Chemical nutrients have great qualities that make them attractive to a lot of growers. They increase the rate of vegetative growth and may possibly even contribute to greater bud potency. Using them won’t necessarily “hurt” the smell of buds, but these do not seem to contribute to smell as much as when the plant is using nutrients from living sources. The best smell-related results seem to occur when nutrients are getting broken down in the soil instead of being delivered directly to roots in their most simple chemical form. The “GO Box” by General Organics offers a nutrient line made of only organic ingredients and specialized for growing plants like cannabis.
Another great option is the Fox Farms Nutrient trio for soil. This is a complete cannabis nutrient system that can support your plants from seed to harvest. Although “Tiger Bloom” and “Grow Big” are not 100% organic, they use high quality ingredients and consistently produce great results in soil as far as smell and appearance. The “Big Bloom” part of the trio is probably the best part. It is completely organic and although it’s not a complete food source on its own, it can be used by itself as a Bloom Booster for plants in soil. It’s a bit more difficult to give too much “Big Bloom” to your plants since it’s basically a soup of natural sources of nutrients! (Still, don’t go crazy!) Restrict Overall Nutrient Levels in Last 6 Weeks of Flowering. Cannabis plants do a lot of vegetative growth during the first several weeks of flowering and need a lot of nutrients to power that growth.
However, around 6 weeks after the switch to flowering, they’ve mostly stopped growing new stems and leaves altogether and at this point their nutrient needs go down quite a bit. Around week 6 of the flowering stage, your plants will mostly stop growing new stems and leaves, and needs lower levels of nutrients (especially Nitrogen) until harvest. Now, you don’t want to starve your plant of nutrients in the flowering stage because that will cause early leaf yellowing and ultimately hurt yields and bud appearance. If your plant already looks pale green all over, you don’t want to reduce nutrient levels further. However, as far as smell is concerned, it’s important not to go overboard during the last 6 weeks of the flowering stage with nutrients, especially Nitrogen, as it can deposit a “green” or “chemical” taste/smell to buds. This is true whether you’re using chemical or organic nutrients, though it’s harder to over-fertilize with organic nutrients. High levels of nutrients, especially the kind found in liquid plant food, can deposit extra nutrients into the buds themselves, possibly altering the taste and smell. After buds are fully formed you don’t want to overdo it with Nitrogen or other nutrients. In addition to hurting the smell, too much Nitrogen can also prevent buds from fattening properly! Supplements can be a controversial topic when it comes to growing cannabis, and there are hundreds of options with new products frequently appearing on the market. It can be tough to cut through all the marketing speak and figure out what actually is going to make a difference in your grow. Here’s a list of the most common (and least controversial) supplements that improve smell: Sugar Based Supplements. Many sugar or carbohydrate-based supplements claim to improve the smell/taste/sweetness of buds. 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 the last 2-3 weeks before harvest, give 1/2 tsp of Blackstrap Molasses per gallon when watering (for soil or coco coir) Improve or Enhance Natural Bloom Processes. This group contains ingredients that are meant to help the plant do its job better. In addition to carbohydrates or sugar, these types of supplements also contain extracts from plant, marine, and mineral sources, as well as things like vitamins, amino acids, polyflavonoids, etc. The jury is still out and which is the most effective supplement, 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) Supplements that “add” a smell to buds.
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 jealous. For my next grow I plan to use one of these Sweet products as my primary supplement for the flowering stage.