After many discoveries in plant physiology scientists have identified and categorized the elements needed to support plant growth as the essential elements. Rightly named, those elements are essential to plant function and are required for plant health. The essential elements are found in base fertilizers and provide balanced nutrition to the plants. In addition to the essential elements there is another group of elements that plant scientists are classifying as beneficial elements. These elements are not essential to plant functions but display certain benefits when available to the plants. In order for a cannabis grower to have the most productive garden possible he or she must not only understand and feed the plants the essential elements but also gain an understanding of how to use the beneficial elements to their advantage. There are four elements categorized as beneficial elements; silicon, sodium, cobalt, and selenium.
Of all the beneficial elements none are as important or widely used as silicon. Silica formulations have become increasingly popular within the indoor gardening community as well as commercial agriculture. This is because silicon is associated with structural integrity as well as heightened resistance to various pathogens. Silicon also helps cannabis plants negate stressful conditions such as excess heat (all too common for indoor horticulture) or drought. There are many different silica formulations on the market but cannabis growers should look for the most soluble form possible.
In certain plants sodium aids in metabolism and the synthesis of chlorophyl. Some plants will use sodium as a substitute for potassium when potassium levels are low (for particular purposes, like aiding the opening and closing of stomata). Adequate sodium levels are usually found in most media and fertilizers.
Cobalt is an essential component of many enzymes and co-enzymes. It has been shown to affect the metabolism of plants in different degrees depending on the concentration found in the soil or medium. Cobalt interacts with other elements to form complexes. Cobalt’s absorption into the plant is dependent on the complexes formed.
Selenium is actually toxic to most plants at any level higher than trace amounts. However, in trace amounts it has been shown as a component of beneficial antioxidant enzymes. All in all, selenium is usually found in minute amounts in fertilizers and mediums so growers don’t really need to worry about supplementing it.
Horticulturists who make sure their plants are receiving both essential elements and beneficial elements are more likely to achieve the best results. Silicon is really the only beneficial element that most cannabis growers need to supplement; however, a better understanding of the other beneficial elements will never hurt. Horticulturists who supplement silica along with a balanced nutrient regiment will provide their plants will all the essential and beneficial elements needed for accelerated growth and gigantic yields.
Eric Hopper is the Editor in Chief for NUGL Media. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.