Nutrients that are Essential During Cannabis Plant Development

Written by Caleb Summeril

Cannabis, just like any other plant on earth, requires a certain set of nutrients for optimal growth during its life cycle from seed to bloom. These nutrients enable the plant to develop, mature, and flourish while providing the building blocks necessary for certain characteristics such as vegetative growth and flower production. Here is a look at some key nutrients that are essential during cannabis plant development.


Aside from sunlight, the most important nutrients for plant growth are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. These are obvious and provided from the environment, in the form of water (H2O) and CO2. These nutrients are used in photosynthesis, which produces molecular oxygen (O2), and are the building blocks for large molecules and plant growth.


The more common macronutrients considered essential to all plant development are nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is important for vegetative growth and high levels of this nutrient can increase foliage production [1]. Phosphorous is crucial for healthy root and flower production and a higher quantity of this nutrient is needed during the flowering stage of a cannabis plant than during vegetative growth. Potassium is needed during all life cycles of cannabis and is an essential nutrient that aids in the plants ability to use and retain water. Most plant and cannabis fertilizers will show the ratios of these three essential macronutrients and some studies suggest a ratio of 2N-.87P-3.32K is optimal for higher flower yields [2].

Other macronutrients essential for cannabis plant development include calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulphur (S). These nutrients are needed in less abundance than the other main nutrients above but are still crucial for healthy plant growth. Their levels can be lacking if pH levels are off during growth.


There are many other nutrients that are important to cannabis plant development and proper growth but are needed on an even smaller total level and are overall less abundant in nature. These include: copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), and boron (B). These nutrients are needed in much smaller amounts than macronutrients but are still crucial to plant growth and are important in the general health and development of cannabis plants.


  1. Tang K., et al. “Water and Nitrogen Use Efficiencies of Hemp (Cannabis sativa ) Based on Whole-Canopy Measurements and Modeling”. Front Plant Sci. 2018 July 16. 9:951. Times cited = 0, Journal Impact Factor = 4.298
  2. Caplan, D., et al. “Optimal Rate of Organic Fertilizer during the Flowering Stage for Cannabis Grown in Two Coir-based Substrates”. HortScience. 2017 Dec. 52:12, 1796-1803. Times cited = 4, Journal Impact Factor = 0.830

About the author

Caleb Summeril

Caleb Summeril writes creative copy, stories and songs from the mountains of Colorado. When not working on words, he can be found on global gallivants which fuel future endeavors. Learn more about his writing services at calebsummeril.com

Leave a Comment