Do you keep track of your soil and water pH levels for your cannabis plants? The pH value (acidity) is a critical factor. A lack of balance here can prevent your cannabis plants from absorbing the amount of nutrients they need.
Testing pH values regularly is worth your while. The right acidity can make your plants stronger and bushier, allowing for better yields. In this blog, you’ll find out what pH value is, why it matters, and how you can measure it.
Why Is pH Value Important?
pH value indicates acidity. In growing cannabis, this relates to acidity levels of the soil as well as of the water you use. pH is important, because it plays a part in determining the quantity of nutrients your plants can absorb. Acidity is a predictor of chemical activity and nutrient availability in water and soil.
pH is measured using a scale that runs from 0 to 14.
Acidity decreases as the number rises, where 7 indicates a neutral pH value. If acidity does not correspond with the plant’s preferences, nutrient uptake is disrupted. High pH levels often cause deficiencies in manganese, boron, and phosphorus. If pH levels drop too low, plants will develop deficiencies for all nutrients. In order to keep your plants healthy, regular checks of soil and water pH levels are necessary.
pH values between 6.0 and 6.8 are ideal for cannabis plants.
Nonetheless, ideal pH levels differ from strain to strain. You should therefore keep a close eye on your plants, and experiment with different acidity levels.
Adjusting pH Value
If you want to adjust pH values to suit your cannabis plants, you have two options. You can increase or decrease the pH of the soil, but you can only do that before you plant your seeds. If your plants are already growing, you can only adjust pH values by changing the acidity level of the water you use.
Adjusting Soil pH Value
Lowering pH using organic products:
Water with apple cider vinegar • Composted manure • Sulphur • Pine needles
Raising pH using organic products:
Limestone • Ashes (i.e., burnt wood)
Natural products tend to work slowly, especially in case of pine needles. Be careful though: once they kick in, they kick in hard. Apple cider vinegar is very effective too, and this has the advantage of working almost immediately. Use this product only if you have no other choice, as it will kill micronutrients present in the soil.
Adjusting Water pH Value
By adjusting the pH of the water you use for your plants, you’ll also adjust the pH value of the soil where the water ends up.
Lower pH by adding sphagnum moss or phosphoric acid. If pH is too low, you can add lime, baking soda, or wood ashes. Try not to use this method more than twice in a grow. Doing this too often may damage your plants.
Aside from organic products, you can also use chemical agents to adjust pH levels. These products are called pH Up and pH Down. They’re available at your local nursery or garden centre. You don’t need to use much, and it works rapidly.
Testing pH Value
Checking pH values regularly as your cannabis plants grow and flower is important. Seasonal changes can easily affect soil and water pH levels. You can test for acidity in the following ways:
Tests are available at your local garden centre. Tests come in the form of strips, drops, or pens. Simply add some soil or water to the test tube. In some cases, you need to add chemicals. pH can also be measured using strips that change colour as acidity rises. These tests give fairly accurate indications of pH values.
The Right pH For Your Own Cannabis Grow
As you’ve seen, the right pH value is essential for making the most out of your cannabis plants. Good nutrient uptake requires careful monitoring of soil and water acidity. For more information on choosing the right type of soil for your cannabis seeds, check out this article. If you feel you know enough to get growing, hop right over to our seeds catalogue and have a go!