Nutrients & Boosters
Plants require nutrients to flourish, and their nutritional requirements change throughout their lifecycle. The top branded nutrients are regarded as the best for a reason. The top nutrient brands tailor their plant feeds to the requirements of the plants they're aimed at. This works to optimise growth, and maximises yield in whatever substrate and system you're using. for more information on teh right nutrients and boosters to use for your plants, read our buyer's guide below or contact our experts.
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Nutrients and Boosters
Plants require particular elements to support their biochemical processes. Some of these elements, such as carbon, can be acquired from the air in the form of carbon dioxide, however the majority of these essential elements are absorbed through the roots. Many hydroponic mediums are inert, meaning they contain no nutritional value, so the elements are provided to the plant in the form of nutrients.
The elements essential for plant growth are:
Macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg) and sodium (Na)
Micronutrients (trace minerals): boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni). and cobalt (Co)
Hard water contains a lot of Magnesium and Calcium whilst soft water does not - these elements calcify around taps, known as limescale. Nutrient manufacturers have formulated their nutrients to accommodate for these differences, but you may experience issues if you accidentally use soft water nutrients in a hard water area or vice versa, so you should be careful when choosing.
Some nutrients can be ‘locked out’ if the temperature or pH fluctuates too far from a safe range which could manifest as a nutritional deficiency, despite that element being provided in the nutrient solution. The optimal temperature and pH can vary depending on your medium, with hydroponic methods requiring cooler temperatures and a slightly more acidic solution when compared with soil.
Our stock of nutrient brands covers all growing systems to meet the changing nutritional requirements of plants throughout their life-cycle. You should match the nutrient range based on the system you intend to use, while also considering the substrate you’ll use in the system.
Base nutrients are often categorised into ‘Grow’ and ‘Bloom’ to accommodate for the plants changing dietary requirements over the life-cycle:
- Grow nutrients favour a higher ratio of nitrogen with lower levels of phosphorous and potassium to encourage rapid growth in the early stage of your plants life.
- Bloom nutrients favour a higher ratio of phosphorous and potassium with lower levels of nitrogen to develop strong, healthy flowers and fruits, with improved flavour characteristics.
Base nutrients offer a balanced diet for your plants, containing essential macro and micro nutrients.
Manufacturers are always innovating new nutrient ranges, with 1-part nutrients being one of the most recent additions to the market. 1-part nutrients are still split into ‘grow’ and ‘bloom’ to accommodate for the plants different requirements depending on what phase they’re in but they have been formulated to contain all the required elements in a single bottle. Made possible by recent chemical advances stopping the ingredients reacting and settling out. 1-part nutrients offer gardeners a simple solution.
2-part nutrients - A & B
Most nutrients are supplied as a 2-part solution, containing their elements in separate bottles. If these are mixed together in their raw form, some of the chemicals can react together and settle out of solution, meaning the plants won’t receive these particular nutrients. 2-Part nutrients should always be mixed according to manufacturer's guidelines to ensure optimum plant growth.
3-part nutrients offer experienced gardeners a greater level of precision. With three different bottles, you can create your own tailored nutrient solutions depending on the plants nutritional requirements for the stage of growth. This allows gardeners to experiment with the ratios of crucial elements to see the beneficial effects on their plants.
’Veg’ Boosters are used during the growth phase when lights are on for between 16 - 24 hrs a day. Boosters can me made from macro and micro nutrients, but often contain additional compounds such as amino acids and carbohydrates. During early development, the focus should be on root growth to support the above-ground structures. Once a Healthy root-mass is established, your focus can shift towards building foliage and the support branches, aiming to build potential for flowering. The vegetation stage is all about building a foundation for future profuse flowering. Veg-stage boosters and additives can speed up the process. Boosters can enhance photosynthesis and metabolism which can benefit your final yields.
Bloom Boosters are added alongside your base nutrient during the bloom phase. Bloom boosters can improve the overall result in terms of taste, smell and yield. These boosters often contain high phosphorous and potassium levels, which are required in larger amounts during the bloom phase. Some flower boosters contain sugars and carbohydrates that produce a sweeter end product.
Plants have evolved with a plethora of living organisms in the soil. In the natural world, these organisms can have a symbiotic (beneficial) or parasitic (detrimental) effect on plants. In the sterile environment of an indoor grow room, we can selectively re-introduce the beneficial organisms to our environment in order to enhance the symbiotic effects of these organisms. We want to eliminate the risks associated with pathogenic types of organism. There are many different types of product that contain or promote beneficial microorganisms, with some products containing one specialised fungus while others such as white shark contain over 20 different species of beneficial Fungus and Bacteria, that all complete different functions for the health of the plant.
What about straight through nutrients?
Some nutrient manufacturers have developed ‘straight through’ nutrients that don't distinguish between the grow and bloom stages. Instead, their formula favours general plant health throughout the lifecycle. This type of nutrient are advantageous to a new grower looking for a simple solution. Straight through nutrients are easy-to-use meaning fewer bottles, with less confusion, easier storage with simple mixing instructions.
If you've got any more questions about nutrients and boosters for plants, email us or call our specialist team on 0800 085 7995 who can advise you on the suitable ranges for your system type and substrate.