schedule that is tailored to the specific needs of your strain. In this section, we will explore the key factors that will help you to develop a feeding schedule that works for your cannabis plants. From starting small and working your way up to considering environmental factors, we will guide you through the process of creating a personalized and effective feeding schedule.

Start Small and Work Your Way Up

When developing a custom feeding schedule for your cannabis strain, it’s important to start small and work your way up. This means beginning with a low concentration of nutrients and gradually increasing the dosage until you reach the optimal level.

Here are some tips for starting small and working your way up:

  • Begin with a quarter strength solution: This means using only 25% of the recommended dosage of your chosen fertilizer. This will prevent nutrient burn and allow you to see how your plants respond.
  • Observe your plants: Look for signs of nutrient deficiencies or excesses, such as yellowing leaves or burnt tips. Adjust your nutrient levels accordingly.
  • Gradually increase the dosage: If your plants are responding well to the quarter strength solution, gradually increase the dosage to half strength, three-quarters strength, and eventually full strength.
  • Pay attention to the growth stage: Different growth stages may require different nutrient levels. For example, during the vegetative stage, your plants may require higher levels of nitrogen, while during the flowering stage, they may require higher levels of phosphorus.

By starting small and working your way up, you can avoid damaging your plants with too much fertilizer and ensure that they have the right amount of nutrients for healthy growth. Keep in mind that every strain is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the optimal feeding schedule for your specific plants.

Adjust for Growth Periods

To create a successful custom feeding schedule for your cannabis strain, it’s important to adjust for different growth periods. During each growth stage, your plant will have different nutrient needs. This means that adjusting your feeding schedule accordingly will ensure that your plants receive the right nutrients at the right time.

The following table gives an overview of the different growth phases and their nutrient needs:

Growth Phase Nutrient Needs
Seedling Low nutrient needs
Vegging High nitrogen, moderate phosphorus and potassium, and micronutrients
Pre-flowering Reduced nitrogen, high phosphorus and potassium, and micronutrients
Flowering Low nitrogen, high phosphorus and potassium, and micronutrients

As you can see, each growth period has specific nutrient needs that should be taken into account when creating your feeding schedule. During the seedling phase, your plant has low nutrient needs and should be fed lightly. During the vegging stage, your plant needs high levels of nitrogen to support leaf growth, along with moderate amounts of phosphorus and potassium. During the pre-flowering stage, nitrogen levels should be reduced, and phosphorus and potassium levels should be increased to encourage flower production. Finally, during the flowering stage, your plant needs low levels of nitrogen to prevent vegetative growth, and high levels of phosphorus and potassium to support flower development.

It’s important to note that nutrient needs can vary based on the specific strain you are growing, so it’s crucial to understand the genetics and nutrient requirements of your particular plant. Keep detailed records of your feeding schedule and adjust as needed to ensure your plant receives the right nutrients at the right time. With a little effort and attention to detail, you can maximize your plant’s growth and produce high-quality buds.

Consider Environmental Factors

When creating a custom feeding schedule based on your cannabis strain, it’s important to consider the environmental factors that can affect nutrient uptake and plant growth. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Temperature: Cannabis plants thrive in temperatures between 68-77°F (20-25°C). If the temperature is too hot or too cold, it can stress the plant and affect nutrient uptake.
  • Humidity: Humidity levels that are too high or too low can also stress the plant and lead to nutrient deficiencies. In general, aim for humidity levels between 40-60% during the vegetative stage and around 40% during flowering.
  • Light: The amount and quality of light your plants receive will affect their nutrient and water needs. Make sure your plants are getting the right amount of light for their growth stage and that the light source is at the correct distance from the plants.
  • Air circulation: Good air circulation is important for preventing mold and mildew growth, as well as ensuring proper CO2 uptake. Fans can help circulate air and keep the plants healthy.
  • The pH level of your soil or growing medium can affect nutrient availability. Aim for a pH between 6.0-7.0 for soil and 5.5-6.5 for hydroponic setups.

By monitoring and adjusting these environmental factors, you’ll be able to create an optimal growing environment for your cannabis plants and ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to thrive.

Keep Detailed Records

One crucial aspect of creating a custom feeding schedule for your cannabis strain is keeping detailed records. This step may seem tedious, but it can greatly benefit your overall growing process in the long run. By consistently keeping track of your nutrient application and growth progress, you can more easily identify patterns and make informed adjustments to your feeding schedule.
Here are some tips for keeping useful and organized records:

  • Use a notebook or spreadsheet: Choose a system that works best for you to track your nutrient application and growth progress. Some growers prefer traditional pen and paper, while others use digital spreadsheets.
  • Record what you feed: Write down the specific nutrient and amount added to each feeding to keep track of how much your plant is receiving.
  • Take notes on plant growth: Record the height, width, and general health of your plants. This will help you identify any abnormalities or progress in your plants’ growth.
  • Track environmental factors: Make note of any changes in light exposure, temperature, and humidity in your growing area. These factors can greatly affect a plant’s growth and nutrient uptake.
  • Be consistent: Make sure to record your nutrient application and growth progress at the same time every day or week. This will help you accurately track any changes or progress in your plants’ growth.

By keeping detailed records throughout the growing process, you can identify any issues or successes with your feeding schedule and make well-informed adjustments that lead to healthier and more productive plants.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Cultivating cannabis can be a challenging and delicate process. Despite your best efforts, there are times when issues may arise, and your plant seems to be struggling. It can be daunting and frustrating to try and identify the problem, especially if you’re new to growing cannabis. However, don’t worry, as you’re not alone in this as it is a common issue among cannabis cultivators. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most common problems you might encounter in a detailed manner and provide ways to troubleshoot them. By doing so, you can help your plant recover and ensure that it continues to yield high-quality results.

Burnt Tips or Yellowing Leaves

A common problem that growers may encounter when creating a custom feeding schedule is burnt tips or yellowing leaves. This can be a sign of nutrient toxicity or deficiency, and it’s important to address the issue promptly to prevent further damage to the plant.

Burnt Tips can occur when a plant receives too much of certain nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus. This is known as nutrient toxicity and can cause the tips of the leaves to turn brown or black and become brittle. To prevent this issue, it’s important to carefully follow the feeding schedule and not overfeed the plant. Additionally, it can be helpful to flush the soil with plain water to remove excess nutrients.

Yellowing Leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiency, particularly in nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium. This can cause the leaves to turn yellow, become weak, and eventually fall off the plant. To address this issue, it may be necessary to adjust the feeding schedule to provide more of the missing nutrients. It’s important to carefully monitor the plant and make adjustments as needed to ensure that it receives the proper nutrients.

Another possible cause of burnt tips and yellowing leaves is improper pH levels in the soil. Cannabis plants thrive in a slightly acidic soil with a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. If the pH level is too high or too low, the plant may not be able to absorb the necessary nutrients, which can result in nutrient deficiencies or toxicity. To prevent this issue, it’s important to regularly test the pH level of the soil and adjust as needed.

Burnt tips and yellowing leaves can be a sign of nutrient toxicity or deficiency, as well as improper pH levels in the soil. It’s important to carefully monitor the plant and make adjustments to the feeding schedule and pH levels as needed. By addressing these issues promptly, growers can help ensure that their cannabis plants grow strong and healthy.

| Burnt Tips | Yellowing Leaves |
|Too much nitrogen and phosphorus | Nutrient deficiency in nitrogen, potassium, and magnesium |
|Tips of the leaves turn brown or black | Leaves turn yellow, become weak, and fall off the plant |
|Nutrient toxicity | N/A |
|Overfeeding the plant can cause this issue | Feeding schedule may need to be adjusted to provide missing nutrients |
|Flushing the soil with plain water can help remove excess nutrients | Careful monitoring of the plant is necessary to prevent this issue |
|N/A | Improper pH levels in the soil can also be a cause |
|N/A | Regular testing of the pH level and adjustment as needed is important |

Nutrient Lockout

One common problem that cannabis growers can experience is nutrient lockout. This occurs when the roots of the plant are unable to absorb important nutrients, resulting in stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and other issues. There are several reasons why nutrient lockout can occur, including pH imbalances and over-fertilization.

To diagnose nutrient lockout, growers should conduct regular soil tests to determine the nutrient levels and pH of the soil. If there is an imbalance, adjustments can be made to help the plant absorb the nutrients more effectively.

Here is a table outlining some common causes of nutrient lockout and potential solutions:

Cause of Nutrient Lockout Possible Solution
High pH Lower the pH of the soil using a pH adjuster or nutrient solution
Low pH Raise the pH of the soil using a pH adjuster or nutrient solution
Over-Fertilization Flush the soil with water to remove excess nutrients, then adjust feeding schedule
Under-Fertilization Adjust feeding schedule and consider adding a nutrient supplement
Root Damage Inspect root system for damage and make necessary repairs or adjustments

By being vigilant for signs of nutrient lockout and taking corrective action, growers can help their cannabis plants thrive and produce high-quality yields.

Biological Imbalances

When it comes to growing cannabis, maintaining a balance of biological factors is just as important as providing the right nutrients. If the pH levels or microbial communities within the growing medium become imbalanced, it can result in a number of problems that impact the health and productivity of your plants.

1. pH Imbalances: Soil pH is the measure of acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 1-14. Cannabis prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. If the pH level is too low (<6.0), it can lead to nutrient deficiencies, while a pH that is too high (>7.0) can result in nutrient lockout. Maintaining proper pH balance is crucial for healthy growth and development of your cannabis plants.

2. Microbial Imbalances: Soil microbes play a crucial role in nutrient cycling and plant growth. A diverse community of bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms can help break down organic matter and make nutrients available to your plants. However, an overgrowth of harmful pathogens can lead to disease and poor growth. Using compost, vermicompost, or other organic fertilizers can help maintain a healthy microbial balance in your soil.

3. Pest Infestations: Pests can quickly become a problem in any garden, but can be especially damaging to cannabis crops. Common pests include spider mites, aphids, thrips, and whiteflies. Regular monitoring and pest prevention measures can help keep populations under control. Use of beneficial insects like ladybugs, predatory mites, and nematodes can also help control pest populations.

4. Water Quality: The quality of the water you use can also impact the health of your cannabis plants. High levels of chlorine or fluoride can be toxic, while hard water can result in mineral buildup and affect nutrient uptake. Using a water filtration system or testing your water source can help you identify and address any issues.

By being aware of these biological factors and taking steps to maintain a healthy balance, you can help ensure the success of your cannabis crop. Regular monitoring and record keeping can also help identify any issues early on and prevent more severe problems down the line.


In conclusion, creating a custom feeding schedule based on your cannabis strain is crucial for achieving optimal growth and maximizing yields. It requires careful consideration of the fertilizers you choose, the genetics and nutrient needs of your strain, and environmental factors that can impact growth.

Choosing the right fertilizer is the foundation of any successful feeding schedule. You must consider the N-P-K ratio, the micronutrient content, and the option of organic vs. synthetic fertilizers.

Understanding your strain is also important. Each strain has unique genetics and nutrient needs, so watering and nutrient applications must be timed properly. Identifying and addressing nutrient deficiencies is also essential to keeping your plants healthy.

Developing your feeding schedule requires starting small and working your way up, adjusting for growth periods, and considering environmental factors such as temperature and humidity. Keeping detailed records of feeding and growth patterns is also critical for troubleshooting any problems.

Troubleshooting common problems such as burnt tips or yellowing leaves, nutrient lockout, and biological imbalances requires careful observation, identification, and corrective action.

In summary, creating a custom feeding schedule may seem daunting at first, but with careful research and attention to detail, it can be done successfully. Following these steps and addressing any problems that may arise will lead to healthy, thriving cannabis plants and bountiful yields.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I choose the best fertilizer for my cannabis strain?

To choose the best fertilizer, you need to consider the N-P-K ratio and the micronutrient content. Additionally, research the difference between organic and synthetic options.

What is the N-P-K ratio?

The N-P-K ratio refers to the three key nutrients that plants need to grow: nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Different strains require different ratios based on their specific nutrient needs.

What are micronutrients and why are they important?

Micronutrients are essential trace elements that plants need in smaller amounts, but are still crucial for growth and overall health. These include things like calcium, magnesium, and iron.

What’s the difference between organic and synthetic fertilizers?

Organic fertilizers are sourced from natural materials, like compost or manure, and release nutrients more slowly over time. Synthetic fertilizers are made from inorganic chemicals and release nutrients more quickly.

How do genetics impact nutrient needs?

Genetics play a huge role in determining a strain’s nutrient needs, as different strains may have different growth rates, bud development, and overall nutrient demands.

Why is timing important when it comes to nutrient application?

Timing is important because different nutrients are needed at different stages of growth, and applying them at the wrong time can lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxic buildups.

What are some signs of nutrient deficiencies?

Common signs of nutrient deficiencies include yellowing or browning leaves, stunted growth, and overall poor health of the plant.

How do I start developing a feeding schedule?

Start with a small amount of fertilizer and work your way up, adjusting for growth periods and environmental factors. Keeping detailed records can help you monitor progress and make adjustments as needed.

What are some common problems I might encounter when developing a feeding schedule?

Common problems include burnt tips or yellowing leaves, nutrient lockout, and biological imbalances like pests or diseases.

Why is keeping detailed records important?

Detailed records can help you monitor the success of your feeding schedule, track changes over time, and troubleshoot any problems that may arise. They also help you identify patterns and adjust your feeding schedule as needed.


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