How To Foliar Feed Cannabis Plants: A Complete Guide

How To Foliar Feed Cannabis Plants: A Complete Guide

Foliar feeding is an essential technique for cannabis growers looking to maximize their plants’ health and yield. By applying nutrients directly to the leaves, growers can address deficiencies quickly and efficiently. This method provides a rapid nutrient boost and is especially beneficial during critical growth stages. In this guide, we will explore the fundamentals of foliar feeding cannabis plants, its benefits, the ideal times for application, and best practices to ensure optimal results.

Understanding Foliar Feeding

Foliar feeding involves spraying a nutrient solution directly onto the leaves of cannabis plants. This method allows the plant to absorb nutrients through its stomata, the tiny openings on the leaf surface, bypassing the root system. This direct absorption can lead to faster nutrient uptake compared to soil or hydroponic feeding.

Benefits of Foliar Feeding

  1. Quick Nutrient Absorption: Since the nutrients are applied directly to the leaves, plants can absorb them faster than through the roots.
  2. Targeted Nutrient Delivery: Foliar feeding allows growers to address specific deficiencies promptly without altering the soil or nutrient solution.
  3. Increased Photosynthesis: Enhancing nutrient availability can boost photosynthesis, leading to healthier, more vigorous growth.
  4. Stress Mitigation: During periods of stress, such as transplanting or pest attacks, foliar feeding can provide immediate relief and support recovery.

Choosing the Right Foliar Spray

Selecting the appropriate foliar spray is crucial for effective nutrient delivery. Various commercial sprays are available, each formulated to address specific deficiencies or growth stages. Additionally, growers can create their own nutrient solutions tailored to their plants’ needs.

Key Nutrients for Foliar Feeding

  1. Nitrogen (N): Essential for vegetative growth, nitrogen promotes leaf and stem development.
  2. Phosphorus (P): Crucial for root development and flowering, phosphorus enhances bloom quality and yield.
  3. Potassium (K): Vital for overall plant health, potassium aids in water uptake and resistance to diseases.
  4. Calcium (Ca) and Magnesium (Mg): These nutrients are important for cell structure and chlorophyll production and prevent common deficiencies that can hinder growth.
  5. Micronutrients: Elements like iron, manganese, zinc, and copper are required in smaller quantities but are essential for various physiological functions.

Preparing the Foliar Spray

When using a commercial product, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when preparing a foliar spray. For homemade solutions, careful measurement and mixing are crucial to avoid nutrient burn or toxicity.

Steps To Prepare a Foliar Spray

  1. Gather Materials: You will need a spray bottle or garden sprayer, distilled or filtered water, and your chosen nutrients.
  2. Measure Nutrients: Accurately measure the nutrients according to the recommended dosage. Over-fertilizing can cause leaf burn and other issues.
  3. Mix Solution: Mix the nutrients with water thoroughly to ensure even distribution.
  4. Test pH: Ensure the solution has a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 for optimal absorption. Adjust if necessary using pH up or down solutions.

Application Techniques

Proper application techniques are vital to maximize the effectiveness of foliar feeding. The goal is to ensure even coverage without over-saturating the leaves.

Best Practices for Foliar Feeding

  1. Timing: Apply foliar sprays early in the morning or late in the evening when the stomata are open, and evaporation is minimal. Avoid spraying during the heat of the day to prevent leaf burn.
  2. Even Coverage: Ensure thorough coverage of both the upper and lower leaf surfaces. The undersides of leaves have more stomata and can absorb nutrients more effectively.
  3. Spray Distance: Hold the sprayer about 12 to 18 inches away from the plants to achieve a fine mist that covers the leaves evenly.
  4. Frequency: Foliar feeding can be done once a week or as needed based on the plant’s condition and nutrient requirements.

Foliar Feeding Marijuana Plants

Monitoring and Adjusting

After applying a foliar spray, closely monitor your plants for any signs of improvement or adverse reactions. It’s important to adjust the nutrient concentration or application frequency based on the plants’ responses.

Signs of Effective Foliar Feeding

  1. Greener, Healthier Leaves: Plants should exhibit improved coloration and vitality within a few days.
  2. Faster Growth: Enhanced nutrient availability can lead to quicker vegetative growth and stronger stems.
  3. Improved Flowering: During the flowering stage, plants should produce larger, more resinous buds.

Addressing Issues

If you notice any negative reactions, such as leaf burn or discoloration, stop foliar feeding immediately and rinse the leaves with clean water. Before resuming, reevaluate your nutrient mix and application technique.

Foliar Feeding During Different Growth Stages

Cannabis plants have varying nutrient needs throughout their growth cycle. Tailoring your foliar feeding approach to these stages can optimize plant health and yield.

Vegetative Stage

During the vegetative stage, plants require higher nitrogen levels to support leaf and stem development. A balanced foliar spray with nitrogen, calcium, and magnesium can promote robust growth. To supplement root feeding, apply foliar sprays every 7 to 10 days.

Flowering Stage

In the flowering stage, phosphorus and potassium become more critical. These nutrients support bud development and overall plant health. Reduce nitrogen levels to prevent excessive vegetative growth. Foliar feeding should be done sparingly in the flowering stage, typically once every 10 to 14 days, to avoid affecting bud quality.

Late Flowering

In the late flowering stage, foliar feeding should be minimized or stopped altogether to prevent residual nutrients from affecting the taste and quality of the buds. Focus on root feeding with a bloom-specific nutrient solution.

Organic Foliar Feeding Options

There are several natural alternatives to commercial foliar sprays for growers seeking organic methods. Organic foliar feeds can provide essential nutrients while promoting sustainable growing practices.

Popular Organic Foliar Feeds

  1. Seaweed Extract: Rich in micronutrients and growth hormones, seaweed extract can enhance plant health and stress tolerance.
  2. Compost Tea: Made from compost steeped in water, compost tea is full of beneficial microbes and nutrients that can boost plant vitality.
  3. Fish Emulsion: A natural source of nitrogen, fish emulsion can support vegetative growth and improve leaf health.
  4. Epsom Salt (Magnesium Sulfate): An excellent source of magnesium and sulfur, Epsom salt can prevent common deficiencies and promote healthy growth.

DIY Organic Foliar Spray Recipe

To create a simple organic foliar spray, you will need:

  • 1 gallon of distilled or filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon of seaweed extract
  • 1 tablespoon of fish emulsion
  • 1 teaspoon of Epsom salt

Mix all ingredients thoroughly and test the pH, adjusting if necessary. Apply the solution using the same techniques described earlier.

Foliar Feeding a Cannabis Plant

Pest and Disease Control with Foliar Sprays

Foliar feeding can also serve as a method for pest and disease control. Adding natural insecticides or fungicides to your foliar spray can help protect your plants from common threats.

Common Additives for Pest and Disease Control

  1. Neem Oil: Effective against a variety of pests, neem oil can be added to foliar sprays to deter insects and prevent fungal infections.
  2. Insecticidal Soap: Safe for use on cannabis plants, insecticidal soap can control aphids, spider mites, and other soft-bodied insects.
  3. Bacillus Thuringiensis (Bt): A natural bacterium, Bt can be added to foliar sprays to target caterpillars and other larvae.
  4. Potassium Bicarbonate: Used to control powdery mildew, potassium bicarbonate can be mixed into foliar sprays to prevent fungal growth.

Application Tips for Pest and Disease Control

  1. Identify the Problem: Before applying any treatment, accurately identify the pest or disease affecting your plants.
  2. Use Appropriate Dosage: Follow the recommended dosage for any additives to avoid harming your plants.
  3. Spot Test: Before applying the solution more broadly, perform a spot test on a small area of the plant to ensure there are no adverse reactions.

Safety Precautions and Best Practices

When foliar feeding cannabis plants, it is crucial to follow safety precautions to protect yourself and your plants.

Personal Safety

  1. Wear Protective Gear: Use gloves and protective eyewear to prevent skin and eye contact with nutrient solutions.
  2. Ventilation: Ensure good ventilation in the growing area to avoid inhaling any mist from the foliar spray.
  3. Label Solutions: Clearly label all nutrient solutions and store them safely away from children and pets.

Plant Safety

  1. Avoid Overfeeding: Excessive foliar feeding can lead to nutrient burn and other issues. Stick to recommended dosages and frequencies.
  2. Monitor Plant Health: Regularly inspect your plants for signs of nutrient deficiencies, pests, or diseases and adjust your foliar feeding regimen accordingly.
  3. Clean Sprayers: Thoroughly clean your spray bottles or garden sprayers after each use to prevent residue buildup and contamination.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Despite careful preparation and application, growers may encounter challenges with foliar feeding. Here are some common issues and solutions.

Leaf Burn

Cause: Over-fertilization or spraying during high temperatures. Solution: Dilute the nutrient solution, apply during cooler times of the day, and rinse the leaves with clean water if necessary.

Poor Absorption

Cause: Incorrect pH or inadequate coverage. Solution: Adjust the pH of the solution to between 6.0 and 7.0 and ensure even application to both sides of the leaves.

Residue Buildup

Cause: Excessive application or using solutions with high salt content. Solution: Rinse the leaves with clean water and reduce the frequency of foliar feeding.

Pest Infestations

Cause: Ineffective pest control measures. Solution: Integrate natural insecticides or fungicides into your foliar feeding regimen and maintain good plant hygiene.

Foliar Feeding Cannabis Plants: Conclusion

Foliar feeding is a valuable technique for cannabis growers seeking to optimize plant health and yield. By providing nutrients directly to the leaves, growers can address deficiencies swiftly and support robust growth. Following the recommendations and best practices outlined in this guide will help ensure successful foliar feeding and thriving cannabis plants.

Whether you are a seasoned grower or a novice, incorporating foliar feeding into your cultivation routine can lead to healthier plants and bountiful harvests. Experiment with different nutrient solutions and application techniques to find what works best for your specific growing conditions. Happy growing!

Now that you know how to foliar feed cannabis plants, check out the collection of regularfeminized, and autoflower cannabis seeds at Seeds Here Now.


1. What is foliar feeding, and why is it beneficial for cannabis plants?

Foliar feeding involves spraying a nutrient solution directly onto the leaves of cannabis plants. This method allows for quick nutrient absorption through the stomata, providing rapid relief for nutrient deficiencies and enhancing overall plant health.

2. How often should I foliar feed my cannabis plants?

Foliar feeding can be done once a week or as needed based on the plant’s condition and nutrient requirements. It’s important to monitor your plants and adjust the frequency accordingly.

3. What time of day is best for foliar feeding?

Apply foliar sprays early in the morning or late in the evening when the stomata are open, and evaporation is minimal. Avoid spraying during the heat of the day to prevent leaf burn.

4. Can I use homemade solutions for foliar feeding?

Yes, you can use homemade solutions such as seaweed extract, compost tea, fish emulsion, and Epsom salt. Ensure proper mixing, pH adjustment, and testing before application.

5. What should I do if my plants show signs of leaf burn after foliar feeding?

If you notice leaf burn, stop foliar feeding immediately and rinse the leaves with clean water. Reevaluate your nutrient mix and application technique before resuming.

6. Is foliar feeding safe for all stages of cannabis growth?

Foliar feeding is beneficial during the vegetative and early flowering stages. However, it should be minimized or stopped during the late flowering stage to prevent residual nutrients from affecting the taste and quality of the buds.

7. How can I prevent pests and diseases using foliar sprays?

Add natural insecticides or fungicides like neem oil, insecticidal soap, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), or potassium bicarbonate to your foliar spray to protect your plants from pests and diseases.

8. What are some common issues with foliar feeding, and how can I troubleshoot them?

Common issues include leaf burn, poor absorption, residue buildup, and pest infestations. Address these by adjusting nutrient concentrations, ensuring proper pH, improving application techniques, and integrating pest control measures.

9. How do I ensure even coverage when foliar feeding?

Hold the sprayer about 12 to 18 inches away from the plants to achieve a fine mist that evenly covers both the upper and lower leaf surfaces.

10. What safety precautions should I take when foliar feeding?

Wear protective gear, ensure good ventilation, clearly label nutrient solutions, and store them safely. Avoid overfeeding and monitor plant health regularly.


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