How to feed your plants
Like anything living, energy is needed to fuel growth.
Without food, systems generally start to consume themselves creating a host of problems, each presenting a knock-on effect.
Some example knock on effects:
Deficiencies: causing the plant to consume itself from the bottom up, this is simply the plant translocating the much need elements to sustain continual new growth, if left to fend for itself the plant would die.
Mutated growth: with less food present, the cellular function/s are interrupted or cease completely causing an unrecognisable or altered growth pattern.
Take for example a small child, we know the small child cannot consume food the size of an adult, so the serving is adjusted to suit their size, everything is relative to growth.
"Plants are identical, they need feeding ‘relative’ to their stage of growth!"
If a plant is only 25cm tall it will not be able to consume the same amount of food as say a 10m tall tree, it’s not possible to get any more energy out of a system, than is initially put in, the 25cm tall plant can only consume and exert so much energy.
A common mistake people make is being too worried about ‘over feeding’ and as a result of this, people don’t give their plants a large enough volume of nutrient mix.
When people talk about not ‘over feeding’ they are warning of giving your plant a nutrient mix with too high an EC/PPM reading or in simpler terms a mixture with too much liquid fertilizer added to it. It comes down to volume VS concentration, when feeding your plants, you must provide both a sufficient volume of water whilst also ensuring the water has the correct concentration of 'food' in it . A good rule of thumb for getting your volume correct is every time you feed your plants you see plenty of liquid coming out of the bottom of the pot which we call 'run off'.
Feeding charts are a GUIDE not a guarantee!
Adjustments must be made with each variety, some need more, some need less. Common sense should prevail here. Week 1 for example is not one feed per week, it’s a 7-day week, and the doses for week one MUST be given to the plant each day!
Now week 2-3 you’ll notice the dose per Litre (L) increase gradually, this should be in line with plant development.
Week 4 of vegetation and the start of flowering/fruiting initiation, the doses rise again, but usually stay the same from week 4 on (most brands call for specific additives in flower which help facilitate the base nutrient or increase absorption)
A plant at week 4 of flower will need feeding at least twice a day (to run-off).
The larger the plant the quicker the consumption, so letting them sit for 6 hours after the first feed will not work, you’ll probably want to feed them every 3-4 hours, to prevent them drying out etc.
Dry roots equals dead roots
For those worried about over or under watering, remember a basic rule - dry roots equals dead roots. If you do not water your with enough volume of water, or often enough to allow their root zones to completely dry out, your plant will suffer and be near potential death. Over-watering a plant is almost impossible with any pot with sufficient drainage. Under-watering plants is a much more common issue that we see new growers falling into the trap of regularly. Keep some form of moisture in your root zones at all times for the best results.
If your plants are drinking their pots bone dry in a single day, its time to re-pot into a larger pot that can support a larger root zone and larger volume of water within it. Feeding more than once a day can also be an option for heavy drinking plants in warmer climates.
As always, if you’re in doubt. Call us or cruise in, the team will gladly explain anything relating to plants.