Categories
BLOG

ph of soil for weed

The perfect PH value for a cannabis plant

In the world of gardening, pH both affects and is affected by everything. Indeed, the entire process of growing plants is a study in the physical dance of pH balance.

Contents:

So, you are on your way to growing great cannabis. Your seeds have sprouted, and a small cannabis plant is now eagerly growing. You have spent good money on quality nutrients, and have made sure to properly water and feed your precious plant baby. But something is wrong; you notice your plant appears sick. The leaves are getting discoloured and growth has come to a standstill. Before you know it, your plant is withering away, and you’re stumped as to how this could’ve possibly happened.

Among fatal flaws like overwatering and overfeeding, pH imbalances are one of the most common issues in the cannabis garden. To understand why pH is so important, let us first understand the concept in and of itself.

WHAT IS PH?

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH scale ranges from 1–14, with a pH of 7 being neutral (the pH of pure water). If pH is lower than 7, a substance is considered acidic (think vinegar or lemon juice). If the pH is higher than 7, the substance is alkaline, as is the case with soaps, bleach, and ammonia.

In more scientific terms, pH level has to do with the concentration of hydrogen ions, say in the water you give to your plants. The pH scale is logarithmic to the base 10, which means that water with a pH of 6 is already 10x more acidic than water with a pH of 7.

WHY IS PH IMPORTANT WHEN GROWING CANNABIS?

As you will already know, all plants require nutrients for healthy growth. They require macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as micronutrients and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and a whole lot more. If plants cannot access these nutrients, it will lead to deficiencies and other serious health problems.

The issue with cannabis plants is that they are only able to take up nutrients within a small pH window, which ranges from about 6–7 when growing in soil. If the pH is lower or higher than that, the plant cannot take in nutrients, even if they are present—thus spurring nutrient deficiencies via “nutrient lockout”.

In those places where cannabis thrives in the wild, the soil is normally slightly acidic; therefore, homegrown cannabis plants will also prefer a slightly acidic environment. However, the way that you grow cannabis also plays a role in the optimal pH level for your plants. Cannabis grown hydroponically or without soil needs an even lower pH than a soil grow.

WHAT’S THE BEST PH FOR GROWING CANNABIS?

SOIL: 6.0–7.0 pH

If you grow in soil, the optimal pH level for the root zone is between 6.0 and 7.0. However, there is no set number within this range that is “best”. Instead, it can be good to allow for some natural fluctuation within this window to support optimal nutrient uptake. So as you adjust, try a slightly different reading each time. You can, for example, adjust your pH to 6.2 for one watering, then 6.6 the next. As long as it stays within 6.0–7.0, you should be fine. Soil is also more forgiving when it comes to pH imbalances, but it can only give so much.

If you grow purely organically—where you do not administer liquid nutrients—pH is less of an issue. If you’re using amended and composted soil with organic matter, the microorganisms within will make the nutrients more available to the roots. However, most growers using standard potting mixes and liquid nutrients will indeed have to reckon with pH.

HYDROPONICS AND SOILLESS: 5.5–6.5 pH

Hydro and soilless grows are a different beast when it comes to pH. If you grow soilless, say in coco, the optimal pH level at the root zone should be somewhat lower than in soil, between 5.5–6.5. The same goes for all methods of hydro.

With these methods, it is just as important that you allow the pH level to fluctuate across the acceptable range to support nutrient uptake. For example, in hydro, calcium and magnesium are mostly absorbed at pH levels above 6, while other nutrients like manganese prefer a slightly lower pH.

Then again, this shouldn’t be an issue since pH levels will naturally change slightly with each feeding in a hydroponic setup. You will only need to correct if the pH level exits the optimal 5.5–6.5 pH range.

When growing in coco, perlite, or hydroponically, you are in charge of administering nutrients directly to the root zone via the water, which means that huge pH fluctuations are more of a risk than in soil. The inert media used in hydro and soilless grows merely retains water and provides support for the roots of your plants. So when administering nutrients, be careful that you don’t overload your plants.

In the world of gardening, pH both affects and is affected by everything. Indeed, the entire process of growing plants is a study in the physical dance of pH balance.

Understanding Soil pH: A Beginner’s Guide

pH. Ugh. It’s one of those finicky things pool owners and chemistry students need to worry about. You probably know that pH levels are indicators of how acidic or basic a substance is but you may not know how it affects the growth and productivity of cannabis. Not to fear! Today we’re discussing the ins and outs of soil pH, and how to ensure your cannabis crop is getting the right soil pH at the right time.

pH: A refresher

For those who have been out of chemistry class for a while, let’s start with the basics. pH, which stands for potential of Hydrogen, is an indicator of how acidic or basic a substance is. pH is measured on a 14-point scale, from zero (the most acidic) to 14 (the most basic). It’s called pH because acidic molecules contain hydrogen, which has the chemical symbol H. At their extremes, both acids and bases are caustic, meaning they react violently with organic tissue, effectively burning or dissolving it. The range of pH found in soil is much more neutral, but vitally important to cannabis production.

Measuring soil pH

Of course, knowing what pH is doesn’t help you if you can’t measure your soil’s acidity. Fortunately, measuring pH is dead easy. Testing kits are available at many retailers for a nominal fee. There are several kinds of commercial testing kits, including treated paper strips, tablets, and electronic sensors. Each comes with instructions on the specifics of its use, but here’s a basic how-to. Simply mix a soil sample from your growing container with enough dechlorinated water (pure water is pH neutral – a 7 on the pH scale) to make wet mud. Insert whichever testing material you’ve purchased. Per the test kit instructions, the testing material will change colour or otherwise indicate the pH. Compare the results to the test kit instructions and you’ll know the pH of your soil.

There’s also a few homemade methods to test for pH, but these are less accurate and not encouraged for ideal cannabis production.

Soil pH for Cannabis growth

Cannabis plants require slightly acidic soil to thrive – pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range on the scale. What pH does for cannabis is facilitate growth. Maintaining a slightly acidic pH allows cannabis plants to take in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are necessary for growth and flowering of cannabis plants. pH levels within that 5.5-6.5 ‘sweet-spot’ mean that all the fertilization and soil maintenance you do for your plants work to maximum effect. Without proper acidity in the soil, everything else goes to waste.

Correcting Soil pH

Now that we know the importance of soil acidity for cannabis, and how to test for pH in your soil, it’s time to learn how to correct pH. pH can be corrected by, quite simply, adding more acid or base to the soil. However, it’s not quite that easy. While any acid or base will adjust soil pH, many are toxic to plants, animals, and microorganisms. BlueSky’s pH UP and pH DOWN formulas are simply measured and added to your plant’s water before watering. It’s naturally sourced, microorganism friendly, and won’t burn plants the way harsher pH adjusters can. It’s the best choice for cannabis pH management.

Disclaimer: All information provided here is intended to aid in the production of medicinal cannabis and hemp products only. BlueSky does not condone or support the illegal production or consumption of cannabis. All information is provided ‘as is’ and without guarantee. For more information, or to leave comments or concerns, contact our Master Grower at 1-866-866-4330.

pH. Ugh. It’s one of those finicky things pool owners and chemistry students need to worry about. You probably know that pH levels are indicators of how acidic or basic a substance is but you may not know how it affects the growth and productivity of cannabis. Not to fear! Today we’re discussing the ins and outs of soil pH, and how to ensure your cannabis crop is getting the right soil pH at the right time. pH: A refresher For those who have been out of chemistry class for a while, let’s start with the basics. pH, which stands for potential of Hydrogen, is an indicator of how acidic or basic a substance is. pH is measured on a 14-point scale, from zero (the most acidic) to 14 (the most basic). It’s called pH because acidic molecules contain hydrogen, which has the chemical symbol H. At their extremes, both acids and bases are caustic, meaning they react violently with organic tissue, effectively burning or dissolving it. The range of pH found in soil is much more neutral, but vitally important to cannabis production. Measuring soil pH Of course, knowing what pH is doesn’t help you if you can’t measure your soil’s acidity. Fortunately, measuring pH is dead easy. Testing kits are available at many retailers for a nominal fee. There are several kinds of commercial testing kits, including treated paper strips, tablets, and electronic sensors. Each comes with instructions on the specifics of its use, but here’s a basic how-to. Simply mix a soil sample from your growing container with enough dechlorinated water (pure water is pH neutral – a 7 on the pH scale) to make wet mud. Insert whichever testing material you’ve purchased. Per the test kit instructions, the testing material will change colour or otherwise indicate the pH. Compare the results to the test kit instructions and you’ll know the pH of your soil. There’s also a few homemade methods to test for pH, but these are less accurate and not encouraged for ideal cannabis production. Soil pH for Cannabis growth Cannabis plants require slightly acidic soil to thrive – pH in the 5.5 to 6.5 range on the scale. What pH does for cannabis is facilitate growth. Maintaining a slightly acidic pH allows cannabis plants to take in nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which are necessary for growth and flowering of cannabis plants. pH levels within that 5.5-6.5 ‘sweet-spot’ mean that all the fertilization and soil maintenance you do for your plants work to maximum effect. Without proper acidity in the soil, everything else goes to waste. Correcting Soil pH Now that we know the importance of soil acidity for cannabis, and how to test for pH in your soil, it’s time to learn how to correct pH. pH can be corrected by, quite simply, adding more acid or base to the soil. However, it’s not quite that easy. While any acid or base will adjust soil pH, many are toxic to plants, animals, and microorganisms. BlueSky’s pH UP and pH DOWN formulas are simply measured and added to your plant’s water before watering. It’s naturally sourced, microorganism friendly, and won’t burn plants the way harsher pH adjusters can. It’s the best choice for cannabis pH management. Disclaimer: All information provided here is intended to aid in the production of medicinal cannabis and hemp products only. BlueSky does not condone or support the illegal production or consumption of cannabis. All information is provided ‘as is’ and without guarantee. For more information, or to leave comments or concerns, contact our Master Grower at 1-866-866-4330.