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This 'Haze' plant is hypersensitive to fertilizer. Leaves curl when given slight overdose.

Fertilizing plants in the ground is much easier than fertilizing containerized plants. In the soil outdoors, roots can find many nutrients, and fertilization is not as critical. There are several ways to apply chemical fertilizer. You can top-dress a garden bed by applying the fertilizer evenly over the entire area. You can side-dress plants by

All leaves in this photo came from the same plant. All leaves show signs of overfertilization.

This 'Haze' plant is hypersensitive to fertilizer. Leaves curl when given slight overdose.

All leaves in this photo came from the same plant. All leaves show signs of overfertilization.

applying the fertilizer around the bases of the plants. You can foliar-feed plants by spraying a liquid fertilize' solution on the foliage. The method you choose will depend upon Hie kind of fertilizer, the needs of the plants, and the convenience of a chosen method.

When using synthetic fertilizers, it is extremely important to read the label carefully, and follow the directions. The initials "WSN" and "WIN" that you may see on the label stand for water-soluble nitrogen and water-insoluble nitrogen. WSN dissolves readily, and it is considered a fastrelease nitrogen source. WIN does not dissolve easily It is often an organic form of nitrogen and is considered a slow-release nitrogen source.

Use a siphon applicator-found at most nurs-eries-to mix soluble fertilizers with water. The applicator is simply attached to the faucet with the siphon submerged in the concentrated fertilizer solution with the hose attached to the other end. Often, applicators are set at a ratio of 1 to 15. This means that for every 1 unit of liquid concentrate fertilizer, 15 units of water will be mixed with it. Sufficient water flow is necessary for the suction to work properly. Misting nozzles restrict this flow. When the water is turned on, the fertilizer is siphoned into the system and flows out the hose. The fertilizer is generally applied with each watering, since a small percentage of fertilizer is metered in.

A garbage can with a garden-hose fitting attached at the bottom that is set 5-1 feet (9U-120 cm) off t ie floor will act as a gravity-flow source for the fertilizer solution. The container is filled with water and fertilizer.

When it comes to fertilization, experience with specific varieties and growing systems will tell growers more than anything else. There are hundreds of N-P-K mixes, and they all world When choosing a fertilizer, make sure to read the entire label, and know what the fertilizer claims it can do. Do not be afraid to ask the retail clerk questions or to contact the manufacturer with questions.

Once you have an idea of how often to fertilize, put the garden on a regular feeding schedule. A schedule usually works very well, but it must be combined with a vigilant, caring eye that looks for over-fertilization and signs of nutrient deficiency.

Spray foliage from underneath so the spray is able to penetrate the stomata located on the leaf's underside.
Leaves and stalks have waxy, cystalith hairs that act like feathers on a duck and shed water.

Stomata close when there is:

Too much CO,

Low humidity

A dry root system

Stomata open when there is:

High light

Low C02

High Humidity

Cystolith Hair Marijuana

Leach soil with 1-2 gallons (4-8 liters) of mild nutrient solution per gallon of soil every month. This is the best form of preventive maintenance against toxic salt buildup in the soil.

Foliar Feeding

Foliar feeding means to spray the nutrients or bio-stimulants onto the foliage to augment available nutrients, vitamins, hormones, etc. Earth Juice Wetting Agent TiminR is key t0

achieving the best coverage and absorption.

The waxy (cuticle) surface coating (cystolith hairs and resin) on cannabis foliage makes them very poor water absorbers. This barrier wards off pest and disease attacks, but it also slows the penetration of sprays.

Young leaves are more permeable than older leaves. Nutrients and additives penetrate immature leaves faster than tougher, older leaves, and they are easier to damage with strong sprays.

Foliar feed the cannabis plants only when specific deficiency symptoms manifest. Foliar feeding is a quick fix only and is easy to overdo. High levels of nutrients in the foliage stop the roots from taking in more; this is confusing for the plant. Foliar sprays can accumulate and build up in the foliage. Never spray more than once every 10 days, and keep the spray concentration to less than 500 ppm or with an EC of less than 1.0.


Smart growers use a surfactant, surface-active substance (adjuvant), which enhances the effectiveness of foliar fertilization.

Spreaders (wetting agents) reduce the surface tension of sprays and keep them from beading up and rolling off the foliage. Big, bulbous drops on the leaves mean you need to use a spreader. Flat drops that slide off the foliage mean there is too much spreader. There are nonionic, antionic, and cationic spreaders. The nonionic spreaders that do not ionize in water are the most common, and they do not react with most pesticides. Antionic and cationic spreaders are not used often,

Stickers help the spray adhere to the leaf after spraying, so it does not wash off when it rains or when dew forms. Stickers not only increase adhesion, they slow evaporation, and impart a waterproof coating. Some stickers are spreaders, too. Spreader-stickers allow the stomata on the leaves to be penetrated.

Extender (stabilizing agents) protects applied sprays against the UV radiation and heat that degrade the sprays,

Liquid and powder soaps and detergents act as surfactants, too, But, they are not nearly as effective as horticultural surfactants. Biodegradable surfactants disappear the fastest. Silicone surfactants are also mild insecticides that work to impair pest functions.

Foliar spray concentration is cumulative. Nutrients delivered via the foliage can cause a buildup of salts in and around the leaves. This is similar to the way the salts accumulate in the soil.

Overfertilizing can become one of the biggest problems for indoor growers. Too much fertilizer causes a buildup of the nutrients (salts) to toxic levels, and it changes the soil chemistry. When overfertilized, growth is rapid and lush until the toxic levels are reached. At this point, things become complicated.

Chance of overfertilization is greater in a small amount of soil that can hold only a small amount of nutrients. A large pot or planter can safely hold much more soil and nutrients, but it will take longer to flush if overdone, ft is very easy to add too much fertilizer to a small container. Large containers have good nutrient-

holding ability.

To treat severely overfertilized plants, leach the soil with two gallons (8 L) of diluted nutrient solution per gallon (4 L) of soil to wash out all excess nutrients. The plant should start new growth and look better in one week. If the problem is severe and the leaves arc curlcd, the soil may need to be leached several times. After the plant appears to have leveled off to normal growth, apply the diluted fertilizer solution.

of the elements listed below. Most of the additives came from the greenhouse industry or were developed for organic growers. Many of these additives do what they say they will do and work quickly; however, when growing a short eight- to ten-week crop, some of these additives do not have time to work properly if added near the end of the flowering cycle.

The following list will give you an idea of what specific additives are and how they are used.


Numerous additives or growth supplements have hit the market over trie last few years. Generally, additives contain a cocktail of some

How to get the most out of your spray t) Spray the bottom of the leaves. 5pray with a fine mist, and do not create droplets on the leaves. Fine mist is electrically attracted by the foliage. Even young marijuana plants have waxy hairs that impair liquid penetration.

2) Do not spray plants that are hot or when the atmosphere is too dry. Spray in low light, either before the lights go off or just as they are coming on. If spraying in hot conditions, first spray everything with plain water until the temperatures of the room and foliage drop, before applying the real spray. Spraying when the plant foliage is hot causes the spray to crystallize on the surface, and it stops the penetration, Spraying with water 10 minutes afterward often increases the penetration, Mobile nutrients move freely within a plant. Immobile nutrients move slowly, but once deposited, they stay.

3) Apply mobile nutrients sparingly. Immobile nutrients-sulfur, boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, sulfur, and zinc-often require two or three applications. Calcium and boron are poor candidates for foliar feeding because they translocate poorly. But urea nitrogen applied as a spray in high humidity penetrates almost instantly into leaves. Be careful when spraying urea-based fertilizers, and keep them diluted. Urea also carries other nutrients into the plant and


Abscisic acid is a naturally occurring hormone that assists plants in adapting to environmental stresses like drought or cold temperatures.

works well for a base to the mix. Foliar feeding should turn the plant around in less than a week, A second spray could be necessary at week's end to ensure the cure sticks.

4) Boron, calcium, and iron move slowly during flowering, A supplemental foliar dose often speeds the growth when it slows. A foliar spray of potassium can also help flowering, especially if the temperatures dip below 50°F (10°C) or above 80DF (25DC).

5) Always spray new growth. The thin, waxy layer and a few trichomes allow for good penetration.

6) Measure the pH of the spray, and keep it between 7 and 8.5. Potassium phosphate (fC,HPO,() becomes phytotoxic below pH 4 and above 8.5. Stomata are signaled to close within these pH ranges.

7) Use a surfactant with all sprays, and apply these as per the instructions on the label.

8) Add the proper amount of surfactant so droplets do not form on the leaves. Once formed, the droplets roll off the foliage, rendering it ineffective.

9) Stop the application before the droplets form on the leaves. Make a test spray on a mirror to ensure the spray is even and does not form droplets that roll off the mirror.

10) Spray with as fine a mist as possible to minimize the size of the drop.

Elisa Aba Test Leaf Buds
Use a spreader/sticker to keep spray droplets from bouncing off foliage.

During winter, ABA converts leaves into stiff bud scales which cover the meristem, protecting it from cold damage or dehydration. In case of an early spring, ABA will also prolong dormancy, preventing premature sprouts which could be damaged by frost.

Used in the garden, ABA may help plants resist drought and unseasonable conditions and improve productivity, strength, and performance.


Vitamin C is thought to build tighter, heavier buds and act as an antioxidant. It is often combined with fructose, molasses, or sugar and added to the nutrient solution during the last two weeks before han/est. However, some botanists believe that although vitamin C is very important in fighting the :ree radical byproducts of photosynthesis, plants make their own vitamin C and are unlikely tc recognize any benefit from its addition to the nutrient mix. ASPIRIN

Salicylic acid is a naturally occurring plant hormone associated with the Willow. It is effective in preventing pathogens by speeding up the natural "systemic acquired resistance (SAR)" thereby reducing the need for pesticides. Salicylic acid (SA) will block absdsic acid (ABA) allowing the plant to return to normal after a period of stress-something to consider if ABA is being used to strengthen plants.

Aspirin can be used as a spray, a soak, or added to compost and rooting compounds. A 1:10,000 solution used as a spray will stimulate the SAR response, and the effects will last weeks to months. "Willow water" also makes a popular rooting bath. AUXINS

Auxins represent a group of plant hormones that regulate growth and pho-totropism. They are associated with elongation of plant cells causing the branches to grow vertically while inhibiting lateral buds. "Pinching off" branch tips will reduce the auxin level and encourage bushy lateral growth as well as inducing new root formation.

Synthetic auxins are more stable and last longer than the natural solutions. They can be used as an herbicide against broadleaf weeds like dandelions, but are most often used to encourage root growth and promote flowering. BACTERIA

Bacteria such as mycorrhizal fungi and rlii-zobacteria are extremely beneficial in organic gardening. The presence of these organisms in the growing medium produces stronger, healthier plants that require less chemical intervention.

Actino-lron is a commercial soil additive that contains the streptomyces lydicus microbe. Applied to the soil, the bacterium grows around the root system, protecting it from harmful pathogens while producing anti-fungals. Actino-lron also contains fulvic acid and iron which feed the plant. For perennials, the effects last one growing season. For annuals, the life of the plant.


There is little literature on the effects of B-9 on plants. It appears to serve in energy transfer within the plant snd inhibits the enzyme that makes gibberellic acid resulting in a bushier dwarf-type plant without pruning.

B-9 can be applied as a spray or as a soil drench. CELLULASE

Cellulase is a group of enzymes that act in the root zone to break down organic material which may rot and cause disease. Dead materials are converted into glucose and returned to the substrate to be absorbed by the plant.

It can be used in water gardens to dean up organic sludge. COLCHICINE

Colchicine, an alkaloid, is prepared from the dried corns and seeds of Colchicum autumnale, the autumn crocus that also produces saffron. The pale, yellow powder is water soluble.

Colchicine is a very dangerous, poisonous compound that can be used to induce polyploid mutations in cannabis. Clandestine breeders started polyploid strains with colchicines, but none of the strains showed any outstanding characteristics, and cannabinoid levels were unaffected.

Rather than explain how to use colchicine, I will advise not to use it. It is very toxic and produces no change in potency. I do not know any seed breeders that use it today. CYTOKININS

Cytokinins are plant hormones derivative of the purine adenine, the most common cytokinin being Zeatin. They are synthesized in the roots promoting cell division, chloroplast development, leaf development, and leaf senescence. As an additive, cytokinins are most often derived from the Seaweed Ascophylium nodosum.

Added to the soil or sprayed on the plants, cytokinins help the plant make more efficient use of existing nutrients and water even in drought conditions. The result is a healthier plant and increased crop. Care must be given to application of cytokinins along with other plant hormones. Many commercial formulas contain a hormone cocktail which includes hormones like auxins and cytokinins that work against one another. ENZYMES

Enzymes are biological protein catalysis that were first crystallized and isolated in 1926. Enzymes accelerate the rates of reactions but do not change themselves as a result of this action.

Without a spreader-sticker, the surfactant sprays often head up and roll off the foliage which makes them ineffective.

Enzymes are added to fertilizers and growth additives to accelerate biological activity and speed nutrient uptake by roots.

Most enzymatic reactions happen within a temperature range of 85-l05°F (3CM0°C) and each enzyme has an optimal range of pH for activity. Most enzymes react with only a small group of chemical compounds that are closely related.

More than 1500 different enzymes have been identified. Enzymes are grouped into six main classes and many subclasses. ETHYLENE GAS

Ethylene gas is a growth regulator hormone that activates the aging and ripening of flowers as well as preventing the development of buds and retarding plant growth. It is most often used by vegetable growers who force ripening of produce heading to market. In gardening, it may be used to trigger flowering in plants. FLOWER SAVER PLUS

Flower Saver Plus is a commercial product that contains the Mycorrhizae fungus which enters into a symbiotic relationship with the plant by attaching itself to the root system. Mycorrhizal threads enter into root tissue then grow out into the substrate reaching more water and nutrients than the plant could find on its own. In return, the Mycorrhizae receive a protected environment and the sugars they need to thrive.

Use of Mycorrhizae improves root depth, speeds maturation, and helps create resistance to drought and disease. Larger more robust root systems also improve the soil structure promoting better air and water movement.

Flower Saver Plus should be used at planting time either as a root bath or worked into the top two to four inches of soil. Look for a product that has at least 50 to 100 spores per square foot.

Seek medical attention if ingested. Avoid breathing the dust or spray, and keep out of reach of children. FULVIC ACID

Fulvic acid is a naturally occurring organic substance resulting from the microbial action on decomposing plants. Absorbed into a plant, fulvic acid will remain in the tissues and serve as a powerful antioxidant as well as providing nutrients and acting as a bio-stimulant. Fulvic acid is an excellent source of nutrition for Mycorrhizae.

Growers can create fulvic acid by composting or purchase the product from a retailer. It is available in forms suitable for hydroponics or soil mediums. GIBBERELLINS

Gibberellic Acid (GA) is a natural plant growth hormone which acts with auxins to break dormancy, stimulate seed germination, and grow long stems.

Gibberellic Acid can be purchased as a commercial product like Mega-Grow and is used to extend the grow season and force larger blooms. For best effect, use GA in complement with fertilizer and mixed into the water supply. Results can be seen in as little as a few weeks.

According to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), GA is very hazardous to humans, and 1 do not advise using it; however, the retail advertisements claim the product is safe. HUMIC ACID

Humic acids are carbons formed by the decomposition of organic substances, primarily that of vegetation. Applied to substrate, it encourages the creation of strong tissue growth and helps in nutrient transport. Plants grow thicker foliage and are more resistant to drought and disease.

Poor soils can be improved by humic acid which enhances the water-holding capability and aeration tn sandy soils and frees up nutrients bound in clay. It can be used as a root dip or sprayed directly onto the soil.

Humic acids are extracted from humic substances found in soil. Colors range from yellow (fulvic acid) to brown {humic acid) and black (humin).

Fulvic acid is the fraction of humic substances that is water soluble under all pH conditions. Fulvic acid stays in solution after humic acid dissipates due to acidification.

Humin is the fraction of the soil organic matter that is not dissolved when the soil is treated with dilute alkali.


Hydrogen peroxide (H ,0;) is similar to water but carries an extra, unstable, oxygen molecule which can break down into a reactive atom and either attach itself to another oxygen atom or attack an organic molecule.

Used in horticulture, hydrogen peroxide provides a host of benefits by cleansing water of harmful substances such as spores, dead organic material, and disease-causing organisms while preventing new infections from occurring. It removes the methane and organic sulfates often found in well water as well as removing chlorine from tap water.

Hydrogen peroxide is especially useful in hydroponics, where overwatering can be a problem. It prevents oxygen depletion in the water around the roots, leading to better root growth. A solution of hydrogen peroxide can be used to sterilize seeds resulting in better germination rates.

Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous at high concentrations (35%) and will damage skin, clothing, and most anything it contacts. Lower concentrations like those found at the drug store (3%) will still need to be diluted before use, though they are not as toxic to the gardener. INDOLE 3 BUTYRIC ACID (IBA)

Indole 3 butyric acid is one of the auxin growth hormones. It is most often used as an effective rooting hormone. Application of IBA helps gen erate roots, build a larger root mass, and improve plant growth and yield.

Many commercial formulas are available in the form of water-soluble salts. Cuttings can be dipped or immersed before planting. Roots can be dipped or sprayed or the soil drenched during transplanting. Once established, plants should be treated at three- to five-week intervals during the growing season. After harvest, IbA can be used to encourage regeneration of flowers.

IBA is hazardous to humans and animals. It can cause moderate eye injury and is harmful if inhaled or absorbed through the skin. ISOPENTYL ADENINE (IPA)

Isopentyl adenine is a naturally occurring cytokinin which is synthetically manufactured as benzylaminopurine (BAP) for use in commercial bio-stimulants such as Rush Foliar XCell Veg and Xcell Bloom.

Xcell Veg acts in the growth stage of the plant by improving the transport of nutrients. Glycine betaine in the solution provides a barrier to environmental stress. The product is used as part of an established feeding program. It can be sprayed on, just before turning off the lights, or used as a soak in the growing medium.

Xcell Bloom also has anti-stress properties and improves nutrient transport. It stimulates flowering, reduces plant growth time, and increases cell division and lateral root growth. Flowers are larger, heavier, and have enhanced color.

Both products car be used in hydroponic or soil mediums. RHIZOBIUM

Rhizobium is the name given to a group of bacteria which infect the roots of legumes and create nodules that act in symbiosis with the plant. Rhizobia are host-specific and will not work with all crops. With the proper host, however, rhizobia improve nitrogen fixation while simultaneously providing an additional source of nitrogen.

Rhizobium is most effective when added to irrigation, but it can be added to a drip or directly to the soil. Benefits will depend on proper crop/rhi-zobium match. Re-inoculation is recommended every three to five years.


Spray-N-Crow is a brand name vitamin and nutrient solution that includes barium and zinc. It is sprayed on plants to provide micronutrients through the foliage, a technique said to be more effective than root nutrition. Plants will grow faster, bloom earlier and more prolifically, have larger roots, and have a higher vitamin, mineral, and sugar content.

Because it is absorbed through the leaves, Spray-N-Grow works quickly, in as little as seven to thirty days. Tender plants wilt realize benefits faster than woody plants. Spray-N-Grow can be used in any type of growing medium as a complement to the established feeding regimen. It is non-chemical and safe for people and pels. SUGAR

Molasses, honey, and olher sugars are said to increase soil microbials, enhance regrowth, and make the plant's use of nitroger more effective. Molasses will raise the energy level of the plant and acts as a mild natural fungicide. Molasses is the "secret ingredient" in many organic fertilizers.


Trichoderma are fungi that colonize in the root zone, crowding out negative fungi and microorganisms white stimulating root development and resistance to environmental stress. The result is a more vibrant, stronger plant.

Canna was the first company in the indoor grow industry to sell a commercial product as a growth-promoter which contains Trichoderma fungi. Colorado State University studies indicate that Promot Plus, a product containing trichoderma, is effective in suppressing pathogenic fungi that cause rot in the seeds, roots, and stems.

The product can be applied to seeds, used during transplanting, mixed with liquid fertilizer or via drip irrigation and/or watered in. Carina's Trichoderma contains living organisms that will reproduce after application, so a small amount will do a lot. It is nontoxic and environmentally safe. ZEATIN

Zeatin is one of the cytokinin growth hormones. Upon germination, zestin moves from the endosperm to the root tip where it stimulates mitosis. ^

Cannabis Plant Hormones

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