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best ph level for seed germination

The perfect PH value for a cannabis plant

In the world of gardening, pH both affects and is affected by everything. Indeed, the entire process of growing plants is a study in the physical dance of pH balance.

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So, you are on your way to growing great cannabis. Your seeds have sprouted, and a small cannabis plant is now eagerly growing. You have spent good money on quality nutrients, and have made sure to properly water and feed your precious plant baby. But something is wrong; you notice your plant appears sick. The leaves are getting discoloured and growth has come to a standstill. Before you know it, your plant is withering away, and you’re stumped as to how this could’ve possibly happened.

Among fatal flaws like overwatering and overfeeding, pH imbalances are one of the most common issues in the cannabis garden. To understand why pH is so important, let us first understand the concept in and of itself.

WHAT IS PH?

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. The pH scale ranges from 1–14, with a pH of 7 being neutral (the pH of pure water). If pH is lower than 7, a substance is considered acidic (think vinegar or lemon juice). If the pH is higher than 7, the substance is alkaline, as is the case with soaps, bleach, and ammonia.

In more scientific terms, pH level has to do with the concentration of hydrogen ions, say in the water you give to your plants. The pH scale is logarithmic to the base 10, which means that water with a pH of 6 is already 10x more acidic than water with a pH of 7.

WHY IS PH IMPORTANT WHEN GROWING CANNABIS?

As you will already know, all plants require nutrients for healthy growth. They require macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as micronutrients and minerals including calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, and a whole lot more. If plants cannot access these nutrients, it will lead to deficiencies and other serious health problems.

The issue with cannabis plants is that they are only able to take up nutrients within a small pH window, which ranges from about 6–7 when growing in soil. If the pH is lower or higher than that, the plant cannot take in nutrients, even if they are present—thus spurring nutrient deficiencies via “nutrient lockout”.

In those places where cannabis thrives in the wild, the soil is normally slightly acidic; therefore, homegrown cannabis plants will also prefer a slightly acidic environment. However, the way that you grow cannabis also plays a role in the optimal pH level for your plants. Cannabis grown hydroponically or without soil needs an even lower pH than a soil grow.

WHAT’S THE BEST PH FOR GROWING CANNABIS?

SOIL: 6.0–7.0 pH

If you grow in soil, the optimal pH level for the root zone is between 6.0 and 7.0. However, there is no set number within this range that is “best”. Instead, it can be good to allow for some natural fluctuation within this window to support optimal nutrient uptake. So as you adjust, try a slightly different reading each time. You can, for example, adjust your pH to 6.2 for one watering, then 6.6 the next. As long as it stays within 6.0–7.0, you should be fine. Soil is also more forgiving when it comes to pH imbalances, but it can only give so much.

If you grow purely organically—where you do not administer liquid nutrients—pH is less of an issue. If you’re using amended and composted soil with organic matter, the microorganisms within will make the nutrients more available to the roots. However, most growers using standard potting mixes and liquid nutrients will indeed have to reckon with pH.

HYDROPONICS AND SOILLESS: 5.5–6.5 pH

Hydro and soilless grows are a different beast when it comes to pH. If you grow soilless, say in coco, the optimal pH level at the root zone should be somewhat lower than in soil, between 5.5–6.5. The same goes for all methods of hydro.

With these methods, it is just as important that you allow the pH level to fluctuate across the acceptable range to support nutrient uptake. For example, in hydro, calcium and magnesium are mostly absorbed at pH levels above 6, while other nutrients like manganese prefer a slightly lower pH.

Then again, this shouldn’t be an issue since pH levels will naturally change slightly with each feeding in a hydroponic setup. You will only need to correct if the pH level exits the optimal 5.5–6.5 pH range.

When growing in coco, perlite, or hydroponically, you are in charge of administering nutrients directly to the root zone via the water, which means that huge pH fluctuations are more of a risk than in soil. The inert media used in hydro and soilless grows merely retains water and provides support for the roots of your plants. So when administering nutrients, be careful that you don’t overload your plants.

In the world of gardening, pH both affects and is affected by everything. Indeed, the entire process of growing plants is a study in the physical dance of pH balance.

Best ph level for seed germination

I am doing an individual study on ‘ How does the pH of the soil affect the germination and growth of plants’, and would be grateful if you could send me any information on this subject.

Many plants fall into one of two categories, those which grow well in soils of low pH, such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas etc, and those which grow well in soils with high pH. These plants, if grown in the wrong soil types will not thrive, and will often die. A trip to your local garden centre should give you some idea of other plants which grow well in one environment or other – a chat with one of the staff should prove useful. The majority of plants are fairly tolerant of a wide range of conditions.

Once you have identified suitable plants to work with, you could see whether they are available as seed.

Getting acid compost is not too much of a problem, but you will need to add lime or another basic compound to a neutral compound to create an alkaline compost.

Think about how to alter the pH of soils, without altering other factors – this might be difficult to achieve, and see what symptoms seedlings and plants which grow in the wrong pH exhibit – do they show cholorosis?, if so, is it localised or all over? Can you quantify your results? What other visible signs of deficiencies can you detect? If you search the SAPS web site for nutritional defficiencies, you should come up with other articles which give you pointers where to get hold of this information.

Alternatively, you may want to plant your seeds in vermiculite, and water them with SACH’s solution – this can then be altered to change the pH alone, leaving all the other components unaltered, reducing the number of uncontrollable variables. Any information that you get from such experiments should of course be related to what is going on in the plant, and what would be happening in nature.

Certain additives can be bought from garden centres to acidify the soil, look to see what these contain, and think about the chemistry involved, and what effect the additives have on the absorption of the soil nutrients. It is then important to think why certain nutrients are important in plant growth,and why the lack of them results in the symptoms expressed.

I am doing an individual study on ‘ How does the pH of the soil affect the germination and growth of plants’, and would be grateful if you could send me any information on this subject.