When it comes to hydroponics, one of the most important tools for successful growing are the nutrients you provide your plants. It’s not like gardening in the dirt where there’s a good chance the soil already has these nutrients readily available. You may have heard of grow and bloom nutrients and wondered what they are or how to use them. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know so you can take advantage of the benefits they offer.
Life Cycle Stages
The different life cycle stages your plants go through are important to you. The early stages when your seed sprouts and a seedling starts is an exciting time when you want to provide the right nutrients to get that seedling growing strong. A big healthy plant is the objective in this part of the life cycle.
Once that’s been accomplished, you want that big healthy plant to fruit, meaning you’re watching and waiting for the flowers to start showing up. At this stage, it’s beneficial to provide nutrients that are going to help your plant start fruiting.
These life cycle stages are where grow and bloom nutrients come into play. They are a series of nutrients you add depending on what stage in the life cycle your plants happen to be in. You’re encouraging your plant to do what it does best by giving it specific nutrients. As most hydroponic set-ups are indoors, you control your plant’s internal clock when it comes to these stages through nutrients and your lighting.
During the growing phase of your plants’ life cycle, most will have a need for plenty of nitrogen. Therefore, the grow nutrient formula will often be heavier for the concentration of nitrogen. Nitrogen is a necessary component of the nutrients because it’s used in chlorophyll and amino acids. Nitrogen helps your plants grow new leaves and create energy through photosynthesis.
Once you want to start getting your plants fruiting, it’s time to switch away from a nitrogen-heavy nutrient to bloom-specific nutrients. Bloom nutrients contain less nitrogen with higher levels of potassium and phosphorus. Potassium is vital as it helps move water throughout the plant. It also helps a plant increase the amount of fruit set. Phosphorus helps with energy and producing blooms.
Why Not Use Them Together?
The purpose of grow and bloom nutrients is to stimulate the plant’s energy and function towards the part of its life cycle you’re encouraging. As the plant needs more nitrogen (and less potassium and phosphorus) during the growth phase, you’ll be wasting the potassium and phosphorus you’re adding. By using these nutrients separately, you’re being more economical while giving your plants what they need.
Grow and bloom nutrients are beneficial in your hydroponic system since they are tailored to fit your plants’ needs during a specific stage. You’ll find your plants will respond well to these nutrients, becoming healthier and producing more fruit.