Plant nutrients or fertilizers mimic the natural nutrients found in healthy soil, often with some added benefits. Since growing cannabis indoors is becoming an industry standard, plant nutrients have evolved since most indoor grows use alternative substrates. To learn more about the different cannabis substrates, check out this article. Let's examine the highest quality nutrient options available for the commercial cultivation of cannabis.

What Are Plant Nutrients or Fertilizers?

Fertilizers provide plants with essential nutrients necessary for growth and health. A requirement for all living things, plants need essential nutrients to thrive. Soil naturally contains many of the minerals and organic elements necessary for healthy plant growth. With the popularity of indoor growing and hydroponics, the demand for plant nutrients has blossomed. 

Macro and Micro Nutrients

Minerals and other organic compounds necessary for plant growth can be classified as macronutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients. 

Nutrient Guide:

The eighteen elements required for healthy plants are: carbon (C), hydrogen (H), oxygen (O), nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), calcium (Ca), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), boron (B), molybdenum (Mo), chlorine (Cl), cobalt (Co) nickel (Ni). 

Macronutrients: used in high quantities by the plant:

  • Structural nutrients: C, H, O
  • Primary nutrients: N, P, K
  • Secondary nutrients: Ca, Mg, S

Micronutrients: used in smaller quantities by the plant:

  • Fe, B, Cu, Cl, Mn, Mo, Zn, Co, Ni

Plants require eighteen nutrients to grow and develop ideally. Plants use carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O) for their structure which are obtained from the air (CO2) and water (H2O). These transform into carbohydrates such as sugars and starch, which provide the strength for stems, cell walls and leaves, and sources of energy for the plant.

The principal nutrients include nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These elements contribute to plant nutrient content, a function of plant enzymes and biochemical processes, and assist with the integrity of plant cells. Any deficiency of these nutrients contributes to reduced plant health and yield and are, therefore, essential nutrients. 

The secondary nutrients include calcium (Ca), magnesium (Mg), and sulfur (S). The final crucial elements are used in small quantities by the plant but are necessary for plant survival. These micronutrients include iron (Fe), boron (B), copper (Cu), chlorine (Cl), Manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo), zinc (Zn), cobalt (Co), and nickel (Ni).

Commercial Grade Nutrients For Cannabis

While there are hundreds of popular nutrient brands, the majority are used by home or hobby growers. There are only a few companies that specialize in commercial quality, water-soluble nutrients. Read below to get growing.


Athena supports the modern grower regardless of the size and scale of the operation. Their core principle is to formulate products that improve quality, reduce costs and drive consistency. Athena was born in the grow rooms of Los Angeles, California, where they are always in pursuit of the perfect harvest. They're a trusted brand by commercial cultivars, so check out their website for their many options. 

Jack's Nutrients

Founded in 1947, Jack and the entire Peter's family are dedicated to providing high-quality nutrients affordably. Produced entirely in the U.S., they test every formula for effectiveness and efficiency. The master crafters at Jack's family-owned and operated business created a nutrient solution that delivers the exact nutrient balance crops need to provide quality yields consistently. Check out their website for more information.

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