For the first-time grower, it can be a truly daunting task to select the best nutrients for their cannabis, and they'll often spend far more money than they need to. With so many options to choose from that range from hydroponic to organic nutrients, new growers can quickly get overwhelmed. But with a little bit of knowledge about the requirements of cannabis plants and how they absorb and utilize nutrients, you can confidently select the products you need without breaking the bank.

Your cannabis plant needs a main group of elements that are collectively referred to as macronutrients. Here's a breakdown of the mineral and non-mineral elements you need to feed your plant.

Mineral nutrients obtained from the soil:

  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur

Non-mineral elements derived from air and water:

  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Oxygen
  • The three numbers shown on the front of fertilizer bags, nutrient solution bottles, or other additives indicate how much of the three main elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) is available in the product. For example, a product that says “10-4-4” will contain 10% available nitrogen, 4% phosphorus, and 4% potassium by weight. These are always listed in the order of N-P-K.

    All other mineral nutrients are grouped into the category of micronutrients, as they are used in much lower quantities. This group consists of the following elements:

    • Zinc
    • Iron
    • Manganese
    • Molybdenum
    • Chlorine
    • Cobalt
    • Silicon
    • Boron
    • Copper

    While cannabis plants require very low concentrations of these elements to thrive, they are still vital to the overall health and growth of the plant.

    Next, we'll examine the main types of nutrients used by cannabis growers today as well as their proper application. Before you start growing, however, we highly recommend learning about the basic mechanisms through which plants absorb water and nutrients, osmosis and active transport.