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Organic vs. Synthetic Nutrients: Choosing the Right Growing Method for Your Weed Seeds

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Choosing the Right Growing Method for Your Weed Seeds

Taking care of a plant is a challenging task. Even experienced growers need help with common issues related to poor feeding regimens, such as over-fertilization, excessive watering, and under-watering. As a grower, you must understand and strike a delicate balance between the vital requirements for your plant’s development. 

Whether you are new to cannabis farming or an experienced farmer struggling with grasping the delicate balance of micro and macronutrients, this article will help you learn what minerals your marijuana plantation requires to grow healthy. We also explore the difference between organic and synthetic nutrients to share the best weed-growing practices. 

What Are Nutrients and Why Do They Matter?

Nutrients are essential elements for any plant growth. They fuel the plant’s growth by ensuring it retains excellent health throughout every stage of development. For cannabis, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) are the base nutrients required to sustain the plant’s good health in all stages. Let us explore each nutrient and find out how it works in the cultivation process.


Nitrogen is the most abundant chemical compound in our atmosphere, richly found in soil and water. It is responsible for the production of chlorophyll in plants, which is the plant pigment participating in photosynthesis. This is why nitrogen deficiency shows quickly through the change in leaf colors. Good soil for growing cannabis should always have sufficient nitrogen, though it’s possible for the plant to struggle with absorbing it in its natural form. That is why a farmer should apply nitrogen-rich fertilizers to correct the situation. 


Phosphorus is one of the critical nutrients needed for proper plant development. It is classified as a primary macronutrient necessary for healthy plant growth. Phosphorous plays an essential role in the plant’s metabolism and photosynthesis, promoting proper nutrient uptake. The compound is particularly crucial during the following stages: new sprout growth, early root development, bud formation, and the harvesting season. Phosphorus deficiencies or overabundance can lead to a sickly marijuana crop.


This chemical element, shortened as “K,” is naturally found in soil, more plentifully in clay. It is one of the three primary elements required by your marijuana plant in all its growing stages. The mineral is mainly required during the flowering stage as it is responsible for developing healthy buds. Potassium plays a crucial role in photosynthesis by supporting the process of carbohydrate breakdown and absorption. The compound also has many other vital functions, including:

  • Strengthening a plant’s tissues, which provides extra vigor.
  • Increasing a plant’s resistance to diseases.
  • Winterizing the plant by making it more frost-resistant.
  • Stimulating root growth during the early stages of development.

Understanding Macro- and Micronutrient Requirements for Marijuana

Scientific research indicates that plants require macro- and micronutrients to thrive. As we have learned, the best macronutrients for cannabis are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK). Fertilizers also contain micronutrients such as boron, copper, iron, manganese, zinc, molybdenum, nickel, and chlorine. The micronutrient compounds improve the plant’s nutrient absorption, balance the soil pH, and increase the plant’s defense mechanism.

In addition to the NPK combination, cannabis needs supplement nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, and sulfur to thrive. These three play the following roles in your weed’s growth:

  • Calcium promotes cell wall development, improves water absorption, and reduces the soil’s salinity.
  • Magnesium stabilizes the plant’s cell walls through carbohydrates metabolism and plays a crucial role in photosynthesis.
  • Sulfur plays a vital role in protecting the plant against diseases. The mineral also stimulates the production of proteins, enzymes, amino acids, and vitamins. It is also essential in the formation of chlorophyll. 
Understanding Macro- and Micronutrient Requirements for Marijuana

Organic vs. Synthetic Nutrients 

Now that we’ve covered the key nutritional needs of your weed plants at all stages of their growth and development, it’s necessary to note that all these nutrients are available in either organic or synthetic supplements. Thus, the topic of using synthetic versus organic nutrients is a matter of holy war among cultivators, with each citing reasonable pros and cons of each option. 

Organic Weed Growing 

Growing organic weed sounds good, as so many people have grown eco-friendly and environmentally conscious and want pure, non-contaminated products for consumption. Here, “organic” seems to be a magic word that reminds one of the purity and endless benefit of the products they buy. Indeed, organic weed cultivation is much more ecological and healthier for the environment, with fewer synthetic chemicals penetrating your soil and weed. Besides, mounting evidence shows that organically grown weed is richer in terpenes and has a more pleasurable taste. But it’s noteworthy that organic growing is not a panacea, as this method also comes with specific cons. Let’s look at them in more detail. 


  • The plants receive key nutrients in a more natural and balanced manner. 
  • The soil structure gets consistently improved with organic nutrients. 
  • There’s less nutrient waste. 
  • Beneficial microbes reside in organically fertilized soil. 
  • There’s a lower level of nutrient runoff. 
  • Organic cultivation is eco-friendly and sustainable.  
  • The chances of burning your plants’ roots with excessive nutrient concentrations are extremely low. 


  • Organic fertilizers are expensive. 
  • Nutrient absorption takes longer, as organic fertilizers release nutrients slower. 
  • Pests can proliferate in the organic fertilizer medium. 
  • Organic nutrients have a lower breakdown rate in colder temperatures. 
  • It’s hard to measure the nutrients precisely. 
  • Organic nutrient use requires a medium to high proficiency level on the grower’s part. 

Thus, it’s vital to weigh these considerations before opting for the organic fertilization method, as it may not be that optimal for your climatic conditions and experience level. 

Chemical Nutrients for Your Weed Plantation 

It is a huge mistake to think of synthetic nutrients as something toxic or hazardous, like a tube washing fluid or nail polish remover. The only difference between such nutrients from organic fertilizers is that they are deliberately manufactured, not taken from the environment. Due to such a mode of their preparation, they come with a precise NPK ratio and presuppose greater bioavailability of vital chemicals for the plants. Let’s consider their pros and cons in more detail. 


  • They are easier to dose and suitable even for rookies. 
  • The grower can quickly remediate the situation if they mix the nutrients wrongly. 
  • Their use is convenient and grower-friendly. 
  • These nutrients are cheaper than organics. 


  • Continuous use of synthetic nutrients is hazardous to the environment. 
  • It’s much easier to overfeed the plants and burn them. 
  • Soil fertility reduces in the long run because of contamination with synthetic chemicals. 
  • Applying these nutrients regularly is vital, as they run off quickly and don’t produce a long-term effect.

Strike the Right Balance 

As you can see, weed cultivation is a delicate undertaking that requires constant care and plant monitoring. You should supply the necessary amount of fertilizers at each growth stage to ensure your plants grow healthy and yield many buds. Thus, the choice is yours, whether to opt for synthetic fertilizers and simplify your cultivation or to opt for a more challenging, expensive, yet sustainable organic fertilization practice. The choice depends primarily on your growing methods. You can learn more about them at

It’s also noteworthy that you can combine organic and synthetic nutrients; switch from one to another to avoid contaminating your soil with long-term synthetic nutrient use. Apply synthetic fertilizers as soon as you note deficiencies in the plants and need to fix the issue quickly. It’s all a matter of grower proficiency, which you’re sure to master with trial and experimentation. 

Tia Moskalenko, an author at AskGrowers with a special interest in weed cultivation, prepared this article. Tia works with many reputable cannabis brands and spreads word of mouth about the best growing practices to make the cultivation experience easier and more enjoyable for AskGrowers readers.  

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