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 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… 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. 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.