- 1.Growing with organic nutrients
- 2.Growing with synthetic / inorganic nutrients
- 3.Organic vs synthetic / inorganic: pros and cons
- 3. a.Organic pros
- 3. b.Organic cons
- 3. c.Synthetic pros
- 3. d.Synthetic cons
- 4.Cannabis and nutrients
- 5.In conclusion
Feeding organic or synthetic has been debated for a long time, although organic nutrients can make your cannabis smell and taste better, they’re not suited for every growing setup. Synthetic nutrients are said to result in harsh tasting flowers, but are better for certain types of setups, like hydroponic setups.
1. GROWING WITH ORGANIC NUTRIENTS
Organic plant nutrients are derived from natural and living sources, they focus on working with microorganisms to deliver your plant the nutrients it needs. They are made from natural substances like manure, bat guano, bone meal, fish meal, and gypsum, they can be bought but can be also made by composting or with KNF techniques.
Because microorganisms need to break down the nutrients, you need to maintain an appropriate environment so they can work efficiently, for example, if the temperature is too low they will work slower, taking more time to make the nutrients available.
So when using organic cannabis nutrients you are taking care of the soil and the microorganisms in it, if you fail to maintain a good environment for them, they can die. Organic nutrients are usually said to be slow-release because of the time it takes for microorganisms to break down the nutrients, this can be a disadvantage when you spot deficiencies because it will take more time to fix the deficiency, although you can brew organic teas to deliver the nutrients fast.
Natural nutrients are a good way to increase the aroma and flavor of your buds when growing organic cannabis. Have in mind they’re not suited for most hydroponic setups because there is a lack of organic matter (soil) for the microorganisms to live. Also, have in mind that these nutrients are organic matter so they can attract more pests and bugs than synthetic nutrients.
2. GROWING WITH SYNTHETIC / INORGANIC NUTRIENTS
Synthetic or inorganic nutrients are those that are derived from minerals (and not derived from living matter) and are manufactured in laboratories with a process that extracts them from minerals, leaving the harmful impurities behind. This type of fertilizer contains minerals that are usually modified during production to produce a more effective final product. Inorganic or synthetic nutrients can be an advantage depending on your grow setup because inorganic fertilizers have a high level of nutrient availability, unlike organic nutrients which the microorganisms need to break down first. They contain a specific amount of macro and micro nutrients, usually specified in the bottle because they specify the exact amount of nutrients they contain, it is usually easier to use them.
With synthetic nutrients, you are feeding your plant directly and the nutrients are available for the plant as soon as they reach the roots, this can help you fix deficiencies really fast but it’s also really easy to burn your plants from overfeeding. Unlike organics, synthetic nutrients can be used both in soil and hydroponic setups. There are organic hydroponic nutrients, although they are harder to find and are made specifically for soilless growing.
You must be asking yourself: Why are synthetic nutrients used? Well, despite the obvious benefits organic nutrients have, both of them have their pros and cons. Choosing either one of them will depend on what is more appropriate for your growing setup, what you can afford, and what you prefer.
• LESS CHANCE OF BURNING DUE TO OVERFEEDING
They are usually slow-release, this means the nutrients won’t be absorbed at once, lowering the chances to burn your plants.
• BENEFICIAL MICROORGANISMS
Taking care of the microorganisms needed for organic nutrients will not only make the nutrients available but also will benefit your plants in other ways, resulting in more growth and a healthier plant.
• SUSTAINABLE AND RENEWABLE
100% organic nutrients are made with natural products so the soil can be reused if taken care of appropriately, making it less harmful for the environment.
• LESS NUTRIENT WASTE
Because the nutrients stay in the soil for the microorganisms to feed, you will end up wasting fewer nutrients (and saving money).
• ENHANCES FLAVOR AND AROMA OF BUDS
Growers have found that organic nutrients don’t cause build-up, which makes flushing easier and you end up with more flavorful and stronger smelling buds.
• SLOW RELEASE
Organic nutrients take more time to be absorbed by the plant because the microorganisms need to break down the nutrients.
• SLOWER TO FIX DEFICIENCIES
Because of the slow release, when your plant shows deficiencies it can take more time to fix it unless you brew organic teas or amend the soil with powdered nutrients to avoid deficiencies.
• HIGHER CHANCES OF GETTING BUGS
Bugs are attracted to organic matter and organic nutrients contain organic matter so if you don’t take precautions and check your growing space for bugs every day, you can get pests easily
• CAN BE MORE EXPENSIVE
Organic nutrients take longer to make, this is why they’re usually more expensive than synthetic nutrients.
• MORE CONTROL OVER THE NUTRIENTS
Synthetic nutrients are made with an exact amount and ratio of minerals, this makes it easier to control the amount of nutrients you’re feeding your plant. This way you can easily provide more nitrogen in the vegetative stage and more phosphorus in the flowering stage.
• ABILITY TO FIX DEFICIENCIES FASTER
You can fix deficiencies faster because you’re feeding the roots directly.
• CHEAPER AND EASIER TO FIND
Bottled synthetic nutrients take less time to be produced, so they are found in every grow shop and because of the wide variety, they’re cheap.
• EASIER TO OVERFEED
Because you’re feeding the roots directly, it is super easy (and very common) to burn your plants due to overfeeding.
• NUTRIENT BUILD-UP
The minerals in synthetic nutrients can build up, this means your plant can have an excess of nutrients and can affect the smell and flavor of your buds if you don't flush properly.
• AGGRESSIVE TO THE ENVIRONMENT
Synthetic nutrients are not made from renewable resources and manufacturers use a lot of energy to produce them, which is bad for the environment.
4. CANNABIS AND NUTRIENTS
It really doesn’t matter if you’re using organic or inorganic fertilizers, there are around 17 essential minerals that cannabis plants need, and 3 of those are found in air and water (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen) but the other 14 you need to provide in the soil or as a nutrient solution.
CANNABIS PLANT NUTRIENTS
|Naturally Found in Air and Water||Must Add to Soil or Nutrient Solution|
|Primary Macronutrients||Secondary Macronutrients||Micronutrients||Non-Essential Nutrients|
|Carbon (C)||Nitrogen (N)||Calcium (C)||Boron (B)||Aluminum (Al)|
|Copper (Cu)||Selenium (Se)|
|Hydrogen (H)||Potassium (K)||Magnesium (Mg)||Chlorine (Cl)||Cobalt (Co)|
|Oxygen (O)||Phosphorus (P)||Sulfur (S)||Manganese (Mn)||Silicon (Si)|
Apart from macro and micronutrients, there are other nutrients considered nonessential because plants won’t show nutrient deficiencies if they are not provided but will make a huge difference in plant growth if you do.
5. IN CONCLUSION
Organic and synthetic nutrients both have pros and cons, and the final decision is yours of course. If you’re a new grower it can be hard to decide on one, we recommend trying both and deciding what suits you better. Make sure you understand what you need to use effectively and avoid wasting time and money.