Primary Nutrients - The "P"


Phosphorus is a very diverse molecule in plant and soil systems. It is responsible for assisting in cell division, complex energy transformation, promoting root growth and winter hardiness. It has also been known to promote early maturity and tulling. Phosphorus in particular has been shown to increase Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the cannabis plant (a fact that our hemp farmers in particular) when used in high amounts. It should still be used when growing hemp, but in VERY limited quantities. It assists in photosynthesis and can help maintain action potential across cell walls. It also plays a role in cell division, cellular respiration and even cell enlargement. Generally, most phosphates come from either rock phosphates, guanos or meal products like bone meal or fish meal.

Contrary to popular belief, in a flowering cycle you do NOT swap nitrogen for phosphorus. Yes, application of phosphorus in bloom can alter the plant in the ways described above, but to completely remove nitrogen is not only counterintuitive, but it’s just plain incorrect. Plants need from nitrogen as a primary nutrient does not cease simply because it’s blooming. Also, it is important to distinguish between phosphates and phosphites. Phosphates are generally salt-based, cheap, and tend to precipitate with other nutrients causing it to fall out of solution and build up in your soil. This is generally why it is better to utilize phosphites. They are more bioavailable and gentler in solution. They bind less readily to other nutrients and stay in solution longer.

Next week we’ll wrap up our NPK discussion with the K in NPK, Potassium.

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