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7 Tips to Improve Cannabis Bud Quality

by Nebula Haze & Sirius Fourside

Table of Contents

  1. Start with Top-Shelf Genetics – get the effects and appearance you want! Your grow skill makes a huge difference, but a plant can’t overcome its genes! If you want buds that are potent, dense, sparkly or purple/pink, you need the right genetics.
  2. Give Your Cannabis Lots of Light! – this increases yields, density and potency
  3. Nutrients & Supplements – learn about smell enhancers, bloom boosters and bulk builders!
  4. Better Taste, Better Smell – learn other techniques to increase terpene content so buds taste and smell better
  5. Manipulate Temperature & Humidity in the flowering stage to increase resin production (“glitter” and stickiness), bring out colors like pink or purple & prevent smells from burning away
  6. Great Air Flow Around Every Cola – you can gain surprising increases in the size and density of your buds by making sure that every cola gets lots of direct light and good air flow from the beginning to the end of the flowering stage. Cannabis is wind-pollinated in the wild and so more energy is put into buds that have been exposed to a breeze from when they first started forming.
  7. Master the Basics of Growing – especially harvesting, trimming and drying/curing! Although a lot of growers don’t pay as much attention to what happens to plants after harvest as during the grow itself, these 3 post-harvest factors determine almost 50% of your final bud appearance. Properly drying/curing also intensifies smell and increases bud potency!

Have you ever had weed that knocks your socks off? The kind of cannabis buds that people brag/warn their friends about?

I’m talking about the really really good stuff!

The truth is, you can successfully grow cannabis with very little effort, make a ton of mistakes, and still harvest buds that will do the job.

But have you ever wondered how people grow truly top-shelf buds? The kind of bud that beats the marijuana you get in a dispensary?

If so, you’re in luck, because today I’m going to teach you 7 tips to consistently growing top-tier quality cannabis buds with effects that will stick in your memory for years to come. Plus, I’ll teach you how to make your cannabis look pretty!

1.) Start with Top-Shelf Genetics

It’s really tough to get truly top-shelf buds if you start with mid-grade seeds, clones, or the dreaded bagseed; you’re giving yourself a much higher chance of disappointment because no growing method can overcome genetics!

These buds were both grown in the exact same setup at the same time, but have different genetics. Look how differently the buds turned out! Choosing the right strain lets you choose the looks and effects you want!

When I first started growing, I would grow any seeds I could find. These would usually grow pretty well but the resulting weed never ended up being as good as the buds I found them in. And sometimes the buds would be airy and not-that-potent.

After a few attempts at growing bagseed, I tried buying marijuana clones from the local dispensary with crazy strain names like “Super Grand Daddy Purple” and “Grapefruit Bubblegum Kush,” but my yields and results still left a lot to be desired. It’s not that there’s any inherent problem with clones – clones are awesome! – but I got a feeling these plants weren’t really the strains the dispensary claimed them to be. I didn’t have any grower friends at the time and I thought bag seed and local clones were my best choices.

Until I discovered online seed banks.

Ever since I started buying seeds from a reputable cannabis seed bank and getting my chosen strains shipped to me, I have been able to consistently produce high-quality buds!

Getting your genetics from a reputable breeder is key to producing gorgeous and potent buds!

If you want to grow buds that are pink or purple, you must choose the right genetics!

Just switching to better seed stock caused a dramatic increase in my yields without any other changes. But even more importantly, the quality of my harvests drastically improved. Not to mention the freedom of being able to choose which strain you want to grow instead of hoping to find a good seed in your buds!

Clones are still a great way to start a grow with good genetics, but you have to make sure you always get clones from a trustworthy source!

If you want to take your quality to the next level, don’t start with just any clones or seeds. Search for the right, true quality genetics and don’t be afraid to research to make sure you’re getting exactly what you want! Good seeds cost more than bagseed, but the money you pay for quality is worth it, especially when you consider what you’re getting in return!

2.) Give Your Cannabis Lots of Light!

If you want great bud, you have to provide plenty of light!

When you start a grow with good genetics – from good seeds or clones – your plant has the potential for a high level of quality (yields, potency, resilience). However, it’s nearly impossible to get your buds to reach that potential if you use lights that are underpowered.

Powerful grow lights like HPS, LECs or LEDs produce the biggest and most dense buds

For example, there’s no amount of plant training or growing skill that can make up for the amount of light produced by an incandescent bulb; the bulb simply doesn’t have what it takes to do the job.

Similarly, growers can have the same problem when they try to grow a larger plant with a few small CFLs or T5s. Although CFLs and T5s make great growing lights and produce a high-quality product, it’s important to pick the right tool for the job. These two types of lights are better at stealth, discretion, and smaller grows than producing lots of super potent bud.

Strong, bright light is what powers the growth of buds in the flowering stage – light is like “food” for your plants!

When it comes to indoor cannabis gardening, more light is better…to an extent. If you give your flowering cannabis plants all the light they can handle without giving them too much, it increases your potency, density and yields.

Strong, bright light is a crucial part of reaching a strain’s full potential!

Strong light is incredibly important for the highest bud density, potency and yields!

3.) Nutrients & Supplements to Increase Bud Quality

First, before adding any special supplements, you need to make sure you’re giving your plant the correct base nutrients in the flowering stage.

Base Nutrients in the Flowering Stage

  • Low Nitrogen (N) – Give your plant relatively low levels of Nitrogen, especially in the second half of the flowering stage when the plant has stopped growing vegetatively and buds are fattening up. The plant needs a lot of Nitrogen for vegetative growth but doesn’t need nearly as much for making buds. In fact, too much nitrogen in the ripening stage can discourage bud production and hurt your yields.
  • Plenty of Phosphorus (P) – Phosphorus is incredibly important to flower production and giving plants plenty of Phosphorus in the flowering stage will help increase the total number of flowers
  • Potassium (K) – Potassium is often overlooked compared to Phosphorus (which is often considered a bud booster) but Potassium may actually be even more important! Providing a good source of Potassium increases the size and density of each individual flower.

In general, when it comes to feeding nutrients in the second half of the flowering stage, less is more! Keeping nutrient levels low can also improve the taste of your final buds because high nutrient levels are associated with a chemical taste to the buds.

Giving cannabis the right ratios of nutrients during the flowering stage will greatly increase the quality of your bud!

Supplements in the Flowering Stage

Supplements in the flowering stage come in many different flavors, and they have different goals or purposes

  • Sugar or carbohydrates – improve taste/smell and increase bulk. Some of these, like the Botanicare Sweet Carbo Line, not only include sugar, but also certain terpenes and esters that are stored unchanged in plant buds, giving your buds unique subtle flavors like grape, citrus, berry, and “raw” (which is just a generally sweet smell).
  • “Bloom Enhancers” – These offer a variety of non-nutrient ingredients that may help the plant grow better or more efficiently in some way by improving processes or providing the plant with amino acids and humic acids, so the plant doesn’t have to make everything itself.
  • PK Boosters & “Shooting Powders” – With this type of supplement, the main ingredients are just Phosphorus and Potassium because they are important for flowering. These also sometimes contain some amount of sulfur. In general, use these sparingly as they’re usually very potent! And don’t forget that every quality base Bloom nutrient should already contain plenty of P and K.

Often, bloom supplements will include a mix of some or even all of these types of ingredients! It can definitely get a little confusing so I’ll try to break it down a little 🙂

Sugar or Carbohydrates

A cheap alternative to expensive sugar-based bloom boosting supplements is blackstrap molasses. Giving this to your plants for the last few weeks before harvest can help them get bigger and smell/taste better. It’s not specially made for plants; it’s the regular stuff you’ll find in your kitchen or at the grocery store. Blackstrap molasses adds sugars, amino acids and trace minerals. Unfortunately for hydro growers, anything organic like molasses is not suitable for a hydroponic reservoir! But molasses works great for soil and coco growers 🙂

For last 2-3 weeks before harvest, give 1/2 tsp of Blackstrap Molasses per gallon when watering (for soil or coco coir)

For those who prefer something in a bottle, I’m really intrigued by Botanicare’s Sweet Carbo line. According to Botanicare:

The natural esters in Sweet are easily absorbed by the plant, but are not broken down further once deposited within the plant tissue. This means that as new flowers develop they will contain small amounts of these natural esters which contribute to the overall flavor and aroma of the finished product.

They offer flavors such as grape, citrus, berry, and “raw” (which is just a generally sweet smell). These should be used throughout the flowering stage to help build smell/flavor in the buds as they mature. However, since these contain a small but significant amount of magnesium, they should not be used while flushing during last 2-3 weeks before harvest. At this point, the smells have already been deposited into the buds. Another cool thing about these supplements is they contain amino acids and some other enhancers, so it’s kind of like getting a lot of different products at once.

Other growers who’ve tried the “raw” version have said they can definitely notice an increase in the amount of “sweet” smell in their buds and it’s made me curious/jealous. I plan to use Sweet Grape as my primary supplement for the flowering stage in a future grow; I’ll report back whether buds actually smell like grape, sweet or plain ol’ cannabis 🙂

Bloom Enhancers

The jury is still out and which is the most effective supplement, but many growers are happy with bloom promoting supplements that include sources of…

  • amino acids
  • humic acids
  • vitamins
  • trace minerals

I personally don’t use this type of supplement so I can’t recommend a particular one, but some of the most popular cannabis supplements based on this type of formula include…

  • Floralicious Plus (by General Hydroponics)
  • Liquid Karma (by Botanicare)
  • Diamond Black (by General Organics)

Note: These are only for soil or coco coir! (Since these supplements contain a lot of organic materials like guano and fishmeal, they are not suitable to hydroponic reservoirs)

PK Boosters & “Shooting Powders”

The supplements listed above use ingredients that add only tiny amounts of base nutrients (NPK). This means that they have less of a chance of overwhelming your plant with too high levels of nutrients (which can be easy to do if you’re adding a lot of supplements!).

However, this last set of nutrients directly adds P and K. If you’re using a regular Bloom nutrient already, this can make it really easy to go overboard with P and K. Whenever using this type of nutrient, a tiny amount goes a really long way! Whenever possible, try to choose a supplement by the same company as your base nutrients – this will help prevent negative interactions between the nutrients and the supplements. In general…

  • Phosphorus (P) increases number of flowers
  • Potassium (K) increases weight/density of flowers

These sometimes also come with a small amount of Sulfur (S), and possibly other ingredients like amino acids, trace minerals and/or sugar like the supplements above.

Suitable for Hydro, Soil or Coco – Supplements to Increase Yields/Density with extra P & K

  • Liquid Koolbloom (by General Hydroponics)
  • Hydroplex (by Botanicare)
  • Beastie Bloomz (by Fox Farms)

4.) Better Taste, Better Smell – Increase Terpene Content

The smell and scent of cannabis buds are produced by plant chemicals known as “terpenes” (also “terpenoids”, which are a class of terpenes).

Terpenes contribute to the flavors of many household spices (like cinnamon, rosemary, cloves and ginger) and help create the scent of most flowers.

The unique combination of terpenes and terpenoids produced in cannabis flowers (buds) cause most of their taste and smell as well.

There are a variety of ways to increase the terpene content of your buds so you produce cannabis that tastes and smells great, and there are also a couple of common mistakes you should know about that can actually ruin the taste and smell of your buds.

5.) Maintain Proper Temperature and Humidity

Maintain daytime temperatures around 65-80°F (18-26°C) in the flowering stage unless you’re using CO2 which does best at around 80-90°F (26°-32°C). However, even if you’re using CO2, most growers recommend you back off and bring the temps down to 65-80°F for the last two weeks before harvest.

Night temperatures should be kept around 68-75°F (20°-24°C) for most strains. Too-cool temps increase the chances of bud rot, which thrives in the 60°F (15°C) range, and freezing temperatures can actually damage or even kill your plants.

However, if you’re growing a strain that turns color, keep in mind that some of these strains will only show their color when night temperatures are at least a few degrees cooler than during the day in the flowering stage.

Some strains need slightly cooler night temperatures before their buds will turn colors. For example the buds of this Auto Frisian Dew turned bright purple after it started getting below 70°F (21°C) temperatures at night.

Humidity stumps a lot of new growers and causes several unexpected problems.

Maintaining higher humidity during the vegetative stage will reduce salt levels within the plant while encouraging healthy and lush growth.

During the vegetative stage, if humidity drops below 40%, especially anywhere below 25%, it can cause problems that look like nutrient deficiencies or light/heat stress!

But in these cases, just adding a little moisture to the air does wonders, even if you don’t change anything else.

During the flowering stage, your cannabis plants actually prefers less humidity!

Decreasing moisture in the air (lowering the humidity) during the flowering stage helps prevent mold and actually may increase trichome production in your buds! For best results, keep humidity 40%-50% during the flowering stage.

Lower humidity levels in the flowering stage helps promote trichome production, which increases the amount of “glitter” you see on buds

“But I’ve never worried about humidity and my plants are fine…”

The truth is, you can successfully grow your marijuana plants in high or low humidity, even if growth isn’t perfect. This is the primary reason why many growers – especially new ones – forget about humidity altogether.

New growers also tend to hastily spend money on CO2, supplements or expensive nutrients when controlling the humidity in their setup could make a much bigger difference in their final product.

So if you’ve realized that your humidity is far higher or lower than what’s recommended, you may be able to make a simple, relatively cheap change to dramatically improve the vibrancy of your plants.

For growers in really dry or humid areas, it can make a big difference to buy a humidifier/dehumidifier and make sure they’re always providing the optimum humidity levels.

And there’s one more insider trick you need to know about humidity: So you know you need to keep humidity in 40-50%RH range for the flowering stage, but there is one extra trick… Use a dehumidifier to drop the humidity down as low as you possibly can for the last 2-3 weeks of flowering (I’ve gotten the humidity as low as 25%).

This extreme dryness will encourage the buds to seal and protect themselves with additional resin (in other words, a sparkling outer layer of THC-heavy trichomes).

As an added bonus, this trick also gets your buds prepped for a successful, mold-free drying process because your buds have already given up some of their moisture.

6.) Make Sure Grow Room has Strong Air Flow & Good Ventilation

This is yet another factor having to do with air quality (we already listed temperature and humidity).

Over time, any grower (especially indoor growers) will see that great air quality is a big contributor to star-quality buds. Air flow and ventilation are essential if you want to create perfect air quality.

For 1-3 plants smaller to mid-sized plants, you’ll probably be fine with an oscillating fan or two. With a big grow and hot lights, you’ll need a better exhaust system to ensure proper airflow, but it can be easy to set up!

7.) Master the Basics – Especially Drying & Curing

You probably know that in order to get the best results, your plants need to make it through the majority of their lifecycle without major problems.

But although your growing methods are incredibly important, one of the most important things to focus on is when you harvest, as well as the process of drying/curing your buds after harvest.

In fact, the things you do during and after harvest, including drying/curing, makes up almost 50% of your final bud appearance!

Drying/curing the right way will make buds smell better, look better, be more dense, and buds will actually feel more potent!

If you haven’t really been paying attention during the drying/curing part of your grow, you should focus here for the greatest gains in quality!

Drying buds slowly and then curing them in glass mason jars for 2-4+ weeks helps “tighten up” buds so they are more dense. Curing also intensifies smell and increases potency!

What else to pay attention to during the grow?

A lot of mistakes that won’t kill your plant (like nutrient burn, nutrient deficiencies, and heat stress) can often still damage the overall appearance of your buds, especially big problems that happen after the beginning of the flowering stage while buds are in the process of forming.

More importantly, too many problems during the flowering stage can reduce the maximum potency your plant can achieve!

So in order to get the best yields along with beautiful buds that sparkle in the light, you need to gain a complete understanding of the basics of growing. It’s also important to provide your plants with a good growing environment.

But if you were to focus on just ONE thing to improve with your grow, the factor that makes the biggest difference to your quality (besides the strain) is the drying and curing process.

To Sum it Up:

Learn everything you can, start with good genetics and create the perfect growing environment to produce the best buds!

Ever wondered how to grow your own "top-shelf" buds like the ones you get from a dispensary? Learn 7 insider tips to producing your own frosty, medical-quality buds!

Top 10 Best Bud Food & Bloom Booster Fertilizers

The most effective flowering fertilizers for big buds (best bloom boosters). Get the high yields & save money by knowing what they’re made of. Best nutrients for flowering cannabis.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are made of natural ingredients. The highest concentration of plant nutrients come from mineral powders, manures and animal parts. Seaweed and molasses are also used in organic bud foods to promote beneficial bacteria and aide in growth processes. The presence of mycorrhizal fungi can help plants absorb organic nutrients like Phosphorus easier.

Maxicrop

Overview: A lot of “secret” bud enhancers for sale are simply kelp derivative and soluble potash. Seaweed-derived products have been widely used in marijuana fertilizers for their growth stimulating compounds. Save money on expensive liquid formulas by using kelp meal like Maxicrop, made of harvested Norwegian kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum).

How it benefits flowering: NPK 0-0-17. A natural source of potassium and powerful biostimulants, Maxicrop contains more than 70 minerals, micronutrients, amino acids and vitamins to help with bigger, more prolific blooms. Studies have shown that Maxicrop application increased plant root growth by 53–63%. It is also used for cloning and transplanting solutions due to the presence of vitamin B12.

Application: Dissolve 3 tablespoons of Maxicrop powder per gallon of water. Suitable for all cultivation methods. Don’t spray buds, it will stick.

Jobe’s Organics Bulb Food Fertilizer

Overview: Jobes Organics Bulb Fertilizer granular plant food is made from an all-natural blend of bone meal, poultry manure and sulfate of potash. It comes loaded with beneficial bacteria and Endomycorrizae.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 3-5-4. The Archaea is a unique beneficial micro-organism that plays a role in soil carbon and nitrogen turnover. Calcium and Magnesium help strengthen plants and promote photosynthesis—combined they make an effective bud hardener.

Application: Mix in 1 ½ cups of fertilizer granules per each 10′ of soil area for transplants or 1 ½ tablespoons per each 4″ of area for seedlings.

BioThrive Bloom

Overview: Vegan plant food. BioThrive is packed with a myriad of organic substances including alfalfa meal, cane sugar, copper sulphate, glacial rock powder, iron sulphate, kieserite, manganese sulphate, molasses, plant extracts, potassium sulphate, rock phosphate, sodium borate, sodium molybdenate, soybean meal and zinc phosphate.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 2-4-4. Bio Thrive contains the essential nutrients with a hearty dose of carbohydrates (sugars) known to stimulate beneficial microbial activity.

Application: Dilute 4 teaspoons of BioThrive per gallon of water. This liquid fertilizer is convenient for all types of growing from hydroponics to in-the-ground soil application.

Happy Frog Bulb Food

Overview: FoxFarm’s Happy Frog dry fertilizer is a mix of granular organic bud food ingredients such as bone meal, bat guano, and kelp meal. It’s alive with beneficial soil microbes and mycorrhizal fungi inoculant that expand root development, helping plants feed more aggressively.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 3-8-8. Happy Frog Bulb Food adds humic acid (a natural byproduct of organic matter decomposition) as an organic chelating agent to help release the long-term nutrients contained in this fertilizer for plant absorption.

Application: Follow dosage instructions on label for plant size. It can be mixed into potting mix before final transplant, probed into the root system or layered onto the topsoil.

Dr. Earth Organic Bud & Bloom Fertilizer

Overview: Dr. Earth Organic Bud & Bloom fertilizer is made from a blend of fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, feather meal, soft rock phosphate and mined potassium sulfate. Includes beneficial soil microbes and Mycorrhizae.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 3-9-4. This well-rounded dry fertilizer is suitable as a stand-alone flowering supplement.

Application: Use roughly 2 cups per inch of trunk diameter. Follow the label directions for detailed guidelines. Mix it into soil medium during transplants, apply as a probe around the roots or use as a topdress.

Synthetic Fertilizers

Synthetic fertilizers are made of various elemental compounds, mostly derived from the chemical chelation of minerals. The chelation process transforms these minerals into nutrients that are easily absorbed by plants.

Synthetic nutrients work best in hydroponics, aeroponics or in an easy-flush, low-retention potting mix like 50% perlite, 50% vermiculite.

Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster

Overview: J R Peters Jack’s Classic Blossom Booster provides the essential NPK nutrients for flowering plants—plus micronutrients—all in an inexpensive water-soluble powder.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 10-30-20. This classic 1:3:2 nutrient ratio has proven to be the standard for blossom enhancers. A lot of hydro growers are ditching the expensive bottled nutrients and switching over to Jack’s to save money.

Application: One tablespoon of powder per gallon of water. Can be used in any grow setup including hydroponics and aeroponics.

Flower Fuel

Overview: Flower Fuel is a heavy-duty, high PK blossom booster that contains over 40 ingredients: n utrients, vitamins, hormones, amino acids, essential organic components and every single micro and trace element.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 0-39-25. This type of high PK bloom booster is used throughout flowering to promote loads of resinous bud sites that develop into big buds right down to the stem.

Application: ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water. The 250 g container treats 200 gallons of water. Suitable for any soil, coco, hydroponic or aeroponic system.

Grow More Hawaiian Bud

Overview: A hard-hitting nutrient “boom!” for plants, Grow More Hawaiian Bud is packed with extremely high amounts of phosphorus, a hearty dose of potassium, a little nitrogen and chelated micronutrients.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 5-50-17. Potent PK fertilizers like Hawaiian Bud will help plants stack up heavily with multiple bud sites. This contributes to heavy yielding, big bud harvests when applied with caution.

Application: Suggested use varies at ¼–1 teaspoon per gallon of water. Be careful of burning plants by overfeeding.

FoxFarm’s Liquid Bloom Trio

Overview: The liquid bloom trio by FoxFarm are very popular fertilizers in the cannabis growing community. Big Bloom is all organic while Tiger Bloom and Grow Big contain synthetic nitrates and phosphates.

How it benefits flowering: These three bottles are sold together in a fully-balanced bud flowering formula. They contain readily available nutrients combined with organic ingredients and active microbes.

Application: 2–4 teaspoons per gallon of water. FoxFarm liquid fertilizers can be used in soils, pots, hydroponics and aeroponics.

Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food

Overview: Most synthetic fertilizers are readily available, meaning they do not last long after application and need to be reapplied regularly for best results. Osmocote Smart-Release Plant Food is a controlled release granule fertilizer that feeds plants for up to 4 months.

How it benefits flowering: NPK 14-14-14. Balanced, long-term synthetic fertilizer high in nutrients. Each granule is coated with a resin that controls nutritional release. A favorite of old-school guerilla growers.

Application: For 4″ plants 1 teaspoon worked into topsoil or mixed into potting medium.

What Nutrients Does Cannabis Need to Grow?

Nutrients are used like food by plants. Cannabis requires large amounts of mineral nutrients to compose its leaves and dense flowers. The best nutrients for cannabis are in fact the nutrients which are used by the plant to support growth.

  • Well-fed cannabis plants are green and healthy, which can lead to increased flower production and higher yields of bigger buds. Well-fed plants have a stronger immunity to disease than underfed plants.
  • Underfed cannabis plants are often slow to grow, stunted, yellowing and frail. The buds develop sparsely and produce a lower quality and yield than well-fed plants. Underfed plants have a weak immune system due to lack of nutrients.

There are six major nutrients that cannabis plants require to grow—three of which are obtained from the air and water:

  • Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – Plants simply absorb CO2 from the air, combining it with water and light, to make carbohydrates—a process more commonly known as photosynthesis.
  • Hydrogen (H) – Hydrogen is a part of water ( H2O). As plants absorb water, they split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen using the energy from the sun.
  • Oxygen (O) – Along with what has been described above, plants consume oxygen through their pores—even at night. This is what’s called respiration. Respiration combines oxygen and the food created during photosynthesis to produce usable energy for plants.

The other three nutrients are Nitrogen (N), Potassium (P) and Phosphorus (K). These nutrients are mostly obtained though a plant’s roots but can also be absorbed through tissue (i.e. foliar feeding).

Major Nutrients (N-P-K)

What are the three numbers labeled on fertilizers?

NPK (short for Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) are the major nutrients that plants absorb though their roots or vascular tissue. NPK are the three numbers you see labeled on the front of commercial fertilizers.

The numbers represent the percentage of a nutrient a fertilizer is made of. For example, a 50-kg bag of 12-24-12 fertilizer is composed of 12% N, 24% P, and 12% K. To figure out how much K that is you can multiply the weight by the percentage: 50 kg x 0.12 = 6 kg of K.

Nitrogen (N)

  • Nitrogen (a gas) is a major component of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and chlorophyll (the energy substance made by plants through photosynthesis). Nitrogen is the most utilized nutrient of a plant’s life-cycle, especially during its early stages of growth.
  • Organic sources of N are plant litter, compost, manures, blood meal, feather meal, etc.
  • Synthetic derivatives of N include formulations of urea and ammonium nitrates.

Using Nitrogen for flowering cannabis:

High nitrogen fertilizers have a pronounced effect on cannabis plants, often triggering vertical growth. This is why only moderate levels of nitrogen are applied to blooming cannabis plants in order to keep their buds hard, dense and compact. Cannabis fertilizers with a high ratio of nitrogen are usually ‘veg’ nutrients, intended for the early stages of growth.

Phosphorus (P)

  • Phosphorus (a mineral element) is a component of the complex nucleic acid structure of plants, which regulates protein synthesis. It is important in cell division and development of new tissue, also associated with complex energy transformations in the plant. Phosphorus lets plants use the energy harnessed by photosynthesis to drive its metabolism.
  • Organic sources of P include soft rock phosphate, bat guano, steamed bone meal, fish bone meal, and crushed granite.
  • Synthetic derivatives of P are made by treating rock phosphate with either sulfuric acid or phosphorus acid.

Using Phosphorus for flowering cannabis:

High phosphorus availability to plants can lead to additional flower (bud) sites and a healthy root system. The most critical time for cannabis plants to utilize phosphorus is during the beginning of their blooming process (first white hairs), as this is when a big energy change happens in the plant. Cannabis fertilizers with a high ratio of phosphorus are often used as flowering nutrients, meant for the mid–late stages of growth.

Potassium (K)

  • Potassium (a mineral element) triggers the activation of different growth-related enzymes important in many chemical processes taking place during flower production. It also regulates the opening and closing of stomata (pores) during photosynthesis, in part controlling CO2 uptake. Potassium is attributed to playing a major part in the absorption and movement of water, nutrients, and carbohydrates in plant tissue.
  • Organic sources of K include soluble potash (ashes), manures, compost, molasses and kelp meal.
  • Commercially-used K like muriate of potash and sulphate of potash are salts that make up part of ocean saline deposits.

Using Potassium for flowering cannabis:

Potassium is a catalyst for carbohydrate metabolism, so when you want your marijuana plants to pack on the carbs, high levels of K are important. Potassium rivals nitrogen as the nutrient absorbed in greatest amounts by plants. It’s best to increase K levels during the midst a plant’s flowering cycle, healthy amounts of potassium will lead to hard, thick and heavy bud yields. Cannabis fertilizers containing a high ratio of potassium are usually flowering nutrients, used in the mid–late growth stages.

Minor and Micro-Nutrients

Minor and micro-nutrients are essential for healthy plant growth, just used in smaller amounts by plants hence the name.

There are three nutrients classified as minor nutrients. These are:

  • Calcium (Ca) – has a regulating effect in the cells and contributes to the stability of the plant, important in the development of cell walls.
  • Magnesium (Mg) – is a building block of chlorophyll, essential to the process of photosynthesis. Without magnesium, plants cannot process sunlight.
  • Sulfur (S) – is used in the formation of amino acids, proteins, and oils. Sulfur helps develop and activate different vitamins and enzymes.

Seven elements are needed in tiny amounts, these are dubbed micronutrients.

  • These include boron (B), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), nickel (Ni) and chloride (Cl).
  • Being deficient in any of these micronutrients can impair growth.

What are Effective Flowering Fertilizers?

The best bloom boosters, bud foods and flower fertilizers are terms for the right nutrient additives meant to be used when a plant is producing flowers (buds). These nutrients are available to plants in the form of organic material (organic fertilizers) or are derived though chemistry procedures (synthetic fertilizers).

What do the best bloom fertilizers have in common?

  • High proportions of Phosphorus (P) and Potassium (K), to maximize bud formation & growth-related enzymes in the plant.
  • Low proportions of Nitrogen (N), to prevent bud stretching.
  • Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg) are utilized to aid in dense flower clustering, along with other minor nutrients, micronutrients, and trace minerals.

Cannabis Fertilizer Ratio

NPK ratio recommendations for crops are typically provided to farmers via a university extension office. As a rule of thumb, cannabis may follow similar NPK guidelines as those given for tomatoes.

A high-N starter fertilizer is provided during the early growth (veg cycle) to promote vigorous growth while a high-PK bloom fertilizer is given during the later growth (flowering cycle) to support budding.

Cannabis growers tend to ween off nitrogen as the plant gets closer to harvest time. For example, a low-N, high-PK fertilizer near 1:3:2 ratio (2-6-4, 4-12-6, etc.) will be used for early and mid flowering cycle while a PK-only fertilizer (0:1:1 or 0:3:2 NPK ratio) is applied towards the end of flowering.

Organic vs. Synthetic Nutrients

  • Organic cannabis fertilizers contain both readily available and long-term nutrient sources. A thriving microbial ecosystem will help plants access these nutrients faster.
  • Synthetic cannabis fertilizers are readily available nutrients (with the exception of controlled-release fertilizer). These contain chemically chelated nutrients for immediate absorption by plants.

Cannabis Fertilizer Burn

Overapplication of fertilizer nutrients on cannabis plants can lead to “fertilizer burn” or “tipburn”—a desiccation of plant tissues seen as a leaf scorching, due to the osmotic stress caused by over fertilizing.

Avoid fertilizer burn by following the recommended application guidelines on fertilizer product labels. Cannabis plants that show signs of fertilizer burn should be ‘flushed’ with a long watering to rid excess nutrients from the root zone.

Nutrient Lockouts

When applying high amounts of fertilizer it’s important to take into account the possibility of a nutrient lockout. This can occur from pH imbalance or excess nutrient buildup. Buildup often happens in mediums that can not be flushed clean of P, as this nutrient has a tendency to cling to other particles in soil.

When too much P is present in soil it binds up calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc making these nutrients unusable. Excess P also has harmful effects on beneficial soil organisms such as mycorrhizal fungi.

Compost and Worm Castings as Fertilizer?

There are benefits to using organic matter in soil like increasing water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil, improving soil structure and promoting beneficial microbes.

Compost is often analyzed as a 1-1-1 dilutant fertilizer. However, all compost varies in composition. The nutrient profile of compost depends on what was used to make it.

Worm casting compost made with egg shells (calcium) and banana peels (potassium) are a great DIY organic bud food that you can make at home.

Best Fertilizer for Cannabis Buds Shortlist

Fertilizer Type NPK Link
Maxicrop Organic 0-0-17 VIEW PRICE ►
Happy Frog Bulb Organic 3-8-8 VIEW PRICE ►
Biothrive Bloom Organic 2-4-4 VIEW PRICE ►
Jobe’s Organics Bulb Food Organic 3-5-4 VIEW PRICE ►
Dr. Earth Organic Bud & Bloom Organic 3-9-4 VIEW PRICE ►
Jack’s Blossom Booster Synthetic 10-30-20 VIEW PRICE ►
Flower Fuel Synthetic 0-39-25 VIEW PRICE ►
Hawaiian Bud Synthetic 5-50-17 VIEW PRICE ►
Liquid Bloom Trio Mixed Mixed VIEW PRICE ►
Osmocote Synthetic 14-14-14 VIEW PRICE ►

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24 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Bud Food & Bloom Booster Fertilizers”

The organic foxfarms kind works good with the maxicrop.

I agree Dino, Personally a big fan of the Happy Frog fertilizers from Fox Farm, and good ol’ Maxicrop… Maxicrop, or Norwegian sea kelp is a great trace minerals fertilizer/supplement with a little bit of potassium as well. I have seen times personally where a cannabis plant is not growing with the optimum health and vigor, then simply maxicrop (sea kelp) was supplemented to the weed plant and in a matter of hours that plant’s color had changed to a deeper green and had visually gained vigor, eventually flowering and finishing up into some heavy yielding, big-budded chronic. Sometimes the small things may be overlooked in certain soils, adding sea kelp into your soil or onto your plant(foliar feeding) is a reliable way to ensure that hungry cannabis plants get the nutrients they need to grow big and yield hard.

The most effective flowering fertilizers for big buds (best bloom boosters). Get the high yields & save money by knowing what they're made of. Best ]]>