June 29, 2020 7 min read

By George Mouratidis

There's no denying the "power of powder" in today's plant nutrients market. Although liquid nutrients are still readily available, their dominant position is being challenged in cannabis cultivation circles. Even growers who've used liquid nutrients for decades are now praising powders—but does that mean they're right for you? 

If you're thinking about making the switch to powder feeds, then you'll enjoy the info in this post. Below, we'll explain what powder nutrients are and how they compare with liquid nutrients. 

What Are Powder Nutrients?

It's tricky to explain powder nutrients without using the words "powder" and "nutrients"—because that's exactly what these products are! Powder nutrients contain the "food" necessary for your marijuana plant's healthy development. These products have all of the macro and micronutrients you'd expect in liquid nutrients, except in a powdered form. 

Although powder nutrients aren't water-based, they are water-soluble. So, cultivators first have to dissolve powder nutrients in pure water before adding them to their hydroponics system or soil.

Since marijuana plants need different nutrients at different stages of development, there's no "standard" powder nutrients formula. Instead, most companies offer products tailored to the crucial vegetative and flowering stages. Vegetative powder nutrients usually have higher traces of nitrogen, while flowering feeds have more potassium and phosphorus.

Be sure to click this link if you're curious about what a high-quality starter powder nutrients kit looks like.

Powder Vs. Liquid Nutrients: What Are the Key Differences?

In terms of the purpose they serve, powder and liquid nutrients are the same. Both of these products contain macro and micronutrients that help your buds bloom. The significant difference is that liquid nutrients are water-based and powder nutrients are dry.

But there are far more differences between water and powder nutrients than mere texture. Here are a few of the crucial distinctions growers often make when comparing these two products.

Can You Handle All That "Water Weight"? 

A disadvantage for liquid nutrients is they are heavier than powder feeds. OK, you may not have to be Arnold Schwarzenegger to move these liquid bottles, but they can give you severe wrist strain if you're not careful. Plus, since these bottles are cumbersome, it's easy to spill them and overshoot the nutrients you wanted to give your plants.

People who dislike lugging liquid bottles might want to consider investing in lighter powder nutrients. 

Shelf-Space & Shelf-Life: How Do Powder Nutrients Fare?

People who have small grow spaces often complain about how challenging it is to fit liquid nutrients onto their shelves. As we just mentioned, liquid nutrients are heavier and larger than powder nutrients containers. If you are going to purchase water-based nutrients, then you need to set aside plenty of space to accommodate these big bottles.

While we're talking about "shelves," it's also worth noting that powder nutrients tend to have a longer "shelf life" than liquid nutrients. This is primarily because you don't have to worry about evaporation with powder nutrients. People who live in hot and humid environments will probably rest easier with powder nutrients stacked near their marijuana plants.

Spills In Shipping: Constant Worries With Liquid Nutrients 

Another disadvantage associated with liquid nutrients is that they could easily spring a leak in transit. Even with costly protective packaging, liquid nutrient bottles have a higher risk of shipping-related damage than powdered nutrients.

While there's always a potential risk that your powder nutrients could get damaged, it's less likely compared with liquid products. Indeed, since many manufacturers now double-seal their powder nutrients, chances are high you'll receive your containers intact.

"Less Is More" With Powder Nutrients 

Annoyingly, most liquid nutrients are sold in multi-bottle sets rather than in one container. Manufacturers have to sell liquid nutrients this way because certain minerals interact unfavorably in an activated state. The only way companies can provide the maximum nutrients without sacrificing shelf-life is to split up their formulas.

By contrast, powder nutrients don't activate until you place them in water, which means manufacturers can put more minerals into one package. In most cases, you don't have to worry about investing in costly two-part programs with powder feeds. As a bonus, most of these powders are incredibly potent at low doses, so you could get a lot of use out of a small container.

Is Powder Pricier? 

With all of the pros listed above, you might assume powder nutrients cost way more than liquid products. Interestingly, the main reason people get interested in powder nutrients is that they are farless expensive than liquid nutrients. 

Remember, powder nutrients are lighter and less fragile than liquid nutrients. Both of these features translate to lower shipping costs, which helps drive down the overall price. Powder nutrients are also far more potent at lower doses, which means growers tend to get more usage out of these goods versus liquids.

Are There Any Negatives Associated With Powder Nutrients?

Powder nutrients sure have a lot of pros, but that doesn't mean they're perfect. Indeed, many cultivators dislike powder nutrients because of the extra time it takes to mix them into water. 

While this might sound like a minor complaint, bear in mind powder nutrients could take as long as 30 minutes to dissolve fully. Growers need to fit this extra time into their schedule if they want to use powder nutrients properly. 

Also, since powder nutrients tend to be more potent at lower levels, they can be tricky to dose. It's not unheard of for novice growers to overfeed their plants with powder nutrients.

Since liquid nutrients are already in a water solution, all you have to do is pour the recommended dose into your soil or hydroponics. This feature makes liquid nutrients more "beginner-friendly." Just be sure to give your liquid container a good shake before pouring; nutrients in water-based solutions tend to settle on the bottom.

Why Should You Invest In Nutrients? 

New cultivators sometimes assume nutrients aren't an essential part of a home-grow setup. After all, don't plants get all the nutrients they need from good soil?

Yes, organic soil and fertilizer usually contain a wealth of beneficial minerals—but that doesn't mean that nutrients are superfluous. Even if you have high-quality soil, there's no way to predict the ratios of macro and micronutrients your plant will be exposed to. Only powder or liquid nutrients allow you to feed your plants exactly what they need at different stages of development. 

How Do I Use Powder Nutrients? 

Using powder nutrients is straightforward, but it could be a bit time-consuming. All you have to do is measure your desired powder dosage and mix it into water. Once the powder is thoroughly dissolved, you can pour it into a hydroponics system or a soil-based grow setup.

If you lack the patience required to dissolve all of those powder particles, you might want to invest in a reservoir. Many cultivators use reservoirs with running airstones to speed up the mixing process. 

You should also avoid dumping the full amount of your powder directly into the water. Instead, sprinkle a bit of powder, mix for a few minutes, then sprinkle some more. This simple technique will reduce the risk of your powder clumping up.

What Are The Most Significant Nutrients For Marijuana Growth? 

Although all nutrients play a role in a plant's development, there are a few minerals that stand out. These essential nutrients are often listed as "macronutrients," while those of secondary importance are called "micronutrients." Marijuana can usually survive without adequate doses of micronutrients, but it will die if it doesn't get enough macronutrients.

The top three macronutrients every gardener needs to be concerned about are nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. In general, marijuana plants need large doses of nitrogen in the vegetative stage and more phosphorus and potassium when they start to flower. 

While other nutrients like calcium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc play important roles in a plant's development, you don't need to be as concerned with these compounds. 

If you're more interested in learning the intricacies of growing marijuana, then please click on this previous blog post

Are Powder Nutrients Good For Beginners? 

People who have no background in cultivation usually have better luck with liquid nutrients. Even though these bottles are bulky, they tend to be more convenient to work with. 

Not only are liquid nutrients more convenient, but they are also easier to dose. This is a significant feature for new growers who tend to overshoot the nutrients they give their plants. So, if it's your first time growing marijuana, consider starting with liquid nutrients and transitioning to powder feeds after you have some experience.

Can You Give Plants Too Many Nutrients? 

Yes, overfeeding plants is as significant a threat as underfeeding them. Unfortunately, since we're all hardwired to believe "more = better," new growers often flood their plants with nutrients. Instead of getting big buds, however, these novices only get a harsh lesson in "nutrient burnout."

As you could tell from the name, nutrient burnout is a condition where marijuana is taking in more nutrients than it can metabolize. In the early stages of this disease, your leaves might have white spots or yellow discoloration, both of which are often misinterpreted as a nutrient deficiency. Other defining features of "nutrient burnout" include dark, curled leaves and yellow-tipped sugar leaves. 

The only way to save a plant that has "burned out" is to flush the affected plant's soil with pH neutral water. Use a water purity scanner and a pH meter to ensure your water is at the appropriate level for your plant's development. 

Of course, it's far easier to prevent overfeeding than to salvage a plant that's already "burnt." Continually monitoring your plants' water quality and pH could help you more accurately gauge the amount of nutrients to feed them. It's also usually a good idea to give your plants fewer nutrients than you think they need. 

Are There Powder Nutrients For Mineral Deficiencies?

Now that powder nutrients are popular, dozens of companies are offering single-mineral products for various deficiencies. There are also a plethora of powder formulas available for different water qualities and grow mediums. 

Be sure to take your time exploring all of the options on the market before purchasing your perfect powder. FYI: you can find out more about the popular powdered Lotus Nutrients Grow Pro Series by clicking on this handy link.

So, Are You In The "Pro Powder Party"? 

Considering all of the positives associated with powder nutrients, it's no wonder these products are giving liquid formulas a run for their money. With lower average costs and lightweight packaging, powder nutrients have a great deal to offer home-growers of all skill levels. Even if you've enjoyed the convenience of liquid nutrients for years, you might be surprised how quickly you adapt to these powdery products.

If you're interested in shopping for powder or liquid nutrients, then we strongly suggest checking all of the stellar products listed in Everything But The Plant's catalog.

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